Now that the campaign has ended, I have been able to put more focus on the manufacturing process. Here is where things stand right now in each area.
The biggest challenge has been getting the enclosure design ready for injection molding: the initial prototype model had features that would have made the parts difficult to remove from the mold, or would have caused them to deform or develop weak spots upon cooling. Fixing these issues was a more involved process than I expected, which caused the schedule to slip. To help make up some time, I brought on a friend of mine – Jason Onoda, an experienced mechanical engineer – to work through the process faster. The model was approved a few days ago and ICOMold has started to manufacture the mold and they expect to ship a set of five samples to me by November 3rd. If I approve the samples, I could receive a batch of 500 within a week. Unfortunately this means that we can expect a delay of about two weeks for fulfillment.
I already have all of the cables needed to satisfy everyone’s orders. I have also taken a random sample of cables of each kind and tested them for issues.
I’ve ordered a batch of 250 printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) from MacroFab, which I will program and test before the production batch of enclosures arrive. I made the same order of PCBAs as the pre-production batch except that I added an extra bypass capacitor recommended by the microcontroller’s hardware design guideline document and added a product name and revision to the silkscreen.
The buttons are going to be resin printed. I will first print a batch of ten after the injection mold samples come in to test their fit, make adjustments if necessary, then print a batch of 250 to satisfy all orders. The buttons are small enough that all 250 of them can be printed in a single tray and they are easy to cleanup coming out of the printer. Here is a photo of a recent print designed for the enclosure model being molded.