SPUD Update: Production has begun!

January 24, 2019

Hello SPUD Supporters!

The fully assembled SPUDs are officially in production! It has been (and continues to be) an intense week of manufacturing… read on for the latest!

Production Status

Our lens supplier was able to deliver 150 usable lens assemblies (which includes multiple lenses and the adjustable mount) for our build that kicked off this past Saturday. We manually screened each of these initial lenses to confirm they all meet our shipping criteria and quality requirements of the majority of applications, and we will continue to push the lens supplier to further improve their own processes on subsequent batches. We have been working side-by-side (literally) with the factory workers assembling the initial units with a few main goals in mind:

  • Improve the process of matching lens assemblies with each projection chassis to produce best image quality possible.
  • Train the factory workers and confirm that they can achieve consistent results.
  • Ship out the initial ~150 SPUDs as soon as possible!
  • Prepare for the shipment of the remaining SPUDs so that we can ship as quickly as possible (i.e. have everything ready and waiting for the lenses).

Production works in a pipelined structure. The following list shows a simplified list of the major “phases” of the production process, along with the current status of the ongoing build:

  • Prepare projector (add heatsink, electronics, speakers, cooling fans, and chassis housing) - 2000 units completed
  • Chassis build - 400 units completed, remaining 1700 in process

Animated GIF of SPUDs traveling down the production line

Watching SPUDs travel down the production line!

  • Chassis paired with lens assembly and calibrated - 150 units completed
  • Image color temperature calibration - 150 units completed
  • Chassis testing - 150 units completed

SPUD chassis from our initial batch undergoing battery testing.
SPUD chassis from our initial batch undergoing battery testing.

  • Pre-build arm/shroud assembly added to chassis - 150 units completed
  • Arms fine-tuned to match projection angle and lens adjustment - In process
  • Full system test - In process
  • Package for delivery - In process

Packaged SPUDs on a pallet.
Almost ready to ship the first few SPUDs!

As expected, we’re learning as we go through this initial build, and we have been solving issues as they arise. Some of the notable ones include:

  • We have to manually (and painstakingly) align each projector to each lens since the projector and lens each have idiosyrances and are not perfect. We hope to continue to improve the lenses in subsequent shipments to reduce the amount of manual adjustment needed and continue to improve quality.

This was life for 12 hours a day for 4 days: manually aligning each lens to each projector. We had a second station manned by two assembly factory workers doing the same task.

Some of the latest batches of lenses cannot accommodate the most shifted projector beams due a degradation in quality from the lens supplier. We are working on a solution for this and will try correct at the lens supplier when they resume production.

  • The most shifted projector beams that the lens can accommodate result in the image being cut off at the top of the screen.
  • To ensure the projected image is the correct rectangular shape, we need to manually adjust the length of retractable arms to compensate for the projector beam offsets and lens adjustments described above.
  • Overall, the production process is moving forward decently well, and we are excited to get this first wave of units out the door!

Moving forward with the Optics

As we shared in the last update, with all other parts complete and ready for production, the speed of our supplier’s lens assembly production will determine our SPUD build sizes and shipment schedule moving forward. Since their factory move, the lens supplier has been dealing with a large backlog of orders from multiple other clients, and we have all been competing for machine time. However, because they know that they are holding up our builds and understand the high urgency, they have promised to reserve machine time for us starting after Chinese New Year and going until all of the lens assemblies we need for production are complete (~1800 more). In other words, we begin production with them on February 11th and not stopping until all lens complete (~ 2 months). We will decide on the next SPUD build size (whether we do another partial build or the full remaining quantity) once we know how fast we can expect the lens assemblies to be delivered.

Shipping Schedule

We will be shipping out the initial batch of ~150 units as soon as they are complete, and we will be sending out emails to the backers in that first group soon. Note that we are generally shipping out in pledge order, as in the earliest pledges will receive their SPUD(s) first. The backers in this initial group are the earliest of the early, pledging on day one or two of our Kickstarter campaign!

The remaining units will be shipped out as we build them, which will be determined by the lens production speed as described above. We will be contacting you all individually with tracking information once we are ready to ship. If you have moved recently and/or need to update your address, please contact us immediately!

Production Pictures

George going through lens validation at the lens supplier office.
George going through lens validation at the lens supplier office.

Different angles of the SPUD production line.

Another angle of the SPUD production line.
SPUD production line, with our production team hard at work!

George training a couple members of the production team.
George training a couple members of the production team.

George inspecting the new shroud samples.
George inspecting the new shroud samples.

The first few production SPUD samples.
The first few production SPUD samples!

Leonard reviewing addresses and logistics for the first outgoing batch (while also admiring his new production SPUD).
Leonard reviewing addresses and logistics for the first outgoing batch (while also admiring his new production SPUD).

As always, thank you all for your patience and support! We will continue to post updates as we finalize our production and shipping schedules. We are very excited to be shipping out these first units!

- Justin, George, Leonard, Alex


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