Refinement is unglamorous.
Hello, backers — it’s been a while. We’ve been working as hard as ever, but refactoring C functions and moving lines by .005” do not lend themselves to blog posts. It’s the dog days of development.
Remember that pile of case prototypes in the last update? We made a whole new pile, and these proved our redesign:
Each model got us closer to the right fit and feel, and we’re about ready to commit to the molds.
Many people think that 3D printing is the future of manufacturing. It’s not going to replace injection molding any time soon — the additive process produces parts that are rougher and weaker. (We keep breaking them.) But it is the present of prototyping. On a schedule as tight as ours, it’s invaluable to be able to test how parts fit together, tweak the CAD file, and get a new printed piece in two days that’s accurate to a few thousandths of an inch. You can even print in a rubbery material as I did to test Twine’s sleeve. As I mentioned on Facebook, it smells like Starburst. (Or ammonia. Whatever.)
On the hardware side, we’re likewise days from freezing the final candidate. Prototyping electronics for production is not as quick. David and Rehmi lay out the electrical paths for the circuitboard, order the bare board with those paths etched in, and then once it arrives, solder all the components on by hand. Including performance testing, the process takes about two weeks each time.
And hardware is not as easy to edit as software. One of the tools of the trade are “blue wires,” very fine wires that are patched onto a board to test changes before they’re committed to the next revision. You can see here that we only have two on the latest rev.
Progress on the software front has been steady, and we’ll cover that in next week’s update, along with a new-fangled output we’re adding — one that many of you will have soon!Homework for backers
We’ve updated the Spool site with your survey answers — you can now check that your shipping address is correct and make changes. (This site is to handle logistics for Kickstarter backers only, for now. If you pre-ordered a Twine from our site, we already have everything we need from you.)
Many backers haven’t yet signed up — if you didn’t get the registration email (check your spam folder), please email us at email@example.com with the email address you used for Kickstarter, and we’ll resend your registration link. This is important to make sure we have your shipping address and order correct!
Multiple tasks are starting to come together, so you can expect more frequent updates soon. Developing a great consumer electronic product from the ground up is a ridiculous amount of work — David and I appreciate every supportive comment you’ve made. Thanks for your patience. Onward!