Two weeks passes awfully quickly; yet at the same time it can’t go quickly enough. We wanted to acknowledge with thanks those who have been posting comments publicly and those who have still been privately sending us words of encouragement. We look forward to writing these updates too, and it’s fun sometimes to read the comments and pretend we are just part of the audience following along. The perspective change in doing so is similar to the way we like to solve problems — by looking at the issues both together and separately, and always from different angles and points of view.
Taxis and Politics
Speaking of perspective, this update comes to you from Asia (we’re still here) and it will address fine tuning, production tooling, inspection processes, and contain a few notable photographs of interest. We’ve had enough of airport lounges, plane rides, and taxi trips. We even had the unique experience of one talkative taxi driver in Taiwan going on about his country’s situation, the political climate, and his (unsolicited) view of various world leaders. Our desire to get somewhere we needed to go got us an earful! No matter how many times we’ve travelled to Asia and across the border into China and Taiwan (and we’ve done that hundreds of times), there’s always more to learn and appreciate about other parts of the world.
Hiku’s grind scale markings will be laser etched – as well as the KANSO logo. This imparts a precision look and feel that is consistent with everything else about the product, and it's durable too.
Second round production samples arrived for the walnut knob. Some dimensions had to be verified with the supplier and we were able to show them what happens when their parts are out of spec. The handle system works really well and feels great. The lack of free play on the shaft versus other comparable grinders should set Hiku apart. It doesn’t wobble, squeak or fall off if the product is turned upside down temporarily. All three aforementioned issues are present in Hiku’s competitive set. We are still happy we made the decision to decouple the lid and handle which doesn’t seem to be too common in other products in the premium category.
Shown below is the finely machined grind cup with friction ring that incorporates seamlessly into the design. The supplier is able to fine tune the bayonet mount feel now that they have samples of the nylon friction ring. It’s just better to spend face time discussing these more subjective details rather than videoconferencing remotely.
Anyone familiar with manufacturing, tooling design or probably mechanical engineering would know that Hiku’s outer texture demands a very capable supplier who can machine yet preserve all that intended detail. We have arrived at an agreed upon level of quality and consistency and the following photo shows how Hiku will look. You can see how the texture extends delicately to the edges and keeps its defined lines throughout the sweep of the arc. We may be biased, but we think it's beautiful.
Specialized Quality Inspection Equipment
Concentricity starts with round parts being round so that there exists a center equidistant from the perimeter. Our parts will be laser scanned for diameter accuracy. The production facility also has machines that can check dimensions when curvy surfaces are involved. We were happy to learn more about this and to see these machines in action.
Injection Mold Fine Tuning
We’ll close this update with a brief status of the injection molded parts. Our molds are done and first shot samples were inspected some time ago. The tooling engineers were busy adjusting injection parameters during our visit to improve dimensions by (among other things) slowing the rate of cooling of the part before it comes out of the mold. There are so many variables that we’ll never understand in detail but suffice to say that these people have the experience to affect changes in the final part by only changing injection parameters rather than any physical modifications to the tooling itself. In this way, the fit was improved during our multiple visits and we’re again thankful we took the decision to travel early in the production schedule, not at the end when everything is ‘done'.
We’re back to Canada soon and we’ll try just being observers for a while. We’ve got a few other ideas in the works and we’re looking forward to coffee at our favourite spots back at home. Thanks for reading!
Amanda and team