It's been a great year for us here at Party Robotics. We've attended many events with our Bartendro and won first place at the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge at the DNA lounge. But more importantly, we've enjoyed hearing your feedback and seeing the awesome projects you've made for business and for pleasure. We've attached some pictures and videos of projects we've heard back from this year. Check them out below. We love getting pics of your setups, so please do send them!
We've also been making some improvements within. We recently started using a better platform for turning our manuals into beautiful guides, and a few months back, Sparkfun started distributing our Bartendro Dispensers. We have many ideas going forward on how to improve our products and our documentation and we're looking forward to kicking off 2015 with some exiting new things. May you enjoy your holidays with your loved ones and robot made cocktails, and we'll see you next year!
Hey everyone, I hope you've been enjoying your summer with some tasty beverages. Things have been ebbing and flowing in Party Robotics land over the last couple of months. We ran out of several things some weeks back, but now we're stocked up on everything again, and the best news is that Bartendro Dispensers are now 10 bucks less! Did we change anything about them? Nope! As we've been refining our process, and understanding our costs better, we've decided that we would pass the savings on to you. It might not seem like much, but every little bit helps when you're trying to build a big bot.
For those in the Bay Area, we've also officially signed up for the Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge, happening in about a month at the DNA Lounge in SF. Come root for your favorite robots. The event is on a Sunday from 5pm to Midnight and tickets cost $10 in advance.
You may have noticed over the last couple of weeks that our old website was decreasing in functionality. The blog and forums became inaccessible and for months, logging in was never reliable. Our site was under constant attack from spammers and people trying to hack the site. The spike in bandwidth caused our webhost to severely cripple our functionality and the ability for people to login was limited or locked out. So, we've decided to move to Shopify as our new host, where we can have a safer and more reliable environment for our users as well as a real shopping cart that we'll be adding more stuff to. You will notice that some of the places on our old site are not immediately accessible right now, while this is a transition period, it will likely take a few weeks for full migration to happen and all of our old info to find its new home. The forum that we were using is not compatible with our current setup, but we're trying to find a way to make sure we don't lose the old posts that people had put up. Again, hopefully in a few weeks it will all be running smoothly again.
As far as bot deliveries go, we are hitting snags on a regular basis, and they are mostly logistical in nature. It get's frustrating, and sometimes it feels like everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The problem with setting dates, is that as soon as you do, something pops up that completely prevents you from being to hit that date. So, it makes me not want to set hard dates anymore. You should know that we are working as hard as we can and that bots will go out in the order that we received the orders. The current expectation is that a few bots will go out at the end of next week, and hopefully the remainder of them in the last week of May. In the meantime, relax, and make yourself a drink the old fashion way while you still can.
I should also mention that we'll be at the Maker Faire this weekend, so stop by and say hi if you're there.
Up until this point things were going quite smoothly with our pre-order build, but at the end of last week we ran into some unexpected surprises. A couple of our vendors made mistakes on some of our parts, and our adherence to quality dictates that the parts need to be re-done. Unfortunately, this means bots won't go out for about another week. There's a pretty good chance we will be able to start shipping around May 5th/6th. Sorry about that. We're so close. Hang in there.
Meanwhile, we have started shipping Dispensers and kits. This is an ongoing process, and we'll continue into this week as we get updated shipping addresses and calculate total shipping costs.
Thanks for your patience this far. Have a great week.
It's April, and yes that means new Bartendro hardware is just around the bend! We had quite a holdup in the month of March, with a key component stuck in customs for over 30 days. Apparently, the weather conditions of February in the Midwest were the cause of severe delays for many, including the officers of US Customs and Border Protection. The frigid winter this year was more extreme than usual, but fortunately that's all over now. We've been doing our best to get things done in parallel, so we're hopeful that starting the week of April 21st, we will begin shipping Bartendro Dispensers, Routers, and other components that make up kits. Fully assembled bots will follow shortly after, beginning shipments as early as April 28th.
In their boozy dealings with Bartendro over the past few months, people have been discovering software quirks and bugs and telling us about them. We've been collecting those findings on a list
and progressively fixing them. We've also been making continual additions and improvements to make our software more user friendly. So, thanks for the feedback! People with existing bots and kits will be able to upgrade to the latest version for free when it's available in a few weeks. I'll be posting an instruction guide soon on how to do that updating process. It may be a little bit on the technical side, so if you're not up for it you may want to find your closest teenager.
As we mentioned before, we're in the in the process of moving to the Bay Area. We've found a new space and we're working on securing the lease. We'll take some photos of the new digs once we're all moved in and probably have an open house at some point where people can come by and say hi.
