The World’s Best Sleep Fan Is A Fan Of 3D Printing: Rapid Prototyping With SNOOZ

SNOOZ is known as the world’s best-sounding white noise machine. The device, which houses a real fan, creates white noise to encourage sleep — without either the annoyance of a looping soundtrack or unwanted cold air in cooler months. The best-selling system is seeing success in travel and home use as the sleep fan continues to gain fans around the world.

Working with Shapeways to 3D print dozens (and dozens and dozens) of designs to reach the ideal sound system, the SNOOZ team cut substantial time and costs in their production process by rapidly prototyping. The savings over traditional machining was major enough that this Las Vegas-based startup has now been working with Shapeways for more than five years — and still has more product work with us in the pipeline for the next devices.

We interviewed SNOOZ CTO and Co-Founder Eli Lazar to dig into how SNOOZ utilized Shapeways’ 3D printing technology and services to make a new product possible.

SNOOZ Co-Founders Eli Lazar (left) and Matthew Snyder. Photo source: SNOOZ

Having parts machined was always an option too, but from our experience, that is 10-25x higher cost [than 3D printing], and perhaps 10x slower, which was just not an option for us.

Eli begins by laying out the big picture :

“The Shapeways printing service has really been instrumental to the success of our product and company. Our product is a specialized fan for sleeping, and in the quiet of a bedroom you can literally hear every frequency, so any unwanted tones people will pick up right away. We used Shapeways to print probably 100+ variations of our product to perfect the acoustics and create our signature sound.

As a result, by the end of this year we will have sold nearly 100k units, and we have a 4.7 star rating on Amazon (without manipulation) with nearly 1,500 reviews. SNOOZ is also used in nearly 2,000 hotel rooms across the country as well. 

To be very direct, without having access to the Shapeways printing service our product would not have been nearly as good as it is today, or perhaps, not a success at all. Shapeways gave just two average guys with very limited finances access to world class rapid prototyping at an affordable price. That has really made the difference in our product and the reviews we have received. In fact, we found the precision from Shapeways prints to be so good that when we machined our actual plastic molds for production, we didn’t have to do any changes and were able to go to production much faster and at a lower cost. We also have two new products coming out this year, both of which have been prototyped on Shapeways, and we have started on developing a new product which will be using Shapeways again for.”

After prototyping 100+ variations, SNOOZ created a market-ready product. Photo source: SNOOZ

At the beginning, how did you come to the decision to use 3D...