We've assembled the first 100 Dygma Defy!! 🥳

We've assembled the first 100 Dygma Defy!! 🥳

Today is a day to commemorate! The first 100 Defy units have been assembled, and soon we'll start assembly of mass production 👏

Manel even came back from China with two of them –one black and one silver– so we can gaze at their beauty 🤩

However, it hasn't been an easy ride. We found some things we want to iron out for mass production. So join us in a new "Tales from the Factories" episode.

PCB Test Delirium

It all started a month ago when Stefan, our Senior Electronic Engineer, arrived in China to oversee the production of the first batch of PCBs.

All PCBs go through a JIG that flashes the firmware and tests that everything works. He began with the Keyscanner and Underglow PCBs, which were supposed to be the "easy" ones, but it got scary pretty fast.

Our procedure is synced online to check the PCBs being tested remotely. And the first time we did... HALF THE PCBs WERE FAILING THE TEST 😱

Stefan ran to the factory, fearing the worst, but it turned out it was a problem with the software that did the tests. Most of the PCBs failed the test on the first try but passed on the second; however, it was recorded as a failed PCB 😓

We made some changes to the software and fixed the problem, but it took a while for our hearts to recover.

That was the scariest bit. We made other adjustments to the different procedures, like the tests of the RF PCBs and the neurons (wired and wireless), but overall we're delighted with how the PCBs are coming together 😁

Travel Case Rebellion

As Stefan was leaving, Manel, our Lead Product Designer, arrived to oversee the first assembly run and implement the necessary protocols for mass production.

Of course, we would still need someone to supervise that process. Aitor, our Supply Chain Manager, is traveling to China right now and will be responsible for monitoring every step they take.

Manel began to inspect the keyboard from top to bottom, starting with the travel case. Which, to be fair, has come together pretty nicely.

However, he found some scenarios where the top lid that holds the cables in place wouldn't stay closed. After some testing, he realized it was due to the cables not being properly folded inside. So we would need to keep an eye on that 👀

Keycaps Oblivion

In our last update, we told you all keycaps for the first 100 keyboards were ready. Well, it turns out they weren't 🙃

The supplier had fixed the problem with the injection process (some keycaps were shrinking too much) but decided to wait for Manel to validate another set of samples before laser etching the keycaps. We called them Platinum Samples because we had already approved the golden sample 😂

We were a bit annoyed at first. But given that the keycaps were mostly done, this helped us polish some minor details on the legends. So, we're happy they waited 😊

Currently, we have more than 500 sets done, and mass production is moving forward.

Palmpad Hell

Don't be dismayed by their enticing looks and satisfying tactility because these babies hide hell underneath their beautiful skin 👹

The biggest issue we found is that the seam of the base isn't perfect. And we want perfect.

The palm pad is silicone wrapped in leatherette and glued to a plastic bed. If the folding or the gluing is imperfect, some gaps appear on the edge.

We're working on this with our supplier. In the worst-case scenario, we'll make more and disregard those that don't make it past our quality control 🤷‍♀️

We also noticed that even though the injection point of the base is on the inside, you can see it from the outside.

Well, only Manel sees it. The camera can't really capture it, but he swears it's there. So, we're going to fix it.

Top Panel Purgatory

The only issue that worried us was the texture of the top panel finish. Some samples were too rough to the touch.

Manel was adamant about this, so our supplier improved the brushing and anodizing process. Now all the top panels have a smooth finish.

We also found a little issue with the low-profile switches. On the Dygma Raise, those switches were tough to pull out. So, we made the cutouts on the top panel a bit larger on the Defy. Now, they're a bit loose 😅

It's nothing serious; just be careful when pulling out a low-profile keycap. If you don't pull vertically, the switch might pop out of the socket. But that's it.

Light evasion

Now let's check the keyboard's base, where a few other feats awaited us.

