MakiBox A6 Update - Scaling Production and The New Store

2021-09-02 22:03 by Jonathan Buford (comments: 32)

Going from 10 to 1000

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(The production hot end.)

Starting production is always a bit of a process.

Usually it involves coordinating with a factory for months, approving successive samples until you get the one golden pre-production sample that you hope they can continue to make or even improve on with the final refinements in the tooling and the other bits from suppliers. And then, you spend many days at the factory while dozens of workers sit and attempt to break your design in every possible way until you finally come to some compromise on what is acceptable to ship. 

Starting production for the MakiBox has been a very interesting experience so far. We are doing all of it ourselves in the sense that we don't have a separate production factory with specialized workers for sourcing or QC. We source all of the components from suppliers mostly in China, and then truck them into Hong Kong to do the final assembly and packout. 

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(MakiBox production PCBs for the hot bed, limit switches, and power connection board.)

In this case, it means that we are dealing with coordinating getting sufficient materials to start bulk production from no less than a dozen suppliers with a team that also is having to handle customer support and general running the company at the same time. It also happens that we are doing this right in the middle of the peak season for all the factories (that are much larger than us) to try and get as much stuff together and shipped before the holiday season shipping window closes. OK, enough background, so what is happening right now and how do things look for the next two weeks?

We are currently in the status of Design Complete, meaning, we are not doing any additional development work on the product other than answering the questions that suppliers may have when they are doing their bit of the production.

The production boards are looking good, and we are in the process of doing assembly on them. The production hot end flex circuit finally came back OK, so we are having them do the production of those as soon as possible to catch up the schedule.

Packaging for the bits, here are some shots on the mockups that we are having made.

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The small bits box, with bed, rails, hot end, and the other small stuff fits inside this one package.

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The extruder motor gets a nice sleeve and then packed in with the XYZ motors with screws.

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The XYZ motors with screws are packed to protect the screw alignment.

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Our designer went through a lot of iterations finding the right package for the parts.

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And this is the two boxes of motor and little bits that will get packed into a larger box with the big parts and panels.

Now, for the store, at the moment all the data has been migrated, but has not all been massaged for the new system. You will still see some oddities right now, but most orders should appear correctly by sometime on the 3rd. We will do another post to confirm that the majority of orders should be OK, and that there are a few that we are having to manually sort out what their status is and update the data since the old system mangled them a bit. 

If you see your order number has changed, that is normal, don't worry, it has nothing to do with your place in the queue if you have an order from before the migration.

Once we confirm everyone should be set, please do review your order and make any updates as we are going to start scheduling things for production and this locks the orders to where you will not be able to change them. 

We will send out notices to everyone once we can confirm exactly when we can have all the parts in house to start the final bulk production. In the mean time, we will be sending out a few orders in small quantities as we do test runs with the boards and materials we have in hand.

We are shooting for getting all the materials in stock in mid September, but are waiting for confirmation from a few vendors before we can pass on the final date. We will in the mean time, get our tools for production prepared so that we can rip through the existing orders at around 100 per day within the first week of production.

Thanks from the MakiBox Team!

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Comment by Narimaan Valian | 2021-09-02

Thanks for the update Jon, I'll admit I was one of those getting antsy and slowly losing my patience, but this update's helped put my mind at some ease (of course production starting will put me COMPLETELY at ease ;) but I now know that that's a process and I'm ok with waiting some more time for that to start up :D )

Comment by David Contreni | 2021-09-02

I know you guys have been taking a lot of heat for a long time, and I haven't always agreed with some of your decisions. But some of us haven't lost faith and it's been great watching the development from the early fumbles to the highly refined product that you'll (no doubt) be shipping soon.

Comment by David Contreni | 2021-09-02

I know you guys have been taking a lot of heat for a long time, and I haven't always agreed with some of your decisions. But some of us haven't lost faith and it's been great watching the development from the early fumbles to the highly refined product that you'll (no doubt) be shipping soon.

Comment by George Hollyer | 2021-09-02

It's always interesting to see how an update really stirs the pot in the forums.

Comment by john knudsen skøtte | 2021-09-02

do you have a number on how meny orders you got and how meny you send :)

i feel like a child whaithing for christmas right now cant whait to get my makibox :D

Comment by Daniel Jones | 2021-09-02

I'm getting very excited now. Thank you guys for the hard work. I'm glad that nothing's being rushed. I want my Makibox to be refined, so waiting a little bit to get all the kinks worked out isn't so bad.

Comment by Tycho | 2021-09-03

I like the looks of the parts and packaging, it's all very professional, very polished. The hot end looks very clean and cool with the logo on it.

The packaging also looks very well thought through.. Can't wait to get my kit! :D

Comment by Folke Schwinning | 2021-09-03

Wow, that black hotbed really looks nice.

By the way, what happens when a part in the Makibox breaks and we need a replacement? Will you put some of the most important things for a cheap price into a section of the store?

I saw this at the MakerBot store:
http://store.makerbot.com/parts-accessories/thing-o-matic-repair-parts-accessories.html

Thanks!

Comment by Holger Lembke | 2021-09-03

I'm always again impressed, shocked, astonished and fascinated by the huge number of details that are needed to make a "simple" product from idea to customers desk.

Comment by Bradley Chu | 2021-09-03

Hopefully you will be doing another update before the 15th showing us a pile of packaged Makiboxes ready to ship.

I hope to see that target met. It will speak volume for all of us. God speed.