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Old 10-08-2011, 06:56 PM   #1558
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Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Malfunction Junction, Oregon
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Originally Posted by Poolside View Post
Assembly report.

Situation normal.

The other day I posted the assembly schedule for the remaining orders.

Regarding that schedule, the 1st 30 pieces are on schedule. They went into the epoxy fixtures and finished the first cure stage, and are in the middle of the second cure period and will be shipped after that.

But, early yesterday morning I found out there were a parts change with a vendor, and that caused some issues. JJ and I think we have them worked out. Here's what happened.

I used all the vials during initial testing and these first batches, and had to order more. To me that's pretty exciting, re-ordering parts means the product is a small success!

The current batch of 30 IICE Airs are in the background. The last of the vials went into building them.

I started in doing the prep work for the vials, cutting, drilling etc., and everything was going smoothly. But then I noticed something, these new vials are not the same as the previous ones. The new vial is on the right in the picture below. The new plastic material is semi opaque, compared to the see-through material on the left.

What the heck? Did I order the wrong part number? Nope. Let me check the distributor website. The product picture shown below is from their site, and is the same picture as last time. But this new part has slightly different dimensions than the previous part, and is molded from different material.

The thing is, this new semi-opaque material isn't going to work. I need to see through the side wall of the vial in order to pour the epoxy to the correct level. You can't see much through this new material. Crud. Vendor changes of this sort is common enough when buying from distributors. But either way this is a heck of thing to find out at 3am on Tuesday morning with a deadline in front of you.

Here's why the opaque material is a problem. If you remember from earlier reports, one of the final assembly steps is an epoxy potting process. The assembled IICE Air is mounted in a fixture to keep everything lined up while the epoxy is poured in and cures.

The side wall of the vial must be clear enough to see through. At least well enough to pour the epoxy to the right level, and not overfill it. (Note: The silver wire 'stirrups' soldered into the board and passing through the vial are 'guy wires' to lash the vial firmly in place.)

This is the perfect level. An epoxy overfill will 'flood' the jumper array.

I spent much of the day yesterday trying to locate another source for the previous vial. Then JJ and I talked for a couple of hours about possible solutions. We discussed different ways to fixture the part. Some type of fixture that would hold the part in a way that I could look in through the open cap while pouring the epoxy.

About 2 and half hours into it JJ came up with an idea! Leave it to Marketing!

The excellent plan is to do the epoxy encapsulation in 2 separate pours. First a light pour, maybe 25% of the total amount needed. Let that cure and remove the part from the fixture. The cured epoxy from the first pour will hold everything in place without a fixture. Super! Open the vial cap and complete the second pour. You can see from the picture above, with the cap open, the epoxy level is clearly visible.

Doing a primary 'short pour', and using the epoxy as a fixture, was a stroke of genius JJ!

Originally Posted by Poolside View Post
Assembly report.

There are 106 pieces in process. Initially it was two batches. 54 and 52.

While doing the first batch (54) I also doubled up on some of the preparation steps. Meaning the prep steps for both batches (54 and 52) were done simultaneously.

The prepping for both batches took longer than if I just did the prep for one. But overall, doing it that way shortened the time for the full 106.

The longest process is the epoxy cure. The assembly requires 2 epoxy steps, and each epoxy cure takes 36 hours. For the first epoxy step the parts need to be fixtured. I have fixtures for 30 pieces.

Here is the schedule for the 2 epoxy steps, final test, packing and shipping. You can see there is overlap. As the first 30 come out of the fixtures, the second 30 take their place, and so on.

1st 30: Cure 1: 9am Mon to 9pm Tues. Cure 2: 9pm Tues to 9am Thurs. Final test. Pack and ship Thursday.
2nd 30: Cure 1: 9pm Tues to 9am Thurs. Cure 2: 9am Thurs to 9pm Fri. Final test. Pack and ship Saturday.
3rd 30: Cure 1: 9am Thurs to 9pm Fri. Cure 2: 9pm Fri to 9am Sun. Final test. Pack and ship Monday.
Last 16: Cure 1: 9pm Fri to 9am Sun. Cure 2: 9am Sun to 9pm Mon. Final test. Pack and ship Tuesday.

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