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Make time-lapses, or trigger your camera with lasers, sound, or any other method you can think of - That's the magic of Triggertrap.
Make time-lapses, or trigger your camera with lasers, sound, or any other method you can think of - That's the magic of Triggertrap.
898 backers pledged $77,262 to help bring this project to life.

Another Triggertrap v1 delay

I can’t believe I’m here again with yet another blown deadline. It’s bloody embarrassing, is what it is, and I’m absolutely gutted that today is not going to be the shipping date for Triggertrap v1 as promised.

This time, we’ve been scammed by one of our suppliers.

Even though the Triggertrap casings were delivered to Seeed (the people who are manufacturing the Triggertrap v1) back in February, they only checked a few of the casings, and subsequently only counted the rest. Once they saw all the casings were there, the boxes went back into the warehouse, in order to be pulled back out once the PCB assemblies were going to get mounted inside the casings.

When they started doing that last week, however, it turned out that we had a really embarrassing problem indeed: The PCBs didn’t fit into the casings.

Of course, I immediately thought it was our own fault; Had we somehow made a mistake in the CAD design? Was there a problem with the PCBs? Did we somehow fail to account for something? We went over everything one more time, but it simply didn’t make any sense: We’ve already built a total of 5 prototypes using these casings – so how could something be wrong? It turns out the answer is simple: Not all casings are the same.

The problem is here; as you can see, the inner width of the casing is 65mm. The width of our PCBs are 64mm in our CAD drawings. That gives a whole millimeter, right?

As it turns out, our acrylic manufacturer didn’t quite deliver what we had asked for, and for many of the casings, the distance A is much lower than distance B – in some cases, the difference is over 1.25mm – which means that not only does it differ from the drawing by nearly 2%, the PCBs won’t fit into the casings, and the casings have to be discarded.

The Scam

We immediately contacted the manufacturer of our enclosures,  but didn’t get a reply. When Seeed Studios gave them a call, the response they received was that they refused to create additional casings, and wouldn’t even consider trying to rectify the situation.

I’ve been e-mailing them since the 28th of April, switching to daily reminders that I’m still waiting for an answer this past week, but they have only given me one reply so far:

The acrylic enclosures are curved by heat bending, there are a little bounce when acrylic cools down, the normal tolerance is ±1mm. you didn’t note the tolerance for the width, so we produce as we could. The two samples I sent to you, the “A” and “B” are different too. Our equipment could not keep A and B exact same size.

Of course, there was no mention of normal tolerance, any form of apology, or any sort of suggestion that they’d be willing to help sort out the problem.

And then, they stopped answering their phones or replying to e-mail.

And so, in the wonderful world of Chinese manufacturing, we walked into a trap: Because the manufacturers demand full payment up front, and because realistically, we have no legal comeback – there are no lawyers I could involve, there is no police I could call, and it’s too far to go there on my motorbike myself and confront them – we’ve been had.

And not just 'had' as in innocent prank; we've been had to the tune of US$4,500. That's right - nearly 7% of the money we received from our Kickstarter campaign, lost to a company that didn't deliver.

What now?

The factory have gone through all the enclosures and measured them by hand (!). It turns out that by matching PCBs that are slightly narrower to the widest of the enclosures, about half of them are useable; but measuring all the PCBs and acrylic enclosures took up a lot of time (it took 2 people working full-time 4 days to measure and QC all the enclosures)

We are working to find a new supplier that can help us have another round of enclosures made, or whether it's possible to heat-bend the enclosures into the right shape again (I don't know enough about working with acrylic to know whether this is even viable).

I’ve been walking around the flat like a helpless little ragebunny all week, but there’s nothing I can do to change the fact that yes, there’s going to be yet another delay to the Triggertrap v1 and Shield.

I’m really sorry.

When is the Triggertrap v1 shipping, then?

I’m not going to give a new estimate for when we will ship the Triggertrap v1 – hard-earned experience dictates that even if I relay the new estimates from the factory, we just don’t know whether there will be another surprise that pops up and bites us.

The next thing you guys will hear from us about Triggertrap v1 and Shield shipping dates, is when the devices are in their envelopes with addresses on the front, ready to ship.

Comments

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    1. Jordan on May 30, 2012

      Keep it up, guys! We definitely appreciate updates, even if they don't have the best news.

