Estimated shipment date: February 2015
Leak-proof, collapsible and eco-friendly. For any coffee drinker who carries just a briefcase, handbag or less when they’re on the go!
Smash Cup is an ultra-portable, sealed travel cup you keep with you – great for hot drinks (like coffee and tea) and cold ones. When you’re not drinking, it collapses into a compact, liquid-tight disk, saving you space in your backpack, handbag, briefcase or jacket pocket. Since it’s reusable, it eliminates the waste of disposable coffee cups – At work, coffee drinkers throw away about 500 cups EVERY YEAR. And you’ll be able to take part in bring-your-own-mug discounts at coffee shops. It’s a no-brainer to choose a green product when it makes your life easier and saves you money.
A few years ago, I took a trip off the corporate track and started designing products. Through a lot of sweat and work with mentors, I learned 3D CAD modeling, protoyping, manufacturing sourcing, IP drafting, and much more — all the ins and outs of building a great product. I have an extremely supportive network of friends and family who always bring up new problems to solve. I was actually at a coffee shop with a couple of them when one of these discussions started up. We began talking about the paper cups we were holding. We go through tons of these cups, and don’t like the negative impact we’re having on the planet. However, big travel mugs with handles are so cumbersome in a city setting. We started to think about what a reusable cup would look like if it were made for someone like us – a person who lives and works on the go … with no car for storing a travel mug … who carries everything they need for the day on their shoulder. Our discussion at the coffee shop became one of those very quick, excited, collaborative brainstorming sessions. A cup that changes shape to become very small and is completely sealable would totally help us make the ‘right’ decision to ditch disposable cups. As an added plus, it would allow us to take advantage of coffee shops’ bring-your-own-mug discounts. A few days later, one of the guys sent me a simple 2D drawing of Smash Cup. My juices started flowing. I looked around for other products like it and found none. I started modeling early concepts. Those friends who helped come up with the idea felt it was worth putting some money in (we’re now financial partners on the project) and we were off and running!
We started off with a few requirements. The cup needed to:
- Collapse and expand in one easy motion
- Seal any liquid inside
- Be comfortable to hold in your hand without a handle
- Be easy to clean
- Use high quality food grade materials and require no adhesives or other chemicals during assembly
We vetted multiple design concepts before prototyping.
Then, we developed detailed specifications for the most promising concepts and ordered our first prototypes. From these first prototypes, we learned that the steep slope of the cup’s “V” shape (compared to other collapsing silicone products), made it pretty difficult for people to smash in a repeatable, user-friendly way. We needed to redesign our folding pattern.
We were introduced to Dean, a mechanical engineer at Tomorrow Lab, who had experience designing a bunch of collapsing silicone products. He recommended a new fold design. After lots of mockups, we were comfortable prototyping again.
Success! We vetted manufacturers, finally landing on RSP, a family-owned business based in Wisconsin with production facilities overseas. With a small investment, we developed compression and injection molding tools for mass production. The samples from the tools worked even better than the prototypes. We tweaked the tools a couple more times to improve sealing. The samples you see in the photos and video are from these modified tools.
What are the product specs?
Your Smash Cup holds 12 fluid ounces. It weights 4.5 ounces without a beverage inside. Smash Cup is 5″ tall when expanded and 1.75″ tall when collapsed into a disk. The diameter of the base is 2.1 inches, and the diameter of the collar and lid is 3.5 inches, which approximates the gripping size of your hand.
How much force does it take to collapse a Smash Cup?
The following is a sticky analogy, but it takes about as much strength as it does to crush an egg on a table (if the egg is standing tall/vertically).
Can I put my Smash Cup in a backpack, purse or other bag while it’s filled with coffee or tea?
We would not advise anyone to put a Smash Cup in their bag while it’s filled with coffee or tea. While the liquid in all likelihood would be secure, there is a chance something inadvertent could occur, and we wouldn’t want your Smash Cup to be to blame for a drenched bag. For example, if the stopper were to get snagged on a backpack zipper, it could dislodge, and liquid would spill out of the spout. The ideal use of Smash Cup’s leak-proof feature is in its collapsed configuration. When your Smash Cup is mostly clear of liquid (some moisture and drops are fine), you’d collapse it down into a disk and throw it in your bag.
How long does Smash Cup keep drinks hot?
Heat transfer through the silicone cup is similar to the heat transfer you feel through a disposable paper coffee cup (without a sleeve). We purposefully designed the plastic collar and lid so you can hold Smash Cup comfortably, with no heat transfer to your hand, when your coffee or tea is at its hottest.
Are the materials BPA and phthalate free?
Of course! We use safe, certified food grade BPA and phthalate free materials.