Brendan here with an update for June. Apologies for being so quiet as of late, I have been quite tied up with many aspects of the business and today we are going to cover 2 main things.
1) Certification progress and work done
2) Why things take so damn long for manufacturing and making improvements
Current Status Summary: Est. date of starting official certification is 16th June (Certification takes 8-12 weeks to complete if everything passes)
Current Status Details: We have been working closely with TUV and going through various scanning processes over the directives we need to pass and sorting out the kinks.
ESD Directive: We have implemented various grounding and shielding techniques into the Buccaneer so that we can pass the discharge test. There are 2 points of main concern right now which are:
a) ESD on the LAN port at the back of the Buccy: We have come up with a shielding method so we can pass this one
b) ESD on the FAN at the top of the Buccy: We have grounded the fan and separated the components below it so that the charge does not somehow jump to the electronics and mess up the machine.
EMC Directive: This is a great success and we are now in the acceptable limits of electro emissions. A healthy dose of ferrite was applied to various sections, cabling double twisted (I have no clue why this works), and shielding applied to the front area of the Buccy (this is internal so you won’t see it).
Fire Safety Directive: We are having problems with this one because we utilize a 200w power supply and it is not under the limited power source certification. They argue that if we don’t drop the wattage it may be a fire risk and thus our enclosure has to protect against fire which is really bad news because then we have to change the plastic grade which we use.
Right now we are building up a healthy case to fight them on this and also search around for new power suppliers for this usage.
That is all we are tackling at this juncture, have a look see into the test rooms we utilize for this product:
Why do things take so long to do?
Two years ago, I had no idea how process cycles work for consumer products but now I do and I am going to share how it is like in the industry and explain to you why these crazy delays happen when improvements need to be made. Here is a sample of what we are going through with 1 improvement (out of MANY we made from the beta batch):
Scenario: Buccaneer beta batch has been used for a few weeks, and some people report issues in the extruder due to heat distribution.
Hypothesis: With a better heat sink and thus managing the heat issues, extruder reliability will increase X%.
1) New heat sink designs are CADed out and run under simulations to determine the best few ones. Time taken: 1-3 days.
2) Design for manufacturing takes place and the various choices are now scanned for ease of manufacturing. EG if they part is unable to be made via a mass production method, a single heat sink can cost $100 or more, but one with a design that can be mass produced may cost $5-20. Time taken: 1-3 days
3) Chosen design is sent for rapid prototyping. Time taken: 2-3 days.
4) Test prototype to ensure it works as intended, extensive tests are carried out. If works as intended, proceed to (5). If fail, go back to (2) with another design. Time taken: 1 week.
5) Procurement for mold supplier with part design and receive quotes. Time taken: 1 week.
6) Payment is made (usually 40%). Soft tooling (which is for testing purposes) begins. Time taken: 2 weeks.
7) Sample parts arrive from soft tool and tested. If works, proceed to (8). If fail, proceed to (7a). Time taken: 1 week.
7a) Mold is reworked, proceed back to (7). Time taken: 1 week.
8) Parts are confirmed and hard tooling begins (30% payment done upon confirmation of part). Lead time for hard tooled molds (500k-1mil shots) is around 8-12 weeks. Time taken: 8 weeks.
9) New parts can now be ordered (30% final payment done). Material lead time is 8 weeks. Time taken: 8 weeks.
11) Quality tests and assurance (6 sigma). Time taken: 3-5 days.
12) New parts are introduced into the production line.
Total time from 1 improvement to move into mass manufacture: 28 weeks = 6 months.
Conclusion: This is why things take so long to implement. The Buccaneer we started with a year ago on Kickstarter is no where near the one we have today and the one we will be shipping to you. It is no longer a hacker product. What you will be receiving is a fully accredited and working consumer grade machine.
Call me out on the time line I provided above because I personally vouch that is the truth of manufacturing and there are no ways to short circuit the method while maintaining quality.
On the next update we will go into the improvements we have made from the beta printer to the next one.
WHEN WILL MY BUCCANEER BE DELIVERED??
I cannot give you a firm date, all I can provide you is the time it takes for us to move from one area to the next. Apologies again for the delays but this is the state of things in hardware manufacturing. Thanks for being patient with us and if you have anything really critical, do PM me.
P.S Some guy mentioned he couldn’t get our financial information online. We are a private limited company and our books are not available online for download. We aren’t a MNC, we started as a 4 man team (and have now sextupled in size) and we are in every word of it, a startup.