    2. Haje Jan Kamps Creator on May 28, 2012

      Just as a mini-update:

      Last week, we were told we would be able to ship on May 28th.

      Today, our manufacturer estimates May 30th.

      We'll see what happens when May 30th rolls around, but at least there's some (excruciatingly slow) progress.

    3. Missing avatar

      Andre Johnson on May 12, 2012

      Ziah & Haje, I would be more than willing to send you the 5$ or so that it would cost to ship out the dongle seperately, just let me know where to, paypal etc. In the interim I would like to use the 10$ triggertrap app I purchased if at all possible until the triggertrap is mailed out. Thank You

    4. Missing avatar

      Steven Haines on May 12, 2012

      Firstly, I want to say that I can only imagine your frustration. Saying that it is all part of learning how to do these things is true but it doesn't make it any easier.
      Secondly, to the impatient, welcome to the wonderful world of venture capital. Just because Kickstarter uses a community sourcing model doesn't change the fundamentals. I support Kickstarter projects because I want the product but also because I value innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. If all I wanted was the product or something important was hanging on having its capability, I'd buy an existing commercial equivalent. Triple constraint risks in projects are real, and the more 'venture' there is in the undertaking, the more they can bite. If you want to lower your exposure or are an impatient person, don't play in the venture capital world.
      Thirdly, I just laugh when I read about how all of this would have been avoided if the factory was located in (insert your country of choice). Ask a few people who has been involved in small run, low cost manufacturing in your own country and, surprise, the stories will be exactly the same.
      And, finally, to Ziah and Haje, keep going, you will get there. You have imagination and tenacity, and from what I can see from some, admittedly limited exchanges with Haje by email, the right way of dealing with people. Triggertrap Mobile shows that, even with the stress and upset of your journey so far, you are still coming up with new stuff to capture our interest. I am envious of your imagination.

    5. Haje Jan Kamps Creator on May 11, 2012

      But don't worry; we're working on finding a way of getting the Triggertrap v1 and Shield shipped out as soon as possible, which will include the Triggertrap Mobile Dongle.

    6. Haje Jan Kamps Creator on May 11, 2012

      Dave: Well, in that very same update, you'll have noticed that we **spent** that extra money on developing the Triggertrap Mobile, which means that we have zero left.

      ~H

    7. Dave Tameling on May 11, 2012

      I'm on board with the idea of shipping the dongles now while we wait for the case issue to get fixed.

      It wasn't all that long ago that you were bragging about the 'problem' of what to do with all that extra money you had thanks to us, the backers.

    8. Martin Lyle on May 11, 2012

      It's been a hell of a year for you. I empathize with your frustration. Stay focused and resolute. Shit happens. Success is within sight.

    9. Missing avatar

      Neil Challis on May 9, 2012

      It is said that the best way to learn is from your mistakes, this may be true but it is an expensive way to learn!.
      That said when you received the delivery of cases, you should have had a random sample checking program in place, maybe 1in 50 or 1 in a 100, that would have identified the problem and given you
      time to correct.

      Many people have suggested heating the cases to affect a change in internal dimensions. As i believe that the case is in two parts, you would have to do the same to both sides.
      Even if this was possible given time and money constraints, i expect that it would distort the case and introduce stress points which would result in the early failure of the case.

      Machining - Again it would depend on the thickness of wall and may result in weakening the case.
      Altering the PCB would have all the above problems plus the PCB's will have a +/- tolerance so you could run into more problems there.
      I do not believe the manufacturer has scammed you, more a case of inexperience and lack of communication, leading to this situation, maybe the manufacturer could have been more helpful in the beginning by pointing out the tolerance issue, but the responsibility is really with the designer.
      Going forward i would work with the current maker to get future cases right, after all i am sure they would want the repeat business.

      If you have can use 50% of the cases then i would complete and send to the first who backed you and keep the rest up to date with progress reports.

      I applaud you for the vision and courage to go ahead with this project, and to those who are complaining, the clue is in the Title " KICKSTARTER"

    10. Missing avatar

      Jose Hevia on May 9, 2012

      Why the case has to be acrylic? Why not to put a black box as other people said?. I have a 3d printer, I can make the case myself.

