This past month marks a major milestone for Handground. Tooling is underway for all components and the next step in the process is the first pilot run!
Since we cover a lot in this update, here's a quick summary:
In the last backer update we introduced the concept of a fast loading top cap that featured a lid built into the top cap. We were so excited about the idea that we started to pursue it without involving Team Handground in the decision. Shortly after we realized that we had strayed from our core philosophy of community driven development.
We had already created the new 3D models of the top cap with the lid but we decided to email Team Handground and explain the current situation and the pros and cons of both options.
Option 1: Continue designing the top cap with the lid (4 weeks)
Option 2: Use original top cap with reverse direction to lock/unlock (1 week)
The original survey can be found here: Lid on top cap survey
The results in the image above are clear and further explanation was provided in 891 open-ended comments (A huge thank you to everyone who left a comment!)
After reading through all of the comments we realized that the best path forward is to keep things simple and use the design where the top cap will turn right to release and left to lock.
Designing a gearbox that can be injection molded and withstand the forces generated when grinding light roasts has proven more challenging than we expected. We arrived at a design where the horizontal and vertical axle are each supported by two brass bushings that worked great for several months. The two support locations on each axle eliminates the chance of any movement from happening and keeps the gears aligned.
During a recent test grind we heard our least favorite noise - a snap - that comes from the gears skipping. We opened the top cap to discover that a crack formed in the gearbox as shown in the image above.
It is important to keep in mind that this is was a prototype piece and the materials used on the production pieces will be stronger. However in order to reduce the risk of this happening on the production version we looked for ways that we could further improve the design.
Our testing with the new gearbox has gone well and has had no issues after extensive testing. We even subjected it to higher stress by grinding hardened stale beans. We will continue to perform tests every morning.
We have spent a lot of time gathering data to find the optimal way to transport Handground from Shanghai to your doorstep. In the United States we plan to work with a Y-Combinator company called Shotput to handle the logistics and fulfillment from Handground arriving on a container in Los Angeles to being loaded onto a delivery truck bound for your house.
Internationally we are planning to partner with existing distributors of coffee equipment. Most of these partners will arrange for a shipment of Handground from Shanghai directly to their location and they will ship the backer orders for the regions that they cover. The distributors already have relationships with the local courier services and this method will reduce the cost of shipping and import taxes for everyone.
Joaquin, the designer who won the original Handground design competition, came to visit us in Santa Barbara during his family vacation through California. He is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina but worked with us remotely after the design competition to produce first prototypes that lead up to the Kickstarter campaign.
It was great to finally meet in person and show him the physical product that he had spent so much time with virtually. We also talked about the future of Handground and had some really exciting brainstorming sessions. Right before Joaquin headed back home, the new coffee ink t-shirts arrived! The design looks fantastic and the material turned out more white than oatmeal which we've quickly grown fond of.
While most of our attention has gone toward what will be on the inside of this box, we've developed some concepts for the packaging design and would love to hear your feedback.
We have learned so much since this project began and encountered countless problems that we never thought to consider. With your help we've found solutions to each problem and made improvements to the core design.
We have kept our costs low by working from our garage and not paying ourselves for the last 12 months. We are entering the manufacturing phase with enough funds to fulfill all of the backer rewards and we have a solid strategy for logistics and distribution moving forward.
We believe that Team Handground represents a huge opportunity in collaborative product development and Handground is just the beginning.