This week, we brought ten of our pilot build Sabertron One swords to The BAM Academy in Austin for the largest Sabertron group melee battle in history! The folks at BAM regularly spar with homemade foam swords as part of their program, so they were happy to try out Sabertron and help us with some pre-production Quality Assurance testing. For over an hour, they went full speed on the swords.
In general, the swords held up well and feedback regarding of the overall sword construction was great. Everyone seemed happy with the weight, balance, and they were really impressed with the resilience of the enclosure, foam blade and cover.
We are doing this extended QA testing to ensure that we are 100% ready to go to mass production, and we desperately don’t want to discover an issue at this stage. Can't we just ship already?! But, unfortunately, as much as this pains us all, issues were identified that need to be fixed before we turn our full attention to production.
We had not seen such a diverse group of people handling the swords before, and in a full-speed battle as well. We knew that the handle grip sensors were a weakness in the design, but we were hoping that they were good enough for the first production. These sensors are part of how the sword works. On some swords, they held up OK, but on others, the grip sensors were basically destroyed.
It is now clear from this testing that our initial grip design is unacceptable for production. We had already begun work on another design that uses sewn threads, like a leather-wrapped steering wheel. This wider testing proves that we need the new grip sensor design sooner rather than later, and we will delay the first pilot build shipments to get it right. It should look a little nicer too. We think will take about a week or so to implement, and we will rework the pilot build swords before we send them out to early backers. We already have developed and tested the new grip proof-of-concept prototype and we are now working to make it producible.