Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 27, 2012.

Update #9

Kickstarter Complete!

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Dear Backers,

We've finished shipping out the last handful of kits! It's been an incredible journey and a wonderful learning experience. Thank you so much for all of your support along the way. We really appreciate your patience and the incredible energy we've seen from the community.

We've seen people do some really exciting stuff with Hexy:
Dancing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eiqlc0xMMms&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FU-TrwHW9M

Servo Feedback for footfall detection:
http://forum.arcbotics.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=299

Android Apps:
https://code.google.com/p/andmoco/downloads/list

We couldn't have a community to be prouder of. Be sure to share your hexy exploits on the forums:
http://forum.arcbotics.com/viewforum.php?f=12

We're already hard at work on our next project, and have some exciting news coming out about it in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

If you haven't received a shipment email yet, please notify us at help@arcbotics.com, and we'll have it sorted out immediately.


Update #8

Shipping Progress and Clarifications

Shipping progress

We've shipped all controller boards, all early backers and 156 additional Hexys so far. Huzzah! 

Production Schedule

We're producing around 150 kits a week right now with our cutters going full bore. At the rate we're going, we should be finished shipping by the end of December. 

Christmas Gifts

If you have an urgent need for kit (christmas gift, school project, etc), please let us know at info@arcbotics.com, and we'll see what we can do. This is especially true if you're an international order, as those can take weeks. We're sorry for not shipping on time, and the last thing we'd want to cause is an empty tree or failed project because of it.

Clarification on Distributor orders:

We're sorry to have disappointed you guys in terms of shipping a limited number of units to stores.  Long story short: we're selling just enough units to pay rent and keep going, which so far has been ~2 days worth of production cutting. What we're not doing is building a business off you guys while we push you to the back of the line. We are just trying to make enough additional money to pay rent and eat while we ship robots. We've been actively turning down any new distributors and partnerships, and even to those existing ones we're only selling what is needed to keep us going. We will continue to keep any outside selling to a minimum until after the kickstarter orders are finished. 

To recap on our previous post, Kickstarter backers were supposed to receive their units first. This was the plan all along, and it took extraordinary circumstances for us to deviate from that. The original plan was to have the laser cutting done in China months ago. We were lied to for months about their manufacturing capacity, and ended up having to cut it ourselves. Then our cutter caught on fire, so we leased two more. Although we have everything else needed to ship kits (servos, screws, electronics, etc), the last bottleneck is cutting enough acrylic, which is limited by our laser cutting capacity. We've overcome situations that we think would have folded people less driven to deliver on their promises, but we're determined to deliver these units.

Because of these delays, if we didn't sell units to distributors, I wouldn't have enough money to keep going, and pay for essentials like rent and part-time help salary. I could either:

1.) Ask for more money from you guys. This was just unacceptable to me.

2.) Ship only to kickstarter people first, run out of money, have to do other work to pay the bills, and delay shipping for months as we'd only be able to cut part-time.

3.) Ship just enough to distributors to pay the bills, and thus be able to continue working 100+ hours weeks getting units shipped to kickstarter people,

We made the choice that lets us get the kickstarter units out as fast as possible. We're now laser cutting non-stop, and shipping out the units to kickstarter people as fast as we can. We're sorry for the delays, and are looking forward to getting you your early backer discounted kit as soon as possible.


Update #7

Electronics arrived, Units shipping!

Hey everyone! We've got great news. The electronics have finally arrived from China!

We're assembling the custom units, and shipping these and the early backer units in full on Monday. Huzzah!

The other units will follow as we're able to cut them. The two new laser cutters are running 24/7. We should have every unit shipped out in full in time for christmas delivery. 


Update #6

Shipping starting next week!

5 comments

The first boards have shipped from China as of yesterday, and should be arriving next week! Short and customs issues or board defects, with those, we can start the mass shipments to kickstarter folks. Looking forward to getting out all those kits! Keep in mind the whole cutting and shipping process is projected to take the better part of November, and should finish up by early December. International shipping is typically 2-3 weeks for Europe, 3-5 weeks for other countries. We'll be sending you an email when we ship your unit. Almost there!

At the same time as the boards are arriving, the new laser cutters have arrived! These should be running Monday when the manufacturer comes to install the glass laser tubes:

Also, surveys have been sent out to those who bought the model rewards. Here are the pictures to choose your kit. They'll be the first things we start cutting with the new cutters, as you guys have been waiting much longer than you should have.

