Did you know that we have our very own pick and place machine here at Pocket NC? A few months back, we purchased it from SparkFun Electronics to help with our production. What this means for you Kickstarter backers, is that we have not only the ability to produce our Swap Drives in house which lowers the risk of late deliveries by suppliers, but it also makes it much easier for us to iterate on our prototypes to get you the best kit possible.
We have also been brainstorming all of the ways that we can make the FR4 kit easier and more enjoyable to assemble. For example, we have switched from surface mount components to through hole components for the card edge connectors and hall sensors which will make them much easier to solder. See the photo below with the new components on the left and the old components on the right. As soon as we see that the project is viable, we will be ordering another round of components which incorporates these design changes. We plan to use some of these prototypes to write the assembly manual, and then send the rest off to some select people to follow the manual and give us feedback before making final changes for the Kickstarter kits.