Production Update - January - Originally Posted Jan 23, 2023

I’m very sorry but we don’t have a lot of good news with this update.

We had set pretty aggressive and overly optimistic targets for production this month. We ran into a number of small hurdles that I ought to have accounted for before providing those initial estimates. Just about every assembly process took slightly longer than I had estimated, and I hadn’t factored in enough time for setup and clean up, general screw ups, shipping considerations and the inescapable small tasks that are part of running a business. This is on me, and I’m sorry for disappointing anyone. Even with the delay, we were expecting to ship the first batch of units over the next day or two.

A box of units queued up for QC

Sadly, we ran into a problem during our quality control (QC) process. In part of the QC process we stall out the PL1 a few times. Most of the units we’ve tested passed testing without any observable issues, but in two units we observed a serious failure. The sun gear, which is coupled to the motor shaft, cracked along it’s length from the set screw hole, which then caused it to slip on the shaft. With all our prototypes we had never observed this type of failure.

A failed gear with a crack running along it’s length.

We only discovered this problem over the last two days of testing and we haven’t had a lot of time to investigate yet. So far, attempts to replicate the issue have yielded slightly different failure modes. We are continuing to test and investigate the issue, but we do have a couple robust solutions that we are already pursuing. We know we can fix this problem, but the biggest issue will be how long that might take. Even rushed, getting new custom gears will likely take a month or longer at this point, especially with our Chinese suppliers on standstill during lunar new year holidays.

I know it’s incredibly frustrating to have delivery further delayed and I really appreciate everyone’s patience. We want to ensure that our backers are receiving a quality product. I think I am as eager to get these units out the door as anyone on the planet. While the sun gears are admittedly one of the worst parts to be waiting on, there is still lots of work that we can do in the meantime.

We’ll try to get another update out as soon as we have a clear picture of the new timeline. There’s a good chance my timelines are still going to be out as we go forward, but I’m committed to providing more detail on that.

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