Category Archive for "Projects"

FOG Safe Product Development Process – Pacific Business News

product development process, FOG Safe, FOG Safe Drain GuardsRecently Pacific Business News sat down with our client, Shawn Santos, inventor of FOG Safe Drain Guards to talk about the product development process and launching his idea. FOG Safe Drain Guards are a way to responsibly dispose of fats, oils and grease after cooking a meal, instead of rinsing these harmful contaminants down the kitchen sink. Once the fat, oil and grease has cooled in your cooking pan, you simply pour the contents into the FOG Safe Drain Guard and wait one minute while the drain guard absorbs the FOG, then you dispose of the entire drain guard into the trash. No drips, no mess.

We have had the pleasure of working with FOG Safe from the beginning. We have assisted with designs, prototyping, patents, manufacturing and distribution. Below are excerpts from the Pacific Business News article that discuss our product development assistance (read the full article here).

The Product Development Process

We had several stages of printing for prototyping. I worked with a local product development company, 3D Innovations, through the process. He had resources for using the [3D] printer, so after coming up with designs and going through the process, the finished product is very different than the original idea.

Deciding on a Manufacturer

3D Innovations assisted with sourcing and manufacturing. We looked at several locations, we tried the U.S., and eventually we went overseas. We looked at a lot of paper pulp manufacturers and settled on doing it in China. In order for the product to work and relieve the problem, its gotta be worth it for the consumer. People are not going to want to spend a lot, so we needed to keep the cost down as much as possible.

Then there was the whole tooling process, which is preparing the molds — it’s another upfront cost that comes right out of pocket. We have to provide the schematics for the tooling, and once we approve it it’s all on us, we pay that amount even if that mold doesn’t work, so it’s a bit of a gamble. So we have to be 100 percent, and that’s where the 3D printing comes in. We do the printing, and the manufacturer uses those to make the mold.

Patenting FOG Safe Drain Guards

I have five issued patents. It started with getting a patent attorney and doing a patent search. The hope is that whatever they find is different enough in design, and we felt it was worth the try and we were different.

For my first patent to get issued was well over 24 months, probably closer to 30 months. After that, there were deviations of the design. One of the challenges of an inventor is that you can’t come up with a single design, there needs to be variations, because someone can easily copy off of your original design work. And the patent office is very particular, you can’t be broad, you have to be very specific on a type of design. You can’t just think in one dimension, you have to think about how this can be manipulated and changed. It’s a collaboration between the engineer, myself and my attorney, everyone having input.

Interested in learning more about our product development process? Send us an email at


3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Product Design: What inspires you?

May 19, 2016
3D Innovations

While many of our blog posts offer product design and product development insight and information, we have decided to turn the tables a bit for this post and ask our readers for their input. We want to delve into the topic of inspiration. We all find different things inspiring—this is what helps motivate us to push the design boundaries and think outside of the proverbial box. When it comes to designing a consumer product, we always want to be on the cutting edge and engage customers with all aspects of the design—from the product design to the packaging.

lightbulb1Inspiration comes in many forms and from everywhere… So now we pose the question to you:

When you are looking for inspiration, before you begin your next design challenge, where do you turn?

Below are a few places where we find inspiration. They help excite us for our next design project and remind us to continually challenge ourselves while pushing the boundaries of design.

  • Nature. What is more inspiring than nature? Nature is the ultimate innovator. Interesting shapes, materials and forms—can be found in nature and continue to inspire engineers.
  • Product design websites. With a simple click of a button you can be inundated with all different types of design work and renderings. Objects that many people see as mundane and ordinary are reimagined (fruit bowl, lightbulbs, and keyboards) and you can browse thousands of these wonderful designs online.
  • Your portfolio (past projects). Looking back often inspires us for the future. Projects that we completed years ago still provide us with insight and inspiration.
  • Design and engineering books. Whether they are textbooks from college or design books you picked up at a local bookstore, they seem to always inspire. Books have a way of bridging the past with the future, and in themselves are quite inspirational.

We would love to know what inspires some of your best work! Please leave it as a comment below.

“To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible.”


3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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New Design Project: “Bugle2” – A DIY Phono Preamp

February 14, 2013

In our line of business we have the opportunity to meet fantastic entrepreneurs and business owners and often we become fully immersed in the projects we work on with them; The Bugle2 is one of these projects. “The Bugle2 is a second generation DIY kit phono preamplifier for vinyl playback.” This project is currently on Kickstarter and is working towards their funding goal. If you are a music lover, you have to check out the Bugle2!

What is it? The Bugle2 is a DIY kit for those of you who know how to solder and build electronic projects. It plugs in-between your turntable and audio system (linestage or integrated amplifier) providing the requisite gain and equalization for vinyl playback. It can be built with gains of either 40dB or 60dB, accommodating both moving magnet or moving coil cartridges. The second generation circuit design is an improvement to my popular Bugle phonograph preamplifier.

Who needs it? Anyone who plays vinyl LP records and wants better sound. I also highly recommend a decent turntable to pair with it (such as the U-Turn). You will be amazed at how good vinyl can sound.

Why Kickstarter? The cost of getting custom cases is high. I have calculated break-even costs to be 113 kits, without postage. After adding postage and about $10 margin per kit I came up with the $16,000 minimum pledge value to fund this project. You get a great product and I am safely launched into the marketplace.

Learn more on Kickstarter