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Part 5 – Watching the Calendar and Keeping Busy

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After submitting the 3D master parts to the moulding and casting company based in Birmingham, UK it has been a process of waiting for the first proofs to be made. 6 weeks of waiting!

It takes around 6 weeks for the moulding company to take our Viper SLA parts and prepare them for the casting process, to test the resin and to work on creating the spurs for the smaller parts.

Still, those 6 weeks have flown by since we’ve had a considerable amount of work to do in the period including the artwork and design for the packaging, preparing our indiegogo.com campaign as well as getting the Decals and instructions completed. In this section, I will go through some of the complexity involved in project managing the design process with multiple elements ready for production.

In the beginning we needed several items prepared for the printing process, and a few items that we decided to add later on for the indiegogo.com campaign. We knew that the artwork for the box packaging was the most critical part to finalise for print, together with the instructions leaflet and certificate of authenticity. Working very closely with our printing company, we first defined the box size which we calculated based on the dimensions of the other elements including the kit parts. We knew that the box had to be visible on a shelf and draw attention to the kit, as well as making sure it stored the parts for shipping internationally if needed.

We opted for strong card material that would retain colour and print well and not fade. Once we had the dimensions, the printer provided a ‘cutter guide’ that will be used to cut out the box shape from the material for assembly. Going through at least 4 revisions of the cutter guide, the box was finished in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop ready for printing in high resolution.

Full Colour Instructions

The design for the leaflet was also a challenge in that we didn’t know the final size of the leaflet until we’d designed the individual panels and assembled the artwork on the screen. Using Adobe Illustrator again this process was easy and moving elements and panels around on screen was simple enough. Taking a few weeks to refine and layout the artwork, we came up with a based design based on an A3 sheet that could be folded into four and be placed inside the box comfortably. Part of what we needed to include on this instruction leaflet was the ability for the add-on kits (Lighting and Figure model) to be referenced so it was decided that using a different border colour on the panels was the solution.

Access ID CardAs the Stasis Pod model kit concept evolved, and we continued to develop the lighting kit in conjunction with the team, we needed a way of turning on the LED lights – we chose a simply ID Card containing a magnet so this design needed to be created too. Using a standard Business card dimension, we found a local printer able to produce the ID Cards that will activate the electronics.

DecalsThe model kit also need some professional Decals so this was a lengthly process to ensure that the artwork was created to fit the model itself. We used the 3D reference images and output from SolidWorks 3D to ensure we had the sizes correct, as well as visually matching the artwork to the 3D printed parts using mock-up samples and tests on decal paper available for a laser printer.

In the end, we chose a specialist decal printing company called Wessex Decals. They specialise in many types of decal material but we used a new laser-based printing technique. Our final Decal was over 8 colours and was varnished for protection.

Print can take a lot f time to get right and ensure that the design is good for your needs. With a range of different materials, uses and printing techniques we had to ensure that the branding and design had a consistent quality across all of the elements needed.

In the next article, we discuss some of the issues around preparing for an Indiegogo.com fund raising campaign.

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