Seus Corp's Success Story - MakerBot Case Study
Posted on July 11 2017
From App Developer to Toy Manufacturer
About Seus Corp
Seus Corp, based in Las Vegas, makes accessories for fans of the video game Minecraft. Its first success in this area was a smartphone app called “Skins Creator Pro Editor”, which allows players to customize the appearance of their characters in the game.
Designer Raul Rodriguez approached the president of Seus Corp, Jesus Diaz, with the idea of selling EnderToys, custom figurines based on the skins of Minecraft fans made through the app. Diaz liked the idea of a complementary physical product and knew he could build a digital store in a couple of weeks.
Seus Corp needed to develop and manufacture the EnderToys. “At first I thought it was just plastic with sticker paper on it, but it’s a lot more difficult than it seems,” Diaz says. Both men believed there was a market for EnderToys, but neither knew how to validate the hunch.
Rodriguez had some experience making silicone molds, but casting EnderToys what way would require too much labor and manufacturing space.
Seus Corp also looked into injection molding. Estimated startup costs approached $30,000 and required a minimum order of 10,000 units. “My biggest fear was that it wasn’t going to work, and we were going to get stuck with all this useless material,” says Diaz.
Diaz had heard about desktop 3D printing. “We could begin prototyping and not be far off the road to starting up business.” And if EnderToys didn’t work out, “we’d have a printer and plastic, and we could print out whatever cool stuff we wanted. Or we could resell it on eBay.” Making EnderToys using a 3D printer, Diaz says, “felt like a safe bet.”
After Seus Corp looked into the available 3D printers, “the cost, the speed, and the ease of use made us decide on MakerBot,” Diaz says. The company ordered a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer. “It probably took us two weeks to get a consistent print,” says Diaz. “Now we have a more than 99% success rate.”
Seus Corp devoted four months to research and development before launching EnderToys. A few months later, EnderToys started to take off and the company needed to hire more employees and buy more 3D printers. Now it has 11 employees and 20 MakerBot Replicators, and can produce 3,000 to 5,000 EnderToys a week.
“The printers run almost 24 hours a day. Some of the them have logged more than 4,000 hours.” And customer satisfaction is high. “The kids are astounded at just how good quality the toy is. They thought it was going to be good, but we’ve exceeded their expectations.”
3D printing allowed Seus Corp to avoid costly mistakes. Shortly before launch, Diaz noted that the arms on the EnderToys didn’t move right, so he and Rodriguez spent a week and half redesigning the joints. Had they decided to use injection molding, the tooling would already have been finished, and “that would have been our first failure right there.”