Update from the factory: the factory has made good progress on the assembly preparation.
They are fully assembling 1 of each keyboard (the 4 keyboard variations compact F62, classic F62, compact F77, classic F77) as a test, along with sending me the spring samples from the newly built attacher machines.
The other good news is that the factory is designing and adapting machines to do most of the assembly work! We are expecting pick and place for the inner foam, barrels to the top inner assembly, flippers/springs, etc. This should rapidly speed up assembly time compared to what would have been assembly by hand.
Dye sub testing update: I did some quick tests but determined I needed to replace some parts and order some additional parts for the jig before properly starting the key dye sublimation tests. Will continue testing once these parts arrive.
Additional F77 right side block options now available as extra add-ons! Please see prior update post for details.
Assembly phase update: The factory expects to send assembled spring/flipper samples next week, and hopefully a few completed fully assembled keyboards with unprinted keys (following the keyboard assembly manual I sent them). Once these assemblies are approved, the factory will start mass assembly and ship about 500 units at a time to me. I am hoping the first 500 can be ready to ship to me by the end of next month. Then it will be 3-4 weeks on a container ship. If all goes well then May-June will possibly see the first shipping units.
We now have video and photos of the custom Bottom Inner Assembly machine! Here is a video of the machine that properly assembles the bottom inner assembly (F62 ultra compact specifically in this video).
Very cool to watch this in action!
The factory has also completed another pneumatic spring attacher machine: