About

Dear backers,

Thank you for your contributions to HubCase. As you may have noticed, our Kickstarter campaign is not in the most optimal place. All the assets on this particular campaign have been made by me, and they are not the best. Also with this being my first campaign, I did not have any experience with promotion or marketing. Therefore, keeping the campaign somewhat afloat has been a bit of a challenge. However, after realizing this issue, we immediately got to work fixing it. So, I am happy to announce that we will be relaunching HubCase on Kickstarter around September 15th (PST Timezone). I will be closing this campaign on the 18th or the 19th (PST Timezone). We will be relaunching under the same product name: HubCase, and I invite you to back us on our new campaign. Upon closing the campaign, your backed funds will to returned to you.

Thank you for your continued support in HubCase,

Best,

Jim Fang (Innovox Inc.)

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Quick bits:

Innovox is a small startup based in Castro Valley, California. This is our first product, and our first Kickstarter campaign. Our mission is to make human interactions with technology seamless with creativity, imagination, and ingenuity.

  • What are we making?

We are making an all-in-one USB-C Hub & protection case for the MacBook Pro 13'. It is basically an all metal protection case with a USB-C hub attached to it. See the sections below for more information.


How did we come up with this idea?

My first Mac ever was the MacBook Pro 13' (2018 Model), I finally decided to give the Mac platform a try. I knew that I would need a USB - C (Type-C) hub to get all my ports back, so I bought one on Amazon thinking it won't be that big of deal... That changed after a few days, when I took it traveling. First I lost the USB - C hub in my backpack, meaning I could not get any files from my GoPro to my computer for the first leg of the trip. Then after I dug through my backpack and found the hub, I realized that the hub was basically killing itself every time it got used on my lap. I had my MacBook Pro sitting on my lap, and the hub was hanging off the side of the MacBook by its connector... 

Reenactment - Imagine the laptop sitting on my lap, and the hub is hanging by its connector.
Reenactment - Imagine the laptop sitting on my lap, and the hub is hanging by its connector.

I tried the hubs that don't have a wire connecting it (the plugs), and it still did the same thing. There was enough pressure from the USBs that the hub's USB - C connector eventually came loose and the hub stopped working.

One big difference between laptops and desktops are that laptops are portable, whereas desktops are not. With laptops, you should be able to use it almost anywhere, on a train, an airplane, on the front dash of your car, on the center console of your car, on the front hood of your car... etc. However, with the MacBook Pro, a hub is required almost everywhere, but there are places where hubs are very inconvenient, like in the back seat of a car.

So I thought... What if there was a hub that was like the one without wires (the plugs that go straight into the computer), but had the whole MacBook Pro body to stop it from putting pressure on its connector?

We eventually came up with something like this, and HubCase was born:

All the essential connectors secured by a magnesium alloy case that bounds the hub to the body of the MacBook. The case also protects your Mac as well!

There is nothing like this product on the market, a super light magnesium alloy case with a massive USB-C hub on the left that connects with the case for maximum support. We have also engineered the USB hub to operate independently, meaning, the USB hub can be used for a short amount of time without the metal case!


Design & Thought process for the HubCase: What we wanted it to be: 

We wanted the HubCase to be everything above, but all in one. No more hassle with trying to track down a specific adapter to a specific port, no more losing adapters, and no more hanging or snapping USB  - C Hubs.

We also wanted the protection case to actually protect the MacBook, the plastic case I had on my MacBook was the first to fly off when I dropped it... We wanted HubCase to have a rigid metal case that would actually hold up to scratches and drops.

We also chose a metal case for cooling. Most cases on the market used plastic, and if we were to use plastic for our case, it would basically be sealing the MacBook Pro and the USB - C hub in a big plastic bag. MacBooks can get very hot (mine got up to 100 C at the hottest (CPU Temp - Actual case got up to about 60 C)...), and surrounding the computer and the hub in plastic would lead to a lot of cooling issues. 


