Hi everyone! We’ve gotten a lot of important things figured out recently and we thought it would be a good idea to take a second to share it with all of you. Let’s just dive right in...
As you may know, our hardware developer is designing two separate printed circuit boards for the pen. The first, more complicated board is what we refer to as the "computer board." It's the board that has the microprocessor and acts as the brains of the device. We call it that because it’s literally an entire computer that’s packed inside which we think is pretty remarkable. That part is completely finished being designed and a prototype is on it's way to our developer's shop so he can put it together and make sure it boots up for us.
The other, simpler circuit board is what we call the "camera board." It's going to have the camera, the LEDs to illuminate the page, a button, and a few supporting components on it. That board is about 60% finished right now. Because we'll need to get the placement of those parts just right, our developer needed a 3D model of the housing to be made. That will give him a better idea of the geometry requirements and will allow him finish the camera board design.
Because the computer board turned out to be a little bigger than we expected, we're redesigning the case just a little bit to better accommodate the electronics. It's hard to tell the size from the image above but when it's released it will be smaller than any other product on the market.
The new design will look quite a bit like the old one when it's finished but the pooched belly had to go because it would have made it too difficult for small hands to grip if we'd just scaled it up. The gripper portion will be be made of an engineered rubber called Santoprene and through a process called overmolding, will be mechanically bonded to the main part of the body. Because the mandatory material thickness of Santoprene would have required us to make the housing wider, we decided to only have the gripper material on the sides where it's really needed.
The first rough draft of the new design is finished and will allow our developer to move forward with the camera board while we work to improve the cosmetic details of the case. Once the case design is completely finished, it will take about 10 days for the injection mold to be made, the parts to be manufactured, and sent our direction.
The software that our team has been building is in the final stages now. There is about a week or two worth of work still to be done, and then a little cleanup once we get the new hardware in, but it’s just about finished.
We also received a shipment of packaging materials recently. When it’s time to ship out, we’ll place one pair of Bluetooth earbuds, one micro USB charger, one Read ‘n Style pen, and a quickstart guide into our custom designed box. The box will be sealed with two clear plastic adhesive circles and placed inside a blue plastic shipping sleeve. The sleeve will protect the box from any scuffs and cosmetic damage that may happen during delivery. Then we’ll print out a shipping label with your address and take it to the post office.
I may be the only one to find this kind of thing interesting, but I do and I’m not ashamed to admit it! :) We received a few little toys in the mail from Protolabs recently. These “toys” are meant to act as design aids to help their customers get a better sense of how to properly design plastic injection molded parts. Pictured above in order we have the Design Cube which highlights common errors in the design process and shows what the result looks like. The Demo Mold is used to teach people the names of different parts of the injection mold and help people better understand the mechanics of injection molding. The Torus is covered with several complex features such as bump-offs, bayonets, and clip-cams, and is meant to highlight the flexibility of the injection molding process. The last one is the Protogami which is a turnable material selector. The Protogami has 6 different types of plastic material around the sides, and when you turn it, it shows the different plastics with the three different mold finishes that you could choose from. Using this tool helped us decide to make the body of the pen out of a white ABS/PC plastic with a bead-blasted matte “T2” surface finish. If any of you or your children are interested in product design or manufacturing, Protolabs is a great resource to learn more about the subject.
All in all, we're getting really close. We may be able to get this all finished within a month, but a month and a half seems more likely.
Current estimated ship date: July 15th