Tabletop Adapters started in December 2014 by two students from The Technical University of Denmark and Copenhagen School of Design and Technology, with the idea of producing Adapters for miniature war games. We identified a problem where switching bases would be a daunting task. Tearing the old base off, is a destructive method. It requires careful handling. We thought there could be a better way, that would be both easy, fast and cheap. It would require an additive method, where the base were expanded instead of removed and replaced. This is where a circular adapter was the ideal candidate. Not only could we expand the base length to fit the new measure, we would also be able to have a bottom that elevated the model in equal height. This bottom had an additional benefit, of aligning the adapter perfectly onto the old base.
Getting the shape and size exactly right took a long time, 5 months to be exact. This was a very hectic period of keeping up with a full time study and producing one prototype after the other of different designs and refinements. We used precise 3D printers for rapid prototyping, which helped getting a feeling of the product. This exact method, made us realise a bottom would make the product much easier to fit. In the end, we felt confident the prototype had the best fit it could possible have. It was now up to our partner production company to make the adapters just as we desired. In this period, we had to sent the design back to our production company to refine the mold three times. Correcting mistakes is no easy process, and they did an outstanding job correcting mold intakes and production marks on critical surfaces.
While our product would were appealing to me and many of my friends, we had a hard time estimating our market and the need for this product. The question remained if it would be worthwhile to create this product. Our goal was not to receive huge profits, but deliver an affordable product and at minimum a return of our investment. To answer our question, we started a kickstarter campaign explaining the issue and the estimated cost. The campaign ended with about half funded. But this confirmed our suspicion, that the product was indeed very desirable. So far, no one had managed to reach this level of design and quality. It made us confident that our solution would be the only solution good enough to deliver a result polished enough to not differentiate between miniatures with and without adapters.
We therefore decided to put the product into production. Rest assured, that any backers, and any customers, would be able to order the adapters for the same cheap price as the kickstarter campaign offered. It would be a risk, due to the long span between initiating a heavy mold and producing plastics components. But we felt it would be worthwhile, considering the market is very slow to adapt changes and the need would likely continue for a longer time than expected. It was subsequently proven the right decision to deliver a product with high quality, than to rush into the market with a questionable product.
During this adventure, we gained knowledge from DTU’s department of entrepreneurship, industry partners and facilities which helped us planning the financial plan and product development. Without the ability to draw on experience, it’s likely we would never have taken step towards realizing our product. We are happy that so many can now enjoy our product.