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The key shaped multitool that puts a tool box in your pocket.
The key shaped multitool that puts a tool box in your pocket.
4,226 backers pledged $83,087 to help bring this project to life.

Introducing Mate - The Wall Hanging Chess Board

Posted by Sean Connell (Creator)
Hi Kickstarters,

I wanted to share my new campaign for Mate with everyone. Mate is a chess board that hangs on your wall like a functional piece of art. Here is a shot of the product. 

Mate is a wall hanging chess board laser cut from high quality Baltic birch plywood right here in the United States by Advanced Laser Cutting Technologies.
Mate is a wall hanging chess board laser cut from high quality Baltic birch plywood right here in the United States by Advanced Laser Cutting Technologies.

You can find more information about the new product and the campaign HERE. Thanks for taking a look and supporting my new project!

The ATOM campaign suffered a number of setbacks and delays. However, I learned from my mistakes. Here is a list of issues that delayed ATOM and corrective measures I have taken to ensure that Mate meets the delivery deadline. 

1. Family Owned Business  

  • Problem: ATOM was manufactured by a multinational corporation better suited for mass producing goods on a larger scale. The company did not invest the required man power or attention to completing the smaller order of ATOM units.  
  • Solution: Mate is made by Advanced Laser Cutting Technologies (ALCT). ALCT is a family owned business that has been serving the community's laser cutting needs for over 20 years. ALCT specializes in the laser cutting wood products, actually...that's all they have been cutting for 20 years! Plus, they take pride in completing both small and large orders. You can learn more about the company HERE.

3. Local Operations  

  • Problem: The company that produced ATOM was headquartered in the United States, but the production was outsourced to overseas contractors. The distance and language barrier made it difficult to solve problems in a timely and efficient manner.  
  •  Solution: Mate is made entirely in the United States by ALCT. The company is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is only a 3 hour drive away. I have met the owners/operators of the company in person and will be able to visit during production.

3. Manufacturing Process: 

  • Problem: The initial ATOM prototypes that were used to market the product were machined by hand in the USA by the manufacturer’s development department. However, the final units were produced overseas with metal injection molding by an entirely different department. The disconnect between processes and departments introduced a number of previously unforeseen manufacturing issues that severely delayed the project. 
  • Solution: The Mate prototypes were made by ALCT with the same people using the same manufacturing processes that will be used to produce the final units. The entire process has been well-vetted with the production of 10 prototype boards. So, there are no hidden issues with manufacturing Mate.  

 4. Manufacturing Complexity 

  • Problem: The manufacturing process for ATOM was extremely complicated. The pocket tool was small, but there were a number of required steps to produce the final product. The process included: (i) machining the mold to the exact specifications (any changes in the product necessitated machining another mold), (ii) selecting a metal with the right composition, (iii) molding the part at the right temperature to ensure structural integrity and dimensional accuracy and (iv) completing the part with a number of post-production steps like polishing, plating and painting the markings. 
  • Solution: Mate is much simpler to manufacture. The entire product is laser cut from Baltic birch plywood, painted and then assembled by hand…straight forward and easy. 
I'm sorry the ATOM campaign was such a difficult process, but I'm excited to correct my mistakes with Mate. As always, I promise to manage a transparent campaign and communicate on a regular basis. 

Feel free to ask any questions. I hope you like the new product. Thank you so much for the continued support!


Sean D. Connell
Philip Bartle, Brian, and 3 more people like this update.


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    1. steven blumberg on

      I never received my tool.. any updates?



    2. Missing avatar

      Diego on

      I'm still waiting for mine to arrive. I have also emailed you twice to confirm my address, like you have requested in another comment.
      For anyone who would like to email, the addy is:

    3. Sean Connell 2-time creator on

      Thanks Deborah...I think it will work out nicely!

    4. Deborah Schumacher

      I see it funded already. Congratulations. I hope it all works out for you,

    5. Sean Connell 2-time creator on

      Again, I have shipped out every single ATOM order. Send me an email and I will confirm your mailing address. However, I stopped shipping nearly 2 months ago. So, everything should have arrived at the address that was provided by the backer.

    6. Sean Connell 2-time creator on


      Thanks for the comment!

    7. Cody Smith on

      Sad that so many people still haven't received their ATOM units (including me).

    8. Missing avatar

      Eric on


      I will not be a customer of the Mate, simply because it does not interest me. However, I wanted to say that I'm happy that you took the time to form this letter letting us know that you recognized the setbacks and took appropriate steps to prevent them this time. I will continue to follow your projects in the future and would not hesitate to purchase from you again.

      Congrats on launching a new Kickstarter Campaign!

    9. Missing avatar

      Travis Ortega on

      I'm still waiting for the Atom. I invested and then paid for shipping and handling. Nothing has been received.
      A professional response would be to email back your investors/customers with a solution...

    10. Eduardo Alomar on

      No idea what happened to my ATOM or if I will ever see it... sad, really.

    11. Missing avatar

      Henry Brown on

      Yes, I know this isn't a marketplace, but I'm not sure what Latin would be for Backer Beware.

      I've backed numerous Kickstarter projects and ATOM is the first one I haven't received. I'd rather be told, "The challenges were greater than I expected, therefore I will not be able to complete the project," rather than "I have officially shipped every unit . . ." and "I will still respond to email inquiries . . . stop checking comments thread and close out the campaign page."

    12. Missing avatar

      Henry Brown on

      I still do not have my ATOM. Caveat emptor.

    13. Gabe on

      Still do not have my ATOM

    14. Missing avatar

      Damien Gy on

      Looks very nice... but as Thomas below I'm still waiting for my ATOM, not so sure to be ready to back you once more.

    15. Missing avatar

      Alex Katigbak on

      i dont play chess but this is beautiful!

    16. Thomas Cotte on

      any chance to finally get that ATOM? still nothing on my side and many other guys...