Here is an update on the T400 project. Summary: Injection molding tooling has begun. Full speed ahead!

Firmware

The firmware is feature-complete. Yesterday we implemented the feature that cycles through which channels are displayed on the graph. The junction temperature was removed from the LCD, which freed up the bytes we needed.

There are three small issues remaining in Electronics Milestone 5. Once they’re done I would consider the firmware shippable. We will, however, continue to improve the firmware based on user feed back.

Git: https://github.com/PaxInstruments/t400-firmware

Electronics

Electronics version 0.13 has passed all your tests and is functionally complete. We’re working on electronics version 0.14 in Electronics Milestone 14 to update the thermocouple connector footprints since version 0.13 came out before we had the production batch of connectors.

We will continue testing the board looking for bugs until we enter PCBA production.

Git: https://github.com/PaxInstruments/t400-electronics

Enclosure

I have inspected and approved the injection molding factory. We have signed a contract and issued a purchase order for tooling and parts.

Git: https://github.com/PaxInstruments/t400-enclosure

Thermocouple connector

We are getting the thermocouple connectors put onto reels for use with a pick and place machine. These will be available in the store when we get them back from the reeling factory. I have a contract signed with the factory. Today I am visiting them to hand over a purchase order and payment.

Website

PaxInstruments.com has been experiencing database connectivity issues. I’m considering moving from a self-hosted WordPress install to Shopify or other service. If I could go back and do it all again, I would just set up a Shopify store and get on with making things. Doing a self-hosted solution to get things just the way I wanted was a mistake. Perfection is the enemy of done.

Business management

Accounting and business management is one of the things I’ve dreaded most about starting a business. I had been putting off proper accounting since the beginning. However, over the past two weeks I’ve imported, transcribed, or manually entered into QuickBooks every business transaction I’ve made since the beginning of 2014. I’m also moving to Bank of America because they have top tier QuickBooks integration and all the international money services I need.

Even with the Kickstarter money paid up front I’m way in the red on this project. No worries though; I’ve personally financed a healthy runway for Pax Instruments. This is what I expected. Starting a hardware company takes upfront capital and we’re still within the overall projected budget.

Here are the business formation steps I recommend for anyone starting a small company making projects.

  1. Register an LLC in your home state. Elect to be taxed as a sole sole proprietorship. Don’t do any fancy C corporation stuff in Delaware. You can always reincorporate later if it makes financial sense. Save all your receipts.
  2. Write a small loan for maybe $2000 to your company. Save the loan document.
  3. Open a business bank account with Bank of America
  4. Deposit your loan
  5. Buy QuickBooks on your Bank of America card
  6. Connect Quickbooks with Bank of America account
  7. Enter your loan and QuickBooks transactions into QuickBooks

Now you can move forward with every business transaction properly accounted for. You will thank yourself in the future. Trust me.