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Manufacturing update II


Time for another update. Most of the time since last have been spent on the enclosure. We have been working closely with the injection mold tool makers on getting all the parts in as good shape as we can. There are six parts to the enclosure. Five of them are good but the last part, the back of the enclosure, is a tough nut. I think we are on the sixth revision now and there are still issues with the manufacturability! Sigh. Sometimes you flush all you want but there is this one floater that just won't go down.

It's not so much that it is a problem to make it, we're trying to figure out how to make it without nasty parting lines on the A-surface. We have today and tomorrow to solve the rear part if we are to stay on schedule. No rest for the wicked.

The injection molded parts has the longest production time of all the parts that goes into the Kick. The factory have received a down payment on production and they have started up toolmaking for the rest of the parts. 

Process example

We know a lot of you like a peek inside the sausage factory, so here are some pics from the design process for one of the parts, a button. There are two backlit buttons, the ON/OFF button and the Connect button. 

This is the old design. The buttons are lit up from underneath so there has to be room for both the switch and two LEDs. The angle of incidence for the back of the button is such that the "total internal reflection"-effect causes the light to be reflected out the front.

To keep the buttons in place during assembly, we gave it hooks and corresponding slits in the  PCB. This caused the molding to be more complex. Because of the hooks, it can no longer be made with a simple two-part mold. So the mold gets expensive. Unnecessary for this part.

Here is version two. We still needed a way to hold the buttons in place, so we added a slot and a piece of thin nickel-steel wire (nickel-steel wire is springy, like a guitar string). 

This did not work very well. Here is a pic of the 3D printed test enclosure. The tactile feel is mushy, the button is wobbly and prone to come loose. 

Also, the feasibility report from the factory pointed out that the uneven thickness of the part would result in sink and low yield. (When plastic cools off off it contracts a little bit. If the plastic has uneven thickness on the inside, you get sink marks on the outside.)

So we did a redesign. Both button tops are now in a single piece, making it easier to print the legends. The foot attaches to the inside of the enclosure with heat staking or acetone. The buttons are designed to allow the material to flex about 0.3mm and engage the switch. The PMMA (acrylic) is no longer a good choice as material. It is to brittle and would probably crack after a while, but we'll pick a more suitable material like clear PC or PP.

This is a cut through the case showing the new buttons and re-positioned electronic parts. The signal LEDs has been changed to a side-emitter type


On the electronics we have received the new PCBs and built up a new electronics prototype. (I mentioned last time that we had to do a redesign because of lead time on some parts.) The new electronics looks good, no major problems encountered so far.

About shipping details

We were about to send out for shipping details (your address etc.), but Kickstarter suggested that we hold off until we are closer to the shipping date. The reason is that people move. So we are going to hold off a while for the majority of you guys.




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    1. Rift Inc Creator on

      Clark: Thanks for the heads up on on managing shipping! Sounds like we should send out for the details sooner rather than later. Btw, your Unruly gear looks awesome!

      Pavel: I've been using SpaceClaim for the last couple of years and I love it!

    2. Pavel G. Roytberg on

      Thanks for the update!
      And while I'm also very eager for my new toy I'd like to wonder - what software you've used for this prototyping pics? Sketchup? Inventor?

    3. /CLARK/ on

      Thanks for the update. We went through all of these issues with our Kickstarter project. I highly recommend that you begin address collection now, because it takes some people months to reply. Unfortunately KS hasn't figured out that they need to collect this info for you when people sign up then hand it over when the project closes. Managing just 150 backers was the most time consuming part of the experience, especially when the data is provided on a different xcel doc per funding level and you have to redownload those docs every time somebody provides their address and reprocess the data. They just keep dumping the data into the same doc and they don't tell you who's info on this list is new and who's is not - you have to dig it out every time an address is added, or wait until the entire funding level has provided their address to be sure it's a complete list... :( terribly frustrating system. Get ahead of the curve and save yourself one more headache by collecting the data now and waiting until the list is populated before extracting the data.

      And best of luck on the manufacturing! Our two month schedule turned into 6 months with constant manufacturing delays - this has happened to everyone I know on KS with a successful project. Keep your head up, make no promises and anticipate that it will take twice as long as you expected or you'll go mad. If anybody complains that you're going too slow, just ignore them and keep going! They signed up for the ride and have no idea how hard product development is. Even large brands like Belkin take a year for a new product with a huge team of people. And try to enjoy the process :) Best of luck!

    4. Nate Burr on

      Thanks for the update, and thanks for the interesting peek at some of the "sausage factory".
      So very eager to start playing with the Kick (I'm an "Early Bird" backer) - and also putting it through my video review treatment (
      Honestly, such an exciting product, my nerdy-sense is tingling in anticipation.