As the pledge rewards continue to reach our Canadian and American backers, and the international pledge rewards make their way around the world, we wanted to check in with all of you. We wanted to thank you for all your feedback by email, Kickstarter message, or on our comment board. Whether you've expressed satisfaction or disappointment with your Rockwell 6S, your feedback helps us immensely as we continue to work to improve our first product. We want to reiterate that we are committed to providing our backers with the best possible product. You, our backers, deserve a detailed account of what’s occurred so far in the manufacturing of the Rockwell 6S, and an explanation of how we intend to fix current deficiencies to produce the product that you’re looking for.
Back in 2014, before we launched our Kickstarter, when we first engineered the flippable plate design featured in the Rockwell 6S, and set a funding goal of $12,000, we partnered with an investment casting (IC) manufacturer to make the caps and plates. We understood that they would be able to deliver a well-finished razor in all stainless steel at a great price to our early adopters on Kickstarter, at scalable volumes. After finishing up the IC tool, the prototype parts we were shown met our requirements, matching our engineered 3D renderings, with a very attractive finish. The manufacturers seemed experienced, confident, and offered to do in-house quality control, before sending the razors out to some of their partner finishers. In an effort to get the pledge rewards out to our backers as quickly as possible, we partnered with a fulfilment company in Michigan in December. The arrangement was that the razors went straight from the finishers to the fulfilment company, and would then be shipped out to our backers.
Only the American shipments had left the fulfilment company before manufacturing inconsistencies were brought to our attention. There were two principal problems with the product the investment caster had produced. The first and major issue was that the investment casting process was not well suited for the production of the caps. While some caps were fine, many pieces had burrs and/or a slight bowing to the cap. The second issue was that the fit and finish of the caps was not where we wanted it to be. Overall, we were disappointed with the caps they had produced; they did not match the quality of the prototypes we’d signed off on. Additionally, we made the significant mistake of trusting the in-house quality control of the IC manufacturers and finishers, whose performance simply fell short. Frankly, at that point, we terminated our relationship with that manufacturer and will no longer be working with them. When the issue surfaced, we wanted to figure out a way to deliver these razors to all of our backers as quickly as possible while at the same time re-examining the best manufacturing method to mass-produce the caps for an high-quality all-stainless steel razor with an attractive finish.
The initial run with the IC manufacturer had produced enough extra caps that we planned to rescue the best caps in order to be re-worked. We partnered with a machinist to grind down and correct the caps, and a local belt polisher to improve the appearance of the plates. The re-work fixed the existing problems, and addressed the issue of the blade not sitting straight. We performed a detailed QC to ensure the blades sat flat and the razors were usable. However, to flatten the underside of the cap, varying degrees of material had to be removed, and in some cases this has led to an increase in the aggressiveness of the razor. Some of you have reached out and seem quite happy with your Rockwell 6S the way it is, while others have made it very clear the increased blade gap has negatively impacted their shave. We have also heard that there is overall room for improvement with the razor, in particular with the cap. We hear all of you.
We remain committed to manufacturing the high quality Rockwell 6S Razor we originally envisioned, and are happy to announce that we’ve partnered with a new manufacturer to make sure this happens. Our new manufacturing partner uses metal injection moulding (MIM), an advanced process well-known to be far more precise than IC. The best part is that this new manufacturer has made razors before, fully understands that there is absolutely no room for error in their tolerances, and have experience in performing highly detailed quality control on consumer products.
The tooling process for the metal-injection-molded Rockwell 6S will begin in April of this year, while manufacturing is expected to begin approximately three months after tooling. We expect the new MIM razors will be available in September. How does this affect you? Once we have them, we will be sending every one of our backers a brand-new, stainless steel, MIM cap for their razor at no additional charge. If you ordered more than one razor, you will get the same number of caps as the number of razors you ordered. There is no need to send us an email to confirm your new caps, everyone is automatically “signed-up” to receive them as soon as they’re ready to ship out.
We expect these new parts will provide our backers with the quality of reward originally expected when you pledged to support our project. If you find your current cap too aggressive, the MIM cap will absolutely fix that. If you like your current cap, you’re getting a new one anyways, because who doesn’t like being spoilt for choice. As is the nature of high-quality manufacturing, we know the parts are going to take some time to get made property, but we know they’ll be worth the wait. Clearly, the unanticipated reworks, extra finishing, and the free worldwide shipping of the replacement MIM cap was not a part of our initial budget, but we remain firmly committed to delivering your perfect shave. We hope you see both our devotion and financial commitment to do this right.
We wanted to take this chance to thank you all for being loyal early adopters of a new breed of shaving, and hope you find this collaborative and iterative Kickstarter process to be as enriching as we do. The final Rockwell 6S that is mass-produced and available worldwide will be massively improved through this process. We choose to make an all-stainless steel, adjustable razor for under $100 not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Together we’re making a razor that will offer anyone and everyone a perfect, adjustable shave, without being locked into buying overpriced cartridges. Not that cartridges are adjustable anyways.
If you need to change the shipping address you have registered with us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Address Change”. This subject line is extremely important, so that we can properly filter the emails. If you have any other questions, please feel free to shoot us a message through Kickstarter messages.
As always, thank you for your ongoing support.
Gareth and Morgan