From hobby to business: T-Up Golf

Creating a product can be hard, especially if you have no prior knowledge of product design. Gerd - an architect by profession - used Shapr3D to create a patented tee up machine for a fully automatized golfing experience.

Gerd is the creator of T-up MK1, a machine serving golfballs on every practice surface of the driving range in a predefined sequence by choosing the number of balls and the time interval between them. This gives the opportunity for rhythm-based training and learning, which is a great addition to existing ways of practice. The idea came to Gerd during his practice on a fully automated driving range. Soon after this, he started to work out the idea.

t-up golf 3d model

Gerd and his idea

Gerd is a 45-year-old architect running his own company, primary working on living spaces. He has been using ArchiCAD by Graphisoft for over 20 years throughout his career.

As I have been using ArchiCAD for over 20 years, I have become familiar with its capabilities. This makes it hard to break out from the well-practiced routine and learn new systems for industrial design. Also, this type of design was not highly demanded until this project came up. ArchiCAD lets me do all my work, the early models for printing were created with Sketchup but loved the simplicity of Shapr3D when I ran into it. The way developers have been improving this app from the first days on is quite impressive.

He started the project absolutely alone. Eventually, he started involving professional golfers to get user feedback and got some people tied to the industry on board.

t-up marketing

Creating the product

It took him 2 years to get his first idea to the mass-production-ready standard. First, he started with market research to see how other companies solve this issue. He found that inventing a device specific to his idea makes the most sense.

It took me about two years from the day I decided to develop such a device to the point of the mass-production standard. After the initial thoughts about how it could be realized, I did research on other solutions and their history. I was able to find other concepts but they either had to use a specific rubber tee or the ball was placed rolling. I wanted my rhythm training to work the same, no matter the surface. So I had to invent a placing system that would suit my needs. The technical system - which I finally came across after a few months of research - is simple and reliable so I decided to patent it. The rest was standard work process, such as electronics, housing design and so on.
designing 3d model in shapr3d


After completing the first sketches on paper, I switch to Shapr3D and finish everything in the app. Then I export the STP file to our suppliers, who are doing the laser cuts, bending and welding.  That's all!

His typical workflow started with a pen and paper sketching which then evolved into building a proof of concept with a knife, glue and forex plates. For the prototyping process he needed a 3D CAD where he can quickly adjust the model, and a 3D printer, so he can have a great visual understanding of how the product will look like. 

3d printed protorype t-up golf

After this, he set out to create the final, mass production ready prototype.  The only thing left was to send out the STEP file to the manufacturer.

t-up prototype with electronics

On his design philosophy

My way (of designing) is wild sketching and building volumes. When I reach my goal, I start cleaning the unnecessary sketches and volumes that came up during that process. This does not match my normal workflow on the desktop system but somehow I found this more usable on the iPad Pro. It gives me a feeling of being really creative wherever I want to and leave usual structures behind me.

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