KS Update #9: Detailed Project Update

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Final Assembly & Delivery Update

Lockdowns, Shipping, and a Few Extra Pre-orders Available!

Hey there Pirate MIDI fam!

We really appreciate your support as we've navigated the weird COVID-economy. Here's a detailed update about the next few weeks.

In January, 270 people pledged over $89,000 to see the Bridge6 project come to life, then a further 50+ orders were placed over the last 6 months adding more Bridge6 and Bridge4 units to the production schedule, and many more accessories added on to existing Kickstarter pledges.

These last few month have been an incredible learning curve for us. We always knew it would be, but this one has been extra special because we've also had to navigate a global climate that not even experienced manufacturers were prepared for.

COVID-19 really did cause havoc to our schedule. Firstly the raw materials shortage delayed our Footswitches from May to July. Then the microprocessor shortage made it impossible to purchase the chips we planned to use for both the Bridge6 and the Bridge4.

By an absolute miracle we were able to replace parts with some alternatives (note: not a downgrade), even though the price had almost gone up 10 times for some parts! These costs have significantly decreased our working capital and stretched us to the absolute limit.

After receiving our switches, we weren't happy with the quality of them and sent them back for replacement. We received the replacements just as COVID sent another problem: Lockdown.

Gee, Thanks COVID...

In Australia, we have been struggling to contain the delta variant for a few months now with snap lockdowns. Cases have drastically increased in the last few weeks and the New South Wales government has locked down the whole state with heavy restrictions. These restrictions slowed down the arrival of our last few parcels (injection molded parts, TRS jacks and the replacement switches) because of the increase in parcel delivery and the decrease in workforce due to lockdowns.

We've been testing the final version of the circuit boards for the last few days and ordering the PCBs is the final piece before assembling. We had hoped to get these ordered two weeks ago but due to the postage delays, we simple weren't able to.

We expect to receive the final parts, the circuit boards, on the 28th of September. As soon as they arrive we will be soldering TRS jacks on, plugging in switches, screens, and light pipes, and then testing them all.

Assembly and preparing the individual parcels for shipping will take some time. Because of the lockdowns, Simon (living in Tasmania now) is unable to travel to NSW to help. Also, if the lockdowns stay at the current severity (which is also likely) we won't be able to enlist any extra help at all. Sam will be running the entire assembly process by himself.

Shipping Estimate

With all this in mind, we're expecting to have shipped your Bridge6 or Bridge4 by the 10th of October. This is a conservative estimate and we really hope that lockdowns will ease, shipping will gain a few days, and we can beat that target.

We are really, truly, grateful to you for your patience and understanding. To keep this in perspective, we've planned to deliver a hardware Kickstarter campaign in less a year which is quite rare.

We also understand the frustration some of you have expressed. Please understand that we feel it more intensely than you do. This business represented a risk from day one for us and our families and these extra costs and delays have made it very stressful.

By all means, we welcome questions and conversation, but please keep it civil. It's no fun being abused.


More BRIDGE6 units available for pre-order

A lot of people missed out on the Bridge6 pre-order. We've been asked many times when they'll be available again. But here's some good news: after a stocktake we realised we can take another 14 Bridge6 pre-orders which will be delivered with the first run in a few weeks!

You can pre-order now on our website - but make sure you get in quick!

As for second run pre-orders, we're planning that now and we hope to open them up to you sooner rather than later. Stay tuned in our Facebook group or these emails.

Development Update

Both of us have been putting in a lot of bug-fixing time in the firmware over the last few days. Because the target launch was the end of August, we've almost got a complete firmware ready to go.

Most recently we've been testing the External Footswitch mode of the Flexiports. with up to three external switches supported, you can assign these switches as Bank up, Bank down, or external control of FS1-FS6. We're also going to be giving each footswitch a toggle on and toggle off MIDI message that can be configured by the user.

Another major feature that's nearly finished initial testing and development is Device Link. It's going to be the backbone of many users' experience across not only the Bridge6/4 but also future products like the Flexihub, Bridge1, and bypass loopers. So Sam took his time and implemented a solid platform to build on so that it can be easily implmelmented in our future products. On the Bridge6 and Bridge4 you can synchronise bank changes, synchronise bank names, and route MIDI data from one device to the output of another device. All this allows for expandable and flexible setups that really push the boundaries of what's possible with MIDI controllers.

Regarding our app, we've had some slowdowns with the app development due to missing firmware features, difficulties with implementing the firmware update, and bug logging. But now all those things are resolving nicely and we will progress to actual UI design to make sure it's as straightforward as possible.

If you've read this far, thanks heaps. You're a legend.

Stay safe out there,
Simon & Sam

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