Hello from Shenzhen (after a brief stopover in Taiwan),
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us and we’ve got some news to report.
In our last update, we told you a bit about the ongoing lawsuit against our old factory. At the time, our lawyer had requested court-supervised pre-trial mediation. The mediation process went slowly and up until the very last moment, we weren’t sure exactly how things were going to shake out. Because the mediation process took so long, the court automatically scheduled a trial date and notified both parties.
Deadlines, it turns out, are a fantastic motivator.
We’re pleased to report that the we have signed a settlement agreement with the old factory and that they have now met all of their obligations under that settlement agreement.
While it is an experience we hope never, ever to repeat, we’re very pleased with our interaction with the Chinese legal system and were pleasantly surprised by the support the court provided for a small Western company in a lawsuit against a Chinese factory. We consider the matter closed.
Model 01 Keycaps
Now that everything’s been settled with the old factory, we’re really, really excited to get back to, you know, making stuff for you. We’re pleased to report that we’re about to receive a very large shipment of keycaps from the new factory. Last week, Jesse was at the new factory and did quality control checks on the Dvorak, Colemak, QWERTY, and the first 100 sets of Linear A keycaps.
Linear A almost passed. The symbols on a pair of thumb keys were at the wrong angle. After discussing it with the factory, everybody agreed that those two keycaps would be replaced on the first 100 sets and the laser would be adjusted for the rest of them.
The remaining Linear A sets are expected to be done within the next two weeks. They’re taking a bit of extra time because the factory ended up having to injection mold an extra 600 sets of keycaps.
Why did the factory have to make 600 more sets of keycaps than planned, you ask?
That is an excellent question. When we placed this order with the new factory, we did all our numbers based on the old factory’s promise to hand over 600 sets of blank keycaps ready for painting and laser engraving. As the new factory started the painting process, they discovered that the keycaps had already had UV-protectant painted on top. This helps make sure that sunlight won’t damage the keycaps over time. It also makes sure that nothing will stick to the keycaps. Like, dirt. Or say, paint. That makes it very, very hard to paint and laser-engrave the keycaps.
The factory asked if we wanted to toss the “useless” keycap sets. We said no. Instead, we asked them to buy 600 more sets of packaging. Very shortly, we expect to have enough keycaps in stock to fulfill all preorders and to make keycaps available for sale. It probably won’t be by Christmas. But there’s a very realistic chance it will happen before the end of 2019.
Sometime in the next week or two, we will begin the process of contacting everybody who preordered keycaps to reconfirm your shipping addresses. Some of you placed these orders quite a while ago and we how that many of you may want to adjust your shipping addresses.
The other big project that has Jesse in China is our next keyboard project. The Atreus is a collaboration with Phil Hagelberg (Technomancy). It’s an minimalist, portable keyboard that will look something like this:
While here, we signed off on every aspect of the design and packaging, with the exception of the keycaps, though that’s a story for another day.
(Above: it takes a number of tries to get the molding machine calibrated perfectly… these are reject injections from the process)
We also met with our wood supplier to talk about the prototype walnut palm rest we designed for the Atreus.
And then we met with a bag supplier to start the design process for a custom travel case for this very, very portable keyboard.
The current plan is to launch the Keyboardio Atreus on Kickstarter in early 2020. We’re working really hard to make sure that the backer updates for that campaign are just as interesting and informative, but a bit less gut-wrenching. To keep up to date on the Atreus, you can sign up here.
Box of Crap
From time to time, we ask folks on the internet if they want to give us fifty bucks to send them a box of junk from the world’s most famous consumer technology market.
Jesse’s got one more day in China. He’s going to spend it scouring the markets of Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei for all sorts of pointless, useless stuff that might make a good Box of crap. In the past, this has meant that Jesse’s spent the day loaded down with shopping bags and then spent the day working with helpers to shove stuff in boxes.
We’re going to try doing things a little differently (and a little bit more scalably) this time. Jesse’s going to be buying samples and getting quotations for volume purchases. Then, if all goes well, we’ll place orders to be shipped to our logistics partner out by Shenzhen airport. They’ll box and ship stuff professionally.
If you want to know when we put the next Box of Crap on sale, sign up for our mailing list here: https://keyboard.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=664e58d3dc8a03fda94fdf943&id=1d7cec6a50
<3 Jesse + Kaia