Monday, July 14, 2014

July Update

Note: This identical text may appear in the Kickstarter update section as well, but may not contain links or images. We had the pleasure of a visit by Steve Herchen of The Impossible Project, and a great lunch at Stone's Public House which is highly recommended. TIP, and Inoviscoat, are a partly combined entity and are interested in doing synergistic work that could lead to OEM arrangements, which we will consider as we move along.  We'd like to hear your opinion on us working more closely with TIP going forward.

In general, progress has been steady and a number of important milestones have been met. These include:

The Sleeve Machine is operating and produces usable assemblies. The system still needs to be calibrated, mounted on a rigid base, and the feed system needs to be built. One problem is the motor control which is too coarse so we will have to replace the servo with a stepper. Another problem are the tape guides which are too wide and need to be redesigned. None of these problems require discovery.

The Receiver Sheet design has progressed considerably but is not near completion.  A new reduced-step formula has been experimented with by Ted McLelland and Jake Kellett, and a number of test impressions have yielded fair Dmax and image formation, with some evidence of color control. We discovered that the neutralization scheme used by Polaroid to stabilize their receiver sheet is not very aggressive. We also saw using scanning electron microscopy the original receiver sheet which has lower porosity than imagined from the literature.  This is a puzzle.  An intensive discovery experiment plan will remain underway for this important component. The versatility of silver and its many forms astounds us!   I like the Ag2S the best, personally.

The Secondary Operation Tools - ten or so of them - are being designed and the next one is the cutoff tool followed by the corner notcher. We need to invent a method of heat bonding or using another adhesive step for the sleeve formation, and this is ahead of us for August, in all likelihood.

Test Samples of paper bases from an important vendor have arrived in small quantities. This is just the first step in what looks like a circuitous chain of events including laminating, rerolling, converting, coating, and further converting, in at least three location widely separated by geography.  Still, it all seems possible.

Our first film supplier agreement was finalized by Sam and there is now a production, shipping and payment schedule in place which will - if all goes right - result in about a third of our first production order arriving at our dock in August. The hot weather at that time makes us worry about heat damage so some heat sensors will travel along with the first shipment.  Sam will be visiting this vendor along with our importer/agent to assure that there is a proper understanding and commitment in place as we progress to production quantities.

The infamous clip tooling has finally been ordered. There was a lot of back and forth on this deceptively complex part regarding dimensions and tolerances, surface finish, base material, and edge radii. The clip is still about 7 weeks out due to a delay in the tooling order, but that is now in place and the vendor appears to be getting to it this week.

The air conditioning in the upstairs lab now works well, which means we can operate in the safer environment with a good fume hood and not melt.   I can't imagine what the electric bill will be like this Summer.

I am also still running after acquiring our own scanning electron microscope. There are dozens of these surplus for under 10K, so one would think we could get one in here and operating for 25K or less.  It is not clear we can, but I am still trying.

In general, much progress has been made but there are many things yet to be done, and some discovery in the form of coatings technology that still will require attention, possibly up to product release - and perhaps beyond.






14 comments:

Paul Cunningham said...

With the film supplier agreement in place, will you be able to disclose their name soon?

Bob Crowley said...

There are a number of suppliers with price sensitivities so we need to call our film, and other materials, New55.

Paul Cunningham said...

That I understand and the performance of New55 will surely be different than the some of its parts. Still, it is something that people will want to know, beyond idle curiosity, and may help them to characterize the product for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Please do not fall to this temptation, as it will make the price go higher still, I assure you. PB

Anonymous said...

Don't spill the beans!

Anonymous said...

Don't spill the beans!

Arne Croell said...

Your note on the sleeve machine got me thinking, despite the fact that it is way too early for this: Once New55 is up and running (crossing my fingers here), would it be conveivable to (ab)use your sleeve machine to make sleeves with film but w/o receiver sheet and chemicals, similar to Kodak Readyload or Fuji Quickload? Those products are also sorely missed...

Josh said...

In general, I think working with TIP is a good idea. I can't speak to the business or R&D side of that operation, but from the point of view of finding an engaged and engaging organization that understands who its audience is and how to market and sell this kind of product, I don't think you're likely to find a better fit.

I like a lot about the New55 team and project, but the assets of having a developed and notable name to partner with could let you share in a lot of groundwork already laid ahead of you.

dave said...

I think that an arrangement with TIP/Inoviscoat sounds like it could have its benefits. If you can't disclose the film manufacturer, are you able to tell us its country of manufacture?

Vince said...

What a great update. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping the New55 community engaged and involved. Your updates share the thrill of the project - without the stress of having to actually deliver! Best of luck, and I'm looking forward to future updates.

Bob Crowley said...

All of our vendor information is confidential because that's the way these supply agreements have to be written. Everyone wants to see a successful product and that is our only focus.

Bob Crowley said...

The Sleeve Machine will certainly be used for things other than just New55 FILM, but hard to tell yet what they might be.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to share some results I've had testing paper for a light-proof bellows project. I think this paper might have some cross over interest as dark slide material for your film. The best paper I found was AMPAD (American Pad & Paper) Embassy Black Cardstock. I got it at Walmart near the scrapbooking section. One sheet totally blocked my 1200 lux LED bike headlamp. Most of the sheet is defect free, but unfortunately there are a few tiny pinholes in each 8.5x11 sheet. When I compared it to Fuji dark slides for my Land camera, the Fuji had a smoother surface texture, but both had a fibrous interior. For something off the shelf to be so close, it might be worth talking to this company.

Bob Crowley said...

Thanks. We have some of that and in fact used it in some early test packs. Like you, we found pinholes. It does have a nice stiffness. Today we still use that exact thing as a black card to do experiments on, but it isn't a candidate material.