Author Topic: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics  (Read 10508 times)

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Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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[IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 06:55:57 »
Workmat

Discord
https://discord.gg/MECBwUp
IC form
https://forms.gle/338D6i5B2fHJtEMJA
Website
https://www.american-haptics.com/
Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/americanhaptics/

Hello everyone, hope yall are doing okay. First off, this is our first interest check/presale and we want to do everything right. We also are really open to feedback of all kinds. Looking forward to hearing from anyone and everyone.

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I want to introduce to you a concept for a silicone mat. It is American made, high quality, and will have multiple color options. The Workmat will be about 25 inches x 15 inches, or 62.5 cm x 38 cm. This should give plenty of space to work on a pcb, handwiring, or switch lubing project. It will be cast, by hand, in vacuum degassed silicone rubber. The weight is estimated at about 2 1/2 lbs, or just over a kilogram.

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We plan to interest check these for about 30 days, then presale for about 30 days, then launch for retail on our website. We don't plan to do a GB exactly because we will be the manufacturers, and after the molds and packaging are funded, it can be added into our manufacturing timeline. That said, there will probably be a GB thread to go through the formality. As soon as molds are made and verified, you can expect orders to ship.

Aiming for $50-$55 dollar price point

Thank you, and looking forward to hearing from you

Edit 1

Thank you for all the interest. If we get half the amount of people who said yes in the interest form to move forward, we will have enough volume to launch on our website. That said, I want to run this interest check for a bit longer. I have added Lilac, Purple (what was I thinking not choosing purple at first?!), and Gray. This week we have silicone and pigment arriving in the mail, and expect to see prototypes as early as next week. Thanks for sticking with us!

Update

We are moving into the testing and prototyping phase. The color pigments are really hard to measure and work with but we have made a lot of progress over about 12 tests. I have posted some here. The purple is proving really elusive, and the test results are laughable! Sort of like blood/ wine. Today's purple test came out basically navy blue, which looks amazing but is not on the list! I just thought I would share with you guys so you can see how we are doing.

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I really like how the cream looks. The yellow pigment is just so transparent that even after doubling the pigment load, it just doesn't look like the render.

Let me know what you think
« Last Edit: Sat, 24 October 2020, 21:29:34 by Old_Gold_Hand »
Love yall

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 07:02:49 »
While theyre quite attractive in their simplicity, sizes and colours, Im not sure if Id be keep based on the price.

I understand that there is a premium on stuff that is hand cast, but Im usually of the opinion that there needs to be some defining characteristic to make it worth buying vs cheaper factory made products. A large silicone soldering mat with sections and magnetic bits fo screws, etc. will set you back somewhere between 10 and 20 depending on size and Amazon stocks dozens of different designs. Though I allow that the largest ones only come within about 5cm of your design.

What would you say is the differentiating factor here to make these worth the premium price?
"Romeo"     "Split75"   "Melody96"     "KBD8X MKII"     "Womier K87"

Offline dibstern

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 07:10:58 »
Yasssss beautiful and handy, I love it, will be great as I dive into the depths of this hideously expensive and endless pursuit of aesthetic perfection.

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 07:12:30 »
While theyre quite attractive in their simplicity, sizes and colours, Im not sure if Id be keep based on the price.

I understand that there is a premium on stuff that is hand cast, but Im usually of the opinion that there needs to be some defining characteristic to make it worth buying vs cheaper factory made products. A large silicone soldering mat with sections and magnetic bits fo screws, etc. will set you back somewhere between 10 and 20 depending on size and Amazon stocks dozens of different designs. Though I allow that the largest ones only come within about 5cm of your design.

What would you say is the differentiating factor here to make these worth the premium price?



I am never going to be able to compete with labor and material cost from China, and that is a large factor in the final price. I am hoping today to get a call back from a silicone manufacturer (of the raw material), and If I can get a better price on the casting rubber, you will see the price go down. Our pricing structure is a pretty simple equation of material+labor+profit. The current price point is to be safe and not give false expectations.

Also, the mat will be thick and heavy, and come in various colors. We think the final feel will be solid and durable, and pretty. This is where the "premium" comes in.

