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Alt pen is a pen with the secondary function of a precision tool
Alt pen is a pen with the secondary function of a precision tool
501 backers pledged $36,244 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

Photos

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Now Shipping!!

Posted by Rotimi Solola (Creator)
12 likes

Great news everyone! Orders are now being shipped (literally as I type this 200+ orders are leaving the warehouse)! All orders should be sent by the end of the day today! I was hoping to get everything in earlier in the week but I ran into some serious technical challenges with integrating my backer info into my fulfillment center's databases. All issues were resolved this morning. 

Missing Surveys

Unfortunately there are still a handful of individuals that never filled out their backer-kit survey. Several email communications have been sent over the past few months. With out this info you will not be receiving your Alt Pen. If for any reason this is you, please reach out to me via direct message on kickstarter. You can check here to verify your survey, but you will not be able to make changes: https://alt-pen.backerkit.com/ Please understand that discrepancies like this take a while to resolve as I am only one person, and there are a lot of systems at play for me to navigate.

Failed payment transactions

A small handful of backers' payments never went through from kickstarter and backer-kit. Again several email notifications have been sent to these individuals. If this is you then unfortunately you will not be receiving an Alt Pen as it has not been paid for. 

More Alt Pens!

If for any reason you (or a friend) would like to purchase more Alt Pens I will have a limited number available later this month (look out for an update).

Alt Pen process book hard copy

Hard copies of the Alt pen process book will be fulfilled separately so you may not get them at the same time as your Alt Pen.

Alt Pen process book PDF

All backers will receive the digital download of the process book through backer-kit's system, please allow me time to figure it out. 

Tracking numbers

Once I have all tracking numbers I will send the info through Backer-kit's system so that you may track your orders.

I'm excited for you all to receive your Alt Pens. please allow 1-3weeks to receive your Alt Pen (in some cases longer)

Cheers,

Rotimi Solola

Fulfillment time!!!

Posted by Rotimi Solola (Creator)
23 likes

Quick update today

This morning I dropped off all kickstarter products to my fulfillment center in Chicago. It's been a very rainy day but that didn't stop me from loading 18 boxes of Alt Pens into my small car, (filling up all seats and trunk space). 

So what's next?

Shipbob is processing the delivery to make sure they have all the correct units in the correct SKUs. I should hear back from them later this week. My guess is they will be able to ship all units early next week (it should only take them 1-2 days). All addresses have been locked, and it's just a matter of time before you have your Alt Pen in your hands!

I'll alert you when Shipbob starts sending the products!

Cheers,

Rotimi Solola

Happy Holidays! Inventory Update

Posted by Rotimi Solola (Creator)
8 likes

Hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday! 

Shipment arrival

First of all thanks to everyone for being a part of this project. You can rest assured that the last of the Alt Pen shipment arrived at my doorstep last Friday. We received over 350 lbs of product, across 25 boxes.

Here's a picture of the first 18 boxes
Here's a picture of the first 18 boxes

 The very next day I had a team of 4 Alt Pen backers/supporter show up to help me inspect, package and run inventory on the products. we worked for about 10 hrs and got through about 3.5 boxes. We didn't realize how much we had to do and it was our first time looking at these units. Overall the units look great, but upon closer inspection we discovered the Factory in China did not run a good enough inspection before they shipped to me. We had to clean most of the products and separate good units from units with major defects. The extra work slowed us down, but I anticipated it would take quite some time to get through everything.

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It takes about 1.3 minutes to inspect each Stainless steel pen/box.

Then we ran into major trouble

The Aluminum Pens were going okay, but the Stainless Steel had complications. We had about a 50% fall out with defects! The good news is the pens work fine and they look great, the bad news is we discovered that the tool bits were not fitting into the back storage compartment of the pens because the hole was approximately 0.2 to 0.4mm too small—this made 50% of the Stainless Steel pens un-shippable. You might think 0.2mm is a very small number (and your right!) but this is a precision tool so every fraction of a millimeter makes a difference. 

Now after stressing out about this I decided it was no big deal to widen the hole myself. So I consulted with a close friend of mine who happens to be an engineer and long story short, we came up with a solution to make the whole bigger. We were able to fix 2 pens and in the process we damaged 4 pens it also took about 2 hour to do all of this. I was in panic mode. 

You may be wondering why this was so difficult to remove 0.2mm of material. It's because we are using 304 Stainless Steel and it's a very hard material. So after panic mode I contacted my suppliers (I knew shipping ~200 units back to China for them to fix the problem and send back to me during the holiday rush would result in significant delays) so I wanted to do everything I could to solve the problem before doing that. I explained the situation to my suppliers and sent pictures and videos and eventually they came up with a potential, but promising solution—Essentially they will modify the tools just enough so they fit, this is the quickest and lowest risk option, and the most affordable option for everyone as well. I demanded that they run a critical test fit before shipping back to me.

One problem after the other

On Monday (Christmas Eve) we made a ton of progress, but then around 10pm I discovered that the factory neglected to send me 110 light gold units. This was devastating because it means that we cannot ship until they run the new units and send them to me in Chicago. This news was very heartbreaking for me, but my suppliers were 100% willing to make it right. This means we're are about 1-2 weeks delayed. All units will still be shipped in January as stated on my update #15, but it might just be a week or two later that I had hoped. I hope to continue to get your cooperation and I am currently working at maximum capacity to get everything to everyone.

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I've had teams of 2 to 4 people help me with this process. We've been at it for 6-10 hours a day on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and I'll get back to it today. 

