3D Printing Project

At 15 I wanted to challenge myself and approach a new industry I was not nearly familiar enough with. So diving straight in I decided to design a whistle. From the initial research phase of understanding the basics of how a whistle functions to designing it and going through test print after a test print. I completed the design and since then the whistle has reached over 250,000 views and 50,000+ downloads and I have been approached to sell the design for retail use. 

Below is a detailed description of how that process went. From the design to getting it out there to get the most organic reach to how people modified it or printed it for themselves.

Echo Whistle

Design Process

Starting with the design of the whistle I needed to understand how a whistle functions by slicing the air and define a deadline for the project so it doesn't end up in a limbo state. So mentally I set the deadline a week from the starting date and dove straight into the sleepless nights focused on research and development.  Reading various Wikipedia articles from Whistles, Physics of a Whistle, Physics of a whistle and too many websites doing decibel tests of various styles. I landed on using the principle design of an edge tone whistle and making it 3 tones to amplify the sound based on air pressure. Everything from the design played into effect, from the way the ramps reach the edge of the length of the tubes. 

From the structure of the model, the sides were flat to allow for it to stick to the bed of a printer and the keychain loop was angled so it would progressively build layers to help structure the layering when the plastic was malleable. 


I wanted this model to have a high organic reach, so posting it at a time where the website had a high peak in traffic was key. Not having access to analytical data I took a day to periodically observe the number of submissions per hour and found the best time to post on the website would be from 3 PM to 5 PM EST. So defining that I waited til a high peak day and posted it on a Friday. When the post went live I wanted to game the algorithm so I timed it with a social post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit to get a high stream of redirects and impressions.

Later that day the whistle ended up on the top of the /r/3DPrinting subreddit and the top of the Thingiverse site. Due to this marketing approach, it is now one of the top models on the entire website. 

Final Thoughts

After all said was done my whistle was out there and I had a steady flow of 500 - 1600 impressions per day on the download page. The public reception varied from people excited to print this to people not having the right configuration for the model.

One of the most interesting moments of the project was the number of people contacting me to sell this on stores for outdoor whistles. Maybe it was ill-advised but I preferred to keep this project free for the market and non-commercial so I left it as a free to download model. Out of every part of this project, the things I learned the one thing that stuck with me was how even if an industry is over-saturated if you can produce a product that is easier to produce and significant even in the slightest you can reach further than the current products holding that market shut. 

Decibel Test

Testing the decibel levels of the whistle.

Public Reception

182,058+ Views   |   63,408 Downloads   |   8,187 Likes

Over 60,000 Printed echos