Thanks for chiming in
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 07:33:16 »
Yasssss beautiful and handy, I love it, will be great as I dive into the depths of this hideously expensive and endless pursuit of aesthetic perfection.

Thanks, i know how the rabbit hole is. This thing would be useful for a lot of other stuff besides keebs too, like just tinkering on anything.
Love yall

Online LightningXI

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 08:15:30 »
Pretty neat, but it really seems expensive for a workmat.

Offline riziom

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 10:37:05 »
This looks great, totally willing to pay the price if this is going to be significantly more durable that the flimsy options you can buy online. Just a thought, but I've always wanted something like this that could be used as a permanent deskmat/mousepad. Probably need to be a removable cloth pad for the mouse, but I tinker at my desk alot so I always have a crepe rubber matter under my actual deskmat. Would be nice for a better version of that.

I would also buy a very well designed solder-stand/third hand. Mine sucks and I've never found a really good one before. I'd love something that could look nice enough to permanently leave on my desk an use for notes/pens when I'm not soldering.

Offline StanleyLelnats

  • Posts: 41
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 11:48:04 »
I'm not sure how feasible it is, but maybe adding some keyboard centric additions might help justify the price tag? Maybe something around lubing like a place for storing springs, stems, a lube holder or even some cutouts for holding brushes. That way you could make it a full on hobby mat that is more centered around the hobby.

Offline Shiro

  • Posts: 63
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 12:08:09 »
i absolutely love these, hope it all goes well!

Offline SuddenlyDonkey

  • Posts: 140
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 12:25:41 »
I really like the look of these but I question the AH logo. I can see small misc parts inadvertently rolling in there on a frequent basis, unless that's what it's intended for (which I guess I would still question).

Offline TiamDesigns

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 12:40:03 »
That teal looks great! This would be a lot better than my current setup.

Offline LASERman

  • Posts: 18
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 12:57:12 »
What about ESD protection? Kind of crucial for electronics work surface.

Offline KaosJ

  • Posts: 1034
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 13:19:43 »
At this price, unfortunately, i don't see any reason to buy this instead of the 10-15 euro shipped mat on amazon (which in GB could be even lower).




Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 12 August 2020, 13:24:52 »
Thanks everyone for chiming in!

Pretty neat, but it really seems expensive for a workmat.

At this price, unfortunately, i don't see any reason to buy this instead of the 10-15 euro shipped mat on amazon (which in GB could be even lower).

As I said before, I am working on getting the price lower, and will never be able to compete with Chinese labor and material cost.

What about ESD protection? Kind of crucial for electronics work surface.

It is silicone rubber, so while it is resistant to burning and having blobs of solder stick to it, it is not naturally ESD resistant. An ESD wristband is always gonna be your best friend.
Love yall

Offline crosscutgymnast

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[IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 13 August 2020, 16:27:01 »
Interesting how people are ready to drop thousands on china made boards but a hand made actually good looking workmat at 50$ is outrageous. I also thinker a lot at my desk and would be interested in this product. And while yes you can buy some cheapo stuff on amazon. To me part of this hobby is also helping other makers, Not some corporate giant.


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« Last Edit: Thu, 13 August 2020, 16:29:38 by crosscutgymnast »

Offline SwitchKeys

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 13 August 2020, 17:21:43 »


What would you say is the differentiating factor here to make these worth the premium price?

The same thing that allows GMK to compete with China - Workmanship

Offline nostyle_au

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 13 August 2020, 19:11:22 »
Count me in OP  :thumb:
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 January 2021, 04:14:12 by nostyle_au »

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 14 August 2020, 07:09:20 »
Thanks for the support, yall! I will post an update probably today. We will very likely go into GB (presale really, after this it will be available retail on our website).


Count me in OP  :thumb:

Maybe you could ask SK if theyll act as an OCE proxy since theyve already shown their face here   :D

PM sent!
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 10:58:34 »
Shameless Bump  :blank:
Love yall

Offline MoarCoffeePlzzz

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 11:08:46 »
For me, the colors aren't much of a concern as I would only buy black. I have a silicon work mat that is around this size with tons of compartments and magnets. I think I paid $20 for it. I love to support community members but would need to see a significant drop in price to do so.
« Last Edit: Tue, 18 August 2020, 11:12:18 by MoarCoffeePlzzz »

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 18 August 2020, 12:00:00 »
For me, the colors aren't much of a concern as I would only buy black. I have a silicon work mat that is around this size with tons of compartments and magnets. I think I paid $20 for it. I love to support community members but would need to see a significant drop in price to do so.

