First, the Vial Labels
Of course, this brings with it the complication that what about the vials of different sizes? Well, I’m offering two options for those that have purchased up to now.
Vials with the labels (default)
Old School option – Two labels only
I’ll be sending out a survey to each purchaser of the Pro Kit’s to give everybody a chance to make their choice, but the default will be vials of equal size if left unanswered by the deadline. Multiple things are pushing my long-term offering towards bottles that are all the same size, and this is the easiest way to manage this change and allow people to still get what they want. Keep an eye out for an email from surveymonkey.com in the next couple of days to inform me if you want the old school option.
My supplier for the dice has finished manufacturing them and will be shipping them soon. When the dice do arrive, I’ll be sending out a two-week notice for collecting funds for anything sold via Backerkit.
Collecting Backerkit Raised Funds Soon
Just in case you are skimming and missed it in the last section, I’m letting you know that when the dice arrive I’ll be sending out an update and a two-week notice that I’ll be collecting funds raised through Backerkit.
Pro-Kit Rolling Surface Update
I’ve gone through 8+ redesigns of the Pro-Kit rolling surface trying to find one that is legible on the forest green suede. I’m not satisfied at all with the way it turns out from the laser, so I’m moving on to another processing method and going to see how it turns out.
My intention is to see how silk screening looks on it. I’ve found a good silk screening ink that is recommended for suede, I just have to experiment with the design to see what size of the font is most legible. Once that’s figured out, I’ll post an update on what a finished prototype of that looks like. I plan on moving all colors of leather to this process to make the offering uniform for everybody.
Box Staining Progress 💩
This is where things get shitty. I mentioned in the past that I was outsourcing the staining and clear coating to trusted vendors and I have to let you guys know that both vendors have let me down severely.
The first set of boxes were stained well, but the application of the clear coat was too thin to be effective. I only found out after pulling them all out and inspecting them after I made sure they were fully dry, and basically, it means I would need to lightly sand the whole box, re-apply stain where anything came off, then properly apply a clear coat.
The 2nd contractor is maybe halfway done with boxes and is 30 days past when he was supposed to deliver them to me. I’ve gone over my options in my contract with him and enacted my legal options which gives him 10 days to finish and deliver them or he doesn’t get paid. I don’t have a way of reducing that timeline.
In the end, I’m not betting on those boxes being usable at this point and want to let the community know what other options I’m looking into.
1) Ordering pre-stained boxes from China.
2) Re-ordering unfinished boxes from my USA supplier and getting community help to find a contractor or other third party near Austin Texas that can actually meet deadlines.
3) Fixing boxes on hand and the ones I get back from the contractor using help from any available hands
4) Any ideas from Kickstarter backers
Option 1 will cost a lot of money due to minimum order quantities and shipping, but if it’s the best choice overall I won’t hesitate. It does provide the option of having 325 of them getting to my door within 25 days, with the rest arriving around 60 days later. There’s also the risk that I won’t get to inspect them until they arrive and hope everything is exactly as I specified.
Option 2 is also expensive but has the advantage that I can get the raw materials within one to one and a half weeks. If I go this route I still will need lots of help or a third party to stain the boxes. I expect it would take a month for the staining to get done.
Option 3 is probably the least expensive option, but dubious for obvious reasons and I still need help processing all the boxes.
I’m currently leaning towards option 1, with a mix of option 3, as I think the manufacturer in China has the best chance of producing on time and with high quality. Getting the 325 boxes from them by plane will help me keep the deadline for Kickstarter backer orders and I still have until November for the remainder to be delivered.
I’m very open to ideas though and am hoping for references and ideas from backers to give me more viable options.
I’m currently in the process of mass producing the Basic Healer kit boxes. I can easily align and run 5 at a time and that has helped me get through 120 of the tops today alone.
This allows me to work on other things while I monitor the laser. I’m pretty much spending the weekend running the laser as much as possible so I can complete the 300 or so Basic Healing kit boxes I need to make. This is basically my view for the next couple of days.
Inside Artwork Revealed
Here’s something I’m very excited to show you. I was so pleased when the artist got back to me with this design! It feels so perfect and makes it easy to read all the formulas for the boxes. After I get done with all the tops and bottoms of the boxes I’ll move on to mass producing the undersides.
Staining of Pro Kits Underway
Not much to say here except that staining is underway on the Pro Kits. I have drying racks that hold 40 each and also have found a local contractor that is helping out to speed up the process.
New Design on the Two Other Major Colors
With this comes a switch in process for the large pro boxes. The laser cutting method had some problems that were becoming more evident as I started moving towards producing more prototypes with it.
First, I couldn’t find a good way to secure the laser foil permanently to the boxes and I refuse to give a product that could so easily be damaged. That alone was forcing my hand to find some other way of putting the artwork on the boxes.
