The prototyping stage of design often involves a lot of waiting as prototypes are made by a third party and shipped to the design engineers. However, here at 3 Space, we had multiple 3D printers on-site, which allowed us to produce our own prototypes and have them in hand within a day. The prototypes we made for the ReachaBowl were printed from ABS on a FDM 3D printer. The design consisted of a base, deck, rod, handle, and press-in feet. Each component was printed separately to allow us to test the assembly and functionality of the design and make adjustments before having the mold cut.
Before this project, most of our experience in injection molding was in industrial products, where the appearance of a part matters less than functionality. But with the ReachaBowl being a consumer product, the parts had to look flawless in addition to being functional. This project allowed us to learn about the more intricate details of injection molding that were required to achieve the desired aesthetic. Getting the color right, reducing tool marks, and achieving the correct surface finish or texture required a great deal of fine-tuning.