      I mean I want the Trigger trap for making photos, I understand that things don't work as they should but as Hannival said "find a way or make one". Modify the design using flat laser cutted pieces, use an ugly abs box, bend the cases, I don't know, but solve the problem. You have to be resourceful, you can't let (small, it is just a trigger) problems stop you and paralyze.

      Or just ask us if we care about the case at all(I don't), maybe a significant(20%)portion of the people does not care and you can send those people the triggertrap now. I will do the case myself if necessary.

    11. Damon Webster on May 9, 2012

      Just to be clear: you originally were hoping for 25k , you got 77K. Outstanding. Adding one extra shipping cost for 3.5K for the dongles, wouldn't break the bank since you were way over your goals. Understanding that it did cost to develop and purchase the app/dongles, and that costs. Moving forward.
      As a reviewer of products for the photo market at photoinduced.com, many new items for the market place come across our desks, and if viable we let our readers know. We let them know about the app and mentioned the main unit. This was after you showed a picture of apparently stuffed packages , ready to ship. feel a bit taken in by that.
      At the end of the day, if a product is good, the consumer is happy. If there is misleading supply side info, then the retailers get squirrely.
      I will now tell the readers to hold off. A real shame.
      In business, sometimes you have to take a hit, to keep PR on the right track. Take the half good cases and the dongles, ship those to backers. Make sure each backer has a dongle. with a 5 month window for the last batch and substandard supplier, this will delay your product, probably to a showing at Photokina or PhotoPlus. As a backer , I'm happy to help you manage the PR, ( over 20 years in marketing) but you can turn this into a huge win, with positive feedback from the folks that believe in the product.

    12. Missing avatar

      henzel on May 8, 2012

      It may be worth making a wooden block of the correct dimensions +0.5mm, and radius the edges slightly. Take an undersize box, heat it (very hot water, experiment with a microwave?) and with the acrylic slightly softened, push the block into the box. Cool. This MAY stretch the box to a usable shape. Worth a try? Best of luck, Henzel

    13. Missing avatar

      Leo Klein on May 8, 2012

      Unfortunately this is not really a scam, more a case of an inexperienced designer not doing their end correctly. Tolerancing is a very important part of engineering. Without it manufacturers will do things the cheapest possible way, resulting in hit or miss quality. An engineering drawing without tolerances is only half complete.

      If you'd specified the cases +/- 0.5mm they would almost certainly have arrived that way - but the quote would have been more than $4500 as it makes manufacturing more complex. If some of the cases were out of spec the manufacturer would have replaced them free of charge.

      You got what you paid for = cheapest possible.

      The fix? Not sure. Many materials can be milled - taking 0.5mm off a case probably won't weaken it and I'd imagine will be cheaper than a new batch. Removing the burrs may well be time consuming though. Hopefully someone who knows more about acrylic than me can advise if this or reheating is a good idea.

    14. Missing avatar

      Jose Hevia on May 8, 2012

      I don't believe this is a scam. You are using the old technique of pointing fingers when sh*t happens. You did not take into account that the material you were going to use will bounce by the manufacturing process. This is design 101 and it is your job to solve that. Modify the design to make it simpler, do what you want but ship!

      Pointing fingers is the worst thing that I could hear from someone, it means this person thinks it is ok not taking personal responsibility and blaming others. It is not.

    15. Missing avatar

      Aaron Umetani on May 8, 2012

      oh, nevermind, there aren't enough of us for a successful denial of service campaign... still, this is incredibly frustrating, I'm sorry this happened to you guys.

    16. Missing avatar

      Aaron Umetani on May 8, 2012

      I don't want to suggest we become cyber vigilantes, but if you post the info of the fradulent company, and everyone who backed this project sent a few emails to the scammy manufacturer....

    17. Missing avatar

      Jared Boone on May 8, 2012

      Aaaaaargh! That sucks! Sorry to hear about your setback guys. Just keep doing your best and try to take the long view. The heat-bending sounds like a good idea.

    18. Shawn Brezny on May 8, 2012

      Ok, I am cooled down now from my initial reaction, don't mean any hard feelings. I appreciate the updates, but please don't state a ship-date until you are 100% confident with finished/working units in hand as it just creates confusion and leads to disappointment.

      I think the best solution (time/cost) currently is to hand grind the inside of the enclosures a bit to allow the PCB to fit. Problem solved, no?

