We are back from Asia and happy to be working from the US time zone! The design is finalized and tooling is now underway. A huge thanks to Platform88 for working tirelessly with us to improve Handground's design and to you for your support and encouragement during the engineering period.
In this update we will cover the finalists from the t-shirt design competition, plans for shipping, details of several design improvements and finally a look at the tooling process and the path forward to production.
In the previous update we introduced the concept that Team Handground chose for the T shirt. In case you missed it, it was to have coffee words/equipment combined in a collage to create the Handground icon. We hosted a design competition on 99Designs and received some great submissions and have narrowed it down to these six finalists.
We intentionally held off on asking for shipping addresses to account for people moving over the summer. We are now at the stage where we need your address in order to finish planning our fulfillment strategy. Within the next week we will send a survey through Kickstarter to collect your shipping address.
Please keep an eye out for this survey as it is very important that we get your shipping information.
If your shipping information changes within the next 4 months that is OK. You can log on to Kickstarter and update your shipping information at any time.
The survey will also ask questions more specific to your backer rewards, such as t-shirt size, color-options, etc. All of this is very important information so please fill out the entire survey when you receive it.
The new gearbox that we mentioned in the last update is still performing well and our team is confident to move forward with using it for production. The gearbox will use stainless steel gears to prevent rusting and provide strength to grind through ultra light roasts.
In the earlier design it was possible for grounds to get caught on the inside lip near the top of the grounds catcher. We've smoothed this edge out so grounds will now slide easily from the catcher into your brewing device.
We've received several comments about adding a nonslip pad to the bottom of the catcher. We want to confirm with you that a non-slip pad will be on the production version.
The improvements that have been made to Handground come at a cost. We revisited the factories with our latest designs and now have quotations back for tooling and final unit costs. Our overall tooling costs increased by 38% and the per unit cost is 30% higher for the plastic version - 42% higher for the nickel finish.
These costs are due to the improvements we made with the gear box, pakka wood, die cast handle, and bearings.
The additional increased cost for the nickel finish is due to the advanced electroplating process. To achieve the brushed look, each piece must go through an initial electroplating then undergo a manual brushing process and finally be re-electroplated. The electroplating process alone is over 300% the cost of the plastic pieces. It looks outstanding.
We are very fortunate that due to the success on Kickstarter there will be no problems with the increased costs.
We received the final sample from the bamboo manufacture based on the design that Team Handground picked. The sample is pictured above with Aeropress filters in the base and Chemex filters in the main compartment. Production of the filter racks is now underway.
This section contains more information on the "tooling" process, for those interested. This will also help explain the timeline over the next 4 months.
Tooling is the process of acquiring or building the manufacturing components and machines needed for mass production. Handground is composed of over 30 individual parts and 9 different materials. Because Handground is a completely new design, machines need to be made that will form each part. For example, a plastic injection molding tool (see red box above) needs to be built for each of the plastic components.
We have allotted 60 days to design and build the tooling and then we will use the tools for a small test run of grinders. Small problems with the fit of pieces almost always occur due to the way the plastic cools. The tools can be modified to fix these problems and we will enter a period of testing and refining until the tools are ready for mass production. This process of fixing the tooling typically takes one to four weeks.
With our current tooling capabilities, the estimated production capacity is 20,000 units per month. The grinders will then be packaged into pallets and shipped to different warehouses around the world.
Our goal is to make shipping as fast and painless as possible. We have been evaluating fulfillment partners in the US, Europe and Asia/Australia so we can send pallets directly from our factory to their warehouses and they can use a local carrier to deliver to you.
This should save a significant amount of time (and possibly VAT taxes) compared to our original plan of shipping everything from the U.S. We will provide more details after we receive your address and gather more information from our fulfillment partners.