The last few weeks have been exciting we’ve gotten to see what our backers are doing with their newly acquired hardware. One person decided that a dispenser which only pours one shot was not nearly ambitious enough. Once he got his hands on a dispenser he set out to create ShotBot R4, which can pour up to four shots using a custom designed rotating stand. Seeing projects like this, using our core technology, is just one of the many reasons we love being an open source company. As you acquire your kits and bots make sure to share your new creations with the community. Part of being open source is sharing our ideas, creating a community where everyone can help each other to create an even better product. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
While some guffaw at the idea of open source it is one of our key tenets. To hear more about open source and Party Robotics check out this interview with our own Robert Kaye during London’s Music Tech Fest.
Back in the San Luis Obispo workshop, Pierre and Garran have been working night and day to prepare all the bots for shipments. Recently they’ve machined B3 spouts and aluminum tubing, been figuring out silkscreen artwork, packaging for large bots, and making final modifications to the larger bot’s spout designs. Our schedule has been modified slightly from when we were hoping to deliver at the end of our Kickstarter campaign. As work continues, new issues come to the surface and we’ve enhanced or modified our original designs to bring you the best possible product. Right now our anticipated shipment dates are:
August 5th: Begin delivery of remaining kits.
August 19th: Delivery of Bartendro 3 and Shotbots
August 31st: Delivery of Bartendro 7 and 15s
We will of course continue to keep you updated on our progress. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
[caption id="attachment_1087" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Freshly machined aluminum tubing[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1086" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Testing out silkscreen designs[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1085" align="aligncenter" width="400"] B3 spouts[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1084" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Peering inside of a large bot spout[/caption]
The last couple of weeks have been packed with goodness. We enlisted several friends to help us with the manufacturing process and we're really starting to get a handle on the workload. We started shipping out dispensers yesterday and will have all of them out this week. Kits are going out early next week. We did run into a little bit of a problem with our power supplies that we recently received. We quickly discovered that the wrong connectors were used on the 72W supplies and the manufacturer has acknowledged the problem and is having one of their partners do the rework for us. They've assured us it will take no longer than two weeks. So, large kits that use the 200W supply will actually be going out first, followed by small kits, then bots. There's still quite a bit of software to be cleaned up on the user interface side, but we're going to send out kits to those that want them anyway starting next week.
[caption id="attachment_1007" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Erin shows off the drink menu to some thirsty innovators.[/caption]
Last Thursday we set up Bartendro at the San Jose Tech Museum and dispensed tasty cocktails with some of our fellow cocktail bot makers from Barbot. Bartendro has become such a joy to use now that it only takes less than 10 minutes to setup and teardown. It used to take over an hour to clean and was a huge hassle to carry and load into a car, plus the smell of booze seemed to always linger in the bot and therefore it could never be put in the backseat of a car. As the longest user of the bots, I am quite thrilled at the evolution and continual progress we've gone through to make our own lives much easier.
[caption id="attachment_1009" align="alignright" width="366"] Runway Incubator is appropriately named[/caption]
On Friday, we were in San Francisco and met up with our hamburger-robot making friends at Momentum machines. We explored the possibility of dispensing ketchup, and mayo. We were all amused to see that it worked quite nicely. Mayo was a little harder, but is an addressable problem if we improve the container that it is pumped from. Only a few days before that, we dispensed honey which dispensed accurately, but less volume than we thought. If the dispensers are slowed down we can likely improve accuracy significantly. We also met Allan Young at the Runway Incubator where we came up with an interesting application for ShotBot: a drink-enough-water reminder / enforcer. Shots of water could be poured throughout the day to make it more fun and easy for people to drink enough, or fulfill doctor's orders.
The last few weeks have given me a new appreciation for the everyday products we purchase. When you buy something you never think about all the small details that went into making it ready to ship to consumers. Someone had to design the logo stickers, decide on what material to print them on, where they should be placed, and how big they should be. Someone designed the packaging that the product comes in. Should the box have tabs, should it include foam, packing peanuts, or air cushions? What about the user manual? Another person had to sit down and design that, ensuring that customers could pull their new product out of the box and get started right away. This is just a small sampling of all the things that go into a product launch. We have all been learning a ton about this process and are getting very close to shipping out our first orders!
