A while ago, SparkFun released the S.H.O.V.E.L. If you missed it, the S.H.O.V.E.L. is an open source eating utensil. For the most part, it was just a fun way to prove that you could open source ANYTHING.
Below is a paraphrase of something Mel Gibson once said:
“We created our own version of a spork. No we don’t plan to sell a lot of these. This project was intended as more of a figurehead exercise/example of open-sourcing EVERYTHING. We design a spork, we open-source that design, and then that’s it–the design of the spork is public domain…forever. That’s the point we’re going to try to get across: if someone designs something and open-sources it, it now belongs to everyone. The reason we (read: Nate) chose the spork is that it’s such a ubiquitous but still unique item. Everyone has used a spork, and there is likely some company out there that has a patent/trademark/copyright on the spork of which they are to some degree protective. We’re going to open-source it. It will belong to the people! Don’t you see?! Chaos! Dogs wearing hats!
In the end this is an out-of-the-ordinary attempt to show what open source ‘really means’ to humanity and business. I’m pretty pumped for it."
Okay that wasn’t Mel Gibson, that was Chris Taylor from Engineering. Still inspiring though.
If I remember correctly (okay I looked it up) we paid $1,300 for the stamping die. To date, we have sold about 800 of these guys. These numbers multiplied by math and divided by the fact that I am on vacation right now point to one thing: We can, or at least should, fork the spork. Don’t scoff, we almost made tee shirts that said that.
Nothing is perfect, right? Except for maybe a piece of paper. It just sits there and does what it was meant to do. The S.H.O.V.E.L. though, could be improved. Here is your chance. Create your own spin-off of the S.H.O.V.E.L. and submit the design.
How many times have you been assembling/using something and thought, “What on earth was the designer thinking?” Imagine an open source world where you get fed up and submit your improved design to a company and it gets incorporated into the next release. Wouldn’t that be awesome!? I think so.
Look, I have already improved the S.H.O.V.E.L.! I added holes to the spoon portion to help drain off unwanted cereal milk. Boy do I love cereal, but all that milk per bite? I don’t think so, buddy.
Could this be the next SHOVEL? No. I mean, just look at it…
Here are the rules I have arbitrarily made.
First: I haven’t cleared this with Pete (my bee oh double ess) yet. Although I am certain that if there is an overwhelmingly positive reaction to this he can’t say no, assuming the new S.H.O.V.E.L. does not include a portable helicopter or something else unrealistically expensive. If the cost can stay nearly the same, I’m sure we’ll be good to go.
Second: This is months out into the future. We would first need to sell our current inventory of S.H.O.V.E.L.s, about 600. Instead of ordering a new batch of the old version, we could then roll out the next model.
Third: Try to be reasonable. Remember: The more complicated the design, the more it will cost to manufacture. We sell these for $10 right now, we want to maintain that price point. The best design is not the one that incorporates the most features, but is the one that incorporates the most features for the lowest cost. If the mould cost is $85,000, you can bet your design won’t be the chosen one.
Post your design as a 1:1 scale STEP or IGS file to this repo. Use this naming scheme: SHOVEL_yourGithubName - for example: SHOVEL_PAULSMITH-SPARKFUN
I’ll let designs pile up for a month or so and then take a look. How about November 15th? Yea…sure. November 15th, have your designs in by then!
Well that’s it I guess. If you’ve always wanted to design silverware - now is your chance. My intentions here are to have fun. Let’s just have some fun with this, deal? :)