Prototyping a Category-Defining Design—Outdoor Pour-Over Coffee
Boco Founders Travis Johnson and Joel Bebo are both engineers, and Bebo has significant experience working for manufacturers in various roles developing products. Launching their first product in 2014, the pair have since moved a number of products into production, and came to FATHOM for prototype production of the concept "BRuX," an on-the-go pour-over coffee solution that enables user mobility without having to compromise on taste.
Was there a particular experience that inspired you to create the BRuX? What spurred the concept?
As rock climbers, we noticed many of our friends bringing along glass French presses to brew coffee during our weekend long excursions. We found this preposterous, and knew there had to be a better way of making fresh coffee out in remote locations. At first, we didn’t know what we wanted to create, but we knew that it had to be different than anything else out there. Most notably we knew that it had to be durable, vacuum-insulated, and compact. We were also partial to a pour-over brewer since we felt that this provided superior flavor compared to anything else out there.
How many iterations did the BRuX design go through before prototyping with FATHOM? Did you use any 3D printing technologies to refine and iterate on the design?
BRuX is our second product, so it benefited from lessons learned during the development phase of our first product. We obsessed over every millimeter of the BRuX and knew that we needed to iterate dozens of times prior to going to market. In all, we 3D printed over 30 versions of the BRuX with our in-house printer before landing on the final design. Once we knew we had the right direction for our design, we contacted FATHOM to produce the functional and aesthetic prototypes.
When approaching FATHOM with the project, what were you looking to get out of the relationship? How did the result compare to what you had imagined?
Prior to finding FATHOM, we reached out to a several rapid prototyping shops. However, because of the unique dimensions and features of the SST bottle, we kept getting a lot of “no’s” from the other guys. FATHOM was a godsend—after watching a FATHOM YouTube video on their facility capabilities, we contacted FATHOM and asked if the bottle could be rapidly prototyped, they said no problem. And the rest is history.
Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the results. They delivered ahead of schedule and the quality was beyond good. Since then, we’ve compared the FATHOM prototype with our production sample from our full-line manufacturer and they are very close in quality. The FATHOM prototype was also crucial in it helped our manufacturer understand the product for functionality, feel, quality, etc.
Which FATHOM team member did you work with? Did they help in any unanticipated ways?
We worked with Scott Cullum in the FATHOM Seattle office, who has been a real pleasure to work with. He’s always very prompt and provided us with some valuable advice on material selection.
Were there any time constraints you were aiming to hit while working on the BRuX project?
Yes, we needed a working prototype to test functionality prior to planning our product launch and talking to manufacturers.
After creating the urethane casted and machined version of your product with FATHOM, what have you used the product for? Marketing photos, videos, new business pitches?
Everything!! The quality of the prototype was so true to the final design concept that we’ve used it for all photos, videos, distributor’s demos, etc. Every piece of media we have on the BRuX so far was generated with this prototype.
Where is the BRuX going from here? After gaining a lot of traction on Kickstarter, what’s the next step?
Next step is to use its success to launch the Boco brand into worldwide distribution.
Does Boco Design have any more products coming soon? In addition to the Boco website, is there anywhere we should check for updates?
We have three new products that are in the works currently, and Bocoliving.com is the best place for customers to stay in touch!
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To start a conversation about your project or discuss a quote for some of the prototyping and low volume production services used by Boco and other similar companies, send us a request for quote. FATHOM has the in-house services to bring your concept to life, including 3D printing, CNC machining, urethane casting, rapid tooling, injection molding, or R&D contract services!