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November 2022 Update

Hi everyone. It’s time to have a longer update about Winter One B2 and the state of Winter Design.


Timeline

The timeline for Batch 2 is stretching out a lot further than before, and the main reason for this is Batch 2 is considerably more expensive than previously calculated.


From multiple vendors, the manufacturing + shipping quotes for outstanding parts on Batch 2 are running about $55-65k. The higher costs are coming from 3 main areas:

  • Cost of aluminum is still not at pre-pandemic levels. It’s not as bad as before, but it’s still much higher than baseline prices, especially for a small manufacturing run.

  • The cost of shipping remains 2-3x higher than pre-pandemic levels. This is affecting us negatively in two places — (1) we have to have manufactured parts shipped to us, and (2) we have to pay to ship cases to each customer.

  • The cost of labor has gone up--global inflation has pushed manufacturing prices about 30-40% higher than Batch 1.

All 3 of these things mean that, currently, we cannot cover manufacturing costs of Batch 2 without a significant amount of additional funding.


Winter Design Finances

This brings us to discussing the company’s finances. We currently have less than 1/3 of the required funds to complete Batch 2 manufacturing. Funding the remaining 2/3 is not a simple task. The market downturn makes this even harder, and adding this much into the company with personal finances could take over 1 year.


I want to make it clear that throughout the history of the company, we have not made income/payments to ourselves from the company.


Economic Conditions

Increase in costs of manufacturing, material, and labor, plus a recession, reduces our ability to provide additional funding on a predictable timescale.


Between the time involved, the considerable cost of manufacturing, and zero payout from this project to us personally, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict the success of the current plan.


Paths Forward

We’re considering a few possible paths forward:

  1. Releasing CAD files to Backers: Those who have access to CNC machines, want to modify the design for your build, or will create your own version of the case would be free to do so. Along with this, we could transfer commercial rights to people who backed the project. This would allow them to modify, produce, and sell cases.

  2. Major Redesign: A major redesign would be geared towards cost reduction and would look very different than the current Winter One. This will take considerable time and effort and could end up unsuccessful. Our earlier experiments with MJF 3D printing to redesign the central spine did not yield promising results. Other approaches with different materials or designs might succeed. This is a high risk option, and it would be difficult to commit to within a reasonable timeline.

  3. Acquisition: Without our own factories/equipment, we cannot avoid the high cost of contract manufacturing for low-volume production. However, it may be possible for a larger manufacturer to acquire Winter Design and use their manufacturing capabilities to deliver cases and make future batches available.

  4. Close down the company: If options 1-3 are not reasonable paths forward, we can issue partial refunds in proportion to order value with Winter Design’s remaining funds and close down the company.

We could begin to perform multiple actions from the above options, such as releasing the latest CAD files and exploring acquisition options. It would be helpful to understand how the community feels about the various paths forward.

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