We have received our first box of assembled dispenser boards and miniRouter boards and everything is working as intended. ShotBot and B3 faces have been powder coated. The shop has been redesigned for larger scale manufacturing and we have begun cutting the tubing. Almost all the components for our small kits, ShotBot, and B3 are in our hands.
[caption id="attachment_890" align="aligncenter" width="520"] B1 and B3 back from powder coating.[/caption]
B7 and B15 fabrication is in the queue. Labels have been designed and ordered. We have designed packaging for our dispensers, ShotBot, and B3. We are also working on the user manuals, video guides, and website improvements.
While we tried very hard to get out the first orders in May, we have had some unexpected delays. Our power supplies have not arrived yet, but we are expecting them soon. We are also working on hammering out all the bugs in our code. We have enlisted the help of a few dispenser backers with extensive programming knowledge who have agreed to be our beta testers. With their feedback we can get your orders out to you sooner than working on it alone. It’s important to us to send out pumps, bots, and kits to you all with solid software. That means pushing delivery back a couple of weeks.
Last, we are excited to announce that pre-orders have begun! The first item that will be available for order will be our dispenser. You can pre-order a standard dispenser for $129 or a dispenser with liquid level sensor for $149. The dispenser is a peristaltic pump with encoder, machined to accept our open source electronics and comes with several feet of beverage tubing. You'll have to provide your own power supply, serial communication device, and a way to mount the pump. We will continue to keep you updated as more products become available for pre-order.
Since beginning our Kickstarter campaign in March we have had the opportunity to take Bartendro to many events, big and small. At most events we haven’t been allowed to serve drinks, instead loading up the bots with colored waters and serving up mocktails. Even without the visceral experience of consuming a tasty beverage, people are generally quite ecstatic at the thought of having a Bartendro of their very own. On May 18-19, we got to take Bartendro to one of our favorite events of the year, Maker Faire.
[caption id="attachment_804" align="aligncenter" width="400"] All set up and ready for the crowds[/caption]
Rob and Pierre attended the first Maker Faire back in 2006 with a mere 20,000 other participants. The Faire has grown in leaps and bounds since then with over 100,000 people now attending. Pierre and I joined the other makers in setting up our booth in the expo hall on Friday night, soaking up the spirit of innovation all around. If you’ve never been to a Maker Faire I highly encourage you to find one in your area or come out to the big one in the Bay Area next year, you won’t be disappointed. Intelligent conversations abounded from makers based around the world, booths covering every kind of project you could fathom filled every nook and cranny of the San Mateo County Event Center, there was an electricity in the air and it smelled of innovation.
The next morning we showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to finish setting up. We brought out Bartendro 15, ShotBot, and Water-to-Wine, which was featured in a recent issue of MAKE Magazine. Soon the gates were open and people began flooding in. We poured hundreds of mocktails for thirsty onlookers, explaining all the ins and outs of creating Bartendro. Time and time again people expressed their love for our cocktail dispensing bot. It was a blast showing Bartendro to so many makers!
Unlike several other events we’ve attended we were fortunate to have help at the booth this go round, meaning we actually got to go experience the Faire, talk to other makers, and see their fantastic projects. My favorite was Tapigami, a giant city created entirely of tape by Danny Scheible. The city has taken Danny seven years and over 10,000 hours to create. We got to meet Danny, whose fingers never stopped moving and left us adorned with some of his taped creations. Pierre got a kick out of the Latte Art bot set up next to us which he had print out the Party Robotics logo on a latte.
Overall, Bartendro was very well received. We did several interviews, being deemed "The most important invention in the history of time" by Anthony at DNews. Bartendro also earned its first ribbon, named MAKE Magazine’s Editor’s Choice. We’re already looking forward to next year!
Working with sheet metal involves massive machines that work with an average of 30 tons of pressure. Not for the faint of heart. The main machines can sheer (cut along the length), punch (create holes and cutout shapes), and bend. There are other machines for inserting hardware, spot welding, notching and preparing the surface to be painted, plus many more.
Check out the progress on Shotbot and Bartendro 3. Now that they're done being fabricated, they're off to get powder coated to look shiny and pretty. The color we've gone with is called Sparkle Silver. We think it'll look rather sexy. Work will begin soon on B7 and B15, and those will take a lot more time because the process is more complicated and labor intensive with several bends and welds each. One of the nice things about using a local shop is that I can show up whenever to watch our parts being made, and that translates into videos for you. Enjoy!
