January Update 2 – Assembly Jigs, New Key Samples, Completed Inner Foam

The factory has made nice progress on version 2.0 of the key-flipper assembler. It appears to work with pneumatics. This should save significant assembly time and avoid this part of assembly becoming a bottleneck to the project.

A few of each type of the completed production inner foam arrived and they are all excellent.

The key samples arrived and I can confirm that the key texture is an excellent match to the original XT keys (see the photos I posted in the first Jan. update). The keys are also great quality – nice thick walls and strong, high quality PBT.

With the next key samples arriving in a week or two, they should be within tolerance (these first sample keys were just to see the key top texture and PBT quality – they do not yet meet the strict tolerances). The factory is still working out the PBT shrinkage issues (PBT is a difficult plastic to work with because it shrinks during the injection molding process).

Soon after I am hoping for the correct key colors for the project to be confirmed (pearl/pebble, blue, etc.).

The Japanese steel spring samples are almost done – just waiting on the finishing stage and then they can mail them.

So it’s just the keys, top and bottom inner assembly, springs, and compact cases that are not yet waiting to be assembled. Everything else is boxed and ready for assembly. For storage reasons the outside protective foam and boxes will be done last by the factory, when everything else is just about done.

January update: first new one-piece keys out of the new injection molds!

The very first one-piece keys just came out of the new injection molds!

Below is a video of the injection mold in action! Everything is so automated. All other keys also finished.

I will receive the samples from the factory later this month for evaluation.

Regarding the other parts, the inner foam completed production.  The Japanese steel spring samples are still in production and will likely finish around month end.  The compact cases and inner assembly steel plates are still in production (the factory completed the newly designed tooling to ensure a perfect bend of the inner assembly late last year).  The factory is working on a bulk spring-flipper attaching machine that can attach many springs at once to cut down assembly time for everyone.  It is a slow process to get everything right but we are getting there!

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