I am typing this from the first production Altar I, which was born yesterday. And it is a sight to behold. This means the final milestone before full scale production has now been crossed. We're ready to go.
The pilot assembly process is proceeding smoothly, and will finish next week. After that we move to full scale production. The expectation is that Altar I pre-orders will begin shipping to customers around March 2024.
First Altar I units
We're excited to say that the first Altar I units have been assembled and tested — and they look, work and feel amazing.
Altar I. Born 30 Jan 2024. 0.6kg. pic.twitter.com/wZgGnWYDpV— Electronic Materials Office® (@MaterialsOffice) January 30, 2024
These "preview units" are being produced as part of the pilot assembly programme and amount to a few dozen units in total. They are functionally identical to the units that customers who pre-ordered Altar I will receive (but have slightly different markings on the back).
It's incredible to see Altar I brought to life. We're excited to get them into your hands.
The latest estimate for when customer pre-orders will ship is March 2024.
There are a few reasons for this, chief among which is the imminent Chinese New Year celebrations, plus geopolitical instability in the Red Sea which is delaying freight shipments.
Pilot assembly programme
The pilot assembly programme is proceeding smoothly. We have learned a huge amount and are honing in on the optimal assembly process that will balance speed of assembly with quality assurance.
The parts we received have excellent fit and finish. Aluminium parts are flawless and injection moulded parts are similarly well made. Keycap legends are pin-sharp, and include a UV hard coat to improve wear.
Almost everything is proceeding as intended, with a couple of minor exceptions:
- We are missing some homing keys, and some units were accidentally assembled with standard 1u keycaps instead of 1u homing keycaps on the "F" and "J" keys
- There are minor sink marks in the plastic cover on the underside of the monobody
- Some PCB components are contacting the ribs on the top (non-cosmetic) side of the plastic cover
- We had to change the adhesive used on the orange tip of the knob to a more suitable type.
These issues will all be addressed during full production.
Altar I field manual
Version 0.1 of the Altar I field manual is now live and can be viewed at electronicmaterialsoffice.com/altar-i-field-manual.
There is some outstanding work to be done on the field manual, and if you have any suggestions please reach out.
We can now confidently move forward to the final step: Full-scale production. Most parts are already located at the fabrication facility, but the last remaining parts will now enter production. Once they arrive the final assembly process can take place and pre-orders shipped to customers.
In addition we will spend time shooting content that will give a better idea of how Altar I looks, feels, and sounds. This will include a typing test, information on design details, and an unboxing.