Hello Backers and people following our project,
We have bad news for our Canadian backers: the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) does not allow the use of “aluminum sheathed heating elements” in cooking appliances. The heatsink that surrounds our heating elements is anodized aluminum, so it’s nonreactive, and the heaters are self-regulating, but the wording of the requirement seems to clearly cover our case. This means we won’t be able to fulfill orders to Canada until we find a workaround (we’re working toward a brass replacement).
Next, we have given samples of our Nomiku to ETL. It will take them a week to develop a test plan for the Nomiku and that’s when we’ll know how long their full test is. ETL runs tests to the UL standard, except they can turn around their tests in a shorter amount of time than UL itself. However, there is the possibility they will want to run a 1,000 hour test on the Nomiku. In the event that this happens it would take them 10 weeks to test the Nomiku instead of their usual 6 weeks, and this would delay our shipment for a month. We’re really bummed that this could be a development and will keep you updated. ETL and UL are here to keep you safe, so we’re not going to ship without it even though we are pained to keep you waiting. Thank you for your patience and please know we do not take it for granted.
Since our tooled plastic parts have come off, we’ve tested them mercilessly and have made modifications to our tools — this is typical after the first tooling. This first cycle has been a bit longer than we expected as it’s been hard to keep everyone synced up and keep tests running over the holidays. The second tooling cycle will be finished next week, and we’re all-hands-on-deck to get the test results in ASAP.
We’ve had a few major challenges over the last few weeks. One of them has been sourcing a power cable with multiple conductors (we needed 7) to go from the body of the Nomiku to the switching power box. Our factory let us down in sourcing this, and so we had to scramble to get something to work. We found a good solution quickly, but although it was UL rated for “external interconnection of appliances,” it wasn’t right for use in the kitchen. We ended up doing some changes to get our requirement down to 6 conductors, for which we found a sufficiently small and flexible cable that meets the UL standards.
Another challenge we’ve come across in life testing is steam entering the body of the Nomiku. Although we made the body waterproof, we found that the hot and humid air that entered the Nomiku could change temperatures significantly as it moved up, giving rise to condensation near the screen. This obviously shortens the lifetime of the Nomiku, and we’ve been set on fixing the problem all month. We thought we had it solved with a rotary seal at the bottom, which would block the hottest steam from entering the body. However, despite our efforts the seal has been inadequate, and we’re falling back on a second set of seals inside the Nomiku. We think Bam is now about 10% RTV (silicone sealant) from how much he has been covered with the sticky substance. We’ve solved the steam issue in some test cases, and just need to work out a way to produce the results reliably and test each unit for proper sealing before shipping.
Although a few problems have cropped up, we’ve seen awesome progress over the last few months and couldn’t be more excited about the state of Nomiku. We have a whole batch of Nomikus humming away and made almost completely from off-tool parts. We’ve tuned our heaters to squeeze more power out of them. We’ve streamlined the shape and have a great feeling knob and touch screen. We’ve made Nomiku run quieter with each iteration. The software is done and, as promised, the user experience is intuitive and beautiful. People have gathered around in groups just to watch Nomiku work.
When we first started making our Nomikus with our factory, they told us they had never made anything like the Nomiku before and we really had a hard time believing them. After all, they make amazing kitchen appliances for all the top companies in the world like Breville and Nespresso. But now it’s clear, this is a truly unique animal, we have a custom smart heater never used for immersion circulation before, intuitive UI, amazing power, and near silence. Check out our tooling pictures below!
We will continue to be on top of the issues and let you know any further developments.
If you have any questions you can contact Lisa at [email protected] and we try to update our Facebook page every day.