The Coolest Cooler Kickstarter // Advanced Prototype Fabrication


The Story Behind the Advanced Prototype FATHOM Built for One of the Most Funded Kickstarter Campaigns featured in Time Magazine

For many projects funded through platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, success is a dual-edged sword. Projects that experience unanticipated surges of popularity encounter difficulty reaching their benchmarks at the new level of demand; rewards that may have seemed achievable for a few hundred sponsors become a much larger task when numbers grow into the thousands, especially when a complex product and a short time frame are involved.

As a result, these Kickstarter campaigners are looking to the specialists, companies FATHOM who have advanced manufacturing expertise and experience to guide companies through design iterations, prototype fabrication, and manufacturing preparation faster than ever before seen. Additive technologies are changing the way products are being designed and manufactured by helping designers and engineers make the unmakeable.

Enter Ryan Grepper, creator of the Coolest Cooler, one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in the history of the site. Ryan undoubtedly designed a highly innovative product with more than 62,000 backers, almost $13.3 million in capital raised, and ranked in the  25 Best Inventions of the Year by Time Magazine. As many have seen with crowd funding campaigns, the hardest part may not always be finding the funding, but rather, being able to meet expectations and deadlines.


After the campaign completed, TIME Magazine reached out to Coolest. The team realized they had less than two weeks to prototype the refined design they had been working months on.

To make it happen, these Kickstarter campaigners turned to FATHOM for their expertise and experience with helping companies get through design iterations, prototype fabrication, and manufacturing preparation faster than ever before seen. FATHOM not only assisted the Coolest Cooler team with making an advanced prototype in days, FATHOM also supplied Coolest designers with 3D printers to support their fast-paced product development cycle.

The Coolest Cooler is as complicated as it is impressive, featuring a 55-part assembly that includes:

  • Bluetooth Speaker and USB Charger

  • Rechargeable Blender

  • LED Lid Light

  • Gear Tie-Down and Wide Tires

  • Plates and Cutting Board with Knife, plus Bottle Opener

For this reason, Coolest Cooler took to FATHOM when the company needed a photo-realistic model of the latest design for a photo shoot at Time Magazine in New York City. FATHOM, an advance prototype fabrication and low volume manufacturing company driven by advance technologies, was tasked with going from 3D CAD files to a physical prototype in just a matter of days.


The FATHOM team had to consider the most effective ways to simplify the creation of the Coolest Cooler to meet such a tight deadline. Over the course of eight hours, Ryan and FATHOM’s experts worked diligently to assemble the Coolest Cooler and create what would be an exact replica of the final design, complete with high end finishing and functional electric components such as:

  • Parts Created Using 3D Printing and CNC Machining

  • Modified Stock Components to Fit Unique Design

  • Fasteners and Bonding/Gluing Substituted for Snap Fits and Sonic Welding

  • Installed Functional Electronic Components and Assemblies

  • Model Finishing and Assembly

  • Pantone Color Matching to Match Production Parts

At the end of the day, Ryan boarded a plane with the prototype in hand and arrived in New York by the next morning to share the Coolest Cooler with photographers at Time Magazine.




Coolest Cooler Production in Progress at FATHOM in Oakland, CA


Coolest Cooler Advanced Prototype by FATHOM in Time Magazine (PDF)

Carolina Aguirre