Introducing the Stingray Alpha, our proof-of-concept, looks-like, works-like prototype:
The ball machine you bring to the squash court in your squash bag!
That's quick and easy to put up and take down:
And changes the way you train. Forever!
Being held back by one shot?
With Stingray you can adjust feeder height, speed and angle to simulate any shot. Serves, drives, drops, kills. From anywhere on the court, over and over again.
Exorcise your Demon(s).
Master the next shot on your journey.
A drive from the front, a volley kill, a volley drop and (dare to dream), an overhead crosscourt nick are just 4 more of the shots you can tame with Stingray's help.
Movement is fundamental to squash.
Free yourself to add movement to your solo drills and start ingraining good basic habits now.
Does a chill run down your spine when your opponent shapes to lob?
You're not alone. A good lob challenges your balance, footwork, racket skills - the list goes on.
Because the shooter can be angled upwards at about 60 degrees, Alpha could, in a pinch, moonlight as King of the Loopy Lobs. (Wasn't that a character in Game of Thrones? Ed.)
Dethroning Kings can be messy. Do your deposing in private, with Stingray.
Developing the skills to deal with the variety of ways the ball can be played across your body is one of the unique and wonderful personal challenges that makes squash the best game in the world.
For many of us, feeding ourselves on the angle is, unfortunately, a personal challenge too far.
Add angles to your solo training with Stingray.
Alpha uses two 360KV brushless multirotor motors to generate ball speeds of up to 175kph.
Alpha weighs-in at around 7 kilograms. We intend to take as much weight out of Stingray as we can without sacrificing consistency of ball speed or feed-rate.
Alpha packs comfortably into a lightweight Dunlop Srixon Performance backpack (49cm x 38cm x 25cm). That's shooter, battery, spare battery, magazine, head, tripod and balls.
If possible, we'll make Stingray smaller.
Stingray is modular. Need more power? Add a battery. Want more balls? Add a ball magazine. Own a telescope? Mount your shooter on that tripod and shoot for the stars.
Alpha has 3 controls that will be carried through to Stingray: an on-off switch (1), a dial for ball speed (2), and a dial for ball feed-rate (3). The fourth switch (4), a hang-over from our experiments with alternate ball feed mechanisms, might be carried over.
Alpha is aimed manually. Stingray will also be point-and-click.
Alpha is mounted on a Manfrotto 115 head attached to a Rangers' 57inch Classic Aluminium Tripod. The 115 has two handles: one to adjust roll (R), and one to adjust pitch (P).
Our intention with Stingray is to simplify the head. We think roll is surplus to requirements.
That said, it will be possible to mount your Stingray on any adequately rated head and tripod combination.
Stingray is magazine fed. Magazines will be hot-swappable and do double-duty as ball collectors.
Alpha's ball magazine is a modified off-the-shelf ball tube. Or, as they say in the US (trigger-warning for sensitive UK-based readers), a modified "ball shagger". At 32 inches long, Alpha’s magazine holds 22 balls, but is too long to pack into a squash bag.
We intend to reduce the pack-size of Stingray's magazine and increase the number of balls it can hold.
Alpha is battery powered. Stingray will be too. No tripped lights, no agro from your club's Health and Safety, no cords to fall over.
Alpha uses hot-swappable 18V Bosch Li-ion power tool batteries.
For Stingray, if we can use an existing interface standard we will. If we can find an off-the-shelf battery solution, even better.
With Alpha, we calculated a 6.3Ah battery would give us at least 600 shots at full speed. In our demos and tests, we've always got more than 40 minutes of use out of a fully charged battery.
The Bosch battery has a stand-alone charger that charges a 6.3Ah battery in under an hour. That’s the kind of performance we want for Stingray too.
Because it's light enough to be mounted on a tripod, Stingray can be raised up and angled to shoot down. We like this idea because it allows attacking shots to be simulated.
Want to work on returning stuns, kills and (almost) nicks? Stingray is here to help.
