The development process was pretty straightforward other than the difficulty finding vendors who had adequate quality control. With guidance from the work of @NickDaring above, I just put together some CAD models, did a little bit of 3D print prototyping and tweaking of dimensions to fit the available materials, and wrote up some specs. That was the easy part and took like an afternoon.
The very hard part was finding a company experienced both in CNC manufacturing and vapor polishing of acrylic and also in screen-printing on acrylic. Every factory we dealt with either had very shoddy machining with visible tooling marks,
Or kept forgetting some critical step (like the edge radius),
Or they sent me PADDs printed with direct UV printing, which looks awful and totally inaccurate (see below), despite my specifying otherwise.
There is also a ton of other tedium involved, such as writing QC inspection criteria, packaging design and sourcing, etc. So, yeah, that’s why it took me forever. \
But I’m quite happy with the result, and I think the folks at Roddenberry.com are too.
They had a sample on display in Vegas, which got picked up by TrekCore
I also came up with some multi-layered packaging to keep things compact, which was kind of fun. Sorry for the lousy photos, but
The rubber bumpons there on the bottom aren’t accurate, but they’re easily removed if you don’t want them and help protect the acrylic bottom surface, which of course scratches easily.