Current USB - C Hub solutions on the market:

Current case solutions on the market:

 Our USB - C Hub Solution:

  • What are the benefits of a USB - C hub attached to the MacBook Pro?

There are two main benefits:

-> Reduced USB - C wear on the MacBook Pro's ports. A HubCase is cheaper then replacing your MacBook's motherboard.

-> Convenience - No need to bring dongles everywhere... The hub is right there on the left. with all your ports, whenever and wherever you need it. 

  • Why did we put it on the left?

We chose to put the USB - C hub on the left, because we did not want to drill a hole for the headphone port on the right. Drilling a hole for the headphone port will limit the headphone port to only headphones with slim headphone ports. We also did not put the PCB boards on the bottom of the MacBook pro because that would cause tons of overheating issues, as most of the MacBook Pro's heat exhausts from the bottom, near the hinges. 

  • Electronics Test
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Our Case Solution:

We wanted HubCase to have the protection of a heavy duty plastic case, but not the size of it. We tried to see if there was already a metal case on the market. We searched through the first 10 pages of Amazon (Query: "MacBook metal case"), and we were not able to find any. So we decided to give it a try. 

Our case has multiple points where the case is attached to the MacBook. We made sure that these attachment points are tight enough to hold on, but not tight enough to scratch your MacBook.

  • What metal is it made out of, and why?

For HubCase's case, we chose AZ91D Magnesium Alloy. We chose magnesium because magnesium is known for its corrosion resistance, high thermal conductivity (compared to most cases on the market, which are made out of plastic), light weight, and good strength. The chart below shows the benefits of magnesium alloy. Although magnesium alloy does not have the best material properties across the board compared to aluminium, it is lighter then aluminium. Although aluminium has better properties, magnesium is a better balance between metal properties and weight.

  • Is it secure? Does it protect the MacBook?

We did a few drop tests from table height (No MacBooks were seriously harmed during these tests), and found that the MacBook almost always landed on the bottom 4 corners. So we engineered HubCase to protect the bottom 4 corners. We added extra magnesium (from 1.4mm to 2mm) to protect against drops. 

  • It's metal, so will it scratch my MacBook?

No, we thought of this during our design meetings, and we added rubber stripping around the inside of the case to protect the MacBook getting scratched by the metal case. We have included another set in the box, just in case it somehow falls off.

  • The top case...

So we thought about manufacturing a metal cover for the MacBook, but we did not. The main reason we did not make a cover is because of the potential legal issues. Most plastic cases are transparent enough to show the Apple logo, however because our cover will be metal, it will completely cover the Apple logo. This makes the MacBook look really ugly, because the top of the MacBook will just be blank. 

However, if we trace the Apple logo, and cut the Apple logo out in our case to let the Apple logo show through, there may be copyright issues. So we are still working on a workaround. If you have any suggestions, please send them our way! Our email is admin@innovoxtech.com. If we choose to use your solution, you will get an extra special reward! :)

Research & Development (R&D) & Prototyping:

We have gone through many stages of development. We started in April of 2019 with hand draw, highly conceptual designs, and slowly moved towards CAD. Eventually, after there was a basic CAD, we started prototyping using CNC machining.  

1st Prototype - CNC Machining Failure
1st Prototype - CNC Machining Failure

 Note: We did paint the 3rd Prototype, but only the 4th (final) one has working electronics. (This will explain it self in the "Production Planing & Scheduling" section)


Why choose HubCase: Savings breakdown:

HubCase Technical Specifications:

  • Metals/Mechanical Specifications:

Main protection case material: Magnesium Alloy AZ91D

Sheet cap of USB - C Hub material (Small plate to cover circuit board): Aluminium Alloy 6063 

  • Electronics (USB - C Hub) Specification**:

USB - C (Type-C) Thunderbolt 3 Port (x1) - DRP/DRD capabilities; DRP PD @ 60W (Capable 100W) 

