Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 11, 2012.

Update #25

How It's Made + ElevationDock 2 + NanoPads + Apple's New Docks + Bitcoin

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Backers,

Five things for you today.

1. Bet you didn't think manufacturing could be so beautiful - see how Elevation Dock is made.

2. Right after Apple debuted Lightning, we designed Lightning Adapters to retrofit your ElevationDock and have shipped them for cost. This was never as good as our custom low-friction 30pin connectors, as the force to undock is more than the Dock's weight. We don't talk about products in development, but I will open up about this - for the past year, we've been designing, prototyping and tooling different low-friction Lightning connectors (full zinc die-casts, exotic over-molding, etc.), even made some crazy designs that look completely different than Apple’s. But making them loose enough to overcome the weight of the dock introduces intermittent charging, stability, and durability issues. Frustrating. But now we have something better...

Introducing ElevationDock 2! Defies gravity, locks to your desk - its the best undocking yet. Keeps the minimal industrial design of the original and ships in new frustration-free packaging.

The bottom of ElevationDock 2 has NanoPad, a state-of-the-art material that grips your desk hard with thousands of nano-size air vacuums. It works on any smooth non-porous surface like your desk, nightstand, even your window. It will not work on porous surfaces like cloth, unfinished wood or heavily textured surfaces. The smoother the surface, the harder it holds. If it gets dirty/dusty, it will lose adherence, but you can wipe it clean with a moist towel and let it air dry. Made for us in Japan. I think you'll really like them - we've had a lot of people testing them and they work great.

Get ElevationDock 2 here. Makes a great gift for anyone with an iPhone.

Have an ElevationDock with a Lightning Adapter already in it? Get NanoPad by itself for $7 shipped. We also have new Lightning Adapters - they adjust to fit Apple's new thicker 2m cord, installs easier, and ships with a NanoPad. 

                                                                                              .

3. Apple launches separate docks for iPhone 5s & 5c! They don't work with cases, don't come with a required cord, all-plastic, only fit that phone, and undocking is a two handed operation. Its schadenfreude and I love Apple, but their worst reviewed product is the best reason to get an ElevationDock 2.

                                                                                                       .

4. Now accepting Bitcoin! Get the best dock for iPhone for a small fraction of a BTC. Take it with you on that bitcoin funded Virgin Galactic trip - ElevationDock 2's NanoPad will work great in space!

                                                                                                      .

5. Questions for a couple hardware projects - Any feedback is really helpful!

1) Do you raise your 27” iMac or Apple display for better comfort/ergonomics? What do you raise it with and how high do you like it?

2) Have you switched from a Magic Mouse because it wasn't comfortable? Maybe I'm the only one.

3) Do you use an external USB DAC with your headphones? What's your music source?

                                                                             .

Thanks!

-Casey


Update #24

2012: Year in Review + factory seconds + photo contest

2012: Year in Review

Beginning the year, ElevationDock became the first crowd-funded project to cross $1M dollars and closed 50% higher than any previous project. Over 20,000 docks to make for 12,521 supporters around the world. 

Off the chart levels of gratitude. Off the chart levels of pressure. 

Scaling mass US manufacturing. We ordered 40,000lbs of aluminum from a mill and had it extruded through a custom die, making 2 miles of raw material.

Five state-of-the-art CNC's machined 24/7 for 4 months. 16,000 lbs of aluminum chips recycled. 4 million toolpath inches. Wore through 400+ endmills and taps. 

4,000lbs of USB cords. Tooled and made the first low-friction 30pin connector. 13,000+ emails with backers. Less than 3% of shipped docks had issues, we fixed them.

90% of manufacturing within a 10 mile radius of our shop in Portland. All the finished Docks lined up would stretch over a mile - that's 7 Eiffel towers of docks.

Read the full 2012: Year in Review on our blog, with more stats and pics.


Factory Seconds Sale

Dings, dents, anodizing spots... These misfit docks were set aside during final inspection and could use a good home. Quantities limited. Plain packaging. Available here until they run out. 

Also, for international folks - we are now offering FedEx with better rates, speed, and tracking.

.

Instagram Photo Contest: Where You Work

We want to see where you do your work, make your art, hack your code... and use your ElevationDock. Show us your ultra-minimal desk, your multi-monitor NASA control station, your Banksy art studio.

5 most interesting will win an ElevationDock and be featured. Just use the hashtag #elevationdock on Instagram and we will aggregate them. Post deadline in two weeks! We are on Instagram here.

Photo contest and details here.

.

Thank you

Thanks to all our Kickstarter backers for making this last year a reality.

We are lucky to be in this new era of hardware design where designers and engineers can hop the traditional barriers of capital and middlemen to deliver what would never otherwise exist, straight from us to you.

-Casey + ElevationLab

What would you like us to make next?


Update #23

Lightning adapters + new site!