Full resolution versions of all the pictures are available in our flickr stream:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/arcbotics/sets/72157631914254275/


Update #5

Laser Cutter Fire/Manufacturing Update

Fire!

Last week we our laser cutter caught on fire in the middle of cutting a Hexy kit. It was pretty bad:


Er... what happened?

The best we can guess is that someone at the hackerspace Artisans Asylum where we were operating the laser cutter shut off the air supply half-way through the middle of a cut, most likely because they thought the laser cutter was not on. Luckily, someone nearby was able to put it out with an extinguisher.


So now what?  

Kits will still start shipping to you within the next few weeks. The fire does affect manufacturing, but not much more than ~3-4 weeks beyond the timelines in the previous post. We are very sorry for the delay. Here’s our current production plan: 

1.) Production is stalled until we get more laser cutters. But, thankfully… 

 2.) We were already leasing two more laser cutters, and they're on their way! This was originally to speed up production/start getting ready for retail orders. Those should arrive at the office within the next week or two. We will get back to full production then. 

 3.) The original cutter is down likely until the end of November. It’s being shipped back to the factory in Ohio for a massive over-haul. Thankfully, we should be able to get it back online cheaper than buying a new one. We have the other cutters coming though, so this isn't as huge an issue as it would have been otherwise. 

 4.) Electronics boards are done, and all the parts to stuff the boards have arrived at the factory. All that remains is assembling, programming/testing and shipping the Hexy kits. It should take about another two weeks for the finished electronics to arrive at our headquarters in Somerville, MA. Once these arrive, we can start shipping to you. We already have ~100 kits cut and stuffed, and will likely have another 100 cut and stuffed by the time the boards cut. Depending on how fast the new cutters are, we should be shipping an additional 20-50 kits a day after that.

Guides

As we’re quickly approaching the ship date, we’re making sure to get the assembly and operation guides done in time. We’ve got the leg and body guides up for you - enjoy! We’re currently working on the programming guides, both for the Servotor32 in Arduino and moves in Python.

Distribution/Retail

We’ve just started to ship kits through Robot Shop. They're one of the first of hopefully many new partners in marketing and selling our retail kits - an amazing development made possible by your support! After a difficult decision-making process, we decided to ship these distributors a limited number of robots in the short-term only. We understand if some of you may be concerned about us shipping robots to online stores before the Kickstarter orders are fulfilled. There are several very important reasons we eventually chose this: 

 1.) Feasibility: This is the biggest reason. Given the electronics boards, it’s not possible to fulfill the kick Kickstarter starter orders immediately. Until the electronics from China arrive, each board currently has to be hand-soldered, which take an hour or more to solder each. It’s only possible to ship kits to distributors because we're shipping them limited quantities of these hand-soldered boards. While this is okay for a dozen or two robots at a time for stores, it becomes unfeasible for the ~730 kits ordered through Kickstarter. The boards for the Kickstarter orders will be fulfilled with the 1,000 boards that are coming from China, which are set to arrive in a couple weeks. 

 2.) Timelines/Contracts: We started building these distributor relationships back in August. We promised we'd start shipping them units by October, and agreements were made as to what dates they'd be delivered by. We weren't expecting things like laser cutter fires and last-minute electronics board redesigns, and we have to deliver by those dates regardless if we want to maintain those relationships, which are crucial to our long-term growth and development (i.e. MORE cheap robots for everyone). Although it shouldn't, we're very sorry if this causes any measurable delay in shipping the Kickstarter kits. 

 3.) Making Christmas sales: Christmas is a huge shopping season for the US, especially when it comes to more toy-ish and educational items like Hexy. If we were to wait until every last Kickstarter kit was shipped out (we're hoping by the end of November) to start shipping kits to distributors, we'd entirely miss the Christmas season, which we know will be a good time for cute-robot-kit-selling. 

Almost There!

So in short, a few more weeks to go before we start shipping! We’re sure looking forward to getting these kits out. We’re especially excited to see what people are planning on doing with the kits. We’ve already got quite the community going on the forums. We hope to see you guys there when you get your kits! We know we’ll be there answering any questions you might have. We want to see as many up and running Hexys as possible, doing whatever crazy things you guys plan on doing ;)


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