Testing SunSprite assembly

The other day, I caught myself marveling at a tape dispenser. Now that I am seeing this side of manufacturing, I have a lot more appreciation for how much work must have gone into designing and manufacturing even the simplest products.

We’ve been testing SunSprite continuously for months, but as we start mass production, things are really ramping up. Here are some highlights from behind the scenes.

Above is a picture of me testing how the production PCB boards fit into the final, injection molded cases.

SunSprite uses custom Li-polymer batteries, so we tested several of these to confirm that they work as advertised. In the picture below, the batteries are the little yellow squares among the heap of wires on the breadboard. I wrote some python code to control a USB-DAQ to test the batteries in parallel (code here).

Battery testing setup

Below is (half of) the mold used to make the case. Before mass-producing an injection molded plastic part, you first “shoot” a few dozen parts to make sure the mold is the right size and shape. Injection mold tool for case

And then there’s software to test. For example, you need to test how the cloud will store and process SunSprite data. How do you test that? You generate a lot of fake data and analyze what happens (code here).

It’s looking like all systems are go, and the whole system is coming together in advance of shipping. Whether you’re producing a SpaceX rocket or just a tape dispenser, it takes time, patience, and a whole lot of coffee.