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Months of to-and-fro-ing between manufacturers, tweaking detail after tiny detail is finally resulting in what we were aiming for; the moulds to make the AlphaSphere have now been designed, and the very first of them are being cut out of tool steel.
This heavyweight apparatus, which takes two people to lift, will be mounted in the machines and will see the very first AlphaSpheres rolling off the production line.
Despite the benefits and ease of using these tools – we haven’t compromised anything in designing and producing the AlphaSphere. This is not just another box-shaped product, but a fully three-dimensional instrument, facing fifty different directions. Each of the individual modular pods are integral to the self-supporting design, which requires the hand assembly of hundreds of parts. It is only now that we understand why almost all existing products favour the box approach, and why most products are ‘two dimensional’. For the wrong reasons!
At nu desine integrity and intrigue are two of our core values, and we refused to stray from this, despite the potential for huge savings in tooling and assembly if we were to make it a more “cubic” design. Most consumer electronic products, even those with seemingly complex geometries, are generally made from a top shell which mounts on to a second shell to form the body of the design. There may in some cases be an additional part or two, but rarely much more than that. This reduces the number of (costly) moulds and the amount of assembly labour time, meaning lazier products, but more room for profits for these companies.
The body of the AlphaSphere is made up of many uniquely shaped and sized parts, which are then attached tightly together with a novel custom-designed locking mechanism. A total of over 250 parts! These moulds are not simple either, with side actions, replaceable inserts, and collapsible cores a plenty – designing these parts for moulding as well as functionality was no simple task. The result, we believe, is beyond comparison with other electronic products. It is sculpture meets interaction design meets musical instrument. It is a joy to both play with and look at. It has been a design mission to get to this stage, but I know we will all be really happy with the result.
Based on the user experience of using the AlphaSphere we wouldn’t have it any other way, and can’t wait to see and hear these things in the hands of musicians all across the world.