The Arduino stacking connectors have arrived, and, while rummaging through one of my boxes of parts, I also found a small quantity of 8-pin female headers, so I can now make four full kits. I tested the 8-pin headers and they work very well with the Pololu drivers (tight grip and good electrical contact, unchanged after a few dozen insertions). I will email the people who already bought the bare PCBs to see whether they may want the parts to go with their boards, and if there are any kits left after that, they’ll go in the store.
When the MakerSlide die problems had started, I made the cautious (read: wimpy) decision to wait until the rail was in sight before I ordered the relatively expensive laser-cut parts for this batch.
I began that process last week, when Harry got the rail from the extruder, but with the factory now closed for the year, there will be no parts until some point in January.
Pulleys are still a problem, but we have enough of them on hand for all the orders placed so far and a few more, but not the entire third batch. Hopefully, SDP will get back to normal and resume manufacturing them soon. I now have access to a lathe, so I can re-bore pulleys if I can find them with a smaller bore. Of course, I’d rather not do that, but I’ll do it if I have no other choice — or to save £5 per pulley…
The UK-made MakerSlide arrived today from Harry Raley. We were supposed to get it last Friday, but the courier, Nightfreight, “could not find the address” to pick it up from Harry. More than once. Their excuse? New driver who doesn’t know the area very well (and apparently can’t read maps, can’t use satnav, can’t ask dispatch for help, and can’t use a mobile phone very well either). I would have thought Harry was joking, except that the same thing had happened to me before too, with a different courier that shall remain nameless (FedEx, UPS, DHL, ParcelForce, TNT, Hermes all know that number 1 is usually the first house on the left side of the street; the Yodel driver didn’t, twice).
So, while the MakerSlide is indeed awesome, really nice and smooth, looks great anodized, and the bundle of two-metre sticks is a sight to behold, the chance of any of the eShapeOko kits arriving before Christmas is now exactly zero. I’m cutting the rail today (Friday), and then booking the parcels to be picked up by the couriers, but I don’t think they would even pick them up, let alone deliver them, until after Christmas.
This pains me greatly, not least because I know that several of the orders were intended as gifts, and have been placed with plenty of time to spare, should everything have gone even remotely close to plan. I can only ask for forgiveness, and hope that you, or your loved one for whom you so thoughtfully chose it as a gift, will find the kit was worth the wait.
As you know, we have the buildlog.net stepper shield from Reactive Substance. We want to sell complete kits too. We ordered good quality electronic components, but the connectors were a little more difficult to find at reasonable prices.
We have everything now except the stacking Arduino connectors (they’re still on their way). I’m thinking of offering the kits with ordinary male headers (the ones on the right in the image) for now; they work fine, but the proper Arduino shield stacking connectors (left) have the advantage that you can use the sockets to make additional connections (e.g. limit switches), using wires like the one in the image.
Funny story: each board needs four four-way screw terminals (for the motors) and one two-way screw terminal (for the power supply). In the quantities we ordered, the price breaks worked so that the two-way terminals ended up costing a little more each than the four-way terminals (those were four times as many). Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the four-way terminals were simply two two-way terminals mated together.
I think I’ve got my mitts on enough toothed pulleys to complete the second and third batch (so that’s all orders already placed so far, plus a few more). I won’t know for sure until Friday, when they are supposed to be delivered. That would be great news. They are all re-bored from 0.188″ (4.78 mm) to 5 mm, courtesy of the very helpful people at Davall Stock Gears. They found a machinist and solved this problem for me when their supplier, Stock Drive Products, could not.
The re-bored pulleys have imperial set screws (6-32) with 1/16″ hex sockets. We bought 1/16″ Allen keys to include in each kit, to save you from hunting around for imperial-size tools.
Those with orders in the second batch already know this: I made an embarrassing mistake. I wrongly thought that we had all the flexible couplers we needed, but, in fact, they had never arrived (lost on their way from Hong Kong, I assume; why I thought they had arrived I have no idea). When I realized that, we ordered replacements. They arrived today, and they are the same good quality, so that’s one more problem sorted.
If you’ve followed Harry Raley’s Ulule updates, you know that MakerSlide was scheduled to be delivered to him this afternoon. As I was typing this, he confirmed that it has indeed arrived and that it is, I quote, “awesome”!
So all looks set for orders in batch two to ship next week.
I just got news from Harry that the MakerSlide has been anodized and is ready to be cut. It is expected to be delivered next week.
I keep calling the supplier of the pulleys, but they have no news from their supplier in New York. We’re still trying to find another source of good-quality pulleys that don’t cost an arm and a leg (at £15 + VAT for one, there are several sources…).
I’m going to send email to everyone who ordered to explain the situation and apologize for the delay. It’s a rather depressing task, so I’ll put it off for tomorrow.