Skip to main content
Blog

The Dnoodle Story – Part 1

By June 27, 2024No Comments

Spilling drinks at work is an unfortunate but common occurrence. According to a study one quarter of the population have spilled a hot drink over their desk at work. Unfortunately all liquids can cause damage.

That makes this statistic much worse and this doesn’t include annoyance, embarrassment and ridicule from spilling the drink.

So what can be done! Has anything ever been done?

This problem has become so bad in Australia, certain government agencies are trying to ban drinks at the workplace desk.

This decision could however, help save the world by the reduction of mindless destruction of computers and keyboards, let alone the harm to the person from possible burns and/or electrocution.

Just from spilling a drink.

But, could you imagine no coffee, tea, water or energy drinks at your desk?

How long could you stay at work without your cuppa? Imagine the suffering!

One of the many first world problems to solve.

Most problems in this world are solved by something entirely different such as a product from Dnoodle.

Who am I to say this and what’s this got to do with me?

Well my name is Scott and I am in my early 50’s, I believe I’ve seen a lot in my life and have done a lot, some good and some, well, not so good and as my wife said, I’ve be around the traps for some time, at least several times. My formal qualifications include a Degree, majoring in Industrial Design and an Associate Diploma in Architecture.  A lot of my life has been spent in the marine/ boating/fishing arena.  I was so involved in the marine market, I also became a qualified boat builder.

This is how it all started. Things always come about from something else.

Four long years ago, I was at Keppel Island, Australia, cooling off in the crystal clear sea with my family and friends. Due to the excessively high temperatures in summer in this area, when you have a drink or beer. The drink has to be put in a cooler/ koozie if you want some chance of a cold drink.

Life is great, catching some rays, staying cool and most of all drinking beer in the sea at a beach.

{insert photo of beach}

My wife Kristy was floating on a pool noodle, drinking a beer when; a complaint was sounded. Where can I put my drink while I float around? I want it to attach to the noodle.

I realised what my wife was saying would be a pretty sweet idea. Especially as I was feeling just as lazy and tired of holding my drink as well. I could ask a friend to hold it, but I know it would just become their beer.

That was it. I wanted a floating device to hold my beer for me.

Task in hand, the next day I sat in the bubbly hot tub in the evening at home after spending the morning using a hot glue gun and bits of packaging that had not been thrown out from the just replaced TV.

There I was trying to attach my drink onto these floating bits of foam.

I soon realised I needed an attachment method. Cooler to foam bits. But how?

My brain works in mysterious ways, so the first idea was to use a piece of marine grade elastic shock cord. One end attached into a flotation device and the other to the base of my drink. See where this is going. Chances of loosing a bit of lip or removing a tooth was high.

I was not put off. I could figure this out.

So off to the local Bunnings hardware Kristy and I go, looking for inspiration and trying not to eat another hot-dog from the stall outside.

Have you tried magnets my wife said.

Good idea I exclaimed, wondering why I hadn’t thought of it first.

Up and down the isles and what seemed like half a day later. I call it the ‘Bunnings effect’. We came away with two large circular, donut shaped magnets and a roll of 3M double sided tape.

Straight back into design mode. A magnetic version was created and tested in the hot tub. Although I could make it kinda work there were some serious drawbacks.

Have you ever hit a beer bottle on another open beer bottle and seen the bottle foam and mostly empty. Something I learnt in my younger years night clubbing. Geez we were mean to each other for a laugh.

Well; this is what happens when the magnets snap together. I tried less powerful magnets and magnets with steel plates but they were not secure enough.

Another problem was that you could not release the magnets without wearing the contents of your drink as the magnet finally released and it you were lucky, the drink did not hit you in the face. I was so thankful I didn’t need a dentist when it happened to me. However, I did receive a blood blister on my finger from a pinch as the two powerful magnets snapped together.

Time went by while I researched the internet. I came back to my prototype and it had become all rusty. I thought to myself; of course it was. Some serious precautions had to be taken to prevent corrosion and there was also that problem of interference with electronics such as phones and tablets.

I was sure magnets were the way to go, but they had so many problems.

My world was about to be rocked and not in a good way. We had an excavator company that operated in Rockhampton and Yeppoon, Qld, and I was also running for a position as a Councillor in the local area. With two young children, two dogs and a beautiful wife who had just been diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer and now covid happened. My world was upside down. I had to stop campaigning due the threat of covid on my wife’s non-existent immunity caused by the chemotherapy and concentrate on keeping Kristy alive. A story she may tell another day. Oh, and by the way she beat it. Go Girl!

The next year was taken up with our business and recovery from everything that had happened.

