30 months. 64 prototypes
nimblstand was borne from our admiration of the beautiful elegance of the iPad and our desire to make it more part of our lives.
As Gustavo, the designer, began using the first iPad days after its introduction, after buying and testing 15 stylii, the Wacom Bamboo stylus became his creation companion of choice. Then he began to experiment with the covers, and the keyboards that began to flood the accessory market and was quickly frustrated by the challenges of the tablet’s instability limiting it to tabletop use, poor keyboard ‘feel’ , inability to type in portrait mode, or having his iPad trapped into a laptop-like contraption.
So Gustavo did what designers do… he started sketching, creating foam mockups, creating CAD models and making 3dprinted models. One model turned into dozens as the design evolved into a functional tool that incorporated his beloved Apple Wireless Keyboard and his favorite stylus from Wacom, to come up with the ultimate iPad companion: nimblstand
Gustavo reached out to his design and business partner Matt and their discussions, arguments, prototype testing and shared insights led to 20 more iterations clarifying the vision and the opportunity. By version 42, nimblstand was ready for testing, engineering and manufacturing optimization. During the next 6 months more changes were needed to enhance usability and reliability of the product.
We visited plastics factories up and down the US eastern seaboard (Made is USA is important to us) to find the production partner we felt confident they could accomplish the ambitious extrusion and CNC machining manufacturing requirements we had for the nimblstand. Contracts, pricing, patents and multiple tooling attempts, and all the realities of launching a new small business followed.
Finally 18 months from Gustavo’s initial designer frustration, checks are written, credit cards are tapped and steel has been ordered to begin 12 weeks of tooling and subsequent production testing.
As another winter descends the tooling and extrusion experts bring the terms ‘the most challenging parts’ and ‘ridiculous tolerances’ become our next point of frustration. Our initial production parts were not up to our standards, so we decided to re-tool to deliver an even better nimblstand (we are perfectionist after all).
We are thrilled to finally be in production with a product that we love, and that we think you will also find it makes your tablet experience even more awesome.