We tend to elevate artisanal, individually made objects for the exceptional care put into their creation. But as much human effort goes into making a great machine-made object. Mass production is itself an artform, and a modern miracle. We hope that our updates on the process convey this.
We mentioned previously that the outer sleeves we got back the first time had some unacceptable distortion introduced in the injection molding process, and also fit on too tight. So John and the injection molder had to do a grueling rapid design cycle — redesigning the 3D model so that the injected plastic flows smoothly into the mold and the fit is a little looser; sending out for printed prototypes to gauge fit; and then cutting a whole new metal mold to run sample parts on. This is not easy or cheap, but as you’ve guessed by now, we chose quality over speed.
The good news, after all that work, is that we have cases that look and feel great! We made an ambitious decision to use Santoprene for this kind of part, and it paid off. It feels so nice that David just carries one around with him.
And the boards are almost done with the same process. Our assembler in New Hampshire is running through the exact final production process with one panel each of the main Twine board and the three sensor boards. We tuned little things that don’t come up when you hand-assemble boards. For example, solder paste holds components as they’re put in place by a machine, and then is melted to fuse them to the board. If the machine applies too much solder, the components may ‘float’ out of position when the paste melts in the reflow oven — which can cause reliability problems.
If the assembled boards all check out when we get them in a few days, we’ll be able to order the full quantity immediately. After that, it’s a matter of how fast our manufacturers can make Twine. We have about 500,000 components coming together through three locations, so you can imagine the extreme care (and spreadsheets) involved in making sure that everything ends up in the right place. Next week we’ll let you know about the final boards and confirm that the first Twines are scheduled to roll off the production line this month.