Angled has been live for several months now. We have been getting all types of submissions for each month's new cohort of products. Unfortunately, we have not been able to approve all the submissions to Angled. Which begs the question, "How do we evaluate Products for Angled."
With this post we hope to clarify what makes a great 3D printed product, and how we sort them out.
Some parts just can't be made affordably yet. We want Angled to be a marketplace that the average consumer can access. Therefore the products must have a price that matches their value.
The first component of manufacturability is the design itself. Can this part be 3D Printed. Design for Additive manufacturing is a whole post (or book) unto itself, so we will point you to this article about designing for 3D Printing, which covers most of the issues.
But if a product is manufacturable then there is the issue of "can it be made affordable." Remember that every Angled product is made on demand. It has to be produced in time and affordably within our systems. If it can't it will either be very expensive or just physically not possible for us to reliably produce.
The most common contributor to this is the number of parts in the product. We have had submissions for puzzles, kits, and games of all kinds. But the issue is that they may have 20 separate pieces in the set. This many pieces in a set can be expensive to produce. Ideally an angled product is made from 1 Piece and no more than 3. This is not a hard and fast rule, we will still look at the large sets of pieces. (For instance 3D Printed Katan sets are coming out)
Another issue is just the complexity of the piece. Admittedly 3D Printing is really good at making really difficult geometries. But it can be challenging. Some parts would need a person to pick at it for an hour to clean it up after it comes of the machine (the part on the right below). Other parts come off the machine fully complete and ready to ship (every Angled.io part in this post)
Does it solve a problem or is it just cool.
Now this part is a bit subjective, so the team will use our collective experience to make a decision. But generally if we are on the fence we will release the product. We want new products to have chance.
Now let's break this down some more. Does it solve a problem? And does it do it well? We don't want products on angled that are second rate. We are curating them in order to get the best of the best so that a customer doesn't have to wade through piles of bad products looking at reviews. So we will ask "does it a solve a problem well.?" If it does then it is in.
Now solving a problem is great and necessary. But there are awesome products out there that are really just not that functional. But we still love them and want to see them. These are all super subjective, so we will generally post them if we can (within the bounds of manufacturability) just to see what will happen.
Do People Want It?
This is a very simple test. If a product is an iteration or improvement on what already exists our researchers will check to see if something like this is actually in demand. They will look at search traffic and performance of past products.
Now this is generally a step we take when a product is particularly difficult. We put in a lot of effort in photography and ensuring that the products are well made by designers. So if we are putting in all of that work we want to ensure the products have a great chance of success. It is better for the designer and for Angled.io as a whole.
The perfect Product
But truly great products of course combine all of these attributes. They are optimized for 3D Printing. They solve a problem and look great. And they are in a market with a lot of demand so they can be a successful product.
One of our favorite examples of this is the Baker's Cube. The Baker's Cube solves the issue of keeping track of all of your measuring cups, but is also just a great piece. The perfect cube is clean and sleek. It is on a mission, but it can just stand there too. And on the manufacturing side it is perfectly optimized for 3D Printing, so it can be made quite affordably.
We really have to say that the Baker's Cube is a perfect product for Angled.
Hopefully that has given you some context as to what we are looking for on Angled.io. We are looking for great products that can be manufactured with 3D Printing. Over time we hope to open it up more and more so that anyone at anytime can upload a product and just run with it. But for now we are trying our best to make sure that each our designers and customers has a great experience and a great chance of success.