Alright, we have got a lot of good information for you guys for this update!
This week we got our final prototype of the FR4 boards and we are really happy with it. We will be submitting the production order next Monday. With a 3 week turn, we will be getting them back in mid-November.
We have already ordered the Swap Drives and will get the pick and place fired up for those as soon as we get them back from production. The three stepper drivers now has a low power mode we are really proud of. For stepper motors to maintain position, they must remain powered and fully powered motors get very warm when not in motion. This feature drops motor power to a fraction of normal operating power, keeping motors cool when not in use.
We have also begun the process of bagging and labeling the thousands of fasteners that will be shipping out with your machines. If any of you have tackled a project like this, you know that this is no small task!
We also wanted to let you know that we have started a Google Group forum for the FR4 Machine Kit. We have found this to be a great place for people to share what they're working on(or what you plan to work on) and to leverage the knowledge across our group of users. As a small company, we aren't always able to get to questions in the off hours or on weekends and so it's also a great place to get troubleshooting help.
We wanted to update you guys also on all of the different elements that you may want shipped with your machines. We hope to send out the survey to get your addresses in the next couple of weeks and these are a few of the options you have before your machine ships:
- The FR4 Will come with a 1/16" flat end mill (P/N T062F) to everyone who ordered a machine with the spindle assembly. We will also have 3 more options for FR4 end mills available on the web page, a 1/16" Ball end mill and a 1/32" flat and ball end mill. These should be up sometime next week on the FR4 store.
- We are working hard on the custom plexi glass cover for the machine lid. We expect to have a prototype of this within the next two weeks so user can order before machines ship.
- The FR4 laser attachment has been making progress but is not ready for orders. We expect to have a firm ship date before sending out surveys but we are aiming for December. People who want to wait for this attachment and have the unit ship with a machine will be able to let us know by the time we send out the survey. This option should mostly effect people outside the US where shipping is prohibitively expensive.
- The USB microscope is product of the Adafruit web store and can be purchased from them at any time. We will sell a 3D printed attachment for mounting the microscope to the FR4 on the web page. We will also have the design of the microscope mount available for download so users can print their own if they like.
- If you don't own a nice soldering iron, we highly recommend you purchase one. A standard $20 iron without heat control WILL NOT WORK! We only sold 6 soldering irons during the Kickstarter, which means either you all have a nice iron or you think your $20 one will work, you will be disappointed. They are available for purchase on Amazon. Note that this model is 110V so if your voltage is different, you may want to source one locally.
- Many of you have purchased Arduinos, but if you did not, please know that one is needed to use the machine. There are soldering pads for the BeagleBone Black and the Raspberry Pi, but we have not developed those platforms further.
As always, thanks for backing us! The next update should be after we have sent out the first round of surveys.