Catch 22

Ola Fellow Spritelovers,

It’s been a while since I updated on the SFP continuation post Kickstarter 2015, and feel like it’s time to share where we are. At the beginning of this year we set out to start translating the SFP models into a flexible standardized format which could be used in a number of production procedures. This requires a rather heavy personal investment of roughly 4000-5000 euro for the design + prototype samples, but that’s a fair initial commitment on my side, and will hopefully aid in your decision to support us via a pre-order of this kick-ass little device when it’s ready for production.

Before this, we have to know whether we can produce 50-100 cases relatively cheaply (30-35 euro per case at the most) and this is where I’ve landed in a Catch 22.

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I need a CAD model to get a quote, I need a quote to justify the cost of developing a CAD model. If I spend that money for a model, and it turns out there’s no way for me to produce the cases for under 50 euros, I’ve lost more than I can afford on a researcher’s pay. A few solutions came up (laser sintering, cnc milling) but generally companies were unwilling to ballpark a price, or they flat-out said it couldn’t be done for that price. Our final refuge would be soft tooling, specifically designed to have a low-cost, low-volume production turn-over. I’m waiting on replies from several companies on this, but this is why things have gone slowly. We have three production options: cheap, fast and good – choose two. Barring some insane great-aunt leaving me a fortune, we’re stuck with cheap & good.

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So that’s our bottleneck right now. On the plus side, we’ve increased our vendor pool, and have made some valuable contacts in China and Korea for wholesale components, which is good. Specifically in Korea and Japan this could work immensely well, but we need a physical proof-of-concept to convince companies to commit. Our engineer Hartmut is busy working on his own Kickstarter and other projects, but still provides me with great feedback and conversations.

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While I’m waiting for the information from different parties on the SFP cases and soft tooling, I’ve spent what little personal time I have left on the STARFORCE NEO! Now this is something that’s going to blow you away, if I can suspend humility for a second 😛 I will finish the case & hardware components at the end of next week, put it all together and test it. Then I just need to do some careful cosmetics and share it with you guys in full HD video- & photographic glory!

If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback, don’t hesitate to drop something below, or on facebook or twitter. Forums and conversation on social media have definitely contributed to the shape and direction  of the SFP, so keep’m coming!

Cheers! -Marcel

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