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£27,337 pledged of £50,000 goal
By Stuart Smith
£27,337 pledged of £50,000 goal

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Sorry - The Stubilizer project is cancelled


I have terminated the Stubilizer kickstarter effective immediately. 

All backers will be automatically refunded.

The Stubilizer will not now make it to production.

A Massive thank you to all my backers for getting it this far. You are all stars. 

This has not been an easy decision to take, and I will try to explain my reasons and motivation below to those interested.   However this cannot help being a personal account which some may find unprofessional - so please do not feel oblidged to read it.

As of 23rd March, the project has stagnated at around 50% of target. 

Realistically I do not have the contacts to expect to find the same number of backers again on top of those already signed up 

I have exhausted all avenues to get this far.

I would rather it did not drag on for another 3 weeks - forcing me to commit more time and money into the remaining tasks,  on the offchance it makes its target, but that in all reasonably likelyhood will just leave me more out of pocket and time-poor.

However, in truth, even if I did now eventually scrape in to reach my target I would be having second thoughts.

Over the last few weeks, Quality control problems with components, unstable software releases and the sheer challenges of producing a hardware  product in my spare time have all contributed to making the development and production of the product more and more complex.

This project has taken all my free time for 6 months - I spend 3 days a week working on it, in addition to evenings.

It has taken a considerably amount of personal funds - I have a house full of motors, controller boards and batteries !!

Enough is enough.

In order to go forward I purposely set my target high:

I wanted it to be high enough to enable the profitable manufacture of Stubilizers, and the ongoing manufacture of them too. 

But, above all It had to categorically answer the question:

"Is there enough of a market out there to make it financially worthwhile spending all my time on it?"

Across the range, there are real issues that still need resolving:

- the solo works well and is the easiest to manufacture

- the Duo still required some accurate balancing problems to be fixed, and research/development to get it to work across the gopro range

- the Pro was always the biggest hassle - and after 6 months, still is. The latest prototype I put together last weekend showed me that  blanace was still off, it was still vibrating at angles of pitch more than +-30 degrees, and still had yaw issues. In addition, when new firmware,  causes a step backwards, and everything needs redeveloping again - it's just too much work.

I delayed going to Kickstarter until I had 3 working prototypes and felt the remaining issues were all 'doable'.. and yet 2 weeks later every one of those issues once investigated has led to 2 more issues. And each time once comes up - I have a couple of days to work on it, before I leave home for another week (I work far from home and live out of a hotel during the week)

If I'd hit the target by now, I'd have felt my time had been justified so far, and that the vast amount of work that remains was worth my time investing in too. My plan was that I could perhaps take a sabatical from my full time job, and focus on Stubilizer for the next 3 months.

As it is, it hasn't hit that target, and there are other things I want to do with my time.

I am simply not prepared to invest anymore of my time in this project.

For those who could use a handheld gimbal, consider the 'easy gimbal' system which is progressing (being handheld, no action sports it has none of the challenges I've faced with the Stubilizer range).

For those who require an action sport solution - I'm afraid you'll have to wait until someone with more time, more money, and more skill than me comes along with a product.



One week in and going well


Thanks to everyone who has become a backer so far! It's great to have hit over 30% of target in a week - Kickstarter says that's the magic number.. 90% succeed if they hit 30%.

Saying that, there is a long way to go - so if I can ask you all to spread the work amongst your friends, colleagues, Facebook contacts, forums you visit, etc it would help a lot. It's only by widening the net of people who hear about the Stubilizer that it will make it.

To give you some idea, DPReview posted a quick post at the weekend:

That short post alone led directly to 15 new backers over the weekend (hi DPReview readers!)

I'm emailing gopro sites, gadget sites, photo sites, etc every day - but the most important publicity is you guys spreading the word.

In particular, the Solo's haven't found their audience yet I feel - they are ideal for motorcyclists, but I just don't seem to be able to reach the right publications or people - so anyone with any contacts please get in touch, or spread the world yourself if you can.

Update wise: 

I've still been working away at the remaining tasks. One setback this week has been getting a load of motors in from China only to find most of them are trash. very disappointing. Even the ones that worked didn't work well. I spent all weekend before I finally realized that this was the reason the prototypes I was building were not working properly! arg!

Luckily I had another alternative motor that had worked well, and I have confirmed through a random sample of that order, that they seem to be far better quality... however they are a different size (small diameter, but thicker... so small change in CAD design necessary to accommodate them. 

No biggy, but it does mean that the few extra prototypes I had planned to build now have to await new 3d printed parts. :-(

The reason I'm pushing to create more prototypes as close to the final injection molded versions as I can are twofold:

1. I want to ensure there are the minimum number of surprises - If a professional 3d printed one works well, I have more confidence going forward with the injection moulding of the design (which is going to cost as much as £25,000!)

2. I want to feedback to you guys BEFORE the Kickstarter finishes with a detailed video of what each Stubilizer can do, and as importantly what it can't do. I've had lots of questions about what happens at the limits, how fast can it stabilize, can it do this, can it do that. 

It's important to me that all of you are 100% clear on what your money gets you. 

If I end up with 100 unhappy backers after spending every waking hour working on this for 3 months and delivering what I promised, then I'll have failed either in communicating what it does and doesn't do (or in delivering what I promised !). The delivery is further down the road, but the communication bit, I want to ensure I get right now, so you are all going in with your eyes open.

So thanks again for your support, spread the word, and don't hesitate to post questions on the kickstarter page - I try  to answer them as they come in.