Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 21, 2011.

Update #24

The Race to the Finish Line

6 comments

Hi Team,

We are happy to report that everything is going smoothly.  Production started as scheduled on the 28th and at least one person or more from our team has been at the factory every day since we last communicated to you.  Tue May 1st was actually "Labor Day" in China and some factories take the entire week off.  Luckily, our factories were on holiday only between Sun April 29th and Tue May 1st.  Based on the bulk supply of raw materials, production started with the all black version of the EscapeCapsule.  We had intended to start with the glow in the dark units, but the lead time for the glow in the dark material was slightly longer than expected.  Since we can only do one color at a time we went ahead with the black first.  This is still ongoing and as soon as the black over-mold injection is complete, we will immediately clean the tool and begin injection of the Kickstarter Edition green with the glow-in-the-dark rubber.  The Kickstarter Edition is scheduled to start at the end of next week around May 18th.  We are supremely excited to see this colorway come to life and with only 300 units of this colorway to be produced, the Limited Edition Kickstarter units should only take a few days to inject. As soon as they are complete, we will then clean the injection machines again and start with the blue and hyper yellow cases around May 21st.

There are actually 17 individual parts that make up this product, not including the graphics onto the lid.  A few of these parts are so small you may never notice them, however we are very focused on making sure that all of these parts come together perfectly.  As we mentioned in our update after our Pilot run, the assembly process is stable but a bit time consuming.  The factory is carefully assembling the first several hundred units with a dedicated team that is taking the neccessary time to get the process done right.  This will reduce the chance of any small errors and is really important in making sure that every backer gets a high quality product that simply works as expected.  As the factory becomes more familiar with all assembly processes, production time-lines will get shorter.  By the end of this production run, units should be firing off the assembly line in mass.  The first 300 to 500 black units should be fully assembled by May 19th.  The green glow-in-the-dark versions should be complete by May 23rd.  The blue cases are expected to be complete by May 25th. 

Testing:

Each EscapeCapsule will be subjected to our IPX8 test of 2 meters for 30 minutes at the end of production and it will have passed our test before we send it to you.  The testing procedure is in everyone's best interested to ensure the product works consistently.  At this time, it is unclear exactly how long this will take to test each unit.  We are looking into options to speed up this process.  

Shipping:

We will be shipping units as soon as they are assembled, tested and packaged.  At this time, it would not work for us to commit to exact dates as we do not understand exactly how long the testing procedure will be.  Also, each person in each tier has its own combination of colors and shipping will depend on the availability of each colorway.  We can safely say the individual black units will be shipping first.  By the end of this month we intend to have all all rewards fulfilled.

We look forward to sending out everyone's rewards as soon as possible.  Thank you Everyone.  YOU made this possible.

Love,

Josh & June


Update #23

A cloud descends on our sunshine....

Hey Everyone,

Our pilot run was a success, and at this time we had hoped to announce that we are in full production.  However, there has been a breakdown in communication between our engineers and the factory.  Basically the raw materials did not get ordered for the production of the rubber over-mold.  The lead time for ordering these materials can take up to two weeks.  So this sets us back to starting production on the 28th of April.  There have been a lot of heated discussions this week, and everyone is frustrated.  We are really disappointed.  Our mistake was assuming that this was being taken care of.  We should have double checked, triple checked, quadruple checked every detail with everyone involved.  It is frustrating to communicate another delay to you.  Ultimately we are responsible for this. 

The good news is that everything on the product looks and works great.  The seals are all water tight, the touch screen works great, the color samples look luscious, the sound membranes are awesome, the assembly processes are stable but time consuming.  In both subjective and scientific testing, the product is performing great.  We created a little video montage to share with everyone on the team.  There are a few clips of the injection and a few more of us putting the EscapeCapsule through some abuse.  Static testing in the lab is one thing, but we really wanted to see how it would perform when the EscapeCapsule is tossed around in the real world. 

When production starts, we will be shipping out units as they come off the assembly line to each and every one of you.  We are getting there and you have all been awesome. 

Thank you for your patience, love and support. 

Josh & June

  • Video-97352-h264_high
    Play
    00:00
    00:00

  • Image-106800-full
  • Image-106803-full
  • Image-106804-full
  • Image-106806-full
  • Image-106807-full

Update #22

Go Go Go!

