Timeline Update IV, Software Release and Knitting in London

December 20, 2018

News

Timeline Update

We’ve had to change our shipping timeline again:

  • Early Bird – July 2019
  • Batch 1 (50 units) –  August 2019
  • Batch 1 (50 units) – September 2019
  • Batch 2 – October 2019
  • Batch 3 –  November 2019
  • Batch 4 –  December 2019
  • Batch 5 – April 2020

Why has this happened?

There were several issues to which we had to pay attention during the latest prototype:

  • Oil leakages: require the introduction of new pieces and some internal machine redesign. This will force us to make two new prototypes, which is the main reason for the delay.
  • Circuit board: we found faults in the design of the latest mainboard we produced
  • Casing: improvements are needed to have a better fit and stability

We provide more information on these problems in the sections below.

Hardware

Jig

We received the final jig and spent some time going through its dimensions. It looks great and it will be fully tested during the assembly of the next prototype.

Mechanics

We assembled the latest prototype and we have not had any issue during the entire process. The pieces fit well together and the knitting machine is working. In fact, it looks better than ever!

Having said that, it wasn’t until we set it all up and started running it for a few days that we observed oil leaks in certain sections. Some of the joints between parts, where oil flows constantly, were not perfectly sealed. Working with liquids is always a challenge and oil, in particular, seems to find its way through the most unexpected paths.

In our case, a piece that we put right under the needle bed wasn’t well sealed. Oil was being sucked up upwards due to capillary action, getting into an area that should have been free from oil.

Although the machine works perfectly, not having full control of the path oil takes represents a problem that we need to address. Unfortunately, we have no quickfix. To make the machine totally oil proof we’ve designed a sump made out of sheet metal that is situated underneath both needle beds, covering the entire bed area from side to side. This isn’t a critical change but adding these two big pieces means that we need to build another prototype from scratch since it involves moving some structural parts around to make room for them. We are currently working in the design of this new prototype and it will be ordered in January.

From our previous experience, we know that when a new prototype, with important changes like this one, is produced, some minor elements that require further tweaking show up. This means that we will have to produce another prototype after the upcoming one, in order to correct any issues that arise and get to a final version.

We deeply apologize for this unforeseen issue, a product of our lack of experience but which, as we have discussed, is in the process of being solved.

Casing

We’ve finally put all the casing pieces together with this final prototype, there are problems with how some of the pieces meet, especially the vacuum formed pieces, but these are cosmetic and more easily fixed, that is, they don’t rely on making new prototypes.

Improvements on these pieces can happen in parallel and be assembled and disassembled into any prototype we have. We are in conversations with our supplier to make a new batch of all the pieces in January to address these fitting issues.

 

The interface between some of the white vacuum forming pieces of the casing generate a gap

Electronics

The production of the latest prototype also included the development of a new mainboard with some new and improved capabilities. It turns out that mistakes were made during the design of the board and we spent quite some time fixing them. After a few weeks of back and forth with our producer in Shenzhen, we finally got it working and this new board is now on the current prototype.

We’ve been making the required improvements to all the issues we detected and we will order a new mainboard in January.

Firmware

The main thing pending is the onboard menu interface. Right now it’s quite simple and functional but we want to give it a new look so the experience is a bit more compelling. Besides this, the carriage motion still needs some fine-tuning.

Firmware can be easily updated at any time, so at the moment it’s not a priority in the development. The machine currently works well and once some of the essential issues we just mentioned are solved we will get back to this.

Certification

We have left the final check for the upcoming prototype, right before we prepare the last one, in case some modifications are needed to comply with the CE certificate. We’ve been working with the certification company for a while and we don’t foresee any issues with this.

 

And Now For Something Completely Different…

If you’ve made it here, we do have amazing news!

Software

Today we are releasing the alpha version of our design app 🚀 It is still on its early stages but we want to share it with you now so you can get involved with its development by giving us your feedback.

This alpha version only features very limited capabilities. On the Template tab, you can create a rectangular template and import an image to it, we are still working on the downloading functionality. On the Pattern tab, you can draw shapes, add text and change colors. These two tabs are still not connected so you can’t do it all on the same place.

We know there’s a lot of work to do, but we are working on it on a daily basis and we will push new updates frequently.

Details to access the app on our Machine Backers forum will be published today. By now, if you’re a backer, we assume you must have joined, but if you haven’t, just get in touch with us here.

As always, the forum is the best place to provide us with feedback about the software and ask us any questions.

London Calling: Getting Things Knitted!

Last week we shipped a pre-production prototype by air to our new London space in Somerset House (thank you Makerversity!)

Now you will be able to interact with us and the knitting machine, either online or offline. This is an opportunity to test the machine in real life conditions, and it paves the way for the mass manufacturing of all your units. If things work as they should, we’ll be able to move forward with peace of mind.

 

The current prototype in action in our London office

 

Visits & Prototyping Services

From February onward you will be able to come and meet with us and be part of our workshops, and don’t worry if you can’t make it, we will offer the same options online!

We will also add a sample development service. Be aware that we will have a limited amount of time to supply for free to each backer if we want to be able to offer this service to as many of you as possible.

We hope to find a compromise with each of your projects so that everyone who backed us is allocated a similar amount of time and treated fairly. Thanks for being understanding.

Are you interested in being part of these?

Complete this form and we will get in touch with you in the New Year.

Team

All of this would not be possible without our amazing team, which has been slowly growing.

We would like to introduce Julia, who joined us as a junior software developer this August and Anne, who joined us as a knitwear programmer in October.

Alex is visiting us from Boston for a few weeks of intense software development.

To celebrate, our advisors Nat and Carolyn came to meet the new team members and share their ideas for Kniterate in 2019.

Enjoy our Throwback Thursday videos introducing Nat and Carolyn #TBT

From left to right Nat, Alex, Anne, Julia, Triam and Carolyn

You can read more about our team and advisors here.

Financials

We have used 40.15% of the cash we’ve received from you (from 34.62% on our last update). 59.85% of all the funds you have given to us are safely deposited.

You’ve probably noticed that we have a very low cash burn rate. We also receive pre-orders monthly, which continuously inject fresh capital to the company.

We will be applying for a tax refund in connection to our significant investment in R&D throughout 2018 as we start a new fiscal year.

Overall, we maintain a healthy financial outlook and believe having the knitting machine in London is going to improve it even further.

Presenting Batch 5 (2020)

Finally, we would like to thank all our backers to this day. You have trusted us and been patient throughout this sometimes difficult and long-winded path. Without you, we would have not been able to ship this pre-production unit with all the updates we promised after Kickstarter.

By shipping this unit we are proving that every day our work is focused on delivering the best possible product for you and getting close to shipping at scale. Because of this milestone, we are increasing the price of Kniterate and bringing it closer in line with its expected retail value.

At the same time, we are now able to offer a more personalized customer experience and provide you with a lot more information. You will be able to see the machine work and ask us questions, either by visiting us or by scheduling an e-meeting. Complete this form and we will get in touch with you in the New Year.

PRE-ORDER PRICE (Feb 19) $7,499 €7,899 (inc. VAT) £7,059 (inc. VAT) CAD 9,949
Pay Now $1,500     €1,800 (inc. VAT) £1,800 (inc. VAT) CAD 1,500
…and The Rest Later    $5,999 €6,099 (inc.VAT) £5,259 (inc. VAT) CAD 8,449
RETAIL PRICE $7,699 €8,099 (inc. VAT) £7,199 (inc. VAT) CAD 10,245

 

Thanks so much.

The Kniterate Team wishes you Happy Holidays!

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