PicoBot Development Overview
PicoSolutions is a product design & additive manufacturing consultancy founded in January 2019 after our founder accidentally created an educational Wind Turbine utilizing 3D printing. At the time, 3D printing was only used for rapid prototyping to cut costs in creating the new product for the education market. Over the past 6+ years, we realized we could do so much more for the marketplace with our ability to materialize ideas into reality! Over the next 18 months, all products that were once made overseas will be produced in house using Additive Manufacturing(AM).
When our firm develops a product we do not begin and end with functionality- the product begins by identifying a need/problem and multiple solutions to solve it. It is refined through innovative practices always keeping our PICO core values in mind, and continues to be adjusted as new sustainable processes and materials are developed.
Overview/description of our project:
Introducing the PicoSolutions, PicoBot! This is a STEM educational product used in schools, maker spaces, and libraries throughout the world. PicoBots are a reimagined product based on the well-known BristleBots used by millions of schools across the world over the past 10-15 years. The issue with Bristelbots is- waste! For every BristleBot created, one toothbrush must be produced, cut apart only to use the head, and the handle disposed of as plastic waste. We set out to solve this problem and produce a much more unique & versatile product, localize its manufacturing, & cut every aspect possible of waste to create a sustainable product for the market.
Description of our project:
Additive Manufacturing has allowed PicoSolutions more control over production by eliminating all the logistics behind a traditional product like this.
- Manufacturing has been localized which is the purpose of AM.
- Eliminates the need for molds
- Molds are risky because you have to put a lot of money down
- Molds have design restrictions
- We would have no ability to continue improving on a design once molded
- Startup costs were reduced from $50-75K down to less than $1K
- Long term production cost reduction by 33% which we have found to be our average savings to manufacture in this way
- Lowered our carbon footprint and waste material which is extremely important to us as a company
- This is our second iteration of this product based on our monthly Product Explorers Club where kids give us feedback on our products
- We have created 6 versions so far and because of our process we can create endless new designs based on the market interests
- Our next version has plans for modularity to give K-5 students the ability to create their own modifications
- PicoBots pipe cleaner legs grant students the freedom to experiment with the direction, speed and aesthetic of the PicoBot
- The product we based our project on has little to no ability to be modified or controlled. In comparison, the PicoBot gives them complete freedom to innovate in this respect!
- This innovation has led us to the least amount of waste possible which was our primary objective!
- We design and print the body using (SLA) removing the need for support material
- Our first designs were good but they were made on FDM printers
- We transitioned over to SLA printing and the results were the "Retail" level we were looking for!
How we brought this product to life:
With the use of additive Manufacturing, PicoSolutions has reimagined manufacturing processes and redesigned a better product for the future. PicoBots are currently being utilized in over 100 schools around the world in their initial launch & as the product becomes more well-known we hope to encourage students to materialize their imaginations in the same way we do with products like this!