    19. Matt Heltsley
      Superbacker
      on May 8, 2012

      I am just glad you're honest and forthcoming about it. Do I mind the wait? yes. Am I frustrated? Yes. Is this a problem I'm willing to overlook because you're honest and upfront about it? Yes, just so long as the end result is worth it, which I have no doubt it will be. Plus the trigger trap mobile is a good bonus that makes the wait much easier to deal with. So thanks for that, and for being a decent human being and keeping us in the loop. You are a far better person than I am in that regard.

    20. Dean on May 8, 2012

      D'oh! A suggestion too

      Well, what a superb learning exercise for everyone involved .
      Keep up the good work there, there's no rush, it'll arrive eventually!

      On a slight 'bodge it' note... Could the pcbs be ground down a mm? Or 1/2 a mm on each side?
      Should be easy enough to set up an automatic process as there should be enough clearance from the tracks in the pcb on the edges?

      Actually did that for a small run a decade ago!

    21. Mark Derail on May 8, 2012

      I'd be happy with a generic black plastic box.
      I want this for the electronics, not the cool-looking exterior.

      Just buy a bunch of <1$ - punch appropriate holes by making a template - and hammer out or router out the necessary holes.

      A generic plastic box that is bigger, means I could use a larger capacity battery, if so inclined.

    22. Missing avatar

      Eldon Griffiths on May 8, 2012

      I have been involved in manufacturing electronics for many years and these types of problems are nothing new. Hang in there! One word of advice though... for those of us who don't mind pounding square pegs into round holes, it would be worthwhile to offer us the option of taking the working Triggertrap and a failed enclosure rather than leaving us hanging. Because you are going to trash the failed enclosures anyway you could offer to send us the good enclosure when its available.

    23. Missing avatar

      J K Hoffman on May 8, 2012

      Hey, I know this sort of thing happens, and must be just as frustrating for you guys as it is for all your backers, but it IS part of the process. After all, how many times have you dealt with Chinese manufacturers before? How many products have you built from scratch before, taking them from idea to finished product?
      The thing about Kickstarter is that we see this process happening out in the open. When we buy an iPhone, for instance, we don't see all the production problems leading up to the release of the first one. All we see is a finished product. So, you know, these things happen and they're a learning experience, for everyone.
      Hang in there and keep us as informed as you can and it'll ship eventually!

    24. Shawn Brezny on May 8, 2012

      I grow frustrated with this whole thing. I would recommend you stop talking about any firm shipping date until you have more solid facts. When you have actual completed/working units (more than a couple dozen ) then I would start talking about shipment.
      Stop using crappy Chinese manufacturing companies, they are a half step up from thieves and all I hear about is shady business practices with no recourse and accountability. Go with sources that are reputable and reliable, and that have positive references.

      Signed Very Frustrated!!!

    25. ScottG Canon on May 8, 2012

      Yes I agree with Ship it now! Send the case later. I'm sick of all the delays, I have projects to do, and now I'm going out and buy a $600 pro unit to do what this does because I can't wait much longer. Really just grind down the inside of the case or hot wire the plastic inside to make a groove to slide the PCB board in. I can do this on my own, just send the thing already. I'm getting more mad about this reading all these posts. This is why we need to keep manufacturing in your own country, and deal locally. Everything sent over seas to China, Japan, Mexico becomes a disaster real fast. I have years of experience in these problems with dealers building parts for me from all over the world. Nothing like this ever works, and is why it takes so long to make anything inexpensive today.

    26. Haje Jan Kamps Creator on May 8, 2012

      There are a few problems with shipping several parcels, unfortunately: Sending out the dongles or the casings or the Triggertraps separately would effectively double our shipping costs, and with the risk of having to re-create (or adapt) the casings, we're already in a position where we have to very careful with our cash reserve, so we can afford to ship the items.

      We have 898 backers, and each parcel will cost around $4 to ship - that's around $3,500. If we send out dongles separately, that's an additional $1800 (plus packaging and handling cost). If we also send out the casings separately, that's an additional $3000 or so (plus packaging and handling cost). Whilst shipping things now might be a great way to keep a feeling of things happening, the truth is that we simply can't afford the additional cost of shipping more than one item per person.

