Platonics end-of-year update

TL;DR: Things are going well. We made the last improvements on the printer, hired another software developer, continued the plugin development, started the pre-manufacturing process with our contract manufacturer (CM), made more sales and are also raising capital through investors.

Hi dear backers! It’s been quite a hectic month since the crowdfunding campaign finished, and is about time that we give you all an update. As our backers, you are the first people to trust in us and in a way our “investors”. Therefore, we will write a monthly update to give you a transparent view of how things are moving forward with the manufacturing of the Ark. Some of the things we have been working on are:


Last improvements on the printer

At the moment we are improving the modular nozzle mechanism and the extruder design to make it even more maintenance-free. We have already tested a very promising prototype and are waiting to receive the production-ready extruder in the next week.

 

Manufacturing process

Last week we officially started the pre-manufacturing process with Hefter, our CM. This means, that the printer’s design that was made in Rhino, now has to be converted to an engineering software called Solidworks. This conversion takes from 2 to 3 weeks and once everything has been migrated to Solidworks, we can move onto the “Design for Manufacturing” stage. This means that our CM will help us improve the design so it’s easier, faster and cheaper to manufacture (e.g. changing 5 separate parts with 10 screws, to a single soldered piece).

After the DFM process is completed, we will be ready to start manufacturing a couple of test units for revision. The goal is to discover any last minute issues in the manufacturing, assembly, quality, or reliability before producing the first Series production (your printers).

 

CAD plugins

A couple of weeks ago we hired Rodrigo Domingues, a Ph.D full-stack developer from Brazil to help us speed up the development of the CAD plugins. Some of you have been sending your CAD files for us to test the software and even though it’s been challenging, it’s helped us push the limits of our plugins.

The plugins that are the most advanced are the Revit, Rhino and Archicad plugins. However, there are a few issues in the geometry that our software is not solving as well as we initially thought. Therefore, we’re trying to fix these before continuing the development with Vectorworks and Sketchup.

 

Business

In the business area we’re focusing on two things: continuing sales and raising our first private investment.

We have continued selling pre-orders as the more customers we get on-board, the cheaper it gets to manufacture more printers. More sales also means a stronger validation for investors. Therefore, we are very thankful to those of you who have referred us to your friends :)

Moreover, we are all super excited to have a few of the leading architecture firms around the world onboard. Although we can’t name some of them, it’s great validation that also the top (and biggest) architecture firms find value in our solutions.

Alternatively, we’re in talks with private investors to raise a round of funds to continue and scale our operations. From the beginning of our journey, it proved to be a challenge to find investors not only interested in hardware (like finding a needle in a haystack), but who would also believe architecture to be a profitable market (even harder). Fortunately we have found a few investors who do believe in us. We  have already pre-committed 78% of our funding round, but are still missing a few spots. If you know of anyone that could be interested, let us know!

 

All in all, although the workload has increased and the pressure to deliver is higher, things are going according to plan. Thanks for everything, and we wish you all happy holidays!

- The Platonics team.

Julio Tiusanen