A couple of months ago, I left my day job to give myself the freedom to explore my curiosities and pursue some nagging, deep rooted – but altogether indefinite – ideas. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like there is some rope tied around my waist pulling me forward, and that rope extends out and disappears before I can see the end of it.

One of those ill-defined, yet imperative ideas to me is the notion of helping more people bring their ideas into the world.

A couple friends and I recently had an idea for a product that we thought might have some potential to be profitable. As we’ve been working on it, I have made it a point to take a bunch of notes, as well as photos of the entire process, with the intention of chronicling our thoughts, challenges, success, and whatever million-odd other things that are bound to happen.

My intent is to share the nitty-gritty, ground-level experience of taking an idea from conception all the way to (hopefully) market, as it happens in (more or less) real time. I hope it will serve as a guide, or an inspiration for some of you, who might be thinking about developing an idea of your own.

It all started something like this:

Two of my friends and I have been meeting once a week for a couple of hours for what we like to call “Project Night.” It started as an outlet for our creativity when that itch wasn’t being scratched in other areas of our lives. After meeting for about a year, our personal creative ventures eventually merged into one cohesive project.

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My friend had bought a small quadcopter (a Hubsan X4) and brought up the idea of replacing the plastic body with a paper one. He was interested in altering the form-factor to see how the flight characteristics could be varied. Using paper as a build material would allow for testing a bunch of configurations very quickly.

For about 6 months prior to this, I had been deeply focused on building one of VisualSpicer’s Pagani Zonda papercraft models and oh boy, did I have some ideas.

Not only could we change the configuration of the quad, but we could also alter its appearance. I was reminded of the Star Wars Speederbike quad that made its rounds online, and of the Millennium Falcon and Imperial Star Destroyer as well.

Having recently left my job, I was naturally on the lookout for potential grocery-funding opportunities, and this seemed viable. With that, the idea for a product was born — what if we could develop a sort of DIY quadcopter kit?

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After bouncing the idea around and sketching a bit, we decided to dive in and make a proof of concept. First, we had to determine if paper (actually, cardstock) would even be viable as a structural material. Armed with nothing more than a sheet of cardstock, a ruler, scissors, glue and an X-Acto knife.

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Turns out, cardstock was a great building material! It’s lightweight and quite stiff when it’s turned into boxy shapes. With that verified, we knew we weren’t crazy to at least proceed we set to work and before too long, the concept for the Montgomery DIY Drone Kit was born!

Next up, we had to design a functional prototype to get this project off the ground (literally AND figuratively). Next week I’ll be sharing the process of developing several prototypes. You’ll see pictures of the progression of the prototypes and of course, I’ll also be sharing the thoughts I had throughout.

For anybody who is interested in a critique, I’d love to hear any feedback or thoughts that you have; post everything you’ve got in the comments below!

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