Our CEO, Michael Lewis, informed all of our pre-order customers on Sept 20: “I’ve made the difficult decision to delay production of the Mark II, to take our time and to ensure that we do not in any way compromise on its quality. Shipping is now expected to start on or before October 17th.” 95% of customers responded with their updated/confirmed delivery address and confirmation that they were accepting of the delay. 1% canceled their orders, and we’re trying to contact the remainder. If you pre-ordered a Mark II and have not received an email, please check your spam or junk folder. As of yesterday (Monday Oct 10th), the first production run has officially started and we are confident in our revised ship date.
The final assembly test program involving packaging design was recently completed. Other work we are wrapping up on involves package labeling, instruction cards, and other inserts. These are all in process of being printed.
Our manufacturing partner, Birch Creek Innovations (BCI), has already begun work on some of the subassemblies. They have also been doing pre-production runs to fine tune the assembly process. Speaking of BCI, we are proud to have them as our partners! Our product will be assembled, tested, and shipped from Missouri, USA. BCI has proven themselves to date to be proactive, good communicators, and innovative.
Please note that we will be shipping Mark IIs weekly as they are built and tested. It will take us a while to get everyone their Mark II. Hang in there, it is coming!
Most pre-order customers should have received an email with your ship week. VERY IMPORTANT – you MUST confirm or update your shipping address. We will only ship units to those people who have verified their address. As we ramp up production, all new customers will receive emails with an update to their projected shipping week.
We are unwavering in our determination to get all rewards and perks shipped, just as we did with our first Kickstarter in 2017. Michael Lewis, Mycroft CEO, was originally a Kickstarter backer himself before he jumped on to lead the company. We may not be shipping rewards/perks as fast as we would like to initially, but we expect to ramp up as we get more Mark II orders. More information on how we will be shipping your rewards and perks lives here: https://mycroft.ai/kickstarter-and-indiegogo-mark-ii-backers/.
Over the last few months, we’ve been flagging the many small changes that we’ve been making along the way. However with so much attention on the plastics we wanted to take a closer look at what this evolution has meant for the Mark II overall.
The Dev Kit design and the production design look similar on the outside, but every aspect of the interior has been redesigned.
There were a lot of things in the Dev Kit design that just weren’t going to work for injection molding. At the time we thought that the design would work for both 3D printing and an injection molded design rather smoothly. In reality essentially all of it had to be redone.
Here you can see the close to production “Body” housing in the top center compared to a Dev Kit version on the bottom left and an early production prototype on the bottom right.
We flipped the assembly direction of the Top, and combined the back with the body. The primary reason for doing this was to reduce parts. The secondary reason is that it allowed us to use more traditional boss designs that are compatible with injection molding.
You might also notice some new holes. You can probably guess by the shape for most of them – the fan and IO ports were moved to the rear of the device. The rounded cutout is called a Bass Reflex Port. This little guy significantly improves sound, especially in the low end.
The additional rectangular cutout just above the circular fan grill is for a new 10 pin GPIO port. The 10 pin adapter provides easy access to the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins 1, 7, 14, 15, as well as the I2C bus on GPIO 2 & 3. There is also a ground, a +3V3, and two +5V pins. The connector is pin compatible with Raspberry Pi extension modules using I2C or UART. We’re excited to see what the community comes up with for innovative uses of this port.
We have also redesigned the audio chamber. On the right is the original chamber that all Dev Kit owners would recognize. On the left is the chamber that will be used in production.
There are three important things to highlight here. First, we were able to increase the physical volume of the audio chamber. Second, a wall feature on the grill (not pictured) mostly prevents sound from going anywhere except where it is meant to go: out the grill holes. These two changes required A LOTof thought into how to go about molding this tricky part. The exterior tabs, for one, are not completely at the back. Derick Schweppe, our Chief Design Officer, configured a parting line that is used part way through the housing. In doing so, he improved the audio output quality and potential volume level! Smart innovation and voila: you can hear Mycroft better. Lastly, the new design also integrates a simple fan duct that directs air from the chamber to the Raspberry Pi, providing additional cooling.
Future updates will contain further details on design and features of the Mark II. This project has seen its fair share of setbacks but as we start shipping, we’ll be able to focus more on software improvements and less on manufacturing and production logistics. That’s where the fun really begins!
Duane joined Mycroft March 2021. He has extensive experience in program management, IT, manufacturing, and as an entrepreneur. He is an enthusiast for skiing, playing guitar, music, biking, innovation, reading, learning, and good comedy (alright, even bad humour!). He is a believer, and excited about Mycroft, our staff, our product, our vision, our community, and our customers! Let’s all make it happen – great product by good people for good people.