Manufacturing Update with Pictures!
Manufacturing is moving along swimmingly now. Ahhhhh... That feels so nice to say! In September, when manufacturing was starting to get underway, there were numerous issues we encountered from parts shortages to quality issues. None of that was surprising for a new product, but it was taxing both on our time and sanity. Fortunately, since mid-December, production has been moving at pretty steady clip.
Every new product, small or large, has a learning curve and Countdown is no different. Future manufacturing runs will go much smoother, allowing for much higher volumes. But today, we are basking in the glory of pictures like below. We've finally realized our dream of building a tiny spherical army that will overtake the world (Shush!) lots of our first product!
From 3D Printing to a Production Line
Technology is amazing. We wouldn't be where we are today without a 3D printer to refine our design and rapidly update based on player feedback. However, 3D printing has its drawbacks:
- 3D prints aren't perfect - There are visible lines and tolerances aren't perfect. Putting together each unit would always have some part that didn't exactly fit like it should.
- It's pretty slow - To 3D print a full set of parts for one Countdown took about 1 day. Then, manual assembly took another hour on a good day, or multiple hours (along with a handy beverage) on a bad one.
So for us, as a company, the pictures above are a monumental achievement. That table worth of toys would have taken more than a month to 3D print and is comparable to about half the units we manually made over 2 years of development. To be at the point where we can mass manufacture the Countdown hide and seek toy is a milestone that every company needs to hit to have a chance at success, and we're firmly there.
It's taken so much to get arrive at this point, but now that we are and are so close to shipping these amazing toys that we've put so much of our lives into, we couldn't be more proud!
Current Shipping Status
Short Version: We're aiming to ship units out by the end of February.
Long Version: Our manufacturer has assured us that the current production run will wrap up by the end of January. That timeline is critical as Chinese New Year starts on February 12th. CNY is a national holiday where all factories completely, 100%, shut down for about 2 weeks. All products must be shipped beforehand or else they will suffer an even longer delay. Our current schedule puts us well ahead of that, thankfully.
After manufacturing completion, it's a 30-day luxury cruise around the world to arrive at our warehouse. We're currently estimating an arrival toward the end of February, but container shipping isn't an always an exact science as customs, weather and dock worker availability all play a part. We'll keep refining the date as time goes on, but end of February is our current realistic, but not-too-optimistic, estimate.