Hi, everyone. TouchFire was funded on Monday. We are still in awe at the level that you backed us. You made TouchFire the highest-funded tablet-related Kickstarter project of all time. Wow, incredible!
We’ve spent the last two days heads down, getting TouchFire into production, and working with our manufacturer to develop a committed schedule.
We have now chosen our manufacturer and given them the green light to start building the tooling (molds) needed to make TouchFire.
We had three manufacturers on our short list – two in China and one in the United States. Frankly, we delayed the final manufacturer selection in order to give the US vendor every opportunity to bid the job. At the end, they came back with a “no-quote”. This was pretty disappointing, and we lost precious time.
Thus, the first production run of TouchFire will be manufactured in Dong Guan, a big industrial city in the south of China, about a two hour bus ride from Hong Kong. Both Brad and Steve will be spending quite a bit of time there soon, and you will get front-row seats to the whole process.
The first step is for our manufacturer to cut steel molds and assemble the tooling used to make the silicone and polypropylene parts that make up TouchFire – the keyboard, the cover clips and the storage case. This will take about 3-4 weeks. Brad will be at the factory as soon as the molds are ready to make the first test runs. This is known as T1.
It could take about a week to initially debug the tooling. Then the fine tuning begins, especially for the keyboard. Steve will join Brad at the factory for this part. After the fine tuning is complete, the tools will be polished and textured to produce the proper part finishes. This will take 3 or 4 days, taking us to the third week of January. We will then be ready to start production runs, slowly ramping up daily volume as the full manufacturing process is debugged.
But Wait – There’s Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China. It is a tumultuous 10 day celebration (lots of firecrackers) and all manufacturing shuts down for the duration. This year, the government mandated Chinese New Year vacation starts on January 20th. Unfortunately, this comes right when are ready to start our first TouchFire production run.
We will have to wait until after Chinese New Year to start making TouchFire. This takes us to the first week of February. Assuming we can ramp up production steadily, we will have all our Kickstarter units ready to be shipped to the United States for distribution the second week of February. We plan on air-shipping everything, of course.
Once the TouchFire shipment is in the US and has passed customs, we will ship it out to you. We will use a commercial fulfillment center, so we can get them to you as fast as possible. You should get your TouchFire by the end of February.
Back in October, we estimated that we would have the first TouchFire run in the United States by December. Getting into production took longer than we thought, and we sincerely apologize for that.
We will email you the Christmas Stocking Stuffer coupon this weekend.
On Monday, December 19th, Amazon will complete processing credit cards. If you were notified that there was a problem with your credit card, you’ll need to fix the situation by then.
After the holidays, we will send out a survey to collect your shipping address and a few other details.
Your belief in TouchFire has made it possible for us to make TouchFire. We are truly grateful to all of our backers. You’ve given us the opportunity to bring our dream to market, and we can’t wait to get it into your hands.
Steve & Brad