I continued research and I ended up in the aerospace area.

It was interesting enough that I ordered a selection of these very unusual, I will call them aerospace magnets, however they were not normal magnets and they were chrome plated for protection.

I designed a holder for the magnets that had to work in pairs. Then milled up holders on a drill press with router bit by hand from nylon blocks used for propping up concrete tilt up walls for factories and other architectural buildings.

One by one I tested these aerospace magnets. There were a lot of very interesting results from the large selection I had. In fact I was just amazed at how incredible these magnets were. Ideas sprung up everywhere.

Then the voice of reason sounded. “Concentrate on the problem your trying to solve and stop dreaming of all the other uses” my wife said.

Brought back down to Earth; for now.

A new magnet had to be developed. One with more power to hold, twist release at 90 Deg’s, the ability to stop the snapping action and have a repeatable tactile feel.

The request was made. There are some very specialized and talented engineers in this world with so many technologies most people have never heard of. I knew then I would be in for quite the ride.

Many samples were created, each with different properties and sizes. None fitted my prototype holder and dealing with the finger munching drill press was no longer an option I was willing to do.

Where we live, Rockhampton Qld Australia. Things like prototyping are non-existent or so expensive, you just wouldn’t bother. A trend that would follow us throughout the want to manufacture in Australia as proud Aussies. In fact going from idea to product is a tight kept secret and a journey we would have to travel by ourselves.

But prototypes had to be made and security was also a consideration due to design registrations and patents.

Enter, the Creality Ender 3 S1 3d extruder printer that had just released and CAD program in the form of Rhino. What a learning experience. That forced my little brain cells to line up and come to attention.

Prototype after prototype were made and tested. I discovered it wasn’t just engineering but the feel of the product. Little by little the tactile feel and the engineering came together.

I had been working in an open cut coal mine, driving dump trucks, away for a week at a time. It wasn’t working out for my family so we looked back on what we had learnt over the past few years and decided that life was too short. How would we feel looking back on our life’s wondering, what if we had given it a go.

Its amazing how the threat of death makes you realise what really matters in life. To love, to learn and give everything a good hard crack. Stop relying on others, stop worrying about money and just go for it. Remove your fear and live on the edge. Its much more fun as it turns out.

It was a go for Dnoodle, full time.

The name Dnoodle comes from the combination of DRINK and NOODLE as homage to the original idea. Therefore DNOODLE.

Dnoodle is unlike anything, it is unique!

The only twist release magnetic cup holder in the world.

Dnoodle can be classified as an aid or extra hand. In fact it is a health and safety device that can save you from those embarising oops… Monents.

It attaches to a flat smooth clean surface. Whether that be a deck of a boat campervan or beside your computer on a desk with a 3M adhesive tape. The other component attaches to a cup or koozie/ cooler also by 3M adhesive tape. These adhesive tapes can be removed but are designed to be permanent.

{insert photo of two separate Dnoodle components}

So many prototypes were made that I wore out the 3d printer and the replacement printer heads. I eventually replaced it with a Bambu Lab P1S with AMS. So SWEET!

The final magnet was designed and it was time to manufacture.

The aerospace magnet is an American company that manufactures solely with a company in China for mass production. Therefore the magnet will come from China.

The rest of the product can come from Australia was our thought.

Unfortunately Australia doesn’t import the specialty plastic we would require and the other component costs were be insane plus taxes on taxes on taxes. I haven’t even added the assembly costs (or find people willing to assemble for me).  The product would cost hundreds of dollars each, let alone the cost of packaging and the failing purchasing power of the $AUD to $USD which all components worldwide are priced in.

Talk about not remotely viable and the lust of most Australians for their cheap costing product addiction. Sad to say, but Australia can no longer compete on the world stage. Thanks a lot government and giant corporations. Hope it was worth it. Sure hasn’t helped me or many patriotic Australians.

So China is where we will have to go, where almost all of the worlds products are made. Afterall the only place we can get the aerospace magnet from is China and every time you move a component or product back to your home country, there’s always some one with their hand out saying pay up.

So when you have never been to China and the west has driven a level of fear and distrust since you were a kid and remain sprooking their views at every opportunity, it takes a great leap of  faith that everything will be all right and through hard work and research you will find the right people to help.

I had travelled over seas by myself when I was younger and so had Kristy. So we both knew what is said and what is real are very different things generally speaking.

First place of manufacture was a American/Chinese company and this is where the product design would change look drastically as injection mould costs vary so drastically depending on the number of parts and finishes. The language barrier would prove too difficult for the complex engineering conversations and quality controls. Its not that they couldn’t do a great job but trying to get what you wanted was becoming too difficult and we weren’t experienced enough to make it happen.

