The end of December announcement was for shipment complete (read: In your house), for every order placed in the first 30 day window. (as I recall anyway).
So, depending on how fast the production line really is, that can mean that the first ones out the door are start of November range.
We had what, $30 million in sales for that 30 day window? Best case scenario everyone ordered a Pro, so that is about $5,000 per. At those rough numbers we have 6,000 units ordered.
This shipping update supposedly includes international purchases. So let’s say the slowest possible delivery time from factor to home/business is 2 weeks. That means mid-december is the latest they can ship anything out. But, let’s say that it is possible for SOMEONE to get their order delivered within 2 days of shipping, and that someone is at the top of the list.
Okay… so, one person can get theirs 2 days after production starts, but 6,000 people must get theirs by end of December. Which means production has to finish by mid December.
This is complicated equipment, and being assembled in the US. So we will have a moderately staffed assembly floor, and quality controls up the arse, and 8 hour days. Let’s choose a reasonable number for getting these guys out the door…
Assemble everything without dropping a tube:
You have to start with a plastic shell, drop in a few components, screw a couple down. Wire a few things. All of that seems like 1 hour for someone who has been doing it 1,000 times already (which will be the case very quickly for anyone working in that place, so let’s go with experienced numbers, not first week numbers).
Now you insert the tube, wire the tube, and align the optics. That should be another 30 minutes easy.
So, minimum of 1.5 man hours to assemble each machine, but then also boxing and shipping label attachment. That means in an 8 hour day, each person can maybe assemble 4 Glowforges.
Let’s guess at staffing. Glowforge main office is up to 30 or so employees? But assembly is lower training and easier to hire for. So saying they will have 100 people on the assembly floor is reasonable.
That puts us at potentially making 400 Glowforges per day. We need 6,000. So it will take 15 days to assemble all of them. Work week is 5 days, but we are looking to be done by mid-December, which means Thanksgiving is right around the start of our production window. So let’s bump is up to 4 weeks of assembly time from first of the pre-order to last one.
Thus, if one lucky guy not only gets the first day shipment batch, but also has shipping complete within 2 days, then it is reasonable to assume the first person to obtain a production line Glowforge will be posting their bragging rights on November 22nd.
But of course, Dan is a smart guy and did not announce the date which only happens if everything is absolutely flawless from here out. So let us say he slipped in only a 10% margin for slippage. Announcement was early in May? So that is about 180 days. That means we can wildly presume that if everything is sunshine and rainbows, the production line starts 18 days before the outlined window. So the lucky someone could post that unboxing video on November 4th.