Thanks for chiming in, understand completely.
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 24 August 2020, 12:07:45 »
Edit 2

I might also add that I haven't been able to find a manufacturer that will touch a part this size. It looks like it will always be a cast product and we will have to make a casting section of our workspace, which is actually kinda cool.
Love yall

Offline lorphex

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 25 August 2020, 20:46:56 »
Are the compartments at the top tall enough to support having ~90 switch top housings?
If not it's fine, but it'd be nice. I'll definitely be watching this closely.

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 26 August 2020, 08:07:38 »
Are the compartments at the top tall enough to support having ~90 switch top housings?
If not it's fine, but it'd be nice. I'll definitely be watching this closely.

The large compartments at the left and right are designed to hold about 100 fully assembled switches, If you heap them up a little bit. We are machining the master aluminum mold this week and hope to have some prototypes for nice pictures next week. Some colors are well figured out but still working on all possible colorways
Love yall

Offline huey

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 26 August 2020, 09:03:41 »
I don't see the point in charging $50 for a sillicone mat with no redeeming features when you can get one off amazon for $10...

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 26 August 2020, 10:08:08 »
I don't see the point in charging $50 for a sillicone mat with no redeeming features when you can get one off amazon for $10...

Unfortunately we will never be able or attempt to compete on labor and material price with China.

Our mat is handmade in USA, is 15 x 25 inches and comes in fun colors, those are the differences to the ones you can find for cheap on Amazon.
Love yall

Offline Nutty

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #26 on: Sat, 29 August 2020, 16:01:05 »
I love the color options on these workmats. I'm willing to pay this price compared to many cheaper options online. The only issue I have is that the compartments are quite basic and don't offer as much to the much cheaper options already available. If you were to add/change the layout with additional compartments and functionality I feel that more would be interested in this project. I'll be watching this project, hope it does well.

Offline paperassgasket

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 08:45:02 »
I love the idea. I agree that it seems a bit expensive for a workmat.

I think the number one thing I would use a silicone mat for is soldering.
Any specs on the silicone temp ratings? If I drop my iron on it will it ruin my mat?


Offline Owl

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 31 August 2020, 12:39:10 »
Interested in this! Also hoping the price comes down just a smidge but I would still consider getting one of these regardless.

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 01 September 2020, 07:36:06 »
I love the idea. I agree that it seems a bit expensive for a workmat.

I think the number one thing I would use a silicone mat for is soldering.
Any specs on the silicone temp ratings? If I drop my iron on it will it ruin my mat?

The material is rated to 400 F, so your soldering iron would likely only damage it if was in prolonged contact with the mat. A friend of mine has one of the amazon cheap ones and he's managed to scorch it in places, but he's notorious for leaving his iron on overnight even.

I know the price is itchy. I have called a total of 6 Silicone injection molding specialists and they all say that the part is too big. Compression molding is the manufacturing process used to make stuff like this but I am having some trouble finding a domestic manufacturer for a part this size, and colors may be limited. This will likely always be a hand cast product. The materials and pigments and time involved are not insignificant, even at 55 gallon drum levels. I know this is going to limit our market reach but ultimately the product will be really high quality and beautiful.

Thanks everyone and please please ask any more questions you can think of, because it's difficult to know every blind spot.

We plan on machining the master blank this week and start prototyping asap. As soon as we have a few happy samples we will move into presale so we can start getting our heads around what our production set up will look like. Fortunately we are a small team and can still push our other projects down the road while producing these mats, so don't be surprised if you see a small blitz of IC's and presales of products we have been working on for the better part of a year, really exciting stuff!
Love yall

Offline davek184

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #30 on: Wed, 02 September 2020, 06:10:57 »
Did you mean 400C?  400F seems really low.

Offline paperassgasket

  • Posts: 351
Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #31 on: Wed, 02 September 2020, 08:51:53 »
Actually that sounds about right. Not all silicone is created equal. My oven mitts are rated for 450F even though my oven can get much hotter than that.


Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 02 September 2020, 09:21:22 »
Yeah I have some silicone pot holders that are about that rating and they are fine when I broil stuff in a cast iron pan on 500F.
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #33 on: Wed, 02 September 2020, 09:21:54 »
Also I will try and torture test some of the sample pucks sometime this week with a soldering iron.
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #34 on: Mon, 14 September 2020, 19:40:27 »
Hey everyone! Major update! We are preparing to to make our first prototypes. The aluminum master is machined and silicone is in the mail. Expect to see finished mats by the end of the week (come on mail!) and presale to go live next week at the latest.

As soon as presale starts, we will fulfill presale orders as they come in. Once presale is closed, all presale orders will be fulfilled, then the workmat will go live on our website. Thanks everyone for so far exceeding our expectations and for your valuable feedback.

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This one was during roughing! The finishing passes are amazingly smooth. Bead blasting is going to bring this to such a fine finish on the final mats
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THE MASTER
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Close up before bead blasting

Thanks again everyone!
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 07:39:02 »
Quick update! We have been refining our casting process and formulas for making the mats. Here are a few prototype shots of Purple and Gray colors. The mats are really nice in person, we have been using them in the shop and for a little tinkering on stuff. They are pretty big as well.

We have narrowed the colors down to 7

Black
Gray
Safety Orange
Purple
Turquoise
Cream
Coral

Thanks for sticking with us, we hope to open presale soon and get everyone their mat.

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Love yall

Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 14:42:22 »
First of all, they look amazing!

I understand the price may seem steep for some, but considering it is designed and produced closer to home is a big plus for me. I have been looking for ways to upgrade my workspace and I love the design and the simplicity of these workmats.

Keep up the good work!

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 14:44:57 »
First of all, they look amazing!

I understand the price may seem steep for some, but considering it is designed and produced closer to home is a big plus for me. I have been looking for ways to upgrade my workspace and I love the design and the simplicity of these workmats.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you!
Love yall

Offline Anthixious

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #38 on: Wed, 07 October 2020, 14:51:17 »
The cream one is looking better and better with each passing day. I wasn't interested in these before, but since I forgot that I like to take apart computers along with build the keyboards I buy in the future, this sounds like a good investment.  :thumb:

Offline webstersx

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #39 on: Fri, 09 October 2020, 18:58:36 »
Looks great!

Offline Nutty

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 15 October 2020, 14:20:01 »
Oh wow I just realized that your shop is pretty close to where I am. I'm located in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area. Never had a chance to support someone more local to me in the community. I'm interested in the coral one, but I'm also digging that cream one now.

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #41 on: Sat, 24 October 2020, 21:29:20 »
UPDATE

Check out new photos of color tests! We have been working with the silicone supplier about getting pre mixed pantone colors. I will make another update showing the current prototypes and the chosen pantone colors. The intention is to get them as close as possible and I think they will still reflect the chosen colorways. Mixing pigment by ratio is too inconsistent and we want to meet expectations, but the minimum quantities for pantone color matching are simply out of reach for one off prototypes.

The mats really are super nice. We have been using them for a while now and are really happy with them. They are nice and big and bright.

As for presale, we are finalizing shipping. We hope to be live next week. All the presale details will be on the website shop page, as well as the gallery.

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Thanks for sticking with us! GET HYPED
Love yall

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 28 October 2020, 07:50:42 »
Presale is live on our website, GB post awaiting approval. Thanks everyone
Love yall

Offline udller

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #43 on: Wed, 28 October 2020, 08:21:58 »
is this like a us only buy? i cant change it to another country?

Offline Old_Gold_Hand

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #44 on: Sat, 31 October 2020, 08:00:23 »
is this like a us only buy? i cant change it to another country?

What region are you? We are still looking for proxies in EU and ASIA. I can send you one anywhere but shipping is going to be brutal and our website is not yet GDPR compliant.
Love yall

Offline kapowaz

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Re: [IC] Workmat - A silicone mat for working on keebs/electronics
« Reply #45 on: Sun, 01 November 2020, 05:46:47 »
+1 for an EU customer here. Would love for you to either find an EU proxy or ship internationally!