Second, I’m starting to worry about how much I’m weakening the boxes with all the art engraving through a good portion of the lid. The wood for the lid is thin and removing wood from such a large area weakens it, which would make it far easier for someone to break it. I’d rather not risk it.
Third, Meeting delivery dates becomes riskier with the lasering method. From many aspects I’m limited to a single large machine and the hobby laser I’ve been using for prototyping. This really puts at risk the whole timeline as I have a lot of other time consuming activities for the laser already. The leather art alone is taking over 7 minutes per box. It’s just not feasible with the amount of orders and the timelines. When I first started the project my timelines were for an expectation of just funding, not the massive success this turned into. I thought I’d be able to throw more lasers at the problem… but then there’s the reality that my garage is only so big, power lines to my garage can only handle so many amps and I’ve already hit that with a contractor putting in lines specifically for this heavy machinery. I’ve been making up time everywhere I can by contracting out work to local businesses where I can, but that’s not something I could outsource.
Bottom line, I want to get high quality products to you all as soon as humanly possible, and the best way to do that is to use silk screening. I’m personally very happy with these prototypes I just got back (pictured above) and am happy to show you them! This greatly reduces production time for one part of the process, although it costs me more to do it this way, and I think it produces a better result than the laser etching followed by a staining spray. The lines are far more crisp and precise!
Chris was making great progress then we realized we might have gone off of the art direction the product needed. After surveying a few backers we confirmed it and we reset back to an earlier draft he had. This is our current direction:
And here’s how he’s refined some of the scroll work:
In order to be able to efficiently deliver these to you all I needed to turn half of my garage into a workspace. That included getting some electrical work, venting, storage, and work tables. That’s coming along swiftly. The general contractor is almost finished with the electrical work and will be installing the venting today.
- Boxes – They have arrived!
- Leather – it’s been purchased and is arriving Friday
- Vials – Purchased and shipped
- Dice Status – Since I was unable to purchase the volume I needed from Chessex (my prototype dice supplier) I had to go find another manufacturer. In order to make sure I get the color’s matching the prototype dice as closely as possible I have to wait for them to do a color sample run and mail that to me. With their lead times and current schedule that means it will be 45-60 days before I have the dice. This is all expected, and is why I have given myself as much time as possible so that I can get the dice correct.
- Keyrings – Arriving Saturday
Geek and Sundry Partnership
It has been a joy to be featured and to work with Geek and Sundry this last two weeks. They have really helped to get the word out there about Dice Bottles and I’m excited to keep working with them in the future for other kits that I make.
In case you missed it, here are their shoutouts:
- Geek & Sundry Tweet #1
- Geek & Sundry Article
- Dani Carr Tweet
- Kelly Lynne Tweet
- Geek & Sundry Tweet #2
Most have finished their surveys, and there’s still time before the deadline of next week.
Also, it seems there’s a very clear favorite when it comes to finishes. I personally thought it would be a closer split, but the people have spoken and here are the current numbers from kickstarter backers:
- Finalize art
- Stain and clear coat boxes
- Laser engrave boxes
- More, always more 🙂
We’re sending out the surveys soon!
for details visit update #18 on Kickstarter
Community suede color pick
After a full week of voting, the clear winner for the $40,000 stretch goal extra suede color is forest green!
I’m excited to make it available! Thanks again for all the wonderful support and reaching that stretch goal. Make sure to fill out the surveys quickly so I can know how much I need to buy of each leather color.
Orders have been placed!
I got the funds early this week and I’ve been busy placing orders for the boxes and vials. The dice order is almost placed, just ironing out some last refinements and then I’ll be moving forward with that. The artist, Chris Berry, has been making huge strides on the art for top of the box and I expect to have a draft soon to show you all.
I also have a contractor that is going to be fixing up my garage this thursday so I can properly ventilate the smoke out of my garage and run the laser overtime making the boxes for you.
My next production process will be staining and sealing all the boxes once they get here, which once again depends on the survey results so I know what everybody is wanting, so make sure to response as quickly as possible!
Thanks for the support!
As part of the Kickstarter I promised to add a third suede leather color choice for the project. I just sent out an update that is asking for backers to choose between these color options:
If you’re a backer go and read the update – “Update #16 – Survey Says? Let’s find out :)” .
To make sure that only backers are getting a vote in this I’m requiring survey takers to enter their email when they place a vote. If you’re a backer, make sure you use the same email that you use for Kickstarter, or the Facebook account you use to log in to Kickstarter.
Thanks again everybody for the support!
After 30 days of incredible support Dice Bottles was funded for $40,000. We’re excited to move on to the next stage with a talented artist who’s going to bring the Healing Potion Kit’s to the next level!
Don’t worry if you missed the Kickstarter. We partnered with Backerkit to offer a pre-order store so you can still get in queue for one of our awesome kits.
To see our updates and timeline on Kickstarter