MF Case Study #020:

Chickadee Tech

Chickadee Tech was founded by Scott Shawcroft so he could pursue his love for quadcopter technology.
MacroFab helps startups launch their electronics products while keeping costs down.

Get to know the work:

The Polystack flight controller from Chickadee Tech is a stackable flight system that allows quadcopter enthusiasts to fully customize the setup and performance of their drones.

Assessment

Scott Shawcroft founded Chickadee Tech to further pursue his passion for quadcopter technology. Once Shawcroft began working on his startup full time, he soon reached a point in his business where hand-assembly and programming of 13 different variations were no longer the best ways to spend his days. Rather than hand assembling these variations of his product, Scott Shawcroft searched for a manufacturing platform where he could first prototype his designs, and later scale-up for full production runs.

Challenge

The Polystack is available in 13 different design arrangements, thereby presenting a unique and complex manufacturing problem to solve.The costs of iterating on Shawcroft’s prototypes was another important factor for him as he vetted different manufacturing options. Because his product has many different design configurations, changes to one board could result in changes to all the rest, so it was crucial for Chickadee Tech to partner with a manufacturer who could roll with these changes without any additional costs or penalties fees.

Process

MacroFab’s online platform allowed Shawcroft to easily upload his design files and BOM, which simplified the prototyping of his 13 variations. Because we offer low-cost single unit manufacturing capabilities, we were able to help the startup keep costs down.

The ability to prototype on 13 different board designs with single-unit order capabilities was very important for me. Pricing on individual boards also beat the competition, so MacroFab was the clear choice for my startup. — Scott Shawcroft, Founder of Chickadee Tech

Our Solution

MacroFab provided an end-to-end manufacturing, programming, and fulfillment solution, thereby allowing Shawcroft to focus on growing his business without the troubles of managing operations or employees. MacroFab was a natural fit for Chickadee Tech to help them launch the Polystack flight controller.

 

Moving from small-batch, prototype orders to full production run capabilities was incredibly easy with MacroFab. MacroFab was already successful in delivering properly performing prototypes, and scaling up production was just a few clicks away. Not having to deal with product packaging or order fulfillment has been another key advantage. MacroFab is taking a lot of the work off my back, which is very important to me as a startup founder. — Scott Shawcroft, Founder of Chickadee Tech

Summary

MacroFab worked with Chickadee Tech to provide a full product life cycle solution. MacroFab manufactured individual prototype PCB boards as Shawcroft perfected his design. MacroFab’s low-cost single unit manufacturing capabilities gave Shawcroft the proper runway to focus on designing the best product, without having to worry so much on the costs of prototyping.

After proving his designs, Shawcroft worked with MacroFab on his first production run of 800 units. MacroFab’s full-stack manufacturing and operations platform provided assembly, programming, QA, and product packaging for Chickadee Tech. Once the products are ready to go to market, MacroFab will deliver and fulfill orders to Chickadee Tech’s customers, via our automated manufacturing and fulfillment API.

Ready for better manufacturing?