about 2 years ago
– Wed, Jan 06, 2016 at 11:00:02 PM
Happy New Year!
This backer update has been a little late because I have taken a short vacation for the first time in two years to celebrate the milestone we achieved and release some stress.
The next big phase of Flekt is complete, and we are proud to announce that the final engineered production prototypes that will allow us to go into manufacturing are here!
They were CNC machined for precise tolerances and everything fits perfectly. We’ve checked the universality between various Nikon and Canon DSLR's and it fits. Flekt looks great on top of our Canon T2i and Nikon D300. Universality for Nikon and Canon has been completed!
This is a milestone that I’m personally proud of. After seven years and many trials and tribulations, I have the product I always envisioned. The aesthetics of the design and the functionality of the engineering have come together to make an awesome product. It is simple and elegant in its solution. All of the details are there. Our white coating is perfect as it holds maximum reflectivity with incredible diffusion. Our gold and silver with the glass microspheres have a beautiful frosted look that will be sure to attract attention for every photographer.
The light that is reflected with Flekt is beautiful! It’s smooth, silky and refined--it’s just awesome! This is why we are even more excited about Flekt. I can’t stop smiling, because it makes me so happy! It’s exactly the type of light that I was looking to create when I set out to invent the product. We will be reaching out to a few backers to shoot some photos in the next few weeks so we can generate some buzz and show everyone how cool this will be.
As an example of how Flekt can help photographers, one of our local backers (and personal friend) came to me and was having trouble taking pictures of her art. Her art piece contained small, bright flakes, and every lighting and flash based product she used blew out the highlights in the flakes, thus the resulting photo was not representative. She brought over her camera, a Canon 7D, and we used our current Flekt prototype.
Flekt slid into the hotshoe. Check! She was able to adjust in and up to set the correct position of the front reflector and it locked into place. Check! She magnetically attached the cFlekt and it held solidly in place, but allowed her to rotate and guide the light where she wanted. Check! She took some photos and got exactly the light she wanted. Check!
All of this aside, I am sure the answer everyone wants (including me) is--when do I get my Flekt?!!!!!
I want to remind everyone how big of a project this is. I bit off a little more than I can chew on this one. The light has to be awesome, the functionality precise and the engineering solid with beautiful aesthetics and it has to fit almost every Nikon and Canon DSLR with a pop-up flash in the world. Oh, and a pioneering magnetic attachment has to hold perfectly, not too strong, not too weak. The good news--all of that is done.
If Flekt is going to be attractive to users and investors, all of these things had to be in place. I am very much still moving forward and will be delivering Flekt with a renewed vigor. We are working on getting revised manufacturing quotes and timelines, pursuing our options. We are positioning ourselves so that as soon as we secure additional investment, we can quickly pull the trigger on manufacturing. Our top priority, as always, is to deliver on our promise to get Flekt to our backers. We have hit this latest big milestone and have a great, high quality product that enables us to move forward in an accurate and complete way, and it is a huge step closer to delivering Flekt. Sorry it isn’t as fast as we all want it to be. Six months ago, we didn’t have two of these giant steps done. But as we keep completing these steps, it will lead to Flekt on your doorstep.
over 2 years ago
– Sat, Oct 17, 2015 at 08:36:00 PM
I wanted to give you an update on the Flekt production prototypes.
After settling on a vendor to make our urethane casting production prototypes, we are proud to announce that we have received them and overall really like the quality. When we opened the box, we were thrilled to look at the parts and finally see the subtle textures and details we had been working toward. We placed most of the parts on a table and just stood there for a few minutes taking it all in.
We wanted to give you some insight into this process so you can get a glimpse into why this entire Kickstarter undertaking has taken longer than we would like….
Although we are happy with the aesthetics of the production prototypes, some of the parts are not fitting to my standards. Cast urethane has a shrinkage factor and that can be squirrely to get exact.
We will be sending the back cover back to get the tolerances closer to our engineering CAD files. This will take as long as it takes unfortunately but must be done.
Also, I am not happy with the detail and fit of the magAttach and after discussions with our engineer, have decided to proceed with making a steel or aluminum mold for this, as well as the cam lock and the Flekt logo badge, so we can get the fine detail that these require. There is a lot of great engineering in the magAttach and fine detail that really needs a production mold to show how perfect it is.
This of course means more quoting and more time, but in the end we will also have some of the production tools that can make thousands of parts, which means that we are ever closer to getting your Flekt to you.
This is why sometimes it just takes as long as it takes. We were incredibly excited to get these and it’s a huge milestone, but now we have to revise and make adjustments for perfection and detail. I can’t express my frustration enough at how long this is taking. It pains me also, believe me, I want nothing more than to be finished with this process and get you your Flekts and start selling them daily. That day is closer than ever my friends. But I won’t compromise details and perfection to rush something out. I literally do nothing else before and after my day job than work on issues with Flekt.
This is a huge vision and a big project for two people to be dealing with. We are so close to being done and that is why I am continuing to push so hard at this point. Thank you for being so zealous and patient about Flekt. I really appreciate it :-)
over 2 years ago
– Tue, Sep 01, 2015 at 11:07:04 PM
What a ride the past few months have been for us. There have been highs, lows and everything in between. The amount of sweat and tears we have poured into Flekt, making it the best product it can be, is astounding. But most importantly, we are so proud of what we have accomplished!
We are so unbelievably happy to announce that we have completed engineering on Flekt!
Whaaaaaaaat???? Yes, it is true. Our long national nightmare is over. :)
Every time we made a change we had to 3D print in SLA to check our success or failure. This took time, but has culminated in a final engineered prototype which has all of the final functionality and is universal to Canon and Nikon!
