Why isn't the hardware open source?
When we released our first version of SwitchBlox in 2016, BotBlox was a passion project of our founder, with little thought to making it a sustainable business. We opened source the design files for the first version.
As we have grown we have spent more time perfecting our products and squeezing more functionality into smaller form factor. This represents countless hours of development time and multiple hardware revisions. We took the decision to close source our hardware designs to allow us to stay competitive.
We know this is disappointing to the hacker community, but ultimately it is one of our competitive advantages, and forfeiting it would prevent us from being able to develop new products.
We are beginning to develop firmware for our products though, and we will be releasing this as open source.
Why is the packaging so basic?
We bootstrapped our business from the start, and we haven’t got around to improving our packaging yet. We have instead focused on improving our product.
The current packaging isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it provides good protection and minimizes the volume and weight of our packages. We’ve shipped them internationally without issue.
That being said, we’re working on improving our packaging, so expect this to change in early 2021.
Can we develop a product for you?
Our specialty is hardware design for networking but we’ve worked with many technologies from imaging to motor control. If your product needs that then it’s most likely something we can do for you, either with a custom design or by incorporating your suggestions into our upcoming products. In any case we’re very receptive to suggestions so please get in touch.
Why is your postage expensive?
We’re based in the UK and use DHL for shipping because they’re fast and responsive to issues. Costs to ship internationally are between $30-$40. As our volumes continue to scale, expect this price to decrease.
How long does it take to arrive?
If you’re in the UK, it’s usually 1 day for us to dispatch the order, and 1 day for the order to arrive, for a total of 2 days.
Outside the UK, it’s usually 1 day for us to dispatch the order and 2-4 days for your order to arrive, for a total of 3-4 days.
I have some suggestions
Great! We love feedback, please get in touch!
Why are emails from us from a kapek.org domain?
Kapek Ltd is the official name of the company that BotBlox trades under, so emails you get from us will be from the Kapek.org domain. This is because when we started selling boards, we did so under the Kapek Ltd brand. It was only later that we decided BotBlox was a better brand, however we never changed our official company name.
That means that when you purchase from BotBlox, you’re actually purchasing from Kapek Ltd, a VAT registered company in the UK with registration number 11637961.
Why are your products out of stock?
We operate on a “just in time” system to avoid holding on the large stocks (more than 500 pcs) of products. There are two reasons for this…
We are constantly improving our products (wider voltage ranges, extra features), so holding onto less stock means we can release new versions more quickly.
We can do better quality control with smaller volumes.
This does mean that we are sometimes out of stock on some parts. We have a constant pipeline of boards in manufacture though, so stock issues usually don’t last longer than 14 days.
If you need to know specific lead times for a part, please get in touch.