Author Topic: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]  (Read 11114 times)

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Offline dwarflemur

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #100 on: Fri, 15 June 2018, 13:37:08 »
This looks dope. I can't wait to get mine!
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Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #101 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 02:54:02 »
First shipment of parts arrived at my place. I've got exams until next Monday, so I'll just leave this small set of photos here.

https://imgur.com/a/Lo1xVm4

I'll do a better update when I have time  :thumb:

Offline dantambok

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #102 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 04:19:32 »
First shipment of parts arrived at my place. I've got exams until next Monday, so I'll just leave this small set of photos here.

https://imgur.com/a/Lo1xVm4

I'll do a better update when I have time  :thumb:

so close I can almost taste it!

Offline Poesjuh

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #103 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 04:25:20 »
Any of the 4 extra's still available?

Offline vewy_nice

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #104 on: Tue, 19 June 2018, 07:32:50 »
Can I pay for express shipping to try and get this before Keycon? ;)

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Brass parts update]
« Reply #105 on: Wed, 20 June 2018, 05:14:35 »
Got a touch distracted from studying, but here's a few pics.

First from me: https://imgur.com/a/rePnxqk

From the factory (chrome and gold electroplating): https://imgur.com/a/LdY3wxN

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #106 on: Wed, 27 June 2018, 02:02:50 »
TL;DR: Cases half alright, electrophoretic coating ended up worse than expected, factory will fix things, just need a new finish (or compromise on an old one) for brass parts.

Alright, now that everything is settling down for me, time to give an update on the situation.

To start off, the good news. All due parts have arrived, meaning all the cases, plates, weights, and PCBs. https://imgur.com/a/MWGQPXj

Purble, Blue and Clear cases:




Black Nickel, Gold and Silver plated parts respectively:







Polycarb Plate:


All the electroplated parts and the polycarb plate turned out great, as you can see. The issue exists with the rest of the brass parts that received the electrophoretic coating and with some of the cases. https://imgur.com/a/CF261I5


More





For reference, 6/30 brass weights passed QC. Some number of them was more acceptable with no visible flaws showing through the poly case, but I don't have a number handy. The plates are better, but majority have dirt under the coating on the underside or even worse, on top. Notable mention that the 2 untreated sets ended up scratched up to hell and also failed QC.

Moving on to the cases, most of the cases exhibit a bending issue, while some have some blemishes on the outside of the case. While all but the worse cases assemble fine, the bending makes assembly more difficult and well, I'm sure not everyone will be happy about it.




Changing topics to the PCBs, they all look fine from initial inspection, only issue is that the wrong production hex was flashed on to it, so I have to go through and reprogram every PCB to add back the bootloader :((

So after all this bad news, I'm relieved to say the factory is willing to replace parts with the above issues, given I am reasonable in setting my expectations.

For the cases, this means that there will most likely be a slight bending of the base, but not so much that it makes it difficult to assemble. Once assembled, the issue goes away for all of the cases. The remade cases would not have alignment nubs on the base, as they are part of the cause of the bending.

For the brass parts, the situation is a bit more annoying. We're back to the brainstorming stage on what finish would achieve the ideal appearance of mirror polished and coated. One suggestion my manufacturer had for me was a matte sandblasted finish (factory-quality pic as usual :P):



This is a different look, but it will be easier to get consistently good.

The issues with each finish summarised:

Untreated: Tarnishes, harder to clean
UV coated: Dust speckles all over, bad side has wavy lines
Silver Electroplating: It's silver, one side will have flaws (amount random)
Gold Electroplating: Costs 40USD/part, one side ends up inconsistently matte: https://i.imgur.com/HD0C7Mq.jpg
Electrophoretic: Slight flaws on both sides, dust on both sides

I will keep thinking about what a good compromise would be, but please do leave comments on what you think here or in PMs. Do you mind the defects? Is there something I'm overlooking? Let me know.

The GB will naturally be delayed based on how long we take to start production, as well as how long it takes for me to check and pack parts afterwards, I'll put it as early August now (sigh). Since there are some parts that meet standards, I will try and arrange to ship out some units early, provided people are willing to pay the premium that I have to pay to ship packages individually vs as a bulk. More details about that when I have a more clear overview on what parts are good to go.

Extras are unlikely to be available, if they are, I'll mention so after the main orders are available to ship out. This will not make Keycon even at the earliest because I have to fix the PCBs and source screws (factory forgot to include them), I won't give any dates for how early I can get things ready or I'll end up more exhausted than I am.