USB - C (Type-C) Port (x1) - USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Read & Write up to 5Gbps)

USB - A Port (x2) - DRP/DRD USB 3.2 Gen1 (Read & Write up to 5Gbps), BC 1.2 compliant (Max 1.5A)

HDMI-A Port (x1) - HDMI 1.4 (4k Full Frame @ 24Hz, 4k UHD @ 24, 25, 30 Hz, 1080p @ 120Hz, audio pass through, supports sYCC601, Adobe RGB, Adobe YCC601)

SD & MMC Port (x1) - SD/SDHC/SDXC (100 Mb/s Read & Write), RS-MMC/MMC Micro Support

Micro SD Port (x1) - Micro SD, Micro SDHC, Micro SDXC (100 Mb/s read & write)

**Read & write speeds mentioned in this section may differ depending on the user's operating environment 

  • Product Dimensions:

Length: 34.29 cm (13.5 in)

Width: 21.59 cm (8.5 in)

Height: 1.59 cm (5/8 in)

Weight (Without MacBook or packaging): 286 g (0.63 Ibs)

Colors available: Gray & Silver

HubCase Installation & Removal Instructions:

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Budget breakdown (What will we do with your donated money?):

Note: Regulatory Fees included
Note: Regulatory Fees included

Although this project will cost about $120k, we have other fund raising methods, and since this is our first Kickstarter campaign, we did not want to start with such a big amount. Although we have other fund raising methods, your contributions are critical to the HubCase project! Every dollar will help! Thank you for understanding!

Naturally, Molding, the Magnesium Alloy, and the Electronics are the bulk of the costs. We were able to push the mold cost down, so that is why the price is lower the the metal. 

We will use your contributions to help with production costs, and bringing this project to life. In return, we will be sending a HubCase your way!

Production Planing & Scheduling:

Below is a timeline of our current milestones. The timeline will be updated as the campaign goes on. Please see "Delivery & Fulfillment" for a rough estimate of when you will receive a HubCase.

Delivery & Fulfillment: 

We currently plan on delivering HubCase to Kickstarter backers in October 2019. We will update backers if we are able to deliver early or if there are any delays. We will also monitor feedback from backers and communicate to make improvements.

Thank you!!!

Thank you so much for your contributions to this project. This is our first Kickstarter campaign, so please excuse any mistakes/technical issues we have on this campaign. Thank you for helping to bring this project to life!

Cheers,

Jim Fang

Founder, CEO of Innovox Inc & Inventor of HubCase

Risks and challenges

We, Innovox Inc. will try our best to fulfill all Kickstarter rewards on time, however, unforeseen factors could cause delays, or cause us to be unable to fulfill all or some Kickstarter rewards. If we are unable to fulfill rewards, we will do our best to refund backers. However, please note, this is still an "investment", and there are still risks involved, and there will be difficulties that we will have to overcome together.
Unforeseen factors include:
- Production difficulties (Factory technical difficulties)
- Product design & technology difficulties (Major changes to the design that generates a large number of unforeseen costs)
- Force Majeure (Earthquakes, Floods, Wild Fires, etc)
- Low or no demand (Causing us to not be able to manufacture)
- High tariffs, or high fees
- Shipping delays
- Items lost at port
- Items destroyed during shipping
- Customs issues
However, despite that extremely long list, we will try our best to mitigate our risks and deliver on time! Thank you for understanding!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1

    Welcome & Thank you!

    Thank you for donating! You will get behind-the-scenes peeks & updates before the general public! Thank you for your donation and support!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 81 or more About US$ 81

    Early Access!

    You'll get a HubCase before it starts selling anywhere else! Choose from space gray or silver (note: 13' only, 15' coming soon!).

    Includes:
    • HubCase: AIO USB-C Hub & protection case for the MacBook Pro 13'
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    2 backers
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Funding period

- (60 days)