Note: for details on the Luminary 12, 15, and 210 ballistic bags pre-order, see this post. Pre-order opens 02/26 and closes 03/05.
Tom, Nik, Mike and Velia (not pictured) at the final Luminary 12 and 15 Pre-Production Batch meeting.
Ever since we first mentioned our pre-production batch (PPB) system in our Pre-Order FAQ -- "I placed a pre-order and it shipped earlier than expected! Nice. How’d that happen?" --
You received one of the few PPB bags available — congratulations.
What, you may be asking, is the pre-production batch (PPB)?
A pre-production batch (PPB) of any new design is ordered and completed by our production department prior to the new design being offered for pre-order.
The PPB is intended to:
- Serve as the first large-scale test of the efficiency of manufacturing the new design.
- Provide photo, review and employee loaner sample bags.
- Ship a small quantity of bags to a randomized selection of customers who place orders for the first pre-order batch. This will allow folks to post reviews and first thoughts and photos of a new design, which in turn may help other people decide whether a bag is right for them or not.
Please note that the design itself is tested and every detail finalized and approved by Tom, Nik, Lisa, and Fong long before the PPB is ordered. PPB bags are in no way “beta” or incomplete.
-- several of you asked for us to share more about the PPB process and we decided the Luminary 12 and 15 PPBs would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
List of New Features and Updates To the Luminary 12 and Luminary 15
Note: the detailed why and how behind these features and updates are shared over here in the pre-order announcement for the Luminaries. We're listing the features below as they are referenced multiple times in the PPB notes.
- Zipper sliders for the side pockets now close to the top rather than to the bottom.
- Side pockets are deeper (wider) so they can accommodate a wider variety of phones and phablets, notably the larger varieties. One of the side pockets is a bit taller than the other, so even some pretty gigantic phones will now fit. Matthew's HTC U Ultra fits in the taller zippered side pocket of the Luminary 12 and in both zippered side pockets of the Luminary 15.
- The piping (the trim that sits in the seam between the front panel and the top/sides of the pack) is now color-matched.
- Small zippered pocket added to the inside upper front.
- New size -- Luminary 15 -- is approximately 15% taller and 10% wider than the original Luminary 12, while its thickness (or depth, as it projects away from your back) remains pretty much the same with both sizes. Padded back pocket fits laptops up to the size of a 13" MacBook Pro.
PPB Launch Meeting
Fabric laid up, marker clamped, ready to be cut by Irma.
Victor and Irma double check the ply count. Well three times, really.
Irma cuts: perfect as always.
- Any questions or issues with Bill of Materials?
- Open discussion with Lisa/Fong
- Insights or instructions from designer + production engineer (Tom, Nik)
- Nik, Mike, and Fong ask Irma if the marker needs any adjustments.
Mike's notes from the actual Luminary 12 and Luminary 15 PPB Launch Meeting. Includes feedback from Irma, Tom, Lisa, Fong, Mike, and Nik:
- Overview of the changes from this version of the Luminary from the original: new interior pocket, matching piping, revised zipper stop/garage on side zippers.
- Noted that on current piping foot for the sewing machine, it scrapes the zipper end piece and rubs the paint off. Possible solutions to look into: modify or get a different piping foot or cut the zippers ourselves and sew on a stopper. Nik is investigating new feet and Fong made a sample of the pocket by cutting our own zipper for us to evaluate. Resolution: we will cut the zippers ourselves and sew on a stopper.
- Discussed seam inside laptop sleeve. Tom determined it would be easy to topstitch that seam and the seam would then lay flat inside that pocket. Sew by samples were marked with that change.
- Tom discussed the notches and importance of lining them up properly, He noted that one of the notches that should have been a slant was done straight instead (on the marker). Marker will be adjusted. Lisa and Fong will discuss notches at follow up PPB meetings.
- Happy mistake: the wings were on the marker so they will match the exterior of the bag. Original sample had black wings.
- Tom talked briefly about the new garage zipper stoppers. These will be die cut and have not been done yet.
- Noted that the pre-cut zipper we order for the Luminary 15 needs to be 1/5" shorter next time we order. I will note that on the Luminary 15 PPB notes. This of course depends on our not deciding to go forward with cutting our own zippers.
Interim PPB Check-In
Cut parts arrive on the sewing floor, last minute questions answered.
Lisa makes a suggestion for an edit to a notch placement; Nik takes note.
Fong explains to Tom a detail about the interior pocket zipper.
- Notches: any to add, subtract, or move?
- Any issues with materials?
- Adjustments or corrections to BOM needed?
- Any problems with machines or tools?
- Any issues with ergonomics/ease of assembly?
- Any problems overall?
- Any feedback from the crew?
- Tom, Nik, Mike, and Lisa take one bag to QA and go over particular points of importance in the QA process of the design. Answer any questions QA have.
- Mike confirms with Irma that marker works; if not, posts to-do for Nik in our project management software.
Notes from the Luminary 12 and Luminary 15 PPB Check-In:
Shoulder strap construction:
- Victor contributed an important improvement as to how the shoulder straps are assembled. He experimented on his own and found that using a small paint roller on the finished strap allowed him to more firmly adhere the foam to the fabric. Victor suggested we build something like an old-fashioned clothes wringer that he could run the strap through when it was done. Turned out that somebody already makes a simple but strong clothes ringer for use on boats: we got one, made some minor modifications and Victor’s literally cranking out new straps.
- Victor noted that the small guide pegs in the registration/assembly boards are having a tendency to pop out -- we're working on fixing that. Resolution: glue!
- We discussed yield and layout of die cutting process with Ben (who will be doing the die cutting).
- Direction of the stretch material is critical for proper construction -- Tom created a schematic as a guide:
- Lisa requested an additional registration/assembly board so we can have two people working on the process if needed.
- The notches for the tricky spot on each side is going together well-- no problems reported in the process and the bags look like they're well lined up.
- The change to the cut-to-length zipper on the inside pocket is going fine.
- No problem to top-stitch the seam inside the laptop compartment to make it smoother entry/exit of the end user's device.
PPB Final Review
We're feeling pretty confident :)
Velia explains the nuances of QA-ing the Luminary.
- How did the bags go through QA?
- What questions did we ask and answer?
- Any final thoughts?
- Mike checks in on issues or opportunities for improvement identified in previous meetings: was action taken / were improvements made?
- Mike + designer (Tom or Nik) spot check bags that went through QA; anything missed?
- Mike types up a summary of the three meetings for the PPB and posts it in our project management software.
Luminary 12 and Luminary 15 Final PPB Review Notes
- Watch closely the bartack on the zipper garage. The bartack should be lined up on both the inside and the outside.
- Include Key Strap and Cord Zipper Pulls in outside right pocket.
- Tom's magic power is to find the one bag with a flaw when he spot-check QAs a batch of bags. He found a skipped stitch on the mesh interior pockets in one Luminary; all Luminaries were checked to see if any others had this flaw and they did not.