Successfully Crowdfunded Hardware: Everything Behind The Scenes

Two hands on a book labeled "hardware crowdfunding"

Crowdfunding hardware has its own unique challenges, and [Uri Shaked] wrote a fascinating report that goes into excellent detail about his experience bringing a crowdfunded hardware project to life.

A skull-shaped PCB with two red eyes[Uri]’s project was The Skull CTF, an electronic hardware puzzle that came in the shape of a PCB skull, and his detailed look behind the scenes covers just about every angle, from original concept to final wrap-up, along with his thoughts and feedback at every stage. His project reached its funding goal, got manufactured and shipped, and in the end was a success.

[Uri] started with a working project, but beyond that was virtually a complete novice when it came to crowdfunding. He eventually settled on using Crowd Supply to make his idea happen, and his writeup explains in great detail every stage of that process, including dollar amounts. What’s great to see is that not only does [Uri] explain the steps and decisions involved, but explains the research that went into each, and how he feels each of them ended up working out.

The entire thing is worth a read, but [Uri] summarizes the experience of crowdfunding a hardware project thus: an excellent way to test out the demand for an idea and bring a product into existence, but be aware that unless a project is a runaway success it probably won’t be much of an income generator at that stage. It was a great learning experience, but involved a lot of time and effort on his part as well.

[Uri] really knows his stuff, and considering his skill at hunting down pesky bugs, it’s probably no surprise that this wasn’t his first hardware puzzle.

5 thoughts on “Successfully Crowdfunded Hardware: Everything Behind The Scenes

  1. That’s some dedication to getting your idea realized. And I appreciate the real costs breakdown. Great write-up.

    Also, having done a scratch build using the full features of the ATTiny (85, in my case) I can sympathize with it not necessarily working as-assumed. Or if I recall, in some cases, documented!

  2. I read [Uri’s] whole “Successful Hardware Crowdfunding: Behind the Scenes” Blog post and learned a lot. I found the links to compliance discussions (FCC, CE, RoHS, etc.) at Adafruit, Crowd Supply, and SparkFun quite interesting. Crowd Supply, who hosted [Uri’s] campaign, came out looking quite good.

  3. Very interesting write-up. It sounds like CrowdSupply is really dedicated to helping you with your campaign, more a partner than a simple platform. It seems a great fit for the hacker type who may not have lots of commercial skills and is not looking necessarily to earn a fortune, simply to see a side project become an actual product helpful in the hands of other people.

    I have a project that could fit this model but I’m worried about all the Certifications stuff (CE/FCC). [Uri]’s article links to a guide in CrowdSupply’s knowledge base (https://www.crowdsupply.com/guide/about-ce-certification) as well as other interesting sources but doesn’t specify how he solved that issue and what he ended up needing for this particular project.

    Anyone who went down this route before (either with or without CrowdSupply) has tips to share on this subject?

    1. CE is a self cert and I believe if your not powering the device from mains it’s possible to file it (but I’m also not European and haven’t done so). Should be easy to look up.

      SDoC revisions to the FCC RF certification process seem like they’re completely different from pre-2018 rules. But until just now I didn’t realize that was a thing.

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