Today I reviewed a big batch of Crucible dividers for quality control problems and sent them on to our warehouse in Indiana. Barring some delivery stupidity (it happens), they should go on sale on Saturday.
These dividers are the most complex tool we make and are difficult to manufacture, especially considering the $110 price tag. If they were $300, we could lavish a couple hours of polishing and tuning on each tool and still come out in the black. But that’s not what we’re about.
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Instead, these tools are manufactured – like our books. Yes, there is a lot of handwork, hand-assembly and tuning involved in these tools. But a lot of the skill to make them is in programming the robots and ensuring the processes are foolproof so that even I can assemble them – even though I’m not a skilled machinist. And so far, I’ve assembled quite a few of them.
Because I’m not a fan of hype, I’ve tried to downplay these dividers quite a bit (maybe too much). They aren’t like an infill plane or a blacksmith-made fretsaw. But when I pick up our dividers and use them – as I have every day for the last six months – I am tickled by their presence. Despite the fact that my personal dividers aren’t cosmetically perfect, I carry them around all day like a nice pen. I hold them when I’m thinking or on the stupid phone.
I open them and shut them over and over, and think about the mechanism inside. It looks so simple, but the angles and tolerances have almost broken my head a few times. But still they make me think. And now that we have the mechanism (almost) perfected, we’ve been designing other tools that use it.
(EDIT: When I say “almost” perfect, I mean that we are improving the hinge to make the assembly process easier. Right now we have to do a couple extra steps to get the hinge working perfectly. Nothing leaves our hands that isn’t 100 percent functional and meets our standards for fit and finish.)
Books have authors, but there is always a team of people behind them that makes the thing look good and read well. Tools are the same way. And so I will continue to call out the people who have made this tool really work: Craig Jackson at Machine Time and Josh Cook, a mechanical designer. Thanks guys.
So look for the dividers on Saturday. And if we sell out, know that we now are making hundreds more. Our goal is that everyone who wants one can get one.
— Christopher Schwarz