Circuit Classics

Exquisite printed circuit boards that bring to life Forrest Mims' vintage designs from "Getting Started in Electronics."

Sep 09, 2016

Project update 16 of 20

Orders Are In

Well it’s been a big two weeks since my last backers update.

Bay Area Circuits, having gone about a million extra miles so far on this project, spun one more rev of boards since my last email. These are the "golden masters" (the pieces that form the template which the mass produced boards will be created from) and they are exactly as I want them.

I received these yesterday evening, and soldered together one of each project as verification. Today, I placed the volume order for boards. Those big gears have started turning in the board house and there are no more changes to make and no turning back now!

Here’s a note about the emotional realities of this stage. For me, shipping is a heady feeling. Faithfully documenting every part of this process — for me getting to the "done with design" stage has always been somewhat emotional. It’s the day when your project, the one you spent so much time with, is graduating, moving on. The project doesn’t need you to spend so much time with it any more. You get to make no more tweaks, no more changes, no more grooming, there is no way to spend any more time honing the details. Furthermore, you give up your work to other people in whose hands it will be forged, to be sent afterward to yet further other people, in whose hands it will live on forever. The first requires a giant leap of trust, and toward many people at once. They all need to come through for you for everything to come together. That the world works as it does is amazing. Still I can’t really rest until I get the notification that components have arrived on the loading dock at CrowdSupply. The feeling is of a sweet farewell, but still a farewell. It also marks the end of a certain consistent phase of one’s life. All of that comes up for me today.

I want to underscore here that this project would have essentially not been possible without Bay Area Circuits’ incredible flexibility and willingness to work with me to get this right. It was their enthusiasm and interest in exploring a custom mask color for me that made this all work. I don’t think it was easy, and yet they were endlessly accommodating, friendly, creative, and helpful. I value and appreciate all of these things in them, and look forward to doing more work with them again.

Here are closeups of the three boards, assembled:

They look great, they feel great, they sound great :)

None of this premature nostalgia is to say that my work is over, however!

After a brief phone call with B&L Wood to confirm that they are still available (since our last call over a month ago) I have also written the big check to them for the ash blocks stands. (I must say that the flurry of thousands-of-dollar-checks additionally gives a really serious sense of finality.)

I placed a volume order for bulk components with Digi-Key and with Mouser. I zero’d Digi-Key’s available stock of 556s, so I switched over to Mouser as a vendor for the remaining quantities. It’s so fortunate that these chips are so plentiful and broadly available. Additionally, Mouser is backordered on some quantities of poteniometers. This may pose a hazard to shipping all of the kits on time. I’m fairly worried about this, however I have nothing more to say for myself for now. I’ll be dedicated to investigating my options. In all honesty, I should have placed this order sooner, but you weigh the balance between having other factors/issues come up and the costs of holding on to electronic component stock which ages and takes up shelf space if you trigger the order too soon. This is a fumble, if not an outright mistake on my part. We’ll see if I can’t recover.

Separately, the publishers of Getting Started in Electronics have sent the batch of boards to Forrest for him to sign, which he will re-send on to CrowdSupply. He has been away traveling and doing his environmental science work for the earlier part of this summer, and is only just recently available to take care of this. The lucky few of you will receive your books soon!

I have ALSO gone ahead and ordered the bulk boxes for shipping the Circuit Classics in. So at a minimum, you are now guaranteed to receive a board, components, a stand, and alligator clips, in a box. There you have it.

But wait, there’s more! I am also in the midst of conversations with my printers. Because I have only just got the golden masters, I only just as of today have the final images to be printed on the postcards with the cartoons on the reverse. Fortunately here the timeline quote I have was for 2-3 day turnaround. my next update will include the news from them!

Finally, I am lucky to be in Portland to attend and I hope to stop by and talk with folks who are here and interested in seeing demo boards, as well as possibly being able to stop and say hi to Laen at OSH Park, the folks at CrowdSupply perhaps, and others.

Next one is slated to be the penultimate backers update. Fingers crossed!

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