Modern Day Craftsmanship

In addition to design, I am very involved in the manufacturing of the products. For me, the actual making and assembling of products is the equivalent of modern day craftsmanship. Our QC process, testing, quality check and recheck are all part of the makings of a quality product we can be proud of. As an industrial designer, I've come to realize the manufacturing of consumer products is far from an automated process where raw materials go in one end and a bunch of robots magically assemble the end product out the other. 

The truth is most of the products we buy and take for granted are assembled by the hands of many many workers including electronic devices and various gadgets you think would be rather automated. The care and skill of those workers can be often seen in the final product. No matter how good the design is, it takes people who care and take pride in their work to make great products. The assembly table is only a few feet away from my desk and currently I'm at the assembly line more often than I am at my desk and I love it. :) 



Super Interns

You might have noticed a few extra faces in the last posts.  We are most fortunate to have 3 new super interns.  Ali (in photo with Ti above) and Carolyn and Alex in photo with Lauren (L to R).  Not quite sure how we would have managed to get this first batch out without them.  They have been amazing, and a lot of fun to have on the team.


Crave Postal Service

The last few days have been all about building up to the last moment, then loading up the car and doing a mad dash to the post office, each time making it within a few minutes of closing.  We have actually maxed out their capacity and the local postal workers - all in a good spirited way - are not really sure what to do with us :)


An Inside Peek at Our Little Production Faclity

The team has been working pretty much non-stop for weeks getting all the CKIE Duets into production.  Due to some issues with a few of our external machine shop vendors we have had to get two mills under our own roof tooled up and running at full capacity to get everything done ASAP.  The above video is a quick walking tour of our humble home.


R2D2 Assembly Machine

Meet our R2D2.  As we started building the first volume batches of Duets, it became clear ot us that our manual fixture to assembly the body wasn't going to cut it.  So in a bit of late night Friday night robotics engineering, our super engineer Andrew (Alvin is actually in the video) sauced up this little gem.  It precisely assembles the Duet body in a matter of seconds.  A vast improvement our original approach.


1st Big Shipment

While we shipped a small number last week, today marked the first larger volume batch of Duets to go out the door.  So far things are going pretty smoothly in these final stages of production and we are still tracking to ship all non-memory CKIE Duets by the end of the week of Dec 5th.

A number of backers have asked about what the final packaging will look like when it arrives at their door.  As you can see in the top image, we have worked keep things as discreet as possible, with the final product showing up in a little white box.



We had actually been planning on laser engraving most of the parts out of house.  This turned out to be much more problematic then we had anticipated.  After two different local laser engraving vendors destroyed a bunch of inventory by either engraving off center or too deep, we decided we needed to bring the process in-house.  So we to scramble last week and find the right machine and got it here this last weekend and fortunately was able to get it up and running very quickly.  This is going to both make things much easier for us to get the quality we wish, and allow us to do more personalization and serialize each Duet.  The video above shows CRAVE being engraved into the band (this one was a test, a bit too high), as well as the serialization of each unit.

For those wondering why the video is green, it is because this particular laser can harm the operators eyes, so it is housed in a safety cabinet with a special optical glass filtered window so you can look into it while in use.


Final QC

Final QC for the next group of Duets getting ready to ship.  Working on shipping a large batch before the US Thanksgiving holiday.


1st Duets Ship!!!

The very first batch of Duets went out today!  They all passed QC smoothly and I think we have the shipping and tracking system up and running smoothly.  Working on a much larger shipment next week.


Duet Head Vibration Testing

In an effort to ensure that all Duets arrive performing as intended, each vibrator head is being tested at full power over a 4-hour period.  Doing these one at a time wasn't going to be practical, so we designed a little board/test fixture where we can test 24 at a time.  We actually have several of these fixtures, so we can easily test a few hundred Duets a day.


Testing to Ensure Waterproofness

One of the key QC (Quality Control) steps we are employing for Duet is to create a vacuum on both the vibrator head (shown here) as well as the body.  This helps us ensure the product will be waterproof by testing for any pressure leakage.  Each and every head and body will be tested before it is shipped out.


Packaging Arrives

Final packaging showed up today!  Took a little extra time and effort to sort out the supply-chain for FSC material, but we think it was worth it.  Packaging is one of the processes we are doing locally - up North a bit from us in Sacramento.  On initial inspection, it looks like it came out really well.

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