SwitchFix Creator Interview
Austin Stark is the creator of the up and coming Switch Accessory the SwitchFix. It’s a device that mounts your Switch to the Pro controller. I personally think it’s an accessory that is not just a gimmick but the most comfortable way to play on the Switch in a portable fashion.
Here’s the interview:
Jack Bankhead: Where, when, and why did the idea for the SwitchFix really stick out to you, enough for making a unique product?
Austin Stark: I had trouble playing with the Joy-Cons, and loved the Pro Controller in docked mode. I was disappointed that there was not a good way to use my favorite controller in handheld mode. I looked on the internet extensively to no avail, and decided to make my own.
JB: Who do you think is the “audience” for the SwitchFix?
AS: Anyone who enjoys playing the Switch in handheld mode and prefers the Pro Controller.
JB: What was your first “aha!” moment and what was your latest, regarding development?
AS: It took many iterations of drawings, CAD models, and 3D printed prototypes. Originally, I planned to clamp the device around the Switch, and had a major breakthrough when I realized that using the rails was possible, and that only a small portion of the rail needed to engage with the device. The ergonomics was another big focus, and it took quite some time to engineer the right way to allow the user to balance the center of mass over the controller. Finding the right friction hinges was huge. I recently figured out a better way to 3D print multiple colors for customized versions which has been really helpful.
JB: Are you concerned by the reports of a “Switch Mini” or “Switch Pro”?
AS: I’m interested to see what they’ll be. There are a LOT of Switches currently out on the market so I’m confident in our user base. I’m excited to see if any new product possibilities might come along with the new releases.
JB: If you would tell us about your current 3D printed model?
AS: The 3D printed model is comprised of 3 separate components attached by friction hinges. I think it currently provides a great playing experience, but I am excited to make improvements for the injection molded model. 3D printing requires some balance between strength/durability and aesthetics, plastic molded allows better optimization of both.
JB: Right now your current model is 3D printed, could you give us some details or concerns when it comes to putting the product into a plastic mold?
AS: I am working with an engineering firm that I know well and trust to transition the models for new manufacturing. My expertise is mostly in metal manufacturing, so I will be relying on them to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible. There are definitely a lot of details and tricks in injection molded design that I am very happy to get their help on.
JB: Are you wanting to make some changes, minor or structural for the plastic mold model?
JB: If so, would you mind sharing some?
AS: We plan to incorporate an opening for the USB C port so that the Pro Controller can be charged during use. The different material will also, as mentioned above, be more durable and will be smoother to avoid any scratches on the controller.
JB: Do you personally use the SwitchFix?
AS: Yes. I wish I could use it a lot more, but the design and marketing is taking up all my time!
JB: I’ve noticed the SwitchFix remedies major Switch problems seen in handheld, main one being the ergonomics, but the viewing angles are much more comfortable with the SwitchFix. Is this intentional?
JB: Could you tell our readers about the crowdfunding campaign so the SwitchFix can become available to anyone?
AS: We will be launching soon on Indiegogo. We know how hard it is to wait for crowdfunded products, so in addition to the injection molded production model, we will also have an option to purchase a 3D printed model that will ship quickly after the campaign ends. Hopefully the production model will be ready fairly quickly as well, since we are already starting the process of getting it ready for injection molding. Interested readers can follow the Indiegogo link at getswitchfix.com and enter their email for updates and secret codes for early bird pricing!
JB: Your final thoughts?
AS: We are super excited to get SwitchFix out on the market. My ultimate goal is to design products that people love to use, and am looking forward to continuing to do so.
If you’re interested in the SwitchFix, check out his website at getswitchfix.com and subscribe to Austin’s email campaign!