Misen knives reach start-up goals with sharp development process

Published 04 November 2015

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks, product design, 3d hubs, misen

A 7-figure crowdfunding backed project was the result of a lean product design workflow

A new company aiming to redefine kitchenware essentials with premium materials and thoughtful design raced to their crowdfunding goal  of  $25,000  in a single hour thanks to their slick design process.

Founded by a pair of Brooklyn chefs,  Misen set out to produce a professional chef’s knife on a home cook’s budget over an 18 month period.

The team enlisted industrial designer Peter Muller in Chicago, and after a lengthy sketching process evolved initial designs in CAD, iterating on design upon design in SolidWorks before moving into the prototyping stages.

The team’s designer Peter Muller creating initial sketches

“We had a pretty good sense of the necessary dimensions, so once we had the initial CAD in good shape, we started printing with just the knife handle as a “toe in water” approach,” said Misen co-founder Omar Rada.

“Well, we soon dove in after that, and many, many 3D Prints later, we had a final Knife design for our final material prototypes.”

The Misen team used the 3D Hubs network of 3D printing services to develop multiple iterations of what would become their final knife design. The designs were printed using local 3D Hubs member Dano Wall, also based in Brooklyn, with his pair of MakerBot Replicators.

His abilities proved useful to the overall design process, build in time on the job for some playful experimentation with the designs to find what works best for any particular printing project.

He explains: “With these knives, which have very thin blades, I had to find something that would print perfectly flat and smooth in a single layer, retain its flatness after coming off the print bed, and have enough flexibility that the blade would stand up to rough handling.

“I eventually settled on a PET and polyester mix, printed on a slightly warm bed at very slow speed. This yielded high definition and extremely durable results that I was happy to pass on to Omar for testing.”

The final prototypes helped get the right balance for the knife, and set the path for full manufacture, ready to meet its Kickstarter orders.

The small team tackled one of the oldest tools known to man with a good idea, and used 3D technologies to transform it into a staggering $1,083,344-backed project,  one $65 knife at a time.

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