A long-overdue blog post
Oy. This has been a process! We’re ever so thankful to everyone for being so patient with us as we wrap up our testing and design phases and work with our friends and partners to create a solid production schedule.
We’ve learned a lot about manufacturing, sourcing, electronics, safety regulations and more. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — this isn’t like making one or two for your friends. When you plan to take a product to market, and moreover when you’re a tiny tiny outfit, there are lots of details to iron out. Mistakes in planning could be very expensive in the long run. One nut or bolt in the wrong place could be catastrophic for us, and even worse, annoying to our customers. The last thing we want to do is add more annoyance to the DSLR workflow.
We’re taking our time to do it right. Here are some of our CAD drawings of the new design for the RNG unit.
And here are some of the mock-ups our metal guys have produced for us.
What you’re looking at is the stainless steel enclosure that will hold the electronics and be nested between two pieces of 1/4″ aluminum. The design has come a long way from this:
What about the studio? It’s not been neglected. We’ll be sharing updates on that soon. Here is our Kickstarter update, as of 9/29:
The steel core module is figured out, and the robot and laser gun masters are about to start making aluminum frame components. We snuck in a few screencaps from the models that they are using, so you can see what the aluminum parts look like when the RNG is assembled. The electronics are starting to materialize too and everything is working perfectly. Everything fits!
In the last moment of addability, we scrambled to fit in all the small adjustments that might make shooting a little more painless. Thanks for the ideas too! First, a bit on the camera platform:
The extendable camera platform is rock solid and has fourteen positions from “fully collapsed” as close as possible with audio metering clearly visible and adjustable, to “fully extended,” so the operator is able to focus on the camera back display. Both sides have 1/4″ 20TPI accessory holes, and half inch threaded handle mount holes. The outboard side also includes 3/8th holes for larger accessories.
The top handle (not pictured here) also includes an accessory mounting zone ahead of the active handle area for eyepieces, microphones and small camera lights. To balance it all out, the V mount or AB mount brick adapter can be positioned continuously to decrease arm stress.
The camera connection area now has two connectors instead of one.
The all weather control box connector we were planning on using had a couple of interesting shortfalls. It was awesome, but made of a tough plastic, and although rugged, was not completely impervious to RF interference. The stainless core module provides a fantastic faraday cage, and we want to extend that protection over every possible surface.
The connector length was causing ergonomic problems with the Logger’s Lunchbox Studio. On the RNG, the connector nestles under the camera platform, cables exiting under the camera and comfortably behind the 15mm rail support area, but the Studio has nowhere to attach such a connector and it be out of the way, while not burning up a bunch of precious surface space. And on the same note, it doesn’t help that it was also deemed “quite phallic” more than once.
Now, the front of the box has two connectors instead of one. A four pin standard connector and cable provide power on the camera right side, close to the DSLR battery area. This connector uses several pins for power delivery, with each cable wired specifically for the camera type you are using. This is more bullet proof than our original “cable encode” method with one pin for power and a variable power supply. Pin one and four are also standard full voltage for four pin compatibility.
On the other side of the box, An extremely rugged eight pin connector handles the audio ins and outs from the camera. Both connectors are all metal, and provide complete shielding from your favorite radio station or whatever giant antenna you happen to be standing under. If you want to jam out to the oldies, sorry about that.
Near the end of development, we found a safe place to hide the headphone jack.
The U-60 type battery port is shifted inboard, and the headphone jack is shown here at the top outboard edge of the core module. Everything fits! The external battery adapter plate and main power panel are positioned as low as possible together, leaving just enough room for the connector and its cable when engaged while a U60 type battery is loaded as well.
The angle of the aluminum sides protect the switch lever when the external battery adapter is not used and removed. Here is an early test of the power inlet panel, which hides behind, and under the battery area. On it, the luxurious Japanese power switch.
The shoulder pad cutout was modeled after traditional camera pads. Oddly, it proved to be less than perfect. A steeper inboard angle makes camera sit straight with your shoulders level and no muscles tightened. We modified the curvature again to include larger shoulder operators. The “in to out” difference in top width accommodates smaller and larger shooters at the same time. The softened front angle increases clavicle comfort.
Having machines execute this portion is interesting, but it is worth the extra work. We also figured a small space for the square hole VCT type plates, just in case. You can see it here at the aft end of the mounting platform.
The metal fabricators and circuit and electronics suppliers have been super fast and accurate. The greatest tragedy so far was a few mis-labeled parts and that order was corrected at great speed. We are racing into production and assuming there is no giant volcano disaster, or other general apocalypse, should be shipping in a matter of weeks.