Hiku Production Update 3

Dear Backers,

Two weeks passes so quickly! It’s obvious that everyone knows our update schedule by now, but we still enjoy seeing comments reminding us about our upcoming deadline. Is it still fun to poke us when you know it’s coming? :)

Details and Still More Details

The stainless steel handle got a few refinements to the surfacing, the cap that houses the elastomer retention system, and the method of knob attachment before getting released to tooling. We updated the knob to feel even better in the hand and to better match the width of the handle. Everything about the handle assembly and fasteners are custom and — we are pretty certain — unique in how they combine. We think this attention to detail will be immediately apparent when you hold the parts.

We then went at the lid one final more time, thinning out the overall profile and adding a custom gasket that will provide just the right amount of retention friction. We were adamant about finding that balance between easy to install/remove and still having enough retention not to fall off or come loose. We know o-rings are commonly used in some competitive products for retaining cups and lids, but a custom design can achieve better feel.

The camera-inspired bayonet mount for the cup was further improved with a nearly invisible teflon ring that provides a more satisfying feel, among other things. These little refinements don’t add (much) manufacturing complexity or cost but elevate the feel substantially. Not all parts require tooling either, just to be clear.

You’ll probably notice we try to use the word “final” sparingly. Being realists, we know that we have done all we can do to tune the gaskets and feel with CAD reviews, fitting CNC prototypes with existing parts, stereolithography rapid prototyping equipment, and hand modifications before tooling release. The “final” round of fine tuning, if necessary, will happen with off-tool parts a few updates from now. Having said that, we don’t believe that change is forever and constant; we have been increasingly constraining our tweaks to parts which have not been released to tooling. Parts that have been released are designed “tool safe” so that mold changes are possible and don’t add unnecessary risk.

Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) Updates

Our HALT test fixture continues to bring new data and reinforce our confidence in the system. We had been running the fixture only during work hours so that someone can supervise it but now we have a programmable timer so we can run it overnight safely, cycling it on and off at 30 minute intervals just in case bearings need cooling down or the electric drill gets too warm (it doesn’t). The drill is circa 1980, from a time when tools were really made to last and the “Professional” label actually meant something. We’re pretty sure that drill will never die, although it is pretty noisy.

Running the HALT fixture around the clock has allowed us to gather more data and test more parts. So far we’ve tested multiple bearings and one very critical component of the adjustment mechanism. This is one of only two internal parts that isn't metal in Hiku and it’s survived a very tough 28 years of simulated use. We’ve been careful to allow the drill to move laterally during “on" times, which puts side forces on the components very similar to what grinding beans would impart on them.

We are now running the full Hiku assembly and will let it experience 30 years of simulated use. As you can see, the fixture adapted easily; careful readers might notice this is the original burr grinding apparatus, but now upside down.

In Closing

Some small gestures never grow old, and can’t be overused, such as thank yous. A workday can be filled with a lot of busy events, but it only takes a special brief moment to stand out and make an entire day memorable. Thanks for following our journey, which has been filled with many great moments already, and so many insightful comments here on KS.

Sincerely,

Amanda and team

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