Stuck In Customs & the *other* Golden Week

Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all, I present to you, the first Kossel Pro with Heated Build Platform kit:

The Kossel Pro kit, shown here with a Heated Build Platform.

As discussed previously, the Kossel family was designed to be highly modular.  Inside that brown box, this is what you can expect to find:

Every sub assembly of the printer has been designed with a 3D printable equivalent in mind, and every sub assembly that you see will be available individually on Amazon once Kickstarter fulfillment is over.  The kit was architect this way to enable people to tinker and experiment, yet at the same time, by having standardized configurations tested and published, we hope to have made the kit easy and accessible for beginners as well.

The kit pictured above will be going to one of our patient early bird backers here in the Seattle Area, maybe as early as later this week.  It is currently missing a few things - one of which, unfortunately, is the new heated bed.

Every product design engineer that deals with China knows about Chinese New Year - where factories often close for 2 weeks or more.  It is called a "Golden week" in China, because of the 1 week vacation that everyone is given - a vacation that is often augmented by the workers either prior or after Chinese New Year, as it is the one time that migrant workers get to go home and see their families.  We've blogged about it before here on the OpenBeam blog - it is the largest human migration in world; it happens every year, and the last place you'd want to be is in a Chinese train station without a ticket to your final destination during this period.

What people may not know is that there is a second Golden Week.  Unlike the one for Chinese New Year, which follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar and varies every year, the autumn Golden Week starts on Oct 1st on the Chinese National Day and lasts for 7 days as well.  And everything shuts down too, during this time period.

We ordered the new heated bed the first week of September - and it had already shipped.  (when we ordered the HBP, the expectation was 10 day lead time - that's the standard lead time for a "fancy" circuit board.)  Unfortunately, UPS says that the shipper filled out something incorrectly.  So, our boards have been - you guessed it - stuck in customs for a week and counting, until the CM gets back from vacation to correct the shipping paperwork error.  

The joys of customs clearance.  Nowhere else in international business can a single paper pushing clerk do so much damage to a company's cash flow with a few keystrokes.

In the meantime, it's full steam ahead with kitting all the kits that we do have all the parts for.  I (Terence) have been banging out work instructions and following up with our vendors on back ordered parts as well to ensure that once we start kitting, we can keep blasting through the kits, while Mike had been working closely with our kitter to make sure she's not idling and that our sub assemblies are going through and passing First Article Inspection (FAI) process.  

Here's more pictures, taken from our work instructions, to give you a sneak preview of what's coming inside all those little white boxes:

As mentioned on the forum, there is nothing more that we'd like than to get these kits into the hands of our backers.  We are almost there!

-=- Terence & Mike