3 comments

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for bearing with us.  Things are moving along and we are doing everything possible to push this process along as fast as we can with our engineers and suppliers to get a quality product out of the door and into your hands.  At this time, all tooling related challenges have been surmounted and we are ready to go!  The engineering pilot run is first thing next week and from there, we will scale up for full production in April.  Exciting!  For those of you who like to read about the full details, please continue reading below. 

Pilot Run

The pilot run is to ensure the stability of the tooling when running the machine at a consistent rate for an extended period of time.  Previous trial injections were only about 10 to 20 units at a time to have samples as we developed the tool.  In this run, we will create the first 200 fully assembled units.  All injection of the plastic and rubber parts will take place at one factory.  After each of the units are injected and inspected for basic quality control, the units will then be shifted to our membrane supplier who specializes in die cutting and assembling of high precision parts.  This other factory will produce and assemble our sound membranes in sealed clean room environments.  As well, this vendor is in charge of our final testing for quality control and waterproofing.  Next week we will keep you updated with lots of photos and videos so you can see the processes and results.

Testing


Next week, we will also be testing each assembly feature to ensure the stability of our production line.  We have already extensively tested the bonding of the touchscreen membrane, and it is rock solid and crystal clear.  We will also be isolating and individually testing each of the separate membranes for waterproofing and durability.  After we have validated our processes, we will then take the unit to an independent testing laboratory for it's official "IP" or Ingress Protection Rating.  We intend to test the EscapeCapsule at 2 meters for 30 minutes for an IPX8 Rating.  As well as the scientific testing procedures, we will also go through real world testing for phone call quality and waterproofing in outdoor aquatic environments. 

Much more to come very soon.

Best,

Josh & June


Update #21

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

7 comments

Hi Team!

We have so much to share with you all.  Good news is that things are coming together and we see a light at the end of the tunnel!  We are going at a very intense pace over here.  This product has been a marathon of details, testing, discovery and problem solving.  We are now at the last details and we cannot be more excited!

There are a few people who have expressed frustration with our delays.  We totally get your frustration.  We get it.  You cannot imagine what the delays mean to us and what we have all worked so hard towards.  We stay positive knowing that we will deliver a product that we will all be proud of.  We get a constant daily stream of emails through our website with positive comments of anticipation from people all over the world.  There are 47 million people who just picked up the iPhone 4S in the last quarter.  That is a lot of people who just might want a waterproof case for the beach or poolside.  Our goal is to deliver a great working product, not a paper weight...., well, maybe it's too light to be a paperweight...  It has been more challenging than we could have ever imagined.  Please bear with us while we race towards the finish line.  We are moving forward at full speed.

T3 Samples:

The last two Fridays, we spent the day in China personally assembling working samples with the full team.  Overall, they are much improved from the last samples.  There are some areas that still need some changes and our engineers have hired a new employee who is an expert in injection molding and has been assigned to work on our project full time.  He has been all but living at the factory right now overseeing each detail.  He spent the week testing each of the variables in the tool fitting and injection parameters for the main housing and over-molding.  The reason for this is that we essentially have a few small areas where flash is occurring in the over-molded rubber.  The issue regarding flash is partly cosmetic but also functionally important for the area around the noise cancelling microphone on top.  In this area we have a specific cavity that the membrane for the noise cancelling microphone is mounted to.  The flash in this area compromises the ability to install and bond the membrane to the housing, thus creating an issue for waterproofing.  To make the over-molded rubber, we first inject the clear plastic part in one tool, then we take this clear plastic part and insert it into the over molding tool that has a different cavity for the rubber to be injected into and around the plastic part. In this, we specifically discovered that there is a very slight deformation (0.1 to 0.2mm) of the plastic housing as the rubber is injected under high pressure around the details on the top of the case.  To solve this, we have added two small pins to further support the clear plastic within the over-mold tool.  This will allow us to inject the rubber at a higher pressure than before which will improve the overall look and feel of the rubber.  Our engineers are fine tuning the tool, testing the temperature, gates, new pins and different grades of rubber to improve the flow of material through the case and get rid of the last few areas where some flash has been occurring without deforming the hard PC shell that it is molded onto.  We are very thankful that our engineer is an expert in injection molding as his experience is not common in China and he has spent a lot of time coming up with new ideas, testing many variables and working hard to get the right balance of changes to have all the features work as intended.

