Where we are right now:
I don’t make any of this up, all the timelines I have been announcing throughout our project are more or less the timelines I have been given to by our manufacturer (and I usually add a little more to be safe) but nothing ever seems to happen on time. There is a constant over promise and under deliver theme, which makes me look like an idiot. To a certain degree I don’t mind being the scapegoat, but enough is enough. Anybody who knows me understands that I stand to what I say and I expect others to do the same, especially in business.
Just a quick recap: after breaking/bending the mold core three times (once was a welded patch job gone bad) over the last 12 month we had ordered a third core, but this time without any ribs. It’s basically solid steel to achieve the strongest tool possible. This was back in December. We had received the complete mold from our manufacturers subcontractor in China here in the US. Our manufacturer had inspected it and was putting the final touches on the core, removing some of the material to make complete parts. Last week was supposed to be the start of production. The following is basically what I was told during my phone conversation with our manufacturer last Friday:
“ IT BROKE AGAIN” after about thirty parts - our manufacturer in New York said he started seeing changes (material in places where it shouldn’t be) in the final product. He climbed into the machine and checked the mold for any problems, and there it was. In the exact location where the ribs used to be in the previous cores were holes and cracks all he way from the front to the back. They had only one explanation for this. They told me that when their Chinese sub built our third core they must have accidentally used the old CAD file and made another one with the ribs. When they realized that this was not what we ordered they welded them shut, finished it off and sent it to us.
Holy crap, this sucks!!! What follows is a weekend filled with me cursing, screaming and basically being impossible to deal with (ask my wife). I didn’t really talk to anybody about it, since I needed a clear head before responding and not to burn any bridges to move the project further along. But I did look at the parts that came out of that mold that I had received from them about three weeks ago and there it was. I could clearly see material where the cracked welds were located. (…and I do blame myself for not catching this !!!!!!) This core had cracked welds in it three weeks ago and nobody told me. Ok then: so clearly somebodies pants are on fire, (either Chinese pants or American pants) but what do I do know, and who cares? I need my product so that I can start shipping!!! I don’t want to get into a high school drama about, he said this and I said that. I am too old for that shit. (but the truth will set you free and karma is a bitch)
The solution: We paid a lot of money for a functioning injection molding tool and that is what we are going to get. (or a refund) I am going to give them one more chance to fix it and proof to me that I should continue working with them. Obviously, as we all know now, their timelines are completely useless and who knows when and if they ever will complete this. That is why I am also putting our plan B in full effect, which is what really excites me the most about the future.
THE GOOD NEWS:
We are placing an order for a rotational mold with a highly qualified rotational molder in Pennsylvania. They are going to start making us a new roto-mold-tool and can start production in 6-8 weeks. The reason why I am so excited about this is, that in their product catalog are some really nice, beautiful high-end coffee tables and interior design pieces. They do know what we need and are happy to have us on board.
The only negative of the rotational molding process is that the part per unit costs are much higher and production speed much slower. (only about 100 units per week with one mold) But as I see it, slow production is better than no production and quality always beats quantity.
I am truly upset about how all of this has played out over the last year. But there is one thing that has not changed and keeps me going: “I love our product”. I use it on a daily bases in the garage and in our living room. I get a ton of e-mails from all of you who want this and I am truly thankful for all the support. I have no doubt that when you finally receive the DaHÄNGER you are going to be happy with the outcome of our Kickstarter project.
Again, thank you for hanging in there,