Why it was just a couple months ago that we wrote about a design outfit named Swarm. They were convinced that everyone with a bike could use a bike clamp which doubled as a bottle opener. They still are.

Swarm has relaunched their Bike Clamp/Bottle Opener project, but this time the goal is a paltry $2,500. Quite different from the $15,000 before. How was the cost reduced by over %80? Jon Hart gives us the breakdown of the contact made, the process used and some ideas you may be able to apply to your own project to cut the cost.

Jon: Shortly after you posted about the Nectar and Elixir project, Devin got a phone call from a guy named Dan Falvey. Dan mentioned that he often reads SolidSmack, and saw our project on the blog. He, being a man of impeccable taste, loved the design and thought the project was worth checking out.

It turns out that Dan has been on the manufacturing side of the bike industry since mountain biking was in its infancy. Back when Gary Fischer and Tom Ritchey were staging bike races, Dan was riding right along with them. Being an engineer, he started making the parts that these guys needed for this new form of biking.

Fast forward 30 years. Dan has worked with practically everybody in the bike industry. He has lived in Taiwan and in Italy, manufacturing bike parts. He’s scaled back now, but still has many, many great industry contacts.

So when Dan was talking to Devin, and later to me, he told us about his history, and especially about all the lucky breaks he had. Since we’re a new design firm, and he liked the product, he thought he’d spread a little karma our way and put us in touch with some manufacturers he’s had good success working with. These manufacturers are aerospace guys who are just looking for a fun project.

After a few conference calls with an extrusion house in California and a CNC shop in Oklahoma, we’ve been able to find some efficiencies in the tooling. We have been able to reduce the tool count from 10 to 2, and thus reduce the cost to launch by about 80%. That is huge. We will also have tighter control over quality by manufacturing domestically. The domestic manufacturers are also more flexible, and we don’t have to tie a whole bunch of cash up in inventory while we’re still working on distribution. Finally, perhaps the best benefit is that now Nectar and Elixir will be Made in America!

It has been amazing seeing how, through our kickstarter launch, we’ve met so many great people. Thanks especially to Josh at SolidSmack, we made contact with Dan, and ultimately with some awesome domestic manufacturers. We have been able to bring our launch cost back down to earth, and are excited about our new kickstarter project. It has been an amazing ride, and we’re super excited to release our Nectar and Elixir on the biking world.

Well now, so kind of you Jon. Thank you. I’ll be sure to throw in a few bills to fund the project, which may involve me selling the bike the clamp would go on. This is a great example of how taking action on an idea, no matter how challenging, can ultimately work out… or at least have greater potential of working out. If you’d like to help with the project as well, head over to the Nectar and Elixir project page. A mere $20 gets you a clamp of your very own and I’m likely to throw in some SolidSmack stickers along with it. Sitckers you can slap on that bicycle as well. Now tell me that’s not worth 20 bones.

swarm clamp design


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.