We are increasing the diameter of the audio plug by about 0.1 mm in diameter for a more secure water tight fit.  The current samples are water tight up to 3 meters deep.  When testing the samples at 5 meters deep, we did have a slight pressure leak at the headphone plug.  Although we will never encourage anyone to use the product past 2 meters deep, we want to build in a safety tolerance so that there is no doubt in it's performance.

Regarding the waterproofing, we have also sought out a new O-Ring supplier.  We feel that the new supplier will be able to deliver more consistent quality with better materials to ensure a great seal on every case.  We should have new samples of this very soon with a variety or shore durometers to test.  Tooling for these parts only takes about 10 days.  Adjustments even quicker.

These are the last few bits of fine tuning that we are dealing with.  We have been using a microscope to evaluate details which are measured in the fractions of a millimeter.  We were in China yesterday from 8am to 10pm going over everything and to give you an idea of how important the small things are, we spent a few hours discussing a 0.4 mm detail to strike the right balance between sealing the microphones on the perimeter of the metal band and not exerting too much force to compromise the waterproofness of the seal. Too much force would cause the case to deform and weaken the seal, while too little compromises the sound. As we have said before, the devil is in the details... and the details we deal with are microscopic.  Fun! :-D

All issues are being addressed and we will have new samples to evaluate next Friday.

Testing:

We have been using these newest units to test the sound quality and waterproofing with really good results. We call our sound engineer Dr. Sound (partly because he has a doctorate in engineering) and he's independently testing the units to help us to analyze and refine the sound quality of the case.  Subjectively, we are quite happy with the results.  The only area we would like to improve is the volume and frequency range of the ear piece speaker membrane.  We are testing a few slight adjustments and material choices to improve this and we are close to finalizing this.  I think a video update with us making phone calls is in order soon.  ;-)

For the waterproof testing, the team has designed, developed and built our own in-house pressure chamber to perform scientific testing on the EscapeCapsule.  Please see the videos below showing a few quick tests at depth.  The chamber works by submerging the EscapeCapsule under a layer of water, then pressurizing the cavity to simulate the water pressure at depth.  Depth and pressure are directly related, and we can control the simulation to represent a depth up to 10 meters.  We will use this test chamber to individually test each of the features on the EscapeCapsule so that we can be sure that the process for both injection and assembly is stable and reliable.  As well, we will have this pressure chamber at the end of the assembly line to individually test each unit before we ship the product.  Cool huh!

Production Planning:

There is a lot of work being put into designing the fixtures and processes that will be used to precisely assemble each of the sound membranes so that the installation is consistent and water tight on each product.  We are working with a supplier that specializes in these processes and has specific experience in what we are working to achieve.

We need to ensure we have the right material choice for the plastic and rubber parts before we make the purchase for the raw materials for production.  We hope to confirm this at the end of this week.  As we stated above, we will test a new rubber compound this week and have parts to test and assemble Friday.  Once we can determine the right material, we will immediately set up for a pilot run and we will make the purchase for the bulk raw materials for production!  As of now, we are looking shipping the product at the later range of the dates we gave you last time, but we will have a more clear understanding of this at the end of next week.

It has been a challenging journey to get were we are today.  More challenging that we could have ever imagined.  We are profoundly excited to be so close to production.  More to come!  Stay tuned.

Love,

Josh & June

  • Video-83499-h264_high
    Play
    00:00
    00:00

  • Image-96497-full
  • Image-96498-full
  • Image-96499-full
  • Image-96500-full

Update #20

Quick Update

3 comments

Hi Team,

Just a quick note, we have been super busy in the past two weeks since our last update.  We are on track and moving forward at a rapid pace.  Everything is on schedule from update #18.  We will have new fully assembled samples of the EscapeCapsule next week.  Right now, the factory is finalizing and fine tuning a few minute tool fitting adjustments on all parts.  As soon as we have samples, we will post our next update.  We will be putting the next samples through a lot of testing.  We are really excited. 

