While we’re still waiting on our full order of components to begin mass manufacturing of Instafloss, a small number of the components we’ve been waiting for have arrived. This enabled us to begin pre-production testing so that we may address fit and finish while waiting on our full order of components to be delivered.
It also lets us show you a few of Instafloss’ features up close and personal, such as the built in LED notification for flossing time and suction cup feet.
History of Instafloss Prototypes
Let’s start with a brief history of Instafloss prototypes and why the pre-production samples are so important. The very first prototypes were 3D printed in house, these enabled us to rapidly iterate on the design, having adjusted prototypes in hand within 24-48 hours.
After that, we moved onto machined ABS prototypes. These are what you’ve seen in most of our marketing materials and videos as they offer camera ready appearance and function despite being manufactured in a different way.
The issue with machined prototypes is that they are not produced in the same manner as the production units, and thus won’t allow us to catch any fit and finish issues prior to mass manufacturing. We used these machined prototypes to ensure Instafloss would function perfectly, but didn’t rely on them for fit and finish testing.
The pre-production prototype we now have is helping to ensure that the Instafloss you receive will be flawless not only in function but in fit and finish too. It’s also our first prototype to be in a different colorway featuring a gray housing as we begin searching for the right color mixes for those of you who’ve ordered colored models.
The gray you see in these images is not the final gray for the gray versions, it’s just one sample.
An up Close Look at Features not Previously Shown:
One of the coolest parts about this new prototype is our ability to show features that weren’t present on earlier prototypes. For example, Getting a production PCB into our hands for the first time allows us to demonstrate the LED light timer that will be built into all Instafloss units:
This timer starts off blinking green, speeding up in frequency until you hit 10 seconds when the timer turns orange, informing you that the recommended time of 10 seconds has elapsed. At 14s it switches to red, a final warning before blinking red for 45s as a cooldown to prevent overflossing.
Another feature we added to Instafloss, but didn’t show previously is a set of four strong rubber suction cup feet. This was the result of feedback from early backers who had suggested that accidentally knocking over units was annoying. On top of that, the rubber feet help to dampen vibrations and sound!
The suction feet actually make it pretty hard to knock over. Here’s a gif showing a fair amount of force applied:
First Round of Revisions for Fit and Finish
As mentioned previously, the biggest significance of this prototype is going to be our ability to catch any fit and finish issues ahead of the mass production run, of which we’ve currently identified two.
The most apparent issue was with fitment of the two outer shell halves around the internal chassis. As you can see below, the two outer shell halves are held in place via screws on the top of the unit and underneath the unit inside of the 4 feet.
The trouble here is that this attachment method leaves a pronounced seam where these two halves meet as seen below:
After giving it much thought and considering options like plastic welding the two halves together, we decided to instead have the seam glued together with a strong adhesive. By applying slight pressure we’re able to see how that should look in the next pre-production prototype as well as your units when you receive them.
This reflects on one of our team's core beliefs in our commitment to reduce waste. While we’d love it if the exterior was a perfectly seamless look, we’d rather reduce the amount of waste in landfills by ensuring that the Instafloss maintains a good level of repairability.
This seam should be able to be broken by running a razor along the length of it, which will make it so parts can be replaced then the housing glued and screwed back together. Ultimately, the decision to pursue repairability will help reduce waste by enabling Instafloss units to be serviced and kept in operation rather than completely thrown away if a component breaks.
Wrapping Things Up
To sum things up, we’re proceeding according to plan in all areas currently, with no further delays for the order of electrical components we’re waiting on to begin full-scale manufacturing. Our first pre-production sample parts are here and with them the ability to ensure that fit and finish is up to our standards.
Thanks as always for being one of our early adopters and we look forward to getting an Instafloss into each and everyone of your hands!