May 25th Week 24, Sorting and shipping
There has been a major issue with the group buy that I was only aware of when I received the items on Friday of last week. These issues were a result of too many parties being involved with too little transparency in between. There’s a real lack of accountability in the situation internally so at this point, I’m willing to dig into my own pockets to make things right since I want everyone to be happy with the product that they receive. I've listed issues and resolutions below for everyone to take a look at and decide if you haven't yet gotten around to it.
- Magnetic reset switch soldered to the underside of the PCB. It’s advisable for the bent plate and required for the aluminum case that this be cut off or resoldered on the top side. If you decide to just cut it, you can simply treat it as a jumper and reset the board with tweezers or a bent paperclip. It is accessible from the front side.
- Solder Mask was done in white instead of black. Vendor claimed to not have seen my email about doing a white solder mask and aren’t willing to fix it. This is one of the things that I am not able to resolve as manufacturing PCBs will take enormous amounts of time and money as the controller on the PCB is not easily sourced.
- Missing vertical ISO Enter for alps. This will not affect you if you’re planning on using an adapter or are planning on using DCS or DSA alps caps as those have the ISO enter oriented horizontally. If you’re planning to build a board up with traditional alps caps and an iso enter, please shoot me an email and we can discuss a solution.
- A lot of the cases that were shipped to me have anodizing issues. Although they’ve eliminated splotches from letting the solution drip and dry, these issues are most likely from workers not properly cleaning the cases before dropping them into the anodizing tank. Streaks are present from residue that was present as they went into the anodizing tanks.
- Rubber pads were never manufactured. This was discussed but ran into the same issue as white solder mask. I will most likely have them done and send them out to everyone at a later date separately. No need to pay for postage. I’ll be throwing bumpons in if you choose to have your board shipped asap and then ship the properly cut bumpers out to you later.
Plates for Aluminum Cases
- Some plates were very hastily cut. The cut lines on some of the plates look as if the DXF was drawn in MS Paint.
- About 60-80 percent of plates were somewhat bent in transit. Partially because the vendor wrapped them together with shrink wrap and packed them with a single sheet of bubble wrap on the outside edge of one of the boxes. I've been able to straight most of them out but there were certainly a few which were beyond salvageable.
- The plate designer accidentally omitted some of the layouts when revising the plate for switch cutouts. This concerns only the bottom row that accommodates the left handed arrows. The plates are limited to bottom row layouts as shown in the album. This also applies to both bent plates and integrated cases. Please refer to the album below for compatibility.
- File was changed somewhere along the line and nobody wants to claim responsibility. Completely an aesthetical change.
- Layout compatibility issue as stated above in the plates section.
Enclosed Steel Case
- Screw holes on plate section weren’t removed
- Holes for cone feet were never cut.
- Most cases have fit issues and do not sit level on the ground.
- Layout compatibility issue as stated above in the plates section.
Now for the more important part. Read this bit carefully. As some of you have been waiting for a very long while, I will offer a few solutions that allow you to take the items as is or to wait for them to be remanufactured. Decisions are final as items will be allocated to the “extras” stock once email is received if you choose not to take the items. Email your choices to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will have them handled in the order that they are recieved in.
PCBs are missing only one crucial aspect and that is the vertical alps iso enter. If you are affected by this, please email me so we can work something out.
As far as the reset switches are concerned, they can be resoldered or removed. If removed, you can use the pads as a jumper to reset the board from the top side. If you would still like the magnetic reset and are not capable of desoldering and resoldering yourself, I can do that for you. Just make a note of it in the email.
These have anodization issues that I do not believe can be solved by using the same factory. We will be moving these over to a different place that has been used before to manufacture other keyboards. A stock will be free of blemishes. B stock will have either scratches or anodization inconsistencies.
- Option 1 - You can take a b-stock case at a $15 discount.
- Option 2 - You can wait for the cases to be remanufactured. This will take 1-2 months.
These have issues with cut consistency and I do not believe that this can be solved by using the same factory. Will be moving these to a different place that also has been used for keyboard manufacturing before. Note that A-stock plates WILL NOT be 100% straight. This is normal as plates straighten out as switches are soldered onto the board. A stock will have straight cuts and be mostly straight. They will still have the compatibility issue. B stock will have slightly rougher cuts and may require you to bend some parts of the plate straight yourself. They may also have very minor cosmetic blemishes on the show side.
- Option 1 - You can take an a-stock plate. These will still have compatibility issues.
- Option 2 - You can take a b-stock plate at a $5 discount.
- Option 3 - You can wait for the plates to be remanufactured. This will take 1-2 months.
- Option 4 - You can take a full refund for the plate and do a PCB mount build or get a custom acrylic plate cut locally.
Main issue here was that the design file that was sent to mfg was incorrect. As I don’t have manufacturing resources for the bent plates and integrated cases readily available, these will be done by the same place. There were not manufacturing issues defects with these so all units are considered a-stock.
- Option 1 - You can take the plate with the current design which will ship within these 1-3 weeks.
- Option 2 - You can wait for the new bent plates. These will be done by the same place as the issue is not quality, but design. This will take 1-2 months.
QC Pass rate for these is less than 20%. The nature of the design and tolerances from the factory just don’t work. These items will not be reworked. Customers will have the option to exchange the case for something of a different style or a full refund.
- Option 1 - There are two or three integrated cases that pass QC and don’t wobble. If you opt to take one and there aren’t sufficient cases left, you will be emailed again once they are shipped.
- Option 2 - You can swap the case out to an aluminum case, either reworked or as is for a $10 discounted difference in price.
- Option 3 - You can swap the case out to a bent plate (either current or reworked) and you will be issued a refund for the difference.
FAQs and Resources
Again, for those asking for refunds, I have to say that I'm unable to issue refunds due to the nature of the group buy format and due to the fact that I am a relatively small vendor. I will do my best to ensure that everyone is happy with what they receive the boards and kits.
B-stock kits for those that choose to wait will be allocated to extras once a decision is made. Emails will be sent out in the order in which forms were filled.
Order Change Spreadsheet
The master spreadsheet for order changes contain your order number and is filled with a color. Orders will be shipped all at once and will not be broken up into multiple shipments. As all orders are affected, orders will not be shipped until I have a response. Orders in green will be shipped with items that are on hand. Orders in orange are set for items that will be remanufactured with a ship estimate of 2 months after production starts. Note that if you’ve emailed me prior to this email, some things have changed and the color coding for order still applies. This spreadsheet is manually updated by me. It is linked at the very bottom of the email.
Order notes prior to this email.
If you have already emailed me for an order change, note that the issue with the plate hadn’t been covered in the preliminary posts on reddit and geekhack and I will need another response from you. The column marked “PTE” indicates your decision prior to this email and is primarily for my purposes.
Again, I am very sorry that this has been further delayed. All of these delays have been, to an extent, out of my control, but I will make sure that this does not happen in the future as I will be using my own manufacturing and logistics resources and will not be working through a middleman of any sorts. As for response times, this issue has come at a really bad time as I am finishing up school this week and am loaded with finals and AP exams. I’m also going to be expecting a LOT of emails in the next few days. Expect your email to be answered within 24-48 hours, but feel free to resend it if it has not been answered by then as it might have fallen through though I will try my best to respond to every single one.