By Kyle Muir, FuzePlay Co-Founder
I always look forward to the landscape of a bustling Chinese city. Shenzhen, where most of my factories are located is one of those cities! Only 30 years old, the city has a population over 30 million. It is the definition of a concrete jungle - as are most Chinese cities. Like most things in China, Shenzhen is huge and seemingly larger than life! What is big in America has little resemblance to what is BIG in China!
My first priority was to meet with our mold factory. Leading my trip we had worked through a series of mold 'tunes' aimed at improving the locking closure of the frisbee body and lid. Each tune requires a mold modifications using a process known as Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). The process uses an electric spark to burn small, but very precise amounts of material from the mold. In the picture below I am testing what at the time was the most recent sample.
Each adjustment requires about a week's time to turn and approve a new prototype. Additionally, each modification costs time and money, so it was important we made the best possible adjustment without compromising our mold - once you remove material for a tighter fit you can't add that material back! I was super excited to receive the parts back and see that the adjustments we had made were perfect!
The Zubi Flyer is a toy for kids and expected to be thrown, dropped, and who knows what else. We tested the parts over concrete with a PCB in place throwing long distances to ensure the lid wasn't going to pop off or loosen during play or when hit against another object.
The Zubi Flyer protects and secures the PCB and it flies great!!
In the two videos below you can see both the factory visit I made in China to review our injection molded parts and get a taste for what is required to design and manufacture a new product like the Zubi Flyer.
After ensuring that our injection mold parts were on track to be production ready I focused on wrapping up production at our Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) facility. 1700 boards were complete and ready for final assembly.
Early on I gave this factory a lot of attention. A wise tip is to not outsource your core competencies; and, being a technology company it is important to maintain a higher degree of control over the more technical aspects of our business, particularly when it comes to electronics.
While burning the bootloader to the last boards we discovered an issue with our bootloader that seemed unresolvable. You can see in the video below some of the troubleshooting that was attempted. Eventually we Skyped one of our developers to help resolve the issue.
We have a great team and it is always a fantastic experience to be on the factory floor in China with the team!
Though we weren't able to fix the problem onsite, upon my return our CTO quickly discovered that our programmer had multiple severed wires - one being the 5V connector, which limited the power required to burn the bootloader. He had another programmer ready to ship to China that same week and went the extra mile by hand soldering a second board that indicates both a failure with the programmer and a method to notify where those failure is.
The complete setup is photographed below.
The secondary board uses a tungsten filament bulbs to serve as non-linear resistors. Basically, if the filaments heat up enough they act as resistors and light up signalling a problem on that particular wire. There is one light bulb for each wire on the programmer making previously invisible problems visible - GO RON!
After addressing the more technical aspects of the Zubi Flyer I focused on other important details for our production. I made a visit to each of our other factories to ensure all assembly parts were in order: Micro-USB, Diffraction Glasses, and packaging!
By the time I left I had approved our 'gold' prototype, ensure stock of all assembly parts, and confirmed a number of logistic details. The only piece pending is the mass production of our packaging and plastic components!
Production for plastic components and packaging will be finished by end of week and after a few more quality control checks we should be ready to ship! The Zubi Flyer is expected to be on shelves by end of December!
With Zubi Flyer learning electronics and real code is as easy as 1,2,3, Build, Hack, Play. The Zubi Flyer is a smart toy that FUZE's physical play and online learning in a fun and simple way. Whether inside or outside, it's a frisbee that shows kids how stuff works!
Open the box and screw your Zubi Flyer together (1 minute max). Put on your FuzePlay Star Diffraction Glasses and push buttons or wave the magnet wand to hack into fun games, sounds, and light sequences. Go outside and play frisbee with a friend or plug the Zubi Flyer into your computer to code the Arduino (ATmega32u4) microcontroller, LEDs, Piezo Buzzer, photocell light sensor, and button and reed switches.
Coding is FREE, real, and we have made it so easy to modify code that anyone can do it!!
12 FUN STEAM GAMES HANDS-ON PLAY CONNECT ONLINE EDUCATIONAL INSTRUCTABLE ELECTRONICS EXPLORATION REAL CODE
We will be shipping final product in November 2017.
Pre-order now for a discount! Build. Hack. Play.
Last week we did just that! After two years of hard work and many product iterations Kristy and I received and opened the very first Zubi Flyer! It has been incredible to see the response we have received from individuals and organizations since word has gotten out that Zubi Flyer is in stock!!
*video switches to horizontal after Kristy's
FuzePlay plug at minute 1:00 :)
Click HERE for the Fuze Install Kit
Click HERE to beta the Fuze ScratchX Extension
The Zubi Flyer is the bomb dot com for makers: 5 PWM pins, 12 DIOs as well as hardware serial connections Rx and Tx. Running at 16MHz and 5V. The onboard switch-mode boost regulator is designed to operate on 3 Volts. Power can be supplied from a 3 Volt CR123A battery or from a USB cable that provides regulated +5 Volts DC to the board. Do not run any power exceeding 5 Volts as the regulator cannot handle step-down voltage.
learn how stuff works!