It's Been HOW Long??
Wait, it's only been a month!? Guess it’s true what Einstein said about time - when you move fast it slows down. And boy, have we been rocketing through our to-do lists! You could say we're.. relatively awesome! :)
Seriously speaking, it's remarkable how much has happened in the past month. While Tiko is minimal as far as 3D printers go, it's pretty complex by typical consumer-product standards, and there are a ton of interdependent parts that have to be prepared for production.
It’s not easy, but with a great deal of planning, hard work from the team, and lots of quick decision making we’ve been tearing a whole through spacetime since our last update! Wait, what year is it…
Playing on Home Turf
Guess who’s in China right now? This guy!
Thanks to your overwhelming support, we were able to do something amazing - we sent Mike to China to oversee production! This is a huge boost towards our ability to deliver on schedule. As you can imagine, manufacturing a product on the opposite end of the globe brings with it a plethora of challenges. But not for us, ha!
Mike currently has a temporary office within our Tier 1 manufacturer’s facility, and he’s been driving/flying around the country like mad visiting all of our Tier 2 and 3 suppliers. We can’t even begin to tell you how many little problems he's solved on the spot, days and even weeks ahead of what could be done otherwise.
He is moving mountains over there!
With all of the chassis tool troubles out of the way, we could finally make a sample run to double and triple check the tolerances of the chassis, and run tests to ensure fit and compatibility with other components. This means we can begin tooling the last of our custom parts, woo-hoo!
Above you can see a few of the twenty-odd unibodies we just received today. Tiko is multiplying!
G-Force? More like T-Force!
Remember the photo on our campaign page of our end-effector accelerometer? Well, for a long time we yearned to put that sucker onto a flexible PCB, but we weren’t sure we could justify the added cost. But, with larger orders come lower production costs, and we used that in numerous ways to subtly improve Tiko beyond even what we had created in the prototyping phase.
In the case of the accelerometer, this new configuration brings with it a number of advantages including better signal integrity, one less connection that could fail, and a reduction in stiffness of the end-effector wiring harness. And it's so tiny!!
Motors! Zoom zoom zoom!
What, you thought we were done at the accelerometers? Pfft no way! Seriously, we used the added resources to put a ton of icing on the Tiko cake, making Tiko more awesome in subtle ways that wouldn’t jeopardize the price or delivery schedule. Check out our sample run of motors... what's so special about them, you ask? Let's take a trip down memory lane...
During the campaign a number of backers expressed concerns about the small stepper motors we’re using inside Tiko. Let’s face it, we saw it coming. We used motors that - although more suitable for a compact, lightweight, and energy efficient 3D printer like Tiko - would be compared directly against the beast-like and painfully expensive Nema-series motors used in old-school 3D printers.
The concerns were always about two factors: Speed, and motor lifespan – both of which are directly dependent on the gears inside the motor housing. So... we pounced on it!
For a little extra cost and the time it took for tooling, we worked with our motor supplier to improve these little motors just for Tiko. We came up with a customized gear ratio that significantly improves speed without affecting resolution, and we use higher quality gears with a hardened material that improves lifespan. High five!
And these are just two of the many subtle improvements we’ve made to Tiko thanks to your mega-support, and boy, if you could see our R&D list your jaw would drop. We never stop innovating, ever!
When we think of an engine, we think of a 200lb, 19,000 RPM 2.4L V8. And it is in that image that we've been building Tiko's one-of-a-kind STL file slicing engine.
It's come a long way since its inception, with some pretty clever and efficient algorithms used to make it run like nothing we've seen before.
We've been testing a variety of edge cases, but it's proving to be a lean, mean, slicing machine! Thus far our benchmarks indicate it could -even in it's final production form- be an order of magnitude faster than any other slicer we've come across. Boo-ya!
So... Much... More!
There are so many little accomplishments every day here at Tiko. In fact there's so much, it's just too much to cover in depth, and most of it is top secret anyway, we're mysterious like that. :)
Rest assured, dearest backers, remarkable things are happening here, and your Tiko is well on its way to being realized. And this is just the start!
Ahh, we can't wait! Thank you all for your support and continued enthusiasm, you guys are the best!