Design, prototype and bring to market a beautiful and efficiently functional artisan backpack for the stylish minimalist and sustainable urban adventurer.
Our small team will be actively sharing our design and development process with project updates on this project page, and on Facebook and Instagram so that we can share the journey and give you channels to let us know how we can tailor this backpack to become a perfect fit for your lifestyle!
-The Engineer Your Dream Team
Prototype 1, the Windy City, and our next BIG STEP!
Prototype 1 is officially finished!
Josh finished the first prototype last month and had to take it for a spin to test it out and figure out areas of improvement for the next iteration. Here he is adventuring through Chicago with the prototype:
Now work begins on the 2nd protoype. The idea is to address a couple of structural issues that we identified in the first version to increase durability and make sure our backpack will last through years of heavy use. Josh will also be fine tuning a few internal features to improve functionality. We’re hoping to have the 2nd prototype done by the end of April but stay tuned for great updates on the process like this one (a cool video of the CNC machine carving the updated version of the side frame):
Lastly, you can sign up for our email updates on this page and be the first to know about the 2nd prototype’s status, when we’ll be going live on Kickstarter, and opportunities for beta testing of our product or other promotions!
Designs, Prototypes, AND LASERS
It’s been a while since our last “official” update, but only because we’ve had so much going on! If you’ve followed us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know the first Artisan Backpack prototype is well on its way. We’ll be uploading content more regularly as Josh continues to work on the prototype. If you haven’t been following along, no problem! Let us fill you in on what exactly we’ve been doing for the past month…
Josh CNC, Josh Do…
The Artisan Backpack design calls for smooth, rounded pieces of hard wood that will serve as the frame. To accomplish these cuts, Josh has utilized a CNC, or “computer numeric control”, machine. The CNC machine allows Josh to upload his design to a computer, which then carves the wood to his exact specification using special router bits. Here’s the CNC machine at work…
…and here’s the finished product:
Now that the frame is assembled, it’s been finished with a thin layer of polyurethane which will protect the wood but allow the natural beauty of the Cherry wood shine through.
Surveying the Prototype…
Some of you participated in a recent survey we shared on our Facebook page, thanks for your amazing input! If you haven’t yet, and would still like to participate you can access the survey here. Your responses helped us realize the importance of a couple of features and have already been incorporated into the design. One example is the addition of hinged access to your laptop and other important items which was recently added to the frame:
Oh, and in case the CNC machine wasn’t your cup of tea, Josh is adding laser cut compartments for storage of small items like snacks/pencils/business cards, or valuable items you’d like to limit access to…
We’re working on the final design of those access panels and will have an update ready in our next post with the hardware/design we go with.
The project has drawn a bit of attention, leading to Josh being included in a photo shoot by local, incredibly talented photographer, Marilyn Lamoreux. She’s been kind enough to allow us to use a few of the photos she took as part of her series, which we’ll be sharing this week through Instagram and Facebook. We’d love for you to check out the rest of her incredible work at this link.
What Comes Next?
Josh is continuing to work on the prototype and we’re actively exploring materials that will best suit the final product. Our design calls for wool felt elements due to its natural waterproofing and breathability. We’ll be visiting a “Woolen Mill” later this month to check out some needle felting and pick out our materials.
Keep an eye out over the next week or two as we continue to work on the prototype. We’re hopeful to have something finished and wearable in the next month but your best bet for progress updates is to continue to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Thanks again for your engagement, and feel free to reach out with any questions, critique or suggestions about the project!
Countdown to next prototype!
New shop, Prototyping and Facebook Kickoff
December 22nd, 2017
Solid week of enacting plans a long time in the making: Engineer Your Dream started it’s membership at NordEast Makers, a professional grade workshop with CNC machines and laser cutters. We’ve had our eyes on this shop since April to use in prototyping and eventually manufacturing the backpack.
A couple of of Josh’s process videos are here:
On top of starting up at our new shop, training in on the CNC machine, and both carving and machining our first couple scale models, we made the terrifying jump to start sharing our project on Facebook and welcomed in our first 118 follower!!
Stay tuned for our next update when the first full scale prototype will be well underway.
December 14th, 2017
What are we doing?
The story began in 2014 when Josh designed and built a compact wood and leather backpack that would protect his laptop and daily carries in comfort and style. The goal was to experiment, and blend the product design philosophies he was learning in school with the craftsmanship he learned in his father’s wood shop.
In the 3 years since, he’s used it regularly for school, work, and even a few multi-day trips. Seeing an opportunity for additional functionality, Josh, with help from a friend, prototyped a minimalist tablet case with 3D printable pockets. The initial creative process and ongoing testing has uncovered the backpacks strengths (unique style, durability, natural materials) and weaknesses (weight, lack of pockets/internal organizers, lack of expandability for overnight trips).
Through this process, and conversations with hundreds of people asking about the pack, came this Artisan Backpack project. We want other people to experience the same journey Josh did with his original creation. We’re starting from scratch, and intend to design, manufacture, and bring to market a backpack using your input along the way. We’re looking to do this in a couple phases.
Phase 1: Initial Planning, Product Redesign and Prototyping
For the next couple months, we’ll share sketches, images and clips of prototypes and scale models as we make them! We’ll also discuss the core philosophies we are building into this pack, and the specific use cases we are building it for. You’ll be privy to our conversations as we nail down the design elements we want to test and prototype. During this phase, we hope that you’ll get in touch, give us feedback, and tell us what matters to you most.
No really, email us, call us, comment on a social media post, send us a DM, hire a sky writer, shoot us a telegram…Whatever it takes!
We’ll be listening and carefully considering all your feedback as we work to create a product that exceeds your expectations.
Phase 2: Sustainable Sourcing, Design Refinement & Production Planning
This is where things will really heat up! Once we have had a couple months of research, development and testing we’ll have established a solid design envelope and aesthetic style. Hopefully we’ll have already met with some sustainable, local sources for the wood, leather, and other inputs the pack will require—perhaps you know a farmer, tanner, or timber mill we should visit!
As with the planning and initial design stage, we’ll rely on your input. We’ll continue to update you with new write-ups, videos, and other media to keep you in the know as we finalize the design, and source inputs that will make us feel proud to wear this urban adventure gear!
Once we have a final product we’re satisfied with, we’ll take it to market. Our hope is to have a backpack our network of contributors will love, ready to launch in Summer of 2018. As it stands, we’re planning on launching the backpack through kickstarter to help fund the manufacturing and distribution, but will look for additional distribution channels as we go.
We hope you’re as excited about this process as we are. This is a somewhat unusual approach to product development, and we’re trying it because we think it will yield a more beautiful, effective and well suited product. If you like the idea of collaborating on the project, get in touch. In addition to signing up to receive updates from Engineer Your Dream, we’d love to get your feedback every step of the way as your contributions are essential for shaping the final product design. We’d like this to be a journey for everyone involved, and hope you’ll join us!
Design Engineer and Prototyper
Backpack Design Consultant
Marketing and Engagement Manager