As alluded to at the end of last week we had to wait a tiny bit longer than hoped for our Tormachs to clear the border. We'd been hoping to get them on Wednesday but for some reason they didn't show up until Monday (we're still not sure why...), and then our laser came today so we decided to delay the update just a tiny bit more so we could get pictures of everything in. Speaking of which, this update is going to be very picture heavy - we've attached everything "large" this time so please let us know if they're not showing up properly on your browser.
First and foremost though, some more samples! We've verified all of our sheet metal and it is *beautiful*.
So many samples... notice the full enclosure on the left, the inner steel chassis in the middle, and the aluminum bottom pan everything sits in on the right. The sides are bottom right, and then many bags of internal parts bottom left.
Another UL mandated change - no plastic fan duct allowed. So, it's now sheet metal with pop in grills (not shown) that are "outside" of the fire enclosure (it's hard to see in the picture but there is grating right at the fan mount to make it fire safe). We're blown away by the quality of the sheet metal work here...it's a very precise and complex part, and it came out beautifully!
Another great thing we've had done is ensure all the parts are cut at the correct orientation. Once they come off the laser, significant sanding and de-burring is required to make the pieces safe. Our supplier orients everything so this all happens on the hidden inside (on the right), leaving only beautiful aluminium for your eyes (left).
Next up, some new machines! We finally got our two Tormachs (they're being set up later today and should be ready to make chips by next week...we've been using George Brown College's equipment in the meantime to make all our samples while our machinery gets set up for the main production run (Thanks GBC!)).
Though they took a little longer than we'd hoped to get here, they're beautiful machines, and will allow us to make all of our machined parts much faster and to a higher quality than otherwise possible at our price point. In addition to the Tormachs, our laser showed up today - it's got pass through doors big enough to swallow 4'x8' sheets of plastic and software / electronics to drive an auto loading tray, so we can cut parts all day long with minimal effort.
And there they are! This is, of course, just the actual mill itself - all of the accessories like stand, enclosure, coolant system, fourth axis, tool changer, and PC to run everything will be part of the next update when we show everything set up and running.
Those who followed our update with the Okuma will notice that control circuitry has come a *long* way in the past two decades - While the Okuma can cut far faster and more powerfully than the Tormachs (to make our grinder wheels), it needed a full electrical cabinet instead of this small little door - and still doesn't have as much processing power for complex geometries as these do.
Last but not least, our laser cutter - it's got an 80 watt tube, a full 4'x3' bed, and the owner of Rabbit laser drove all the way up from Ohio to spend a day with us installing and calibrating it. Thanks Ray!
Last but not least of course, the new additions to the team. With all this talk of new tools and the challenges of certification and production, it's easy to forget that behind the scenes, of course, are people! And we feel it's very important to note that all of these challenges are being met by some truly talented individuals who we're incredibly lucky to have on board. It's not a stretch to say that without our incredible team, we wouldn't have even made it to Indiegogo. But now that we're navigating UL, redesigning on the fly while preparing for production, and simultaneously increasing both the speed and quality of our production , it's time for us to outline everyone we have on board for production and how they'll all help us function more effectively as a company going forward.
These three new recruits are of course in addition to Alex and myself, and our logistics manager David Laciak, who's been instrumental in coordinating suppliers, shipping and packaging, sample lead times, sourcing components from around the world, and much more! We'll be updating the "team" page on our website soon to reflect the current status, but in the mean time read on to see who's helping bring your ProtoCyclers to life:
Siraj Ahmad Shukri
Siraj has been working more and more with Alex at George Brown through our R&D and with production looming we decided it was time to bring him on board full time. He somehow manages to hit shockingly high targets of precision - the grinder wheel samples were done by hand to within half a thou of tolerance in all dimensions - without taking any longer than most people would to finish the job at all. He has a degree in CNC machining and engineering from George Brown and is just crazy enough to actually enjoy spending incredibly long days manning 3 machines at once, all with a smile on his face and some classic rock pumping over the speakers. He will, not surprisingly, be managing all of our in house machining and production.
We met Jen through engineering at UBC (where she got her degree in electrical engineering), and when she found herself out east testing RF equipment for Nokia Networks, we persuaded her to come over to ReDeTec and help us out instead. She'll be leading all of our electrical production and assembly, as well as all of the final testing and quality control. She's turned our rats nest of wiring into a well organized, totally UL compliant work of wiring art, and has also found some time to help David out with component sourcing and in-house inventory on the electrical and componentry side. She's also helped us find a ton of minor little ways to improve things that - when all added up - make the whole user experience much nicer.
Some of you might remember Andrew as the original designer for ProtoCycler, our website, our banners, our logo, our campaign graphics...heck, he's designed pretty much everything. We've always worked well with him and with an industrial design degree from Carlton University just a few classes away, we decided to try and grab him before he found somewhere else to call home over the next few years. In addition to leading a lot of the in house assembly including the laser cutting (a job he also held at Carlton), he'll be taking care of the user manual, documentation, final packaging design, and helping us streamline our production process to make everything run as smoothly as possible. We've also got some ideas for some new accessories and products down the line, and once we've gotten ProtoCycler in production and exceeding everyone's expectations, he'll be helping us to design those as well.
Last but not least, some exciting news on timelines, etc - we're expecting to hear back on our preliminary testing by the end of next week, so we should have some great news at that point! Please note this is not the full / final stamp of approval, just a great milestone that we've at least got a huge part of the process locked down. We'll also have our entire shop set up by then, so there will be more pictures of the certification results, the new production facility up and running, and of course the final units.
Thanks as always for following our story, and for all the positive feedback we continue to receive! We mentioned earlier on that it's really people that make the difference, and as backers, contributors, pre-orderers or supporters, you're all definitely a huge part of that.
Enjoy the pics and stay posted for more soon!
-The ReDeTec Team