Dear Sabertron Backers,
We are optimistic that we will be able to start shipping Sabertron swords to backers in the first quarter of 2016. Depending on manufacturer timing, it’s possible that many backers may not see theirs until the second quarter. Yes, we know that this is way overdue, but we are working as hard possible to get the project done and we continue to make forward progress. We know that many of you are frustrated with the delays — we completely understand and share your frustration. No one wants to get Sabertron in your hands more than we do.
We are trying to find an acceptable manufacturing solution for production. We have been working on quotes in China and in the US, trying to find the best way to get Sabertron into mass production as soon as possible. While we would prefer to keep this entirely in the US if possible, that is extremely difficult due to domestic pricing.
This whole process feels a lot like a car-buying negotiation. The first quotes that come back are always higher than you would ever think possible. We meet with these folks in person, show them our plans and retail prices, and they show great enthusiasm for the project… then come back with price points to manufacture each sword at insanely high levels. It never fails. And with some of these vendors, we have had ongoing relationships for months! Often they initially provide no information on how they arrive at the quoted price, so we have to engage in time consuming back-and-forth discussions pressing for the details. Each cycle seems to take another week, as we twist their arm on the finer details, the price starts to drop until we get something closer to our budgets. This goes on and on with all of our manufacturers, and it costs us time. Some of the labor charges we’ve been quoted alone could pay for an army of people to do everything by hand. We’ll do exactly that if that is what it takes. We didn’t come this far to fail. But we want to setup a supply chain that can will generate quality products, and that takes time.
The bottom line is that we still haven’t settled on the manufacturer(s) that will provide us with “good enough” pricing and sufficient details that would make us feel confident in their ability to deliver to our expectations. The good news is that based on the feedback we have received, once the initial production test shots are validated, the actual manufacturing time for volume is very short.
Our plan is to finish working our quotes with the turn-key Chinese manufacturers to see if we can come to agreeable terms with them while we also work on quotes with domestic suppliers and try to find the right fit for us. We are slowly finding our way and will be making our decision on the best manufacturing solution very soon. We are working very hard on this! We expect that to all be done in the next few weeks and then we can finally order our parts, plastic tooling, and focus on perfecting the firmware and test procedures for production part arrival. You will know it when that happens, because it will be a very good day for us and we will share the good news!
The backer surveys are nearly ready to go, but we want to get updated photos of our latest demo units which are closer to production specs so that the choices are clear. The new photos are held up by some foam work that is in progress to get pictures that are more representative of the production product. We have been testing the survey tool out with some test accounts and it seems to do a good job of giving you the flexibility to change your order to your liking, as well as update all your contact information for shipping. We need to get those out to you and completed soon before we place our component order so that we know how many of each type to reserve for the build.
Thank you, once again, for your support of Sabertron and your patience.
Sincerely, David Lynch and Team Sabertron