We’re hard at work preparing to release Batch #3. Read on for the latest status!
We are imminently shipping another batch of about 300 SPUDs! If you are a part of this batch, you will soon receive an email with tracking information.
We will continue to prioritize those who have confirmed their shipping address, so if you have not done so already, you can confirm it here:
Manufacturing has continued to be an arduous process, primarily due to the quality and throughput of the lenses. We have yet to see any significant improvement in yield that would allow us to produce SPUDs faster (the manufacturer currently makes about 30 per day, of which 10-15 we pass). Due to the quality of the lenses, we sometimes need to spend up to an hour aligning each lens to the projector. The lens also exacerbates other manufacturing challenges; for example, due to the heavy adjustment we need to do to some lenses, the image can become tilted on the SPUD screen which means we need to painstakingly adjust the arms to ensure the image is rectangular. Our lens supplier is still working to improve this: after the mold for the large front lens broke, they created a new mold with some improvements that did give us some better results. They are now doing the same for the rear lens mold (for the smaller two lenses) which will be complete in the next two weeks. However, we are moving forward under the assumption that we will NOT see an improvement in the lens yield, and we are developing new ways to use the existing lenses.
Obviously, we are continuing to apply a lot of pressure to the lens supplier by being there almost everyday (we hired someone to be there when we’re at the ODM working on SPUD assembly). The good news is that they want to finish our project just as much as the rest of us…
We are also getting increasingly less labor from our main ODM (since they are moving out of China in mid-August, see next section!). Hopefully, this situation will improve as they finish up their existing projects!
Unfortunately we received some news that has added an additional layer of time pressure: Our manufacturer will be closing their China factory (yes, the one we use) and moving operations to a different country. Two major factors behind this move were (1) labor costs, and (2) the new/fluctuating US tariffs on Chinese imports. They are currently scheduled to shut down operations in mid-August of this year.
While this change is relatively abrupt, we knew this was a possibility since we first started hearing news about the new tariffs, and we have prepared backup options that will allow us to continue production in China. This will likely rely on a great deal of contract work, which will be more expensive for us, but we need to keep building! We will likely have more updates to share on this in the next update (or next couple of updates!).
Thank you all for your continued support, we will continue to push to get all of your SPUD shipped as soon as possible!
- Justin, George, Leonard, Alex