The name Avooq is generally synonymous with brilliant yet incredibly simple designs—offering up the kind of genius that makes you want to slap your forehead (not too hard now—let’s not beat ourselves up over this stuff) as you wonder why you didn’t think of that first. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed many projects such as 3D Printable CDBits, the Waverack Storage System, and more.
There’s already something new on the way to enjoy from this Australian-headquartered company as founders Matthew Keen and Neil Strohbeck get ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign featuring a new product as well. And while all of their previous designs have been free to users, this new concept does come with a twist, as they launch a patented tea mug called Freetii. Beginning on July 12th, the campaign will open up as the Avooq team works to raise money to finance the tooling of Freetii.
“It is an exciting time to be a young product designer, there are opportunities to get a business off the ground that simply wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago. Gone are the days where you had to pitch ideas to successful business people in the hope that they might want to invest,” say Keen and Strohbeck.
“The 3D printing technology advancements and the rise of crowdfunding popularity means that young designers can manufacture quality prototypes with a small budget and launch them on crowdfunding platforms to raise the tens of thousands of dollars required to tool the product.”
The Freetii tea mug is of interest in that it boasts a streamlined, stylish and modern look. Choosing the healthier alternative with tea was a unique choice too. But this isn’t your ordinary tea mug. Designed for use with loose leaf herbals, as well as iced tea, it’s a two-piece design allowing for the leaves to be held in the bottom while the top portion is filtered. With the leaves loose in the bottom portion of the mug, they continue to release nutrients and infuse the filtered portion. You can take it and go, as the herbs infuse while you are traveling, or just taking a morning walk.
The clear component was printed on an SLA 3D printer and then highly polished. It sounds as if the team really likes the mugs themselves—and they do look pretty content walking around with them at the office (see images).
“It is exciting being able to 3D print clear products, it was something I didn’t even know was possible until I started working on Freetii,” say Keen and Strohbeck. “With relation to the clear component of Freetii, due to the complexity of this component it would be extremely difficult and expensive to manufacture this component using any other technology.”
As the crowdfunding campaign launches, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to make a collection of all the Avooq innovations. For instance, along with making herbal tea, you can also enjoy an environmentally friendly system in the kitchen of making herbs in the Cascaqua aquaponics system and storing herbs in the WaveRack kitchen storage system.
“This would make me very happy, it’s a lot of work to design and launch products and some of the biggest rewards for effort aren’t necessarily monetary. I hope if someone does do this that they share the story and some photos with me,” says Strohbeck.
And staying true to form, Keen will also be launching a serving tray for the Freetii mug. That feature will indeed be a free 3D printable accessory. The tray, available at Avooq on July 12th as the campaign launches, is designed just for the Freetii mug, allowing it to fit into the customized geometry without slipping.
The clever Avooq founders have always had a sense of innovation, and have been creative and passionate about design and innovation for as long as they can remember.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I am innovating, I can only liken it to the rewarding feeling one might feel when planting a tree,” they say. “It’s not the digging and the bending over that makes you feel good, it’s thinking about what the tree might become while you are planting it—knowing that the tree will most likely grow for years and imagining how big the tree might get and how much good it will do.”
The idea for Freetii came about from an unusual situation for Strohbeck, however, as he was having some digestive issues and took an interest in herbal remedies; herbal tea, of course, is a great place to start and he really began enjoying making it fresh.
“I was making a mint tea from fresh leaves by first pressing the juices and oils out with a mortar and pestle,” said Strohbeck. “When it came time to transfer the leaves I noticed a lot of juice was left on the walls of the mortar.”
“The only way I could think to get the juice out was to pour the boiling water into the mortar, but this was less than ideal since the mortar didn’t have a spout and being made of stone it lowered the water temperature below the recommended steeping temperature. It was my desire to resolve this issue that resulted in the Freetii invention.”
Through choosing a healthier lifestyle, Strohbeck started managing his condition—and it sounds like that includes enjoying a lot of chamomile tea—even if his friends are hoisting a pint instead!
This young but certainly dynamic and prolific company also has some other projects in the works currently, from thinking about offering turnkey consulting services for other companies just getting started with crowdfunding, as well as working on a new, soon to be patented design, that is said to be an evolution of the Freetii project. There are other concepts in the works too, making it appear as if this company is going to have another busy year. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Freetii forum over at 3DPB.com.
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