Mx is a tired boy.
« Last Edit: Wed, 27 June 2018, 03:42:18 by MxBlue »

Offline dantambok

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #107 on: Wed, 27 June 2018, 02:13:25 »
Oh boy, that's something nobody wants to hear but i guess **** happens. Thanks for working hard to figure stuff out for use peeps  :blank:

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #108 on: Wed, 27 June 2018, 06:55:34 »
Might as well tease a couple hype pics while we're waiting  :))


Offline bthezebra

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #109 on: Wed, 27 June 2018, 07:04:49 »
Might as well tease a couple hype pics while we're waiting  :))

Show Image

Now I don't need coffee this morning.... Well I am going to drink some anyway

Offline vewy_nice

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #110 on: Thu, 28 June 2018, 07:20:13 »
I'd take an untreated sandblasted option for my brass parts!

Also, you get to keep a lot of these "sub-par" parts, right? You could totally make some B-stock kits ;)

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #111 on: Tue, 10 July 2018, 01:07:16 »
Alright, a small update on progress.

Cases:

I'm yet to finalise the count of tops and bottoms that need to be replaced, once that's done, I'd be getting the factory to remake said parts.

Plate/Weights:

The electroplated parts ended up with fitting issues unfortunately, so I won't be able to ship those out until the rest of the parts are ready. Polished parts got scratched up like crazy, and also need to be redone.

After discussing the possible finishes with the factory, we've somewhat reached a conclusion on the finish. We're looking at either:
 - Gold plating, with one side brushed/sandblasted, which should mitigate the issue of one side being bad, of course, the fitting issue will also be resolved
 - Sandblasting with a matte finish, should be a shiny matte finish like shown in my previous post
 
Gold plating is more similar to the original finish, but it needs testing anyhow, so I will have get both finishes tested. There may (emphasis on may) be another chance to go for a silver (chrome electroplated) finish, which would be the same as gold having one side brushed/sandblasted. Details will be available on that when I can confirm it.

PCBs:

I'm in the middle of assembling the PCBs that take the least effort to get working, and I'll work up from there. The PCB factory will let me know what the go is for replacing PCBs with some dead LEDs.

I've finished with the firmware, which you can find here: https://github.com/qmk/qmk_firmware/tree/master/keyboards/mxss. It supports QMK Configurator, so you can build your keymaps here: https://config.qmk.fm/#/mxss/LAYOUT. I'll have a more indepth explanation in how to go about doing some of the extra custom things the board supports closer to delivery.

Here are some of the nifty things I coded in:
https://streamable.com/nd7pk - RGB mode makes the LEDs work with the RGB underglow
https://streamable.com/hj2yd - Indicator mode makes the top LED a capslock indicator and the bottom LED a layer indicator
https://streamable.com/wjpwx - Modes can be changed on the fly, and brightness for the front LEDs can be individually controlled


And to wrap things up, I'd like to say that we have 2 kits that are (nearly) ready to go, they will end up having the electrophoretic finish rather than whatever ends up replacing it for the reworked parts, so keep that in mind. Considering that the black nickel parts are ready to go as well, I will offer to ship out kits without the brass parts early as well.

For both these cases, you will have to accept that the shipping cost will be higher, since they'll be shipped individually, and you will have to pay shipping for brass parts further down the line as well. For a rough estimate, take the cost on the opening post and add $10. Priority for the 2 kits with electrophoretic parts goes to the highest invoice numbers.

The form for early shipping can be located in your emails, PM me if you need a link.

TL;DR:

Cases: Check parts -> Get them remade
Brass: Either gold electroplated or sandblasted -> Get them remade/reworked
PCBs: I'm slaving to fix them, and replacements should come in to fulfill the rest

If you can pay for shipping, I will prepare to ship whatever I have ready (any black nickel sets, 2x electrophoretic coated sets), priority for good electrophoretic parts goes to the highest invoice numbers. Check your email for the form for shipping early.
« Last Edit: Tue, 10 July 2018, 01:36:14 by MxBlue »

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #112 on: Tue, 10 July 2018, 01:12:45 »
I'd take an untreated sandblasted option for my brass parts!

I'll keep it in mind that people want it, but i'll be aiming to make it simple enough for the factory so we will see where we go on that note.

