Our 3d printer farm part 1 is up and running, churning out wonderful Wheel parts in advanced plastics, layer by layer. 3d printing is a great addition to our cnc cutting, turning and milling shop. We’re amazed by the usefulness of the parts we print, and the ultra short time from development to real production, all in house!
We never would have guessed it, but the plateau appears to be our single most headache part. Every good record player in the world has one, so how hard can it be? We’re working with a specialist company for months now, already spent more than €35000 just for the molds, but the quality of the plateaus so far are not within specification, and their delivery dates keep shifting and shifting. It’s obvious we can’t build Wheels without plateaus! We expect to receive a first good batch on september 17th. We still think it’s best to stick to our plan with the plateaus, but we’re investigating alternatives for backup production to try to make up for the lost time.
When we started our Wheel project, we had three goals: 1. Build a great Wheel; 2. Build it within budget. 3. Build it within time; Current status: 1. We already built great Wheels. 2. There’s pressure, but we’ll manage. 3. We missed this one by a mile. We have no words to describe how we feel.
I feel I owe you a bit more insight in Miniot’s inner workings and the state of Wheel.
We’re very grateful for the very supportive attitude of our backers and pre-order clients. But we’re certainly not insensitive to the frustration of some. We feel your pain.
After the successful funding of Wheel, we devoted 100% of our time to development. Firstly, in house and on our own, later with the help of an engineering and production company. In the months that followed we found that engineering choices slowly but surely drifted away from what we envisioned. It surprised us that what we thought of as an organic process, was chopped into pieces and competences, resulting in misunderstandings and delays. On top of that, the funds were evaporating at an alarming pace.
When we returned to in-house development and hire expertise where needed, in a way it felt like starting over. Except for the vast amount of acquired knowledge and skills, and a much better network of engineers and suppliers.
To answer a few questions that have popped up (you know who you are):
Yes, we still sleep at night! It helps us perform much better during daytime.
No, we’re not ashamed. We don’t think that’s a positive force. Instead, we do everything humanly possible to get Wheel in your hands!
Yes, Wheel will see the light of day! We’re still betting the company, and overseeing the huge amount of work that has been done, the racks of parts waiting to be assembled, the rock solid Wheel prototypes, we’re sure you'd agree.
And with our 3d print farm, Miniot is a more cottage-like company than ever!
We try to update as much as we can, but only when we think there’s news. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we have a hard time outsourcing anything, let alone updating! We’ve considered strapping cameras to our foreheads to show you what’s really happening here, but even that takes time we’d rather spend on Wheel.
Wheel is all we’ve been living for for almost two years now. We’ve grown into Wheel specialists pur sang, still enjoying the process, and will, ultimately, deliver!
Thank you again for your ongoing support!
Peter Kolkman and the Wheel team
Printing a base transport carriage part.
Printing a one-way spring out of polycarbonate to precisely constrain motion of the carriage.
Our nine 3d printer farm, part 1. Different materials need different printers.