We have lots of updates for you this week! We’re finalizing designs, working on improvements, ordering supplies, organizing workspaces, and beginning our first backer reward mailings. Stickers are set to go out tomorrow and shirts and shot glasses have been ordered. Our backers voted on their favorite t-shirt design and “Robot Made Cocktails” is the winner.
[caption id="attachment_695" align="aligncenter" width="355"] Winning Shirt Design[/caption]
Since getting so much exposure via Kickstarter, we’ve been invited to attend events and conferences across the country. Last week we went to the Cool Product Expo at Stanford University. There were 30 relatively new companies there, most of whom had also gotten their start on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Our booth was outside which wasn’t the best setup, making the lights and tablets nearly impossible to see. However, we met lots of interesting people and made some great connections. Several of our backers even came out and got a sneak peak at Bartendro!
Next week, Pierre will be speaking on the Open Source Hardware Panel at DesignWest with Jason Kridner from Texas Instruments, Gert Van Loo from Broadcom, Chris Taylor from SparkFun, and Alex Wolfe from EE Times. He’ll also be giving a short presentation at the Gadget Freak DIY Lab Session. If you’re going to be at the conference make sure to stop by and say hi.
One of the design modifications we’ve been working on is the spout assembly. While not a problem with the smaller bots, inserting the tubing for Bartendro 15 has been quite a pain. Working with a mechanical engineer, we have redesigned the spout assembly to pop on and off without any tools, making it easier to clean. The tubing separator has been opened up so that all the tubes can now enter from the side.
[caption id="attachment_704" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Original tubing separator[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_707" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The original spout design made it difficult to re-insert tubing if one popped out.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="400"] New Tubing Separator[/caption]
ShotBot and Bartendro 3 have also gotten a bit of a makeover, getting updated faceplates. These are nearly finished and ready to order.
The dispenser electronics have been improved and we’ll be ordering the boards this week.
Power supplies have already been ordered and are expected towards the middle to end of May.
The miniRouter and Router boards are next up for production prep. We’re also looking at some cross bracing to add rigidity to the larger frames.
Everything is still on track and our hopes are to have the first kit shipments out at the end of May and our first bot shipments in early June! Will continue to keep you all updated in the coming weeks.
After a long 7 hour slog, we arrived to pleasantly warm Las Vegas and went straight to the trade show floor to get our badges and check out our booth. We learned about the free cart load service and got our stuff unloaded from the car and set up our booth in the space of an hour. Our neighbors at Spiked Shakers were quite friendly, and other neighbors gladly lent us things we needed like fishing line, which is apparently one of the best ways to hang a banner. After setting up and checking into our hotel we went to Lavo at the Venetian for happy hour and mingled with Joseph and Brett from IPourIt. Then we walked down to Caesar's Palace where we attended the kickoff party at the pool with food and beverages being covered by the sponsors. Met several more people that were friendly and had lots of advice to give.
The next morning we prepared our bottles with colored water and got ready for opening hours. Even though our placement in the new product pavilion put is in an unfavorable spot behind a giant pillar, we still had a decent amount of traffic. We were targeted and found by numerous people that had seen the Kickstarter video. It was great to be sought out. A company approached us rather aggressively and even offered to buy us out; it was a day full of excitement. The following day, I watched Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue give a talk about successes and failures in the bar industry. It was rather illuminating to see how hard it could be in that industry. As the day wore on, I walked around several times and made alliances with some of the nice folks in the industry. It was overall a successful event, definitely worth our time. We learned a lot about what people are interested in and what currently exists and how we could collaborate with others. Looking forward to doing it again next year.
In preparation for BarBot this weekend we all sat down and decided what alcohol and mixers should be in each of the bots, Bartendro 15 and Bartendro 7. Once we figured out what each bot would hold we took a peek into the drink database to see what cocktails we would be able to serve. As it stood we were only going to be able to offer about 20 cocktail varieties. We had added several new liquors and mixers to the lineup and needed to find drinks which included them. Since I love doing research I volunteered to find us more drinks to add to the database. I set out on my drink finding mission only to discover fairly skimpy online resources.