Side note: 

Few units have been issued to their respective backers. Specifically those who stop by to help me inspect the units. If you're in Chicago and just can't wait any longer to receive your Alt Pen Stop by and I'd be happy to personally hand you your pen (and if you're able to inspect some units with me that would be a great help!), but I realize that this is not easy for most so we'll stick with the plan and ship in January. If you are serious about stopping by to help or pick up your pen(s) please Direct Message me and we can schedule a time. I plan to complete inspection this week.

A Huge Thank You to the Supporters that have dedicated part of their Holiday to work with me!

I can't wait until you all receive your Alt Pens, they're looking great!

Cheers,

Rotimi Solola 

Massive Update! Progress Report + Shipping info ***Now with pictures!!!

Posted by Rotimi Solola (Creator)
17 likes

Hi Backers!

Good news and bad news, the bad news is I was not able to hit my delivery target, but that's old news. The good news is we were able to overcome all quality issues.

I was unable to travel to China to work out the kinks, but a trusted former colleague of mine was in the area and able to offer her support in reviewing and inspecting  the color, quality, and finish of all the parts. We also employed inspection procedures at the assembly line level to ensure quality fit and finish. 

***Photo quality is so bad, my apologies, it's like they were taken with a flip phone from the early 2000's

Aluminum Alt Pen bodies
Aluminum Alt Pen bodies
This is the section of the pen that accepts the various tool bits
This is the section of the pen that accepts the various tool bits
Stainless steel Rose Gold PVD inspection and color matching process
Stainless steel Rose Gold PVD inspection and color matching process
Silver Anodized Aluminum Alt Pen inspection by the Boss!
Silver Anodized Aluminum Alt Pen inspection by the Boss!

It took me a while to get back to you on the schedule because things were literally changing everyday, and I don't want to commit to telling another date that we can't hit. That being said here's what I do know. 

Alt Pens will be shipping in early January.... Here's why:

last week my suppliers completed mass production of all parts, this week they are working on assembly, parts won't be done until early next week and then they need to inspect all parts. Once that is done they will ship parts to me in Chicago (I've selected air shipping to expedite the process, boat would've been cheaper, but I can't have you all waiting that long). Air express Shipping will take 7 days. This means an arrival date of approximately Dec 21st (assuming no delays.... yeah I know). From there I will assemble a team to perform one more inspection + insert of instruction cards (this is important, it's not uncommon for mistakes to leave the factory). There will be down time on Christmas, as I will be taking a break on that day to spend time with family. Once the final check is concluded by myself I will then take the pens to my fulfillment center in Chicago so that they can ship the packages out to you (I believe they can ship all packages out in a day or two). The fulfillment center requires 5 days to process the packages and crosscheck with kickstarter/backer-kit databases. This means they will not be able to ship the packages until approximately January 4th 2019. If you're in the US, you should receive your Alt Pen in about 1 week after shipping, if you're a global backer it could take up to 3 weeks). This was so I could keep shipping costs as low as possible. 

Long story short (but not really since you've already read all of this) Everyone should receive their pledge by the end of January. 

As you can see every step is dependent on previous steps and a delay of just one day could lead to a one week delay. This has been the most challenging part of running this campaign, please understand that so many things are out of my control and I am fully committed to delivering an exceptional product in a reasonable time frame.

Payment for Alt Pen Upgrades

If you upgraded your order through the Backer-kit survey I sent out please know that I have not yet collected payment. Backer-kit advises that payment should be collected shortly before shipping, that said I will be collecting all additional funds through backer-kit next week December 12th this means pre-orders will not be accepted after this point. 

Update your address!

The cut off to update your address will be December 26th This will allow us to have the smoothest transition once we are fulfilling the orders. To double-check or update your address please navigate to the original backer-kit survey email I sent and input your info. You can also use this link if you can't find it: https://alt-pen.backerkit.com 

To Conclude

My original fulfillment Target was December, currently I'm on track to fulfilling in January, but it doesn't take much to blow the schedule. I will pray that the process continues to go smoothly and for good weather during the shipping process. I just want you all to be happy :)

Cheers, And I hope you have a wonderful Holiday this month!

Rotimi Solola

Important fulfillment update (Please Read)

Posted by Rotimi Solola (Creator)
18 likes

Hello Backers,

It's been a while, and again I can't thank you enough for your support which is why this email is very difficult for me to write. Multiple quality issues have arisen during the pre-production development stage, issues regarding quality of smaller parts and the slate color. 

To make matters worse the clip suppliers keep dropping the project due to my high (but reasonable) quality standards. This is a small part but it's a very important part of Alt Pen. Normally I can let small quality issues slide, but the problem is Alt Pen is not a cheap $2 pen. You all have paid a considerable amount of money for this product and I have to make sure it meets or even exceeds your expectations. Good brands aren't built on short cuts and I don't intend on taking any.

These issue are all workable and YOU WILL receive your Alt Pen in the desired color, however this means we will not meet our December fulfillment timeline. This was an aggressive timeline from day one and I made sure to build in cushion for delays, but many of the delays have been out of my hands. 

The good news is my primary supplier is still on board and their parts are looking great! Furthermore my Partners in China are very responsive so when a sub-supplier drops, they immediately begin partnering with a new one. 

Unfortunately this is not the 1st time a supplier has dropped my project, but we bounce back every time. The Challenge is once we get a new supplier we need to get them up to speed with their execution of the part so this obviously costs money and time.

This is a bit of a rollercoaster but my Design training has prepared me for all of this, and I'm reacting as best/quickly as I can. 

This update is coming to you later than I had hoped because I was waiting on an updated production schedule so I could inform you. Unfortunately It will be a little longer before I can provide an updated production schedule, but definitely we're looking at fulfillment for early 2019.

Thanks again for your support, I really hope you understand that This project means so much to me and I will make sure you're all happy at the end of the day. I will keep you posted as we get back on track.

Cheers,

Rotimi Solola