We all have lived through those excruciatingly painful moments when a knob of cold, hard butter refused to spread easily on a slice of bread. Whose fault is it – the cold butter, the clumsy knife, the bread or your will to have a buttered slice?
“Say goodbye to hard clumps of butter ripping apart your morning toast with ButterUp. The Stupendous Splendiferous ButterUp quickly turns cold, hard butter into sumptuous easy to spread ribbons of dairy goodness.” Says their Kickstarter page.
“Our unique design features a built in grater to aerate and soften butter making it easy to spread. Easy to spread also means you use less too. The grater shape has been specifically designed for butter and to avoid sharp edges so cleanup is safe and easy.”
We caught up with the ButterUp Knife design team to find out more about this whimsical and delightfully useful new kitchen tool:
SS – What inspired you to create the project, what is your story behind it?
DM – We often have very open discussions about common problems and coming up with design solutions. Norman in the office brought the project to the office and the solution came about was the now infamous knife! The team has a background in product design and development so the conversation can go anywhere in the office while we complete work for a varied customer base.
SS – What is the key innovation in the process of construction?
DM – The most innovative part was the combination of the grating feature at the edge of the blade. Achieving this took some time as we found having it close to the edge made it function far better than with the blade of the knife.
SS – What was the biggest challenge that you faced?
DM – Consistent manufacturing was the biggest challenge as minute changes to the detail impacted how well it worked. Even polishing affected some of our prototypes in the development stage. The product we have hasn’t changed much since the first sketch. We prototyped a number of variations and worked on it on a trial and error basis.
SS – Can you explain a bit more in detail about how you made this knife; the designing process?
DM – We began with a very open brief that never had a better knife in mind. We started with some crazy contraptions to ‘extrude butter’ but found out these were already on the market although not that popular and faced a lot of challenges designing this as well. The product itself came about as a light bulb moment and a chef’s tip that we must have seen on TV at some point in the past.
SS – Can you share details regarding the software, machining/prototyping tools, what kinds of sketches/prototypes/mockups were made, what kinds of challenges you faced?
DM – As an industry standard we use Solidworks, once the idea for the knife came about we began drilling cheap spreaders we bought from Victoria’s Basement (homewares store in Australia) to find an ideal size hole and pitch of the hole. Being close to the edge made it far easier to use and the curling of the butter came pretty naturally. Refining the curl of the butter was achieved with trialing a number of different hole shapes by machining from aluminum which was quick and cheap but quickly discovered it was far too soft to make the final product from. Machining from stainless steel was the last stage in prototyping, with the final product benefiting from cold forming during production to have a super strong product.