Lesson: If its getting too hard your going in the wrong direction.

We parted ways on good terms and gained knowledge that could not be taught. Learning from here would be in exponential terms. Little did we know we would meet again in the future.

We took on another company from England based in China. They even had a rep here in Australia.

They were fantastic but better with smaller production runs. We also were in contact with another company offered as assistance by the American magnetics company. This company was also in China. Once again fantastic. Times were exciting, our wings were spreading but nothing was happening.

The quotes came back for moulds and production runs from the English company and; they were not viable. Oh crap may have come from my mouth or something similar, but there was always another solution.

Lesson: Believe in your journey and the path will present itself. Just keep on smiling and be patient.

Something was niggling at me. I wasn’t happy with the look of the product, so while having my morning coffee, I sat with nature amongst all the flowers contemplating a solution to my worries. Just as I took my last sip of coffee and about to make another. I stood up and raced in to Kristy who was heading out for the day and exclaimed, its going to be a flower. I’ll draw it and show you the photo render when you get home. The look on Kristy’s face was one of amusement, and puzzled. But I set  about the task and when she got home and I showed her a render she was shocked at the transformation. I even got a WOW! In a good way.

After smiling and being patient we were introduced to a Dutch company in China soon after. This is where we would manufacture. It took a long time to finalise the design and source everything required. This is when they realised our contacts we had independently made in China were all known to each other. It felt like a club for western products made in China.

The base of the Dnoodle is what I call sun downer red to remind me I should be on the back of a boat drinking my favourite drink as the sun goes down. It is also red in colour to assist location with your Pref ferial vision so as not to need to turn your head to place your drink down so you can concentrate on the task at hand. No problem if you are a bit off track because the cage will guide you into place.

The red colour helps protect your dainty little toes when attached to the deck of a boat. I’m sure the boaters out there know how important that is too. Who else has stubbed their foot on a deck fitting, normally just as your heading out.

There is also a tactile feel back for a secure attachment, and for those of you who like to fidget, it’s very satisfying.

Dnoodle’s unique design allows for it to be self draining {no ponding after rain} and reduce to eliminate pinching.

The construction can survive harsh marine environments by being made of ASA.PC with UV inhibiters, 316 stainless steel, 3M brand double sided tapes all packaged in an aluminium reusable screw top lid. Great for storing small odds and ends.

The patented pending aerospace magnets are like no other magnet. Their poles are both on one side of the magnet allowing for a very short magnetic field making them safe to attach to electronics such as phones and tablets. Due to these short magnetic fields these magnets have incredible strength while also giving safety against finger pinches.

Dnoodle is a two part system with the specialized magnets in each part providing the incredible bond while allowing them to release with an easy twist of 90 deg.

Anyway School holidays were here again. We were off to Vietnam with the kids to source merchandise as we had heard that Vietnam was the place for textiles eg. shirts , hats and so on.

While we were in Vietnam we had a invite to the official opening of their new manufacturing plant from our manufacturer in China. Thinking it was an opportunity we should not miss.

Home we went trying to push through China visas on a Chinese holiday for in two weeks time whilst still in Vietnam and pick them up 700 km away from home in Brisbane the day before we fly out to China.  Have I told you how amazing my wife is, truly incredible. The Kids were back at school so we flew up a grandmother from NSW state, rented a car for her as we live way out of town in central Qld. See you later, bye, and Kristy and I were in China as quick as that.

Lesson: Open your mind and enjoy the ride.

China, China, China. Wow! Your not going to believe it , but wow! Talk about getting a slap to the back of the head and a graze on your chin from walking around with your head up and your mouth open so wide. If you are a Westerner and go there you know what I mean. It was a bit like Wakanda in the Marvel movie, Black Panther.

The trip was well worth it and we met up face to face with our contacts as everyone was there and had the best time. We also met so many other contacts and people willing to help. Some great friendships were formed.  Since then we have gone back to China with the kids and they were crying when we were leaving for Australia. Not kidding. Can’t wait to go back.

All this to connect a can cooler to a flotation device you say. Well Dnoodle has become an entity to itself, fitting into the marine market on boats as well as health and safety device to secure onto your desk to prevent spills. I’m sure this device can do more.

So please buy some Dnoodles so more of those ideas can be created to solve the many first world problems and my wife and I can get our floating device to hold our beer for us, and for you too!

PS. Many more products are ready to go right here on my computer.

So please support us now! BUY BUY and many thanks.  

Leave a Reply