Ladies and gents, we are so very close to getting our next samples. As we mentioned last time, we're waiting for T2s (our 2nd off-tool samples) to come from the factory but we hit a snag that's causing delays.
Summary: there are issues with getting the plating to look just right on our aluminum pieces. The factory has been working around the clock to fix this and hopes to have it nailed in the next few days. This has pushed our schedule back by another 2 weeks. Oy.
This makes us really REALLY sad, but we can't have ladies looking cray with crappy finishes on their Dippers!
The Nitty Gritty: when we created our prototypes, they were made one at a time using a process called CNC machining (basically: cutting a piece of metal down into the desired shape). But for mass production, we are die casting our metal parts (basically: injecting molten metal into a mold).
There are aluminum alloys we've used in these respective processes with different metal compositions, and plating responds differently to each one (plating = applying the 24K gold, gunmetal, or silver finishes). While the version we used in prototyping got the plating just like we want it, plating the alloy we need for die-casting has proven to be a challenge.
We've tried it 3 different ways, and they all look no bueno. So we are trying a new aluminum alloy that we hope will solve this issue.
Here's a bit more context...
With the current alloy, here's how it looks when we plate it using electrophoresis:
Those wavy lines on the surface shouldn't be there.
Here's what came from us anodizing the parts:
You can see every imperfection in the metal, and it blisters easily.
We even tried PVD (physical vapor deposition):
Um, no. Just...no. Aside from that crazy reflection, we can't get the coloring right.
So we're putting a new alloy to the test that looks promising, but we're not quite out of the woods. So far this has pushed back our schedule by 2 weeks, hopefully not more than that.
We'll let you know once we've got the T2s in-hand. Keep your fingers crossed!