Whether it’s vacuum-formed, injection-molded or made from structural foam, Stingray will be durable enough for life on court.
"A really nice bit of kit." Alison Waters tries a ball machine for the first time.
Zac works on his front-court finishing: "A machine like this will help me move up."
"If there was one here, I'd book a court with it." Dave masters the high loopy serve.
"Can only help you and improve you." Tom Richards nails some nicks.
"I think it's brilliant! Definitely benefit my game." Harry hits some forehand stuns.
"Really beneficial." Josie, Hannah and Kate, get the consistency they need to groove their shots.
"Fantastic complement to normal play or coaching." Alex focuses on his footwork and split-step.
"I think it's fantastic!". Jon uses boast-and-drive to work on getting the ball deep into the corners.
"It's time squash steps up!" Emma drills her movement into and out of corners.
"It hits the ball hard." Lawrence goes high-energy!
Getting a prototype to production is always tough. We think an informed, engaged user community is vital if we're going to get Stingray over the line.
More money will be nice too. Your pledges will help fund:
- the design and development of custom electronics,
- the build of a second prototype (Alpha II),
- design for manufacture,
- production tooling,
- testing and certification,
- pre-production engineering, and
- the bulk buy of the materials needed to complete production.
Former professional squash player, former South African No. 1, former World No. 55. Now a respected and passionate coach, passing on his love of the game to players of all levels.
Longtime squash enthusiast of markedly (tragically?) different ability to Jesse. Determined now to make portable squash machines a reality.
DOMESTIC SHIPPING - To 32 Countries:
United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and 27 EU Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The price of shipping to the 32 countries listed above includes VAT, GST and duties. In other words, backers with a shipping address in any of these countries will NOT have to pay any additional duties, sales tax, VAT, etc. when their package is delivered.
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING - Rest of the World:
The cost of shipping to the rest of the world does NOT include VAT, GST or duties. Depending on the import policies of their respective countries, backers from countries not listed above may have to pay additional import duties or other applicable taxes to the relevant authorities upon receipt of their goods.
The duties and tax rates vary from country to country and we are unable to help you determine the potential cost for your shipment.
To learn about the duties and taxes applicable to your shipment, check with the customs and border protection authority of your country.
Kickstarter.com is a crowdfunding website that allows you to support entrepreneurs by pre-ordering their products at discounted prices.
1. Click 'Back this Product' or 'Pre-order Now'
2. Pick a reward
3. Choose your shipping destination (if applicable)
4. Continue as a 'Guest' or 'Create an Account'
5. Add your payment information
In May, Stingray appeared on a Squash Skills backhand return-of-serve playlist with Jesse.
In June, on a side court at the Allam British Open, SquashTV put some pros to the test: who could hit a crosscourt forehand nick? - with a blindfold on!
- November: What do other players and coaches want?
- February: Sketch ideas. Do some maths. Spec proof-of-concept prototype (PoC).
- March - April: Build PoC.
- May - September: Test and tweak PoC.
- February - May: Design and build looks-like, works-like prototype (Alpha).
- June - October: Test and tweak Alpha.
- November: Alpha debuts on court. Stingray Squash Machines Limited formed.
- April - June: Alpha goes on the road, debuts on Squash Skills and SquashTV.
- July: Launch Kickstarter.
- August - November: Prototype control electronics. Update mechanical design. Build, test and tweak Alpha II.
- October - December: Select factory and fulfillment partners.
- December: Begin design-for-manufacture (DFM).
- January - March: Complete DFM. Build detailed engineering prototype.
- February - March: Complete certification.
- March - June: Production.
- May - June: Ship rewards!
For design, development and prototype tweaking:
For video production and photo shoot:
Risks and challenges
Moving a product from Alpha prototype through to production is a challenging undertaking. Over the last two years we've worked with the designers, product engineers and model makers at Therefore, Primordial Soup and Atom to get Stingray this far and we'll continue to partner with leading design, manufacturing and fulfillment companies as we progress. We'll also be totally transparent. We'll keep you updated and we won't hide any problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)