Curious on how we started. Want to laught at us?
Then you are at the right place! 😂
Afraid Of Failures
Yeah. This is so true. Many people are. I was so afraid I would fail that I never shared a project I was working on. But I wanted to change. I read a book and took “Nobody gives a shit” attitude. And starter to share my work on Twitter. And it was amazing! That was a big bang for me.
First Free-Form Art
I’ve started to follow Mohit Bhoit – a genius artist that is creating electronic sculptures by soldering brass wire into so-called free-form sculptures. I immediately fall in love with these.
So I started to build my free-form sculptures. It’s a perfect combination of all my passions – software engineering, electronics, and 3D design. The first one I built was an Arduino based snowflake.
My Wife Is The Reason
It was the middle of frozen January and I wanted to make something. I wanted to throw myself into a new challenging project. But what? All my previous sculptures were static, no movement at all. Then out of nowehere I imagined a flower whose petals would open. I don’t even know what was the inspiration. Probably a call for spring.
Those were my thoughts at the beginning of this famous project that was eventually named Everblooming Tulip. I took it secret and I was so lucky to finish it a few days before Valentine’s Day. I gave it to my wife and shared it on Twitter.
It instantly went viral. The internet magazines and even local televisions were celebrating me as a husband of a year. That was something I’ve never anticipated. Everybody started to bombard me with requests to built one for them.
3D printers always fascinated me. It’s an impressive technology that helps with fast prototyping. And I went for the best one – Prusa MK3S. Because I love his story and passion. And I want to support local brands!
Prusa printer helped me a lot to create even more complicated sculptures. I’ve used it primarily to print custom jigs, tools, and stencils for my free-form sculptures.
CNC Milling Machine
I dream of an automated CNC machine! Well, I need one. So I built one. The Floower pedestals have a quite complicated inner shape for all the components to be placed correctly. I am not able to make these manually. I built a DYI CNC milling machine for $500 to help me with this task. Most of the parts are 3D printed from PETG.
It’s really awesome! I had to adapt it for my needs and I did some upgrades. But overall the design is awesome. Such a little machine is really powerful and opens up the doors to even more amazing creations.
I’ve done a lot of fascinating projects during 2019 but I couldn’t stop thinking about the Everblooming Tulip. I knew that the original design was too complicated – it originally took me 4 weeks to build. Nobody would want to pay for it.
So I innovated the design during 2019. I’ve used my newly obtained experience with 3D printing and with a milling CNC machine to come up with the new design that would be far easier to build but still results in an enchanting piece of art.
As a proof of concept, I’ve decided to build 10 of these flowers and prepare and everblooming flower garden as a surprise for my wife on Valentine’s Day. You know. To improve my game.
I’ve also shot a video while building those. Take a look.
We are scared. But we need first real customers who will purchase the Floower for the real money. We need to test the whole process. We need the first feedback. We need to see if we have a business. So we are making the first 10 prototypes and selling them for $75 each.
The boxes are quite improvised so far. Layers of hand-cut floor insulation to perfectly fit the Floower and packed into brown boxes. Test of Floower endurance. Shipping conditions are rough.
Working in a Garage
So far I was creating one-time projects. They were hacked together, unfinished, and run by a crapy code. That is a terrible recipe for a production-grade product. A lot of have to change. So we are working on precise templates to make perfect shapes, selecting the correct materials and techniques, improving and testing the code. And of course, learning from the first feedback. Every Floower moves us a bit toward a production-grade manufacturing process.
Single petal takes 45 minutes to print. It’s extremely time-consuming and needs a lot of attention. We are currently printing 6 petals at once. That is 4.5 hours. I cannot squeeze more unless I compromise on the quality. We purchase the second printe but it still requires lot of attention.
Luckily I was able to come up with the solution. Print head can swipe the petals out of the print bed and start printing again immediatelly without any attention. This way we can print approximately 60 petals a day. Of course sometimes it broke down, or fail to swipe properly or print fails. But overall this is a huge improvement! An automated printing farm!
Feedback from first 10 customer was really positive and helpful. The second 20 customers are coming. We made some small changes and improvements. The product feels right but we still need to test the market. Will the people buy it for $110?
It’s still hard to make one Floower. We are facing a lot of different issues with material, electronics, and software. But we are getting close! And there seems to be less and less obstacles.
BTW the Floowers were gone in 53 minutes after we opened the store.
Let’s make a difference. Floower is an art piece of technology. Technology with soul. Being able to customize it fully and adapt it to your everyday needs is crucial for us. Everyone wants to have an original piece of art!
The mobile app will be built exactly for that. It’s going to be a remote control that opens customization options for the Floower. We will start with color scheme customization and remote control. Later there can be possibilities to wake up at an exact time, change color according to temperature, and many more.
Targeting for the first release by the end of 2020! This will make the Floower unique and worth its price!
Boxes. Exhausting chapter. Floower is a premium product. Designed and built for people who love well-crafter and detail-oriented stuff – as Apple does. Unboxing of Floower has to be a pleasure on its own. So we wanted to have an Apple-grade box.
It took us almost three months and 1/3 of our entire budget to make 100 perfect boxes for our Floowers. And boy they are amazing! I can’t wait for customers to see them.
Happy Halloween 🎃
This was super fun. Adapting Floower design to create a carnivorous flower with Jack’o’Latern instead of flowerpot. Petals are from Prusa’s Galaxy Black PLA with a teeth on sides and it’s pretty scary. I put a proximity sensor inside the blossom to detect movements when the blossom is open. So as soon as you try to touch the Floower it will eat you.
Mobile Apps Released
Mobile Apps are finally publicly available on both App Store and Google Play. This was a huge relief. It took us several months to finalize them. The biggest hurdle was the Apple hardware we had to purchase in order to release for App Store.
Otherwise, technology is pretty neat. The mobile app is built on the Google Flutter framework which has a great community and a lot of libraries. The portability is incredible. No changes had to be made when building for the App Store.
The mobile app is extremely important for us. It makes the Floower rare geek art. Smart Art. We aim to create a unique ecosystem where your Floower gets the latest updates and can be fully personalized. We’re planning on adding more animation, seasonal features, and different preset behaviors.
Merry Christmas 🎄
It’s 2 AM on 24th December. And I finally came in peace with the new candlelight mod. I spent the whole day fine tuning the new animation modes for Floowers and introducing the new candlelight mode. And it’s truly amazing. It is so peaceful to just sit here in the dark living room watching the flame inside the Floower. It’s a perfect Christmas gift for any Floower owner.
With the mobile apps released and the firmware upgrade process in place, it’s incredible how easy it is to roll out new features. Can’t wait to introduce more animations, seasonal modes, and other fun stuff!
Merry Christmas, and Enjoy the Festive Season!
Farewell 2020, Fade in Peace
Thank you for 2020! It wasn’t the best year ever for mankind. However, it was a big year for 3 guys in the Czech Republic.
We’re building our dream company. We evolved the once hacked everblooming flower into what is now known as Floower. And we’re thrilled to have a lot of happy customers. We were able to make only 130 Floowers, and they quickly went out to all the different places in the world. And that is fine. We want to focus on quality and innovation rather than quantity and commonness.
The first-ever limited edition of Floower, our Valentýnská Edice, sold out. We offered you just 10 pieces of a Floower made using a walnut tree branch from our very own garden. We’re really thrilled you liked this special edition forcing us to think about what we offer you next.