Although all Flipper Zero parts are produced in high-quality factories, it's impossible to start the production of such a complex product instantly. All the parts must go through several stages of improvements and fixes to become perfect and finally go into mass production.
Today we will tell you about the issues we already found and fixed with our factory after reviewing the first injection molded cases.
Any new injection molding project goes through several testing iterations — called T0 (or Testing 0), T1 (Testing 1), etc. Each new iteration brings fixes to the parts design, molds, and injection process itself.
The first two iterations are intentionally made without applying the finishing surface texture to the parts, so all the defects are well and clearly visible.
Texture and Color Matching
First of all, we have finally applied a shagreen texture, which gives the cases' surface a nice and expensive look. Bye-bye, cheap-looking gloss! The colors have also been revamped to become proper orange.
In order to create a shagreen texture on the surface of the parts, the corresponding areas of the molds are etched with the acid.
The Bottom Cover looks great as well, in both white and black colors.
D-pad Area Defects
D-pad area had burrs from the unfinished surface, as well as sink marks and welding lines formed by the meeting of two plastic flows during the injection.
After polishing the mold, tuning the injection flow, and applying the texture, these defects are removed, and a d-pad area looks nice and smooth now.
Screen Cover Waves
First molded samples of the Screen Cover had blurs and waves in the injection direction. These strange waves were visible only when viewed from specific angles.
This was caused by the suboptimal temperature and injection pressure settings in the molding machine. After tuning the injection process to the optimal one, the waves are gone and the Screen Cover is perfectly clear.
Gap Between Case Halves
Ejector pins that push the part out of the mold when the injection is finished were protruding too far, which lead to the gap near GPIO holes.
After the ejector pins dimensions modification, the protrusion was eliminated and the halves sit tight now.
iButton Holes and Marking
The holes for iButton pins were covered with excess plastic due to the suboptimal injection process. Injection process tuning fixes this issue and all holes strictly correspond to the design drawings now.
You might notice that we have also updated the 1-Wire pin number marking to reflect the latest GPIO diagram.
Gap Under the IR Window
There was a 0.35 mm gap under the IR window due to it being strongly pressed against the Top Cover during the soldering process.
To fix this issue, we shifted the welding point and added special positioning ribs. Now the IR window stays right in the center with even and clean gaps.
The SD-card side of the Top Cover had some typical molding defects caused by the suboptimal design of the moving mold parts, that create holes in a perpendicular direction to the mold halves movement. After modifying these parts and applying surface texture, all the stress marks and welding lines are gone.
Flash on Screw Bosses
After the initial injection molding, most of the screw bosses had excess plastic (also called flash) on top of them, which made correct assembly impossible. This was caused by incorrect positions of the special pins, that get inserted in the mold for forming the bosses.
These pins are intentionally made detachable and not the integral part of the main mold, due to their relatively short lifespan. After fixing the position of the pins, the flashes were gone and parts get assembled properly.
Laser Marking on the Black Version
Initial samples had very poor laser marking quality on the black casing compared to the white one. This happened due to the incorrect settings of the laser marking machine.
Now the laser marking machine has two separate setting profiles — one for the white casing and another for the black one, so both colors have the same nice and readable marking.
Logo Color on Black Casing
Initial samples of the black cases had poor quality of the orange logo printing. After adjusting the ink color and printing density, the logo looks bright and contrasting.
Our first priority is to fulfill all Kickstarter orders, so our backers will get the first production batch.
If you missed our Kickstarter campaign, you can pre-order now and get your device in Fall 2021, as soon as the second batch is ready. Your pre-orders help us to plan the production and logistics.