The mold has been fixed and the new samples should arrive soon. Here's a photo of the threads and the caps they used for testing. (Yeah, we made them test it this time.) We should have an updated production schedule by the end of the week.
One positive outcome of having to re-machine the lid: we added a tab as shown here:
This will let you know that you've got enough liquid in the tank by just looking into the fill/drain port. In fact, you'll know that you have 450ml (approximately).
For those that keep asking: YES, you will be able to buy a SP-445 once the Kickstarter rewards have been shipped. In fact, our online store should be up and running by next week (but without the SP-445).
The injection molded prototypes just arrived. Overall, they look good and everything seems to fit well. Except for one little detail ...
Here's a photo of the injection molded prototype compared to the machined version. Anyone see a problem? (Hint: threads need to have a "start" and an "end".)
Instead of threads, they put a slanted ring around the neck!
We do all design work in 3D software and send "step" files to the machine shops. (For those outside the industry: "step" files, also known as "stp" files, are the mechanical design world's version of pdf files; a universal format that everyone can use to exchange designs in 3D.)
So how did this happen? I'm guessing that when their engineer "sliced" the part to make the two mold halves; he looked at the symmetry, forgot about the threads and "mirrored" the one side.
In any case, a rather embarrassed engineer at the molding company is busy correcting his mistake.
To my credit, I only spent about fifteen seconds trying to screw a cap on before finding the problem.
We're heading back to our machine shop to perform a "neck transplant". We'll carefully cut the necks off of one of our machined prototypes and graft it onto the new version. This will allow us, hopefully, to continue testing for light tightness, O-ring fit etc, while the mold shop fixes the mold.
So when will we have new samples? Even working as fast as they can it will be at least three or four days before the molds are ready to re-shoot. Then they have to make samples. It will take another four to seven days shipping time for samples to reach us.
So, if I believe our factory liaison: seven days. If I listen to my gut feeling: three weeks. Realistically, we're expecting a ten to fourteen day delay. Now, we might recover a little time by pressuring them to keep our original production date, but we'll have to wait and see.
We'll publish another update as soon as something interesting happens.
The production samples should be shot this week. And yes, we're a little nervous...
In the mean time, we've been playing with direct positive paper from Galaxy. Here are some test photos that we processed in the SP-445:
I really like the vintage/retro look. If you told people: "my grandpa took this photo back in '45", they'd believe you! (Everyone but true Jeep fanatics, I think that model was built in the '50s.)
Okay, the exposures weren't perfect but frankly, the scans don't do the prints justice, (no post processing except to reduce resolution; not sure what kickstarter does to them). Of course, the images come out mirrored but for most purposes that doesn't matter.
I need to play with the process to lower the contrast. The whole thing takes about 7 minutes plus wash and drying time. (I've had finished prints in 35 minutes.) I'm also trying to decide how much agitation is needed; probably more than I'm doing, given the mottling in the first photo, (the white specs are holes in the building), and the smudges on the top of the third photo, (I think they're from the fingers in the film holder).
With the SP-445, all you need is a changing bag and you could process prints anywhere. If I was trying to get back into the studio business, I could see setting up a "retro photo booth" at local fairs and offering old style prints for $5,(with my website/contact info on the back.) You might only break even for the day, but it would differentiate you from everyone else else in the business.
Galaxy is running another Kickstarter for a Direct Positive 120 roll paper: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/114183606/galaxy-hyper-speed-120-for-medium-format-camera?ref=nav_search