One of the "funniest" ones had to do with the plastic base of the silver keyboards: while Manel was inspecting one of the Defy keyboards, he noticed that the LEDs shone through the plastic 🙈

It's understandable because the LEDs we use are really bright. But that base should be completely opaque.

It turns out they had messed up the plastic mixture. Fortunately, we caught it on time. And since making plastic injection components is fast, we fixed them right away.

With all the LEDs on the keyboard is still blinding, but the light only shines where intended 😂

Tenting Legs Guerrilla Wars

However, the most significant challenge awaited: the tenting.

Hundreds of tenting legs spread on the table awaited Manel's inspection. In his thoroughness, he not only checked for imperfections in the paint and inaccuracies in the shapes and sizes but also how well the rubber tips were attached to the aluminum.

Pulling hard with his hands, he ripped a few apart, and we hypothesized two things: he's actually The Hulk or the glue was not gluing 🏋️‍♀️

Nobody wanted to test the first hypothesis, so we assumed it was the glue. After some investigation, we discovered that the supplier had switched to a faster-drying glue which clearly wasn't doing its job.

We made them switch back to a slower-drying glue, and problem solved 👌

With that fixed, it was time to assemble the legs on the keyboards. After completing just 20 keyboards, ALL of them had wobbling issues. ALL 😳

Manel sat with the workers to understand what was happening, and it turned out to be an accumulation of little things.

Most of the time, it had to do with the base not being correctly attached to the top panel, so the keyboard was not completely flat. In other cases, the tenting legs were a bit twisted, or the tip was inadequately glued, so replacing them solved the issue.

After adjusting those and other small things, all 20 keyboards had 0 wobbling issues. YAY! 💃

Another "little" thing we discovered was that the top rods were a bit loose. This is due to the little changes we made to the hinges on the legs, but we could fix it by modifying the mold for the plastic rods.

That will be ready for mass production, but for the first 100 keyboards, we've added a thin ring film to make the rods feel as intended.

To finish with the Tenting Legs Guerrilla Wars, we found a minor collision with one of the side legs. When you pull the leg out, sometimes you take the side leg with you.

It's nothing critical, as you usually need to pull the side leg first and the tenting leg second, but we will slightly change its shape to avoid a collision.

The Neuron Fusion

Finally, another problem we faced was related to the slot where you insert the Nueron to switch to Bluetooth mode. We wanted that to feel seamless and smooth, but it turned out that some were tough to pull out.

We tried multiple solutions, including a special lubricant used for submarine electronics. But, in the end, we realized that this only happens when you plug the Neuron all the way in –much more than needed for a firm connection.

So, we'll make some changes to limit how much you can plug it in. That way, everything works perfectly; the Neuron stays connected, but you don't need The Hulk (or Manel) to pull it out 😅

So, what now?

Assembly of the first 100 Defy units has finished this week, and they'll be air freighted to Spain next week, just one week later than expected.

They should arrive at our warehouse in Valencia by late June or early July. Then we'll do the final quality control and assembly –like putting the right switches– and ship them to you 🙌

In the meantime, we'll finish mass-producing all the components and start the final assembly. This should be completed by mid-July. Then, we ship them to Spain –some by air, some by sea– and final fulfillment will commence in August and maybe stretch a bit into September.

As mentioned, our Supply Chain Manager, Aitor, will oversee the whole operation in China, but there are still some uncertainties.

Right now, the main risk for delays is the lead time of the electronics, as they're a key component for assembly. If things like the keycaps, the palm pads or even the tenting legs are delayed, we can work around that.

However, you can only do so much pre-assembly without the electronics, especially the keyscanner, which is the first thing you attach to the top panel. The next batches of PCBs should arrive in two weeks, and they should all be done by early July, although any delay could affect assembly.

But let's not forget the good news. The first 100 Defy keyboards have come out of the factory and look fantastic! 😍

In a few weeks, we'll be shipping them to you, our early backers, and we can't wait to start seeing pictures of the Defy on your desks.

As always, thank you so much for your support! 🥰

Doviđenja 🇭🇷

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