Hi Pre-Order Customers,
We are sharing our monthly updates from kickstarter with you here. This is the January update. Last month's December update is here
ChessUp Frame and Back-Plate
We spent several weeks in December making adjustments to the frame and back plate. As we got more factory samples in we noticed occasional areas of underfill. These errors were very subtle, internal, and not on every piece - but needed to be addressed as it could affect our screw bosses (a screw boss is the rigid cylindrical feature that the screws thread in to). A defective screw boss on just one location can make the back plate difficult to attach correctly. So we had to fix that or risk low yield on the frames.
We also took the opportunity to improve the frame surface finish and knit lines (cosmetic improvements). We are happy with the fixes, but it took time. In a typical year, our mechanical engineer would be on site with the molder, and these adjustments would be done in days. However, the iteration loop now involves shipping pieces across the globe for our review - and the molder waiting for our feedback. Instead of days, our three iterations took 4 weeks. Our original schedule only accounted for a week. So it puts us 3 weeks behind schedule.
Again our molder was very cooperative and also concerned about the quality along with us. These adjustments are often part of the typical process - just with atypical slowness because of travel restrictions. We are doing our best to keep things moving fast, but this one was definitely worth pausing and making right.
As a result of the first delay, we have run into another issue. Production will now carry past Chinese New Year. Our manufacturer's factory is off work for 3 weeks during Chinese New Year. So the unfortunate result is a total of a 6 week impact. Rather than late February, we are mid-April for the beginning of fulfillment.
All I can do is apologize and promise to keep pushing as best we can without compromising the product. I understand many will be frustrated and we share that frustration. Please reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org if this impacts your order with a move or timing of a gift. We will support you in any way we can.
We are also exploring optimization of the freight schedule (i.e. earliest container goes to the longest route - so no country is waiting too long). If possible, we hope to lay out a country-specific delivery schedule in the March update.
The Better News
With factory sample units in hand, the product is coming together just excellently. ChessUp looks and performs great. Now that we have something worth showing off - we are making and sharing videos on our YouTube channel. Below is a game between our chess pro WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and Stockfish (super human chess AI). We took the chance to show the AI assistance level 4 mode (blunders are red, mistakes are blue, good is green).
Please check out the video below to see a full game of ChessUp in action. If you want to see more content, subscribe to the channel and we will continue to share videos showing different features.
We also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of our backers at the Consumer Electronics Trade Show (CES) this week. They got to see the product first hand and try it out. The response for ChessUp at CES was overwhelmingly positive from both backers and those seeing the concept for the first time.
Let us know what other features you would like to see on YouTube. We would love to hear what features are the most anticipated from the backers.