Manufacturing update, including new timelines
Hello, dear backers! July has drawn to a close and we are inching closer to delivery. Let's dig in.
MANUFACTURING UPDATE FROM CHINA
You may remember Will from our Kickstarter video; he's the tall guy crammed in the subway. Will has been back in China since the end of June setting up manufacturing, and he put together a little update for you guys.
Take a peek at the video to see our board iterations and the improvements that we've made, and learn about how we assemble our prototype boards.
NEW TIMELINE: NOW TARGETING OCTOBER
Many of you have been following our regular updates on the community and on our status page, and may have noticed that we fell behind on our last milestone, the pilot manufacturing run. We were hoping to start the pilot run a few weeks ago, but we found some opportunities to further improve the manufacturability and RF performance of the Core. These changes have required more iterations on the board, more back-and-forth with the manufacturer, and more testing, pushing our milestones by a few weeks.
Unfortunately this means that it is very unlikely we will be able to ship by our stated target date of September 16. We are now targeting October 14 for shipment of the Spark Cores.
Here's the week-by-week breakdown for our timeline between now and delivery:
- August 12: Production of sample PCBs
- August 19: Production of sample PCBs (continued)
- August 26: Assembly of sample Cores
- September 2: Testing of sample Cores
- September 9: Production of manufacturing PCBs
- September 16: Production of manufacturing PCBs (continued)
- September 23: Final assembly of all Cores and Shields
- September 30: Final assembly of all Cores and Shields (continued)
- October 7: Cores (and accessories) in transit to Seeed Studio for fulfillment
- October 14: Cores shipping
It's also important to note that we're not out of the woods yet; while we believe the samples Cores will be in good shape for manufacturing, it's possible that we may find issues that need to be resolved, in which case we'll need to add another 3 week board iteration to produce new sample Cores (repeating week of Aug 12 through week of Aug 26).
We're very disappointed that we won't be able to hit our original timeline; so many Kickstarter projects are delayed, and we really hoped to be one of the few that was on time. When it comes down to it, though, quality is far more important than an abstract deadline, and we think it's a worthwhile sacrifice to postpone for a few weeks to make sure the Core is as stellar as it can be. We hope you guys agree, and we hope for your patience as we work through the final engineering challenges in preparation for manufacturing. In the meantime, we're committed to being as transparent as possible about what's going on behind the scenes; if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please post a comment here, talk to us on our forums, chat with us over IRC at the #spark channel on freenode, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER NEWS TO SHARE
Besides progress on our hardware, a lot of other things have been in the works. Here's some highlights:
- We hired two wonderful new team members, David and Mohit. Say hi on our community site!
- We've published the new and improved designs of the Shields on our github page.
- One of our favorite community members, BDub, created an awesome web app for directly controlling a Spark app. Thanks BDub!
- A new product launched on Kickstarter that's powered by the Spark Core! It's called the Choosatron, and it's amazing. We'll be sending a stand-alone update about the Choosatron next week, but in the meantime definitely go check it out!
- The software team has been pouring many hours into the encrypted communications protocol between the Core and the Cloud, and the cross-compile servers that will download software to the cloud through the over-the-air bootloader.
- Folks continue to share their project ideas on the Spark community. Have you shared yours yet?
- We're on IRC! Come talk to us at the #spark channel on freenode. Thanks to shlomi fish for donating the channel.
- Zach and the Spark team
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