The Rapidian

GR Makers help entrepreneur make idea reality

The Grand Rapids group GR Makers collaborated with entrepreneur Sergio Troiani to create the first all-aluminum iPhone case that doesn't negatively affect the phone's reception.
The Kloqe fits the iPhone 5 and 5s, and comes in white, black, grey, and champagne.

The Kloqe fits the iPhone 5 and 5s, and comes in white, black, grey, and champagne. /Mutually Human Software for The Kloqe

More info on GR Makers and The Kloqe

GR Makers website 

GR Makers on Facebook

Kloqe website

Kickstarter campaign.

Local group GR Makers has teamed up with entrepreneur Sergio Troiani to create the first ever all-aluminum iPhone case that doesn't negatively affect reception. The device is called the Kloqe, pronounced like cloak, and is now in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign.

The Kloqe, say its developers, is a case that doesn't feel like a case. Adding only 4mm to the height and width of the phone, developers say this thinner profile makes it retain the same feel of an iPhone. The Kloqe is made out of aluminum, except for a line of injection molded plastic that holds the case together. This line of plastic prevents the phone's antennas from short-circuiting and malfunctioning, so the phone continues to have reception.

GR Makers is a 3,000 square foot industrial workshop near Hall and U.S. Route 131. The workshop incorporates features of a machine shop, a workshop and a design studio. 

“GR Makers is a place to connect a lot of different people with a lot of different experience. It's one of the reasons we see a project come to fruition quickly, because we have such easy access to people who have different experiences,” says board member Samuel Bowles.

Troiani heard of the GR Makers through a friend at the Grand Rapids Inventors Network. After talking with a patent attorney, Troiani took his drawing to them. A member of the group created the first CAD drawing. Then, another member used his 3D printer to make the first prototype to test the fit and function of the case. 

“The technology of 3D printing enables us to rapidly create prototypes to find out whether or not a particular design is going to work for the phone. We can see how the parts need to be created before we send them to the physical manufacturer overseas. We can do a lot of the design work here, and that's really cool,” says Bowles.

Troiani purchased his own 3D printer and learned how to do CAD drawings and animations. After that, he made his own website.

Troiani has set a $25,000 goal for his Kickstarter campaign. The first 100 Kickstarter backers will be able to receive a Kloqe for an $89 donation, and everyone after that 100 can receive the Kloqe for $99.

The Kloqe fits both the iPhone 5 and 5s, and comes in white, black, grey, and champagne.

This is the first project that the GR Makers have worked on that has been launched on Kickstarter.

“GR Makers is founded on three pillars: expression, education and entrepreneurship. [Troiani] came to us wanting to express something; we helped him express that. Through education, he learned CAD drawings, and then he wound up with an entrepreneurial thing,” says Bowles.

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