Lightning cord adapters are available on our new site - elevationlab.com

All metal, 5-axis CNC machined, tumble polished, bright red anodized. Works with cases. Pushed the mount back 1 degree to 9.5. Clamps the cord safely and securely. Made in USA. They are $15 now for backers, $19 next year. We have been using and testing them for weeks, they work great.

We quietly launched our new site last week to make sure everything was working before a big KS update. Marco Arment spilled the beans a few hours later and the first 1000 adapters were spoken for in a couple hours. We are manufacturing them 24/7 and are currently at a 2-3 week lead time. We update that on the status page.

DIY backers

Jim Newton, founder of Techshop (of course), designed a wedge for the Dock to set the angle back further. Matt Haughey of MetaFilter, whom we met at Portland's XOXO festival, 3D printed a lightning mount modeled by Michael Buffington and was featured in Wired. We think this is all really cool and a small taste of the future.

Shipped  

We sent the final batch of docks over a month ago. There are still 100 or so with shipping address or other problems we have been working through. Returned packages from international locales also trickle in, we will email you if that happens.

Designing and making adapters

We were originally going with a plastic lightning mount with molded-in threads and set screw to secure the cord. We had a complicated steel mold made in China and got the first off-tool samples 20 days later - they sucked! You put a lot of torque on that little connector when using it in the dock and the phone ended up in a slightly different orientation every time.

So we wrote that off and designed a much stronger adapter, machined individually here in Portland, just like we make our docks (and at about 20x the cost of molded plastic). They hold the cord strongly and safely with a design that works like a bike seatpost clamp, putting lot of pressure over a large area. We wanted to make it look clean on top, so we did some special machining to separate the top surface from the clamp underneath.

The lightning connector, like all of Apple's 30pin connectors, are higher friction than our custom 30pin connectors shipped with your docks. But with the ElevationDock's weight, just some pressure from your pinky and you can remove your phone without the base moving.

New finishes

Hand polished in piano black and bright blue. They are beautiful, look glossy wet. And its a special anodized finish, not paint. They are available with our iPhone 5 dock, Lightning Adapters pre-installed.

Thank you

Special thanks to Kellie Jewett for her project management help and to Ethan and Chris for design and packaging work. A big thanks to Josh for logistics, Lorraine, Tut, Rose, Cameron, Kyle, Claire, Mary, Mike, Ric, Scott, James, and Cody who have helped this massive project deliver. Thank you Dave and Darren for help on the new site.

And big thanks to our tireless support team - Catherine, Nicole, Renee, and Lisa who have sent over 13,000 emails throughout this project to help our backers.

--

For our upcoming manufacturing video, photography contest, new product announcements, and more - you can follow ElevationLab on Facebook.

Thanks,

Casey


Update #22

Lightning Strikes

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Apple debuted their new connector yesterday for the upcoming iPhone5, its 80% smaller, all digital and works in both orientations. We will be designing and making a bolt-in swappable mount for the new cord as soon as we can get our hands on a sample. The width of the new phone didn't change, so it should fit well in the pocket and make these future proof.

On the manufacturing front, we have less than 15% left to get through bead blasting and anodizing. This, as you know, has been a very frustrating step in this big project. The new vendors we brought on have had a high percentage of rejected parts - mostly from uneven surface finishes on the hard to control micropolishing step where they dip the docks in 210° bathes of mostly nitric and phosphoric acid. As we have learned, the chemistry in these bathes changes throughout the day so samples have to be frequently taken to the lab for titration and then chemical levels adjusted.  We had to bring them to a halt a half dozen times to get their processes right and have been working with them directly on their shop floors. Refinishing those non-passed parts makes them take about 4x as long to do because they have to be inspected, stripped, re-blasted and anodized again. I think these final docks should go out the week after next if our anodizers stay the current course.


Thanks,

Casey & ElevationLab


Update #21

Final stretch

The 19000th dock and back plate has finished machining. Whew.

Our two bead blast/anodizing vendors that we talked about in prior updates are still having problems delivering to us at their promised speed and quality. I personally apologize to the remaining minority of backers that have not got their docks yet, it has been extremely frustrating communicating to you what has been firmly committed to us and not being able to deliver at that speed.

Our surface finishing process, which matches the beautiful finish on Apple's aluminum parts, takes twice as many steps as common anodizing and there are dozens of variables that affect the final finish - all have to be carefully controlled and repeated. Its doubly hard doing it at this huge scale. Parts that do not come out right are stripped, re-blasted and go through the process again. (1000+ rejected parts in the past month). A third anodizer has been brought on to help this final push and beyond.

If you haven't got your dock yet, it will not be long.  And reiterating, we do plan to make a bolt-in swappable upgrade if Apple does change their connector.

Thank you,

- Casey and everyone at ElevationLab

(If you need to contact us, please email kickstarter[at]elevationlab.com and not through the Kickstarter messenger. If asking about your shipment date, its as fast as our vendors can anodize them and that has fluctuated daily.)


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