I am personally excited because all of my personal goals to make Flekt the best product it can be have been met and I am extremely proud of our final product. I am so excited to get this into your hands and see the awesome photos and creativity that will happen with Flekt.
- We have the final part drawings with callouts.
- We have the final Solidworks CAD files.
- We are ordering our final production prototype.
- We are working on getting updated tooling / manufacturing quotes.
We know that there will be twists and turns before we can get Flekt to your doorstep, but we wanted to take a moment to celebrate this milestone. Completing engineering and coming out of that process with a product we are proud of is something that we can all enjoy.
We have spent a huge amount of time working on the magAttach and how the front reflector attaches to it. We have made those two pieces thinner, lower profile, wider, stronger and most importantly, universal across a huge number of Canon & Nikon DSLR’s that have a pop-up flash. It seems that virtually every model of camera from Canon & Nikon has a different design, with a pop-up flash that is higher/lower, forward/back, wider/thinner, etc. We have successfully engineered an up & down adjustment on the front reflector with a cam lock. We have also successfully engineered an in & out adjustment on the front reflector that holds.
For those of you with Canon 60D / 70D cameras, these changes are an especially huge deal for you, as we had to reduce the overall height of the magAttach by over 35% to fit on those popular cameras. The gap in these cameras is only the height of a pencil!
These design changes are a win for everyone as the whole magAttach system is denser, stronger, and a more capable base for the whole Flekt system.
Something that does not come across in renders are the ridiculously small tolerances that can either make the product work, fit & function, or not. We are talking about changes that are the size of a sheet of paper. One sheet of paper too many and the element doesn’t fit in. One sheet of paper too few and the piece is loose and doesn’t feel strong. We spent some quality time with our calipers measuring various cameras, our 3D printed prototypes, etc. until we hit that perfect size.
Our next step is to produce production prototypes and get the entire package to investors so we can start manufacturing. We are in the process of getting quotes for this and will update you soon.
From now on our updates will be more positive and will be about things we all care about---getting Flekt out to the world!
I know you are all wondering about a timeline. I am not comfortable giving a specific timeline at this point. I want you to know that I have been going as fast as humanly possible to solve our issues so I can get Flekt to you. We now have engineering completed so when the trigger gets pulled we can go into production. That is huge for you and for me.
Thanks for believing in us and thanks for your continued patience as we take the next big step toward getting Flekt to you!
May / June Update
over 2 years ago
– Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 10:46:46 AM
It has been a particularly busy time at my day job over the past couple months, but that hasn’t stopped me from working early mornings, late nights and weekends to keep pushing forward with Flekt. It isn’t always easy to continue working after a 12 or 14 hour day, but I continue to be so excited about Flekt and can’t wait until you can experience it, that I find the motivation and desire to push myself to get it done.
We’ve made great progress since the last update. We've fine tuned some elements that didn’t quite work as expected or as well as we had wanted. We are happy with the vast majority of the fixes and have locked down those pieces. We did run into a roadblock on the hotshoe attachment, which we have been heavily focusing on for almost two full months now. We’ve gone through several iterations, working on making it tight, strong and more universal across the wide variety of Canon & Nikon cameras that have a pop-up flash. We think we may have found the solution we are looking for with our latest design iteration. Our engineer is hard at work getting the engineered files completed so we can make a prototype of the attachment and confirm that it does indeed work as expected. It is a huge challenge to try to perfect universality across the Nikon and Canon product line especially when it is being done by two individuals. We are close to that goal and won't rest until we do. Cross your fingers for us!
We’ve made progress on fine tuning our coatings and getting the up/down mechanism smooth and tight, with as little wobble as possible. We’re currently testing the amount and type of rubber on the base of the cFlekt attachment where it holds onto the ball of the magAttach, to make sure that the magnetic attraction is at the proper level. This is imperative, as hitting the right amount of friction compared to the magnetic pull gives you the freedom to shape the reflected light by twisting and turning the attachment, while always securely holding the cFlekt upright.
As I’ve said before, this process has been the hardest and most grueling thing I’ve ever done. The sheer number of problems, big and small, that we have had to solve is staggering, and I’m so proud of how far we have come. I want Flekt for myself. I want to use it. I know how much fun it is, and how it helps make photography more creative. I know you are anxious to get Flekt, and believe me, I understand. Just know that I WILL NOT give up. We are so close now. Please stick with me and try to be patient as we solve what I hope to be our final engineering and design speed bumps.
Thanks again for your passion and for your support!
P.S. Now that my day job schedule is calming down, I will try to get back to more regular updates.
over 2 years ago
– Sun, Jun 28, 2015 at 03:29:18 PM
We are progressing nicely with our detailed and (to be honest) grinding work of preparing each individual component for manufacturing. We are testing each slide, cam lock, groove, latch, etc. for durability, fit, function, amount of friction, ease of use and more.
We’ve found a couple points that are not quite up to snuff, so we are adjusting as needed. At this point, each change is so “minor” in scale. However, the precision needed for the fun, quick and easy use of Flekt for creative photography necessitates these changes, which will be “major” to you when in the heat of the moment. Most of these changes are a matter of a fraction of a millimeter, but affect the overall stability and the core structure of the entire system.
We have also been working on ways to make Flekt even more lightweight. We are at a really good point already as we have been slowly shaving off any excess weight that is possible. We think we found a way to make another one of the pieces even lighter, while simultaneously beefing up its strength and structure. A win-win!
We continue to focus on getting Flekt into your hands as soon as we can, but we will not sacrifice quality for the sake of speed. We have come so far, and are really happy with the results!
Thanks again for your patience, it will be rewarded! Till the next update.