Happy new year! We hope you all had a relaxing winter holiday. We had a pretty intense month, heads-down working to get the off-tool parts just right before we came back to the US for two weeks to visit our families. Everything is still on schedule, and we’re going back to China on Sunday to prepare the final samples for UL and to setup and test the production line.
Our focus has been getting the first parts off the tool, measuring and testing them, then updating the tools. We’ve used the off-tool parts to assemble a small batch of Nomikus, one of which you can see in the pictures below. We also did a prototype with a clear shell so we could check for condensation and wiring fit inside the neck, and so you can see Nomiku half-naked in the first picture below.
You may notice the design has changed from the one we showed in the Kickstarter video. We originally got rid of the fins in the middle of Nomiku to seal the neck from water, and Bam has made some small changes so that Nomiku is more practical to produce and durable to use. You can see our design studies at the bottom of the update. The white design we ended up with gives Nomiku a clean and modern look, and we will use a Nylon/glass fiber mix so that the body has high strength at high temperatures. The clamshell seam will be much less obvious in the final design—these are early off-tool parts that don’t yet have the precision or finish the final Nomikus will have.
This month we also finished the primer and manual. We will put the digital version up by the end of January for our digital primer backers and backers at the Nomiku level.
We’ve also set up fixtures for assembling Nomiku and we’ve been testing the production steps. We’re smoothing out the instructions for steps such as calibrating each Nomiku to achieve the high precision we promised. We are working to cut assembly time and improve the reliability of each assembly step and testing all our incoming materials to make sure it passes our specifications.
We’ve produced five Nomikus on the production line so far, and next week we expect to do a larger build of 60 units. This will produce the units that will be sent for UL testing, so everything will really be locked in. This will also produce units used for destructive tests like drop tests, multiple units for lifetime tests and submersion tests. Running the line with a larger number of units will also expose any more issues with the work instructions and the assembly process, which will make it easier for us to produce the next batch.
The UL process will be partially done in-house by our factory, but there are some long-term tests (one takes 56 days) that must be done in an outside lab. Fortunately, these labs don’t take such a long break for Chinese New Year (CNY), so we expect to have the UL approval finished by the time we need to ship units in early March.
The next few weeks we’ll be focused on making the line produce a perfect Nomiku every time. We’ll watch to make sure the tooling is done right and the finish lives up to our expectations. And we’ll make sure that each unit is being tested thoroughly as it moves down the line so that there are no surprises when you open up your long-awaited Nomiku package. We’ll basically be camped out at the factory making sure every step goes smoothly until CNY begins on Feb 1. If you’d like more up-to-the-minute updates please “like” us on Facebook and don’t hesitate to contact us directly at [email protected] or [email protected]