A year ago today, we introduced Bartendro to Kickstarter, and the World. Up until that point, Bartendro's prior incarnations had only been visible to our friends and family. A quaint side project that we had worked on for about 5 years became transformed overnight. Putting it into the public eye brought about a certain cachet—
or credibility to the project. The month of March was a roller coaster, we went from being elated to overwhelmed in mere moments, then switched back and forth. Going through the Kickstarter process was enlightening and quite fun. We learned that we were in new territory where the rules weren't quite written yet and it liberated us to be creative in how we went about solving our problems. Days were unconventional. In the process we visited dozens of maker spaces, learned about numerous hardware accelerators, and toured factories of all flavors. The people and suppliers we've met have encouraged us and supported us along the way and have restored our faith in American manufacturing, ingenuity and quality. We've learned about many new manufacturing techniques and learned what it really means to commit to making a product. It's a lot of hard work, but when we look back at what that year has produced, we are proud to stand by what we've put out there, and are motivated to build on the accumulated knowledge and momentum that we've gained. It's still a pleasure to hear the reactions of people that use our machines, and Bartendro will only be getting better over time. There are some changes that are coming up, including a move to the San Francisco Bay Area which we will talk about more in a future post. For now, we're excited to keep doing what we're doing. Thanks for following along.
We are pleased to announce that we will continue to be your premiere source of cocktail robots and open source cocktail robot components. We are grateful for the support we've received and excited to start developing the next generation of features and additions to both software and hardware. We have some partners and distributors that we will be teaming up with as well, and we will tell you about those relationships in the coming months. Also, there's a software update that's currently in the pipeline and Rob will be talking about that soon.
For those who placed pre-orders, we will be charging the deposits at the end of this week and getting to work to get all of your hardware to you by the end of April. We will continue to accept pre-orders until we switch over to a conventional shopping cart experience which will also be happening soon. Pre-orders
received before the end of January will likely be able to be shipped in the same timeline.
Thank you for keeping us going, now let's build some cool stuff!
2014 is just around the corner! We hope your coming year is full of success and happiness. For us, this is somewhat of an inflection point and I think our futures will be exciting no matter which way we go. Fortunately, more pre-orders have been coming in, and we're getting closer to our goal, but we're not quite there yet. This time of year can be challenging to get things accomplished with so many people taking holidays. So, after several requests and people promising to place orders in early January, we have decided to extend our deadline by a week. We will now be making the final call on January 7th. We'll let you know in another few days how we're doing. Happy New Year, and all the best!
For those following along, we're trying to raise enough money by the end of the year to determine if we will be able to continue going with this project. Many of you have contributed already, and for that we're very grateful. At the moment, we are over 10% of the way there, but there's still a long way to go. If you haven't already, please help us by spreading the word.
Thanks and Happy Holidays,
The Party Robotics Team
Dear Owners, Supporters and Secret Admirers of Bartendro,
Thank you so much for sharing your excitement about cocktail robots with us these past nine months. As you know, our Kickstarter campaign was quite successful and we’ve had a ton of fun building, learning and drink testing for you. In fact, we’d love to keep going and make more drink bots and components available for more people.
We have a lot of ideas and improvements planned, and would also like to incorporate your feedback into future Bartendro models. We've already added things like an “I’m feeling lucky button”
that makes random drinks, designed an awesome adjustable drip tray
/ cup holder, and even figured out soda dispensing for bars (this doesn't work with 2-liter bottles quite yet, but that will follow).
In order for us to keep going, we need to know if there are enough of you out there that want more hardware. So, we’re going to find out by using Kickstarter’s method. We've set a goal for ourselves that we need to reach by January 1st. If we have enough pre-orders to meet our goal, we’ll be elated and will continue making drink bots for the world! If on the other-hand we don’t meet our goal, then we might just have to go back to our day jobs and let the open source community take over the project.
You might notice that our prices are higher than what we were previously asking on Kickstarter. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way what the real costs are of running a business. We broke even on Kickstarter, but now we are in the position that we need to ask for money again so that we can bulk buy components. Hopefully, by having our products properly priced this time we can sustain our business.
While just having your own personal Bartendro at home is a blast, some of our backers have been using their bots at events and earning a pretty penny. One Kickstarter backer even bought a car with the earnings he made off of operating a Bartendro for three weeks! So, do you have some entrepreneurial spirit in you? Could you put a Bartendro to use making cocktails at events? Are you interested in being a distributor or re-seller? We have distributor pricing and volume discounts available. Send us an email if you are interested in large quantities.
If you're interested in getting a Bartendro of your own, help us stay in the game and pre-order
now! If we meet our goal by January 1st we will charge a 50% deposit in the first week of January and immediately get to work buying and building parts. We’ll have new bots to you by the beginning of April. For those of you who already have a bot, you can help us by spreading the word to your friends, family, and co-workers. We'll keep you posted every few days on our progress, and no one will get charged a cent unless we reach our goal.
Thanks for your support!
Pierre, Garran, Rob & Erin