CHECKERSPOT'S NEW POLLINATOR™ KIT ENABLES DESIGNERS TO MAKE HIGH BIO CONTENT PROTOTYPES EASILY, IMPROVES CASTING AND MIXING EXPERIENCE
Have you ever written to a company about using their innovative, biobased material only to get an opaque response about when it will be available? Designers familiar with the guilt of petroleum-based prototyping materials now have access to a more renewable option for 2-part polyurethane casting.
Born from the conviction that designers, artists, hobbyists, and product developers will be the change-agents for widespread adoption of renewable materials, the Pollinator Kit is designed to provide makers and designers with access to Checkerspot's biobased Cast Polyurethane System. Previously only available to manufacturers, this sampling kit opens the door for creatives of all experience levels to use this algae-based material in prototyping-scale quantities.
This kit is a departure from the traditional bare-bones casting kit, designed to be a considered user experience while lowering the carbon footprint of packaging, transportation, and petroleum use. The designers took every opportunity to reduce weight, waste, and petroleum input (see project details for more) in both packaging and use of the product.
Some highlights include lightweight and user-friendly packaging for the material (compared to plastic bottles, the pouches containing the A and B-side system use about 5X less plastic, minimizing transportation emissions as they ship flat before filling and are lighter), a commitment to low-carbon impact with as much recycled or renewable materials as possible, a reusable mixing cup, and three different algae inputs: Checkerspot's own algae-based polyurethane, black ink printed by Ecoenclose with LivingInk's algae ink, and polyol pigmented with blue Spirulina.
The Pollinator Kit Pouring Checkerspot's Algal Polyol 001in Natural (not pigmented) into the reusable silicone mixing cup.Mark Fore Photography
Made With The Pollinator Kit: Skateboard WheelsSkateboard wheels cast by the design team using the Pollinator Kit with the spirulina pigmented material and the natural material.Mark Fore Photography
The Pollinator KitThe entire pollinator kit and its components, printed with Living Ink by EcoEnclose.Mark Fore Photography
The Pollinator KitStirring Checkerspot's Algal Polyol 001pigmented with blue spirulina.Checkerspot's Algal Polyol 001
The Pollinator KitCasting the Pollinator™ Series Cast Polyurethane System pigmented with blue spirulina (it turns celadon green when mixed!) into climbing hold molds. Climbing holds are frequently made with polyurethane materials.Mark Fore Photography
The Pollinator KitThe Pollinator Kit using the mailer as secondary containment.Mark Serr Photography
The Pollinator KitThe full Pollinator Kit in packaging.Mark Fore Photography
Shift KnobReplacement shift knob cast but Fun Stuff Design for their 1987 Toyota 4-Runner.Fun Stuff Design
Made With The Pollinator Kit: Surf FinsSurf fins cast by surfer Jeff Lenore, founder of Waves Not Plastic.Mitch Heinrich
Made With The Pollinator Kit: Knife HandlesKnife Handles cast by Mitch Heinrich of What For Design.Mark Fore Photography
The Pollinator KitSome objects made with the Pollinator Kit with spirulina pigment- phone case, bottle opener, bart tile, Clarence the dinosaur, earrings, skateboard wheels, surf fin, climbing holds.Mark Fore Photography
The Pollinator KitCasting with the Pollinator KitMark Fore Photography
Traditional sample casting kits are typically sent bubble-wrapped in a box inside another box, in wide-mouth HDPE bottles. Pre-mixing the material in the bottles is typically a messy process, even with the right equipment, especially when the bottles are full. Weighing the material requires a meditative mind to be precise.
Using Checkerspot's material becomes easier with soft standup pouches (squeeze and/or shake to mix!) with a clear view to see how well the material has homogenized, and a narrow pour spout (no goopy drips after pouring), which allows for more accurate weight and volume measurements. The illustrated instruction manual makes it all super clear, and the product box is also the mailer, cutting back on mailing filler and additional packaging. Did we mention that the stir stick (also a sample of the material) has a radius that perfectly matches the interior radius of the reusable silicone mixing cup? All of these components help you not waste a drop. Oh, and the box also functions as secondary containment. We think it's a significant departure from the standard casting experience.
The entire kit is thoughtful, and all in service of highlighting the narrative of Checkerspot's mission to collaborate with makers and other biomaterials companies to get more biomaterials into everyone's hands. The Pollinator Kit is built on the be belief that innovation can be catalyzed by accessibility.
The Pollinator™ Series Cast Polyurethane System is formulated with Checkerspot's Algal Polyol 001, both USDA Certified Biobased Products. Each item made solely from the resin system will be =?56% biobased (ASTM D6866). That means that a 40 gram (˜34.5 cm3) product casted using the Pollinator Kit uses 22.8 grams (˜19.7 cm3) less petroleum-based ingredients - removing the equivalent of roughly 4 thick plastic shopping bags or 8 plastic spoons.
This specially formulated casting material supports product applications and rapid prototyping requiring fine detail and high quality surface finish. The biobased resin can be used with the same tooling, molding materials, and processes used for fossil fuel-based cast polyurethane formulations. This can be seen currently seen in application on WNDR Alpine's backcountry skis and snowboards.
The Pollinator™ Kit is made for designers, by designers, to make working with renewable materials easy, accessible, and delightful. To learn more about the Pollinator™ Kit and Checkerspot's castable algae polyurethane resin, including how the material is made and the end of life story, please visit www.pollinatorkit.com. #LetSleepingDinosLie