      ~ Haje

    27. Dennis Pamlin on May 8, 2012

      As we move on with the crowd financing it would be very interesting to see a platform where suppliers are rated and are given the opportunity to explain themselves. One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs with great ideas is to ensure that all the parts "fit together" so if we want a more diverse economy we need to ensure that suppliers understand that they will lose in credibility (and later in income) if they don't treat small entrepreneurs well.

      Please keep the information flowing and set dates based on what you know and explain the situation. For many of us I think being part of the process is half the fun, so be as transparent as you can.

      Keep up the good work.

    28. Damon Webster on May 8, 2012

      Why not send the dongle to the backers, and keep them happy. Ship the final product when it is actually ready. No more photos of stacked addressed envelopes. Unless you have enough good casings to take care of the backers.

    29. Gary Shuster on May 8, 2012

      How hard is it to insert the TT into the casing? If the answer is "really easy, five or fewer steps that a ten year old could do", then perhaps you ship the TT as-is without the casing (it should work without the casing, shouldn't it?) and then ship the casing later with instructions as to how to put it in there -- only for people who ask for the two-step ship.

    30. Missing avatar

      David Sidote on May 8, 2012

      I'm confused by this whole situation. Why was it announced on April 30th that the TT was shipping when you already knew that there was a problem and you were contacting the vendor on April 28th to get an explanation? Futhermore, the email that you sent out on April 30th said that the TT was shipping on May 7th, not May 8thw. I am trying to remain patient and understanding but this is getting exhausting already.

    31. Chris on May 8, 2012

      i second andre thomas' comment about the dongle. i need the dongle so i can time lapse the solar eclipse on the 20th. i will even pay for extra shipping. would $5 do it?

    32. Missing avatar

      Brandon Himoff on May 8, 2012

      Honestly, while these things do happen, I think your last decision in the post is incorrect. In my business experience it is better to be fully open and share often and fully going forward. Rather than give no indication at all, it would be better to say "The supplier indicated a ship date of XXX, as you know this may not work out." We have been along with you this far. While this is a little disheartening, we get it. Don't slow down the flow of information, open it up all the way. You can only do what is possible, but do your best for us. (I for one will be very excited to get my TriggerTrap.)

    33. ScottG Canon on May 8, 2012

      Don't grind off the PCB board. Just cut a slot inside the plastic case can be done easily with a Dremel or a flat tool then make to slide in the PCB board into the case. SOLVED!!!

    34. Missing avatar

      Terry Thomas Photos / Atlanta on May 8, 2012

      What about grinding off part of the circuit board? Is there 1/2mm on each side?

      Hindsight being 20/20, if you had used a domestic (and more expensive) supplier would the $4500 have been close to the difference?

      BTW, a client of mine went thru a similar problem. She had two parts made by two different firms. Of course when it came time to combine the parts they didn't fit. "Manufacturing tolerences." Now she has one firm making both parts.

      Best of luck.

    35. Missing avatar

      Andre Johnson on May 8, 2012

      Haje & Ziah - Being that the triggertrap shield will be delayed can you mail out the triggertrap dongle in the meantime? At least that way we can use the triggertrap mobile app. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    36. Missing avatar

      Robert Sholl on May 8, 2012

      Haje - I hope you are capturing this all - it would make a GREAT college/Learning Annex course. Keep rowing, the shore is getting closer!

    37. Jon Read on May 8, 2012

      Name and shame.

    38. LimboMan
      Superbacker
      on May 8, 2012

      While there is no immediate legal recourse in the current situation, you/we as a community do have power of numbers and influence on our side. As Kickstarter grows, our community grows and so does the power of negative PR on your scammy manufacturer. This may help to convince them to at least make things right. Threat of blacklisting (let's create a Kickstarter blacklist? I know other Kickstarter projects have also been the victim of manufacturer scams)?

    39. Pierce Teo on May 8, 2012

      Hi, I go China every month. If u need a person to go knock door or to give pressure. Just let me know. Plus I'm a Chinese Singaporean and I speak mandarin. And I know lawyers in China. Email me if u need help.

    40. Phil Smit on May 8, 2012

      hey guys, sorry to hear of this latest hitch, hopefully you manage to get through it, best of luck, we're all willing you to succeed! :)

    41. Missing avatar

      Doug Portz (deleted) on May 8, 2012

      If it is less than a mm, why not grind the inside of the enclosures a bit to allow the PCB to fit.