The Final Countdown and Eating Our Own Dogfood

Three very important milestones this past week.

1)  We've finally received all goods on our dock, to start kickstarter fulfilment.  After multiple nightmares with import shipping, we can finally start cranking kits out.

Over half a metric *tonne* of air cargo.  This was a VERY expensive lesson on Chinese export laws.

Over half a metric *tonne* of air cargo.  This was a VERY expensive lesson on Chinese export laws.

2)  As mentioned in previous blog post, we've selected a backer that is local to the Seattle area from the Early Bird full kit pool as our lucky guinea pig.  Last weekend, we got his printer printing.  Initial reports are positive, and based on his feedback we've made some final, small tweaks to the production kits - mostly add a few screws and washers here and there.  Our backer is now happily printing on his printer, which is exactly what we'd want to hear.

One other huge relief, was that our pre-compiled Marlin firmware on the Brainwave Pro worked flawlessly out of the box, including the notoriously difficult to tune auto-leveling probe code.  We actually found that there is a version conflict between the Brainwave Arduino Bundle that Matthew Wilson worked on and our copy of Marlin firmware source that resulted in some USB communication error.  We were able to switch out control boards and get our backer to print shortly after.  

3)  We shipped an additional 4 printer kits.  The majority of these kits went to our development partners - two machines to Matter Hackers, who are developing a customized version of Matter Control for us, and one machine to Solarbotics, our Canadian distributor who have been running Kossels pretty much non-stop since May.  (The 4th kit went to a Brazillian backer who is visiting the US.  It was too good an opportunity to pass up to not have to ship an international kit and all the associated customs paperwork...)

My Mazda5 can use a bit of love after this project is over.

My Mazda5 can use a bit of love after this project is over.

I kitted these kits personally, which is not the best use of my time.  We have transferred top level kitting instructions and responsibility to our kitter.  While we've had parts stuck in Chinese customs, our kitter had been busy building up our subassembly reserves..  We have between 20-60 of each ASY and each kit kitted up.  Our goal is to aim to ship all the early bird mechanical and all the early bird full kits next Monday. 

 A big huge thanks to Eryn Martin, our inventory manager and head kit maker. :-P

 A big huge thanks to Eryn Martin, our inventory manager and head kit maker. :-P

More goodies.

More goodies.

Once these kits are underway, we'll ramp up kitting and shipping.  The goal is to ship all kickstarter kit rewards and start shipping all the original September pre-orders in the month of November.  We believe that this is a realistic goal and we will, if necessary, bring on additional kitting resources to get this thing out the door.

Finally, we've started eating our own dogfood.  (This is an engineering term - it means we use the product that we engineer ourselves, which is the best way to get an engineering team to improve their product).  While we are still dialing in the printing profiles, the parts that we are getting are quite acceptable to use as fixtures - specifically potting fixtures for potting the thermistor in on our hot ends:

ZT-PFX-00123 - Production Fixture, Thermistor Potting, J-Head Nozzle.  You'll be seeing a lot of these parts, as we ramp production on our spin of the J-Head nozzles.

ZT-PFX-00123 - Production Fixture, Thermistor Potting, J-Head Nozzle.  You'll be seeing a lot of these parts, as we ramp production on our spin of the J-Head nozzles.

And here are a few more pictures from this week.  Enjoy!