The Saga of the Tubes

Hey everyone,

It’s been a long time since we started this journey, but it looks like we’ve managed to complete fulfillment for our Kickstarter campaign.

tubes

We’re very sorry it’s taken so long, but we’re glad to say that we’ve finally shipped out BlinkyTubes to all of the backers in the Blinkin’ Tubular reward levels. It took a bit of doing – our go-to logistics provider didn’t want to ship them because they were too long, which turned out to be a recurring theme. Matt sourced the extruded aluminum in China, and shipped tube kits for international backers via the Hong Kong post just before returning to the USA for the holidays. The tubes for US backers were shipped back to NYC Resistor where we packed them up and then started our search for a shipper – which we’d thought would be easy but wasn’t.

This shouldn’t be so hard

shippingainteasy

As we’d mentioned earlier, our main shipper was unable to send these packages because of their size – and, as it turns out, they weren’t alone in their objection. Ever resourceful, Matt started filling out customs forms, used the Hong Kong post to ship out tubes to our international backers, and bulk shipped the tubes for U.S. backers to NYC Resistor so we could send them domestically. However, the USPS also wouldn’t allow us to print online postage for the tubes. UPS looked promising, however their returned a mysterious error whenever we uploaded the shipping list, and their support agents weren’t able to clear the issue. Private shipping services were pushing our budget.

Eventually, we found a tiny storefront in a section of Brooklyn called ‘Flatlands’ which quoted UPS shipping at some excellent rates, and the remaining tubes were loaded onto the trucks on Friday.

One caveat: while they got us great prices, they weren’t as tech-savvy as we might have liked – they handed us a stack of papers with tracking numbers, which makes it very difficult to do a mass mailing. We can get tracking numbers for individuals whose shipments are mysteriously late, but please give it a week.

Unfortunately, though we’d hoped to explore the possibility of offering these tubes as a product, it looks like that’s not going to be viable because of these logistical difficulties.

And a link to the assembly instructions…

They’re not too hard to put together, but there are one or two tricks…so here it is

…stay tuned!

Now that the tubes have gone out, we’ve completed the last phase of fulfillment for this project. We’re incredibly grateful to have been able to make this come to fruition, and your support was what made it all possible.

This may be the end of the Kickstarter project, but we’re not going anywhere! First of all, we know that there are still some lagging shipments and a few of you will need some help with your BlinkyTapes. If you need help, please email us at support@blinkinlabs.com and we’ll help get to the bottom of your issue.

And of course, the BlinkyTape project lives on! We’re working with some outstanding friends in the community to add features and fix bugs in the software, and to improve the documentation. Over on the Blinkinlabs forum, there’s a lively discussion taking place about new uses and techniques for using the tape. And, of course, the BlinkyTape is now available commercially at both Seeed Studio and Adafruit Industries.

Even better, we have some great stuff planned for the future, including more super-fun, easy-to-use LED products. Stay in touch with us at blinkinlabs.com and please consider following @blinkyTape and/or @blinkinlabs on Twitter – we will also be sending out very occasional email blasts for major updates, for example if we do another Kickstarter or launch our own e-commerce site. When we get there, we’ll also be looking for ways to say “thank you” to our original backers.

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