While there are several websites out there that allow you to enter the contents of your bar and will then give you drink options, they weren’t overly useful. The databases were very limited and hard to use. I instead found myself looking at one ingredient at a time and skimming through hundreds of drink recipes searching for matching ingredients. Talk about time consuming! One of Party Robotics’ goals is to create a community of cocktail enthusiasts. Each time a person discovers or creates a new drink they can add it to our database. Before long we hope to have created a fantastic place where people around the world can easily try new cocktails. Entering new recipes is simple and they can be tweaked right on the spot in just a few clicks. After I found new recipes Rob and I took on the hardest work of all... testing the drinks! We have come up with some really tasty cocktails for BarBot this weekend and will be offering 52 different drinks! If you end backing our Kickstarter project and acquiring a Bartendro of your own you’ll be able to try some of these delicious concoctions at home. My personal favorites are the Gummy Bears and Buttermilk. NOM! Check out the BarBot drink list below and decide what you're going to try this weekend!
Bartendro 7 Bahama Mama - White Rum, Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Grenadine Beach Bum - Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice Pina Colada - White Rum, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Milk Tequila Sunrise - Tequila, Orange Juice, Grenadine Calypso Baby - White Rum, Pineapple Juice, Grenadine Florida Sunshine - Tequila, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Grenadine Pain Killer - Dark Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Coconut Milk Rum Screwdriver - White rum, Orange Juice Saoco - White Rum, Coconut Milk Tequlia Screwdriver - Tequila, Orange Juice
Bartendro 15 Brown Cow - Kahlua, Milk Buttermilk - Butterscotch Schnapps, Milk Buttery Nipple - Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys Cosmopolitan - Vodka, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice Gummy Bears - Midori, Triple Sec, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice Kamikaze - Vodka, Triple Sec, Lime Juice Lemon Drop - Vodka, simple Syrup, Lemon Juice Mudslide - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys Real Whiskey Sour - Whiskey, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice Sour Apple Martini - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker Vodka Cranberry - Vodka, Cranberry Juice Washington Apple - Whiskey, Sour Apple Pucker, Cranberry Juice 2nd Period - Kahlua, Baileys, Milk Adam & Eve - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Cranberry Juice Amaretto Sour - Amaretto, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice Apple Jolly Rancher - Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice B-28 - Amaretto, Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys Baby Guinness - Kahlua, Baileys Baileys & Amaretto - Amaretto, Baileys Baileys Straight - Baileys Big Red - Cinnamon Schnapps, Baileys Black Russian - Vodka, Kahlua Black Unicorn - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys Broken Down Golf Cart - Vodka, Amaretto, Midori, Cranberry Juice Butter Kahlua Bliss - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps, Milk Butterballs - Kahlua, Butterscotch Schnapps Caramel Apple - Butterscotch Schnapps, Sour Apple Pucker Carrot Cake - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Baileys Emerald Martini - Vodka, Midori, Triple Sec Girl Scout Cookie - Kahlua, Baileys Golden Apple - Cinnamon Schnapps, Sour Apple Pucker Hot Scott - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps Low Carb Vodka Lemon - Vodka, Lemon Juice Oatmeal Cookie - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys Pure Ecstasy - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys Red Rover - Kahlua, Cinnamon Schnapps, Butterscotch Schnapps, Baileys Screaming Orgasm - Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys Toasted Almond - Amaretto, Kahlua, Milk Vodka Gimlet - Vodka, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice Vodka Lemon - Vodka, Triple Sec, Lemon Juice Whiskey Lemonade - Whiskey, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
Last night we had some fun after a long day of getting new software running on our bot. Using a pile of parts, I cobbled together a 4 pump bot, but I found myself short of a case to mount it into. I clearly watched too much MacGuyver when I was a child, because in the space of 10 minutes and using 2 paperclips, 2 screws and some string I made StringTendro:
Then towards the end of the evening we started joking about about "bot-stands" or taking taster shots directly from our bot. One thing led to another and soon we were having way too much fun:
We're going to need to find a way to make this fun more sanitary. But hey, what's a few cooties shared between bot builders??
Amazingly we walked away from that experience without any hangovers!