Quote
Also, you get to keep a lot of these "sub-par" parts, right? You could totally make some B-stock kits ;)

I might, but what will happen will be decided after the GB is over, getting parts to you guys is more important :thumb:

Offline dwarflemur

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #113 on: Tue, 24 July 2018, 15:19:19 »
Hey dude, has there been anything update worthy in the last few weeks?
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Offline amnesia0287

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #114 on: Tue, 24 July 2018, 17:09:19 »
Hey dude, has there been anything update worthy in the last few weeks?

Like a day or two ago on discord he said they were working on the brass parts. I donít think he has any meaningful updates yet.

Offline dwarflemur

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #115 on: Wed, 25 July 2018, 17:32:30 »
Hey dude, has there been anything update worthy in the last few weeks?

Like a day or two ago on discord he said they were working on the brass parts. I donít think he has any meaningful updates yet.

Okay, cool, thanks
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Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #116 on: Wed, 25 July 2018, 17:54:40 »
Thanks for passing on the info amnesia, but I'll do a quick update to clarify.

I ended up sending all the brass parts over to be reworked (sorry to q and Captain Shwah, your parts were more bent than I expected, so I thought it's best to send them back). The first MxSS was picked up from me a bit over a week ago, and I received some feedback.

One issue found was that the assembled board had a bit of a rock caused by warped parts, the factory and I are resolving that matter now. Another issue I found is that the steel screws I use for assembly caused a bit of damage to the plating, so I propose to fix that with washers, which will eventually be delivered to me... https://i.imgur.com/6RdyQtP.jpg
The factory has received the parts, so we're resolving the issues now.

10 more PCBs to assemble, and at least 23 to send back for repair from the factory.

That should be a good summary of current events.

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #117 on: Sun, 05 August 2018, 04:49:35 »
Alright, we've unfortunately passed my last set deadline of August unfortunately, and while I don't have a concrete update, I will at least post why.

First up, all the brass parts have reached the factory as mentioned in the previous update, and they are working on straightening out the parts. As for the finish, well, it's again a tough situation. To put it simply, there is not perfect solution that will be both mirror polished and protected against tarnish. We tried PVD, but it ended up with light flaws: https://imgur.com/a/eA5zKOW. Turns out most (if not all) other keyboards with PVD finished brass have to recoat and sometimes even remake parts until satisfaction. This process is extremely time consuming, so naturally my manufacturer was not willing to do that considering we didn't arrange for it upfront.
On a more positive note, another keyboard done through the same manufacturer had their brass parts finished by a sandblast with a clear coat, and that turned out surprisingly well: https://i.imgur.com/YRt0O2c.jpg. While the factory isn't all too pleased with how many times they need to redo sandblasting to get it perfect without tarnish or fingerprints, they did offer me an olive branch saying they're willing to do it. If we are not able to find an alternative, I will likely have to fall back to the original set of options (UV Coat, Gold Electroplate, Silver Electroplate, uncoated) along with the sandblasted finish. While it's unusual to have group buy participants decide such technical details, I feel that after being strung along this far by me (which I sincerely apologise for), you have a say in what you're getting.

Moving on to the cases, looking over them again, I realised that they had started to develop marks more prominently as the UV coating on them further cured. My manufacturer assured me that they were issues occurring during the polishing stage, so we are experimenting on solutions for that. Unfortunately, what this means is I can't send out any kits early, I'm sorry about that  :'(

As I'm not at a stage where I have an estimate for how long processes will take, I can't give an estimate of how long things will take. I will do my best to be prompt with dealing with the manufacturer so delays will be kept to a minimum, but I will have to ask everyone to continue bearing with me, I will continue trying my best to produce the most perfect parts I can for you.

There will be a more concrete update when I have concrete details.

Thanks,
Mx

Offline vewy_nice

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #118 on: Sun, 12 August 2018, 13:58:53 »
Hey thanks for the updates :)

I'm sure we can all be patient to get it done right ;)

Offline MxBlue

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #119 on: Sun, 12 August 2018, 15:56:18 »
Hey thanks for the updates :)

I'm sure we can all be patient to get it done right ;)
I am extremely appreciative of your patience, as well as everyone else in the gb's :D
« Last Edit: Sun, 12 August 2018, 19:17:12 by MxBlue »

Offline dantambok

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Re: [GB] MxSS - Polycarb 65% Kit for MX/SMK [Big update/delays]
« Reply #120 on: Mon, 13 August 2018, 00:47:14 »
As with all GBs, setbacks and delays are always part of the package i guess. Thank you for doing your best to ensure we get high quality boards from this buy. Just dont go in to a coma.   :thumb: