Okay, Topic I must bring up,
Somewhere down the intrenets grape vine someone said that the company you chose to machine the marker bodies has had some tolerance issues so far. (little, niggly things, not Gigantic gaping holes by any means)
First off, is the grapevine any truthful (its cool to say it is )
Second: whats the action plan
Very good question, and definitely one of the rumors rolling around. So lets get this straight:
The company that is milling the markers is made up of two guys who were involved in the Vanguard project, yes. They were brought in at the end to dial in that project. They were not the ones who did the CAD work, or the initial bodies, nor did they have much say in the process. In the end they both said the project was being rushed to market before it was dialed in. Which it was for the most part. The Demon is a great gun, but just a few degrees from being perfect. One of the best platforms right now - it just needs finalizing.
While Tolerance could be seen as the issue, the problem really was the design work, and the timeline of the project, and constraints put on them from the management of the process. I know, I have held the previous parts in my hand from both of those guns, plus looked at the CAD files, and talked to everyone evolved. A crucial part was the initial CAD was not dialed in perfectly. In addition, they were limited in the machines they could run the parts on, and were not able to affect much change. They know what they would have done differently. And so they have, in setting up ValveFlow, a different and separate company they formed after Vanguard.
They brought in new, smaller more agile machines better suited for paintball gun parts and their tolerance, not as in one case, building custom rims for high performance race cars. They are also setup for production, with barfeeds, with Active Head lathes and related. So, this is being ran on all new to the process machines. Finishing will be mechanical, not hand polished, small parts will go through one process on one machine in some cases, with 500 being dropped off the machine in 1 night, done, ready for a tumbler, then anodizing.
Also in this case I worked direct with them to simplify parts and the design for production, talking to the guys about the best process, and the simplest manner to setup the parts. With one having worked with Jack Wood years ago making parts, and even putting his own gun out almost 15 years ago plus having patents for balanced poppets and regulators and some other paintball parts under his wing, and the other having experience making parts for Rolls Royce Turbines and several industries, (including the race car wheels) plus excellent CAD skills, it seems stupid for the designer to dictate the best way to do this project. With all of us sitting in a room working on the project it really is a dynamic batch of experience. They said the last 2 week stint I did there was equal to months of work on the Vanguard project.
Being flexible on my side, working with the machinists, working to come out with a better process for production, planning better machines to run the parts and picking them up just to do this makes this a far different project then the Vanguard one, and even most guns on the market. The only common bits are a couple of the minds, and 1 machine. The process is so different, and so focused on the design and production of paintball guns that it really is a beast of an altogether new sort.
In the end the project has taken far longer then we expected because we didn't try and rush this to market. We are making sure the project is ready to go when we go to market. I have my design end, my perfectionist, engineering type side that wants to constantly improve. On the other side are two guys who know a good chunk reining me in.
This dynamic is good. The end result has been the work of 3 experience minds focused on doing it right, not quick, not limited by management, not told to put it to market before it might be ready. I get to say when, not marketing. Also as the head of this, the designer running the business instead of a sales guy, or the investor or management of a large company, or just a player, the result is far different then normal. Looking at this, it really should have been far longer. I know of several projects that took 2-3 years to go to market, that with large companies and literally millions of dollar spent. That we did this in the timeline we did and a far smaller budget has been a bit of a feat.
Hope that answers your question! Feel free to ask if you want anything more detailed.