The Gripster started out as an idea something like a campus board panel with an eye bolt at the top. I connected it into the cable pulley machine at the gym, it was fun for messing around with but I soon discovered that balance was a major issue.

The Gripsters history

I decided to scale it down and started playing with molding some polyurethane resins. I started with a blocky kind of shape with 1 ledge on it. The one worked well but it seemed like a waste of material without more features on it.

The next step was to actually shape something out of foam and make a mold out of it. This one was starting to look pretty decent but after some beta testing I saw there was room for improvement on the shape. Back then I was going to call the company campus master and had bought a URL and everything. This shape had the URL embedded on it. Not in a very good way though.

A little googling of the term “campus master” quickly revealed that using this name was not going to be good for SEO. Apparently universities have some position called campus master because the search result had around 1 million hits. So I started thinking about other names and came up with The Gripster, the URL was available too! I was a little surprised to see that some other company had products called the gripster as well but no one have purchased the URL so they didn't really have good SEO.

Now that the name had changed I had to make a new mold with the new URL embedded on it. This time I decided to make it perfectly symmetrical and get the URL and logo looking really good.

The Gripster CNC shapes

So I went over to TechShop and did a few classes, I learned how to use the 3D scanner, the CNC router and the laser printer. I used to work in the games industry as a 3D artist on a playstation 3 game when I lived back in sydney so I already had a good handle on 3D modeling. I took the 3D scan and started tweaking it. The great thing about this was that I was able to scan a shape that I had held in my hands and work on it in maya. Firstly I deleted one side and duplicated and mirrors the other side to make it symmetrical.

Then I started cutting shapes on the CNC router. I used cheap foam to get the cut, played around with the feel of it the hand and made changes again. After a few rounds I got the shape I wanted nailed down, then cut it out the same type of foam that climbing hold fabricators use.

I did the logo and URL on the laser cutter and embedded those into the foam and then I was ready to make the mold.