If all goes well in the next T3 samples, we will order the raw materials and have our official Pilot run very soon after that.  We are also working closely with the engineers to set up the assembly processes for the pilot run.  What that means is that we are creating the most efficient and consistent method for assembling each of the membranes for the touchscreen and sound ports so that this can be done consistently on hundreds of finished products.  Production is right around the corner.  The official production of the product will require a substantial order of materials pre-colored from each of the suppliers.  We are working to organize and streamline this now.  We are also engineering a testing station so that each EscapeCapsule is tested to make sure it is waterproof before we ship each unit out.  Stay tuned.  :-)

In addition to all of the design, engineering and production work that is being done, there is also a tremendous amount of work that is being done on the daily operation of the company.  Right now, we are also sorting out how we will fulfill and ship out everyone's rewards for backing the project since there are a lot of you!  If you've moved or changed address, please send us an email at info@catalystlifestyle.com to let us know.  There are so many details to take into account on how best to get this product out to each and every person in all of the countries that our backers are from.  Our list of supporters is long and we appreciate each and every one of you. 

As always, we sincerely appreciate your support.  The journey continues.  ;-)

Love,

Josh & June


586
Backers
$54,943
pledged of $30,000 goal
0
seconds to go
June%20and%20josh%20for%20ks%20final%202.medium

See full bio

  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    21 backers

    YOU ROCK! Thank you for your support in turning this product into a reality. This is a really important moment in our lives and we really appreciate you being a part of it. You will be listed you as a contributor on our website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    17 backers

    GET CONNECTED: Get a custom rubber lanyard designed by Catalyst specifically for wet environments in your choice of black, green or white (glow-in-the-dark) for $6.50 plus $3.50 for shipping & handling. Use it for your EscapeCapsule, camera, cell phone or anything you need to secure. For multiple purchases, please click this reward multiple times.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    5 backers

    EVERYBODY LOVES A T-SHIRT: Thank you for supporting us in getting our first product launched. We will send you a Catalyst T-shirt in the size of your choice for mens (M, L, XL, XXL) or women (XS, S, M, L) for $16.50 plus $8.50 for shipping & handling.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    313 backers

    THE GREAT ESCAPE: Pre-order the EscapeCapsule (which will retail for $70) in your choice of black or blue with a Catalyst Lanyard for $44 plus $6 shipping & handling. Check out our project video to see the video/sound quality inside the EscapeCapsule.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $80 or more
    You selected

    121 backers

    KICKSTARTER ONLY EDITION: Pre-order the EscapeCapsule in a "Kickstarter Green" housing over a white glow-in-the-dark shock-absorbing rubber bumper. You will also get a matching glow-in-the-dark lanyard and a special graphic thank you message from June and Josh printed on the lid for $74 plus $6 shipping & handling.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    53 backers

    SHARE THE LOVE: Pre-order the Kickstarter edition green glow-in-the dark EscapeCapsule and a regular EscapeCapsule in your choice of black or blue plus get 2 Custom Lanyards and a Catalyst T-shirt for $117 plus $18 for shipping & handling.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $185 or more
    You selected

    46 backers

    THE FULL DEAL: Pre-order the Kickstarter edition green glow-in-the dark EscapeCapsule plus 2 more EscapeCapsules in your choice of blue & black and get 2 Catalyst T-shirts and 3 Custom Lanyards for $160 plus $25 for shipping & handling.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $8,888 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (1 left of 2)

    ANGEL SUPPORTER: We think you are a pretty special human being and we love you! Your generous support will have a big impact on our ability to launch the EscapeCapsule. In return, we are going to give you an iPhone 4 32G unlocked and 10 EscapeCapsules in your choice of colors. On that note, we want you to be involved in picking the color of the next EscapeCapsule, which we will send you when available. And furthermore, we felt it would be fun to talk about colors after a brief tour of the factory, so we are going to include a trip to Hong Kong so you get to see where the product is made. We will fly you from LAX to HKG and put you up in a hotel for 7D/6N. While in Hong Kong, we will take you out for a beach BBQ and a night out on the town for dinner and drinks. Also, there are a few hidden beaches, waterfalls and epic rock climbing spots that we would love to share with you. Sound fun? Of course, it's the ultimate escape!

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)