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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:18 pm 
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GEOCOIN UPDATE
 
I'm sure many of you are becoming itchy about the CAM coins, and rightly so. I must say again how impressed and grateful I am that everyone has been so patient. But the amount of time this is taking is bordering on the absurd, and I wanted to bring everyone up to speed by sharing the 2017 CAM Coin Production Timeline with all of you. The names have been redacted to protect the guilty.

2017 CAM Geocoin Production Timeline
  • 31 Jan - Blueprints submitted to first mint for a quote
  • 12 Feb - Still no response from first vendor
  • 13 Feb - Design submitted to new vendor (Cache Advance); response received the same day
  • 20 Feb - Response from first Chinese mint
  • 24 Feb - Quote received from mint
  • 26 Feb - Mint promises photos of samples from factory ready in 20 days
  • 28 Feb - First factory blueprint arrives with several errors
  • 1 Mar - Designer identifies errors, and corrections are submitted to mint
  • 6 Mar - Second blueprint arrives from factory; still some issues
  • 10 Mar - Third blueprint arrives from factory; closer, but still a few errors (south arrow)
  • 14 Mar - Fourth blueprint arrives from factory; south arrow fixed, but some letter spacing issues introduced
  • 20 Mar - Artwork approved
  • 22 Mar - Quantities and finishes confirmed; texture alterations submitted by designer
  • 3 Apr - Updated drawing (with texture alterations) received from mint
  • 4 Apr - Updated drawing approved by designer and MGS
  • 6 Apr - Invoice for deposit received from mint and paid by MGS
  • 28 Apr - Informed that factory had computer issues, but samples are in production
  • 14 May - Informed that factory had not yet begun production due to enamel issues and language barrier
  • 19 May - Informed that mint needs to move project to different Chinese factory because first factory could/would not move forward with project due to unresolvable design issues; essentially starting from scratch with new factory
  • 31 May - MGS received update on someone else's project
  • 1 June - MGS requested update on our project; informed project supervisor is on holiday
  • 9 June - MGS requested project update
  • 11 June - Vendor pinged factory for project update
  • 12 June - Mint sent photos of bare metal samples; problem detected on reverse side
  • 20 June - Updated mold still requires adjustments; promised photos of enamelled samples within the week
  • 25 June - Vendor pinged factory for project update
  • 27 June - New sample being enamelled; photos of new samples promised before weekend
  • 30 June - Five-month anniversary; still waiting…
  • 12 July - Sample pictures (metal with enamel) received
  • 13 July - Designer identifies errors in enamel work and NEW ERRORS in metal. (?!) Factory contacted, new sample requested. The vendor now refers to our coin as "The Haunted Project". We are not amused
  • 21 July - New photos arrive. Errors in metal design and levels corrected, however yet another enamelling error has been introduced
  • 23 July - Mint contacted again, new sample requested. Concerns are raised over the appearance of the translucent-enamel-filled areas. (Is the factory using the more reflective brass-alloy specified in our price quote, or a cheaper, less reflective zinc-alloy?) Too difficult to tell from photo; we are waiting for a physical sample to arrive from China
  • 8 August - CacheAdvance (our vendor) received samples from factory. For some reason they sent the bad samples with the errors that had already been corrected. Seeing the physical samples (rather than photos) revealed to CacheAdvance that the factory was not using the correct blue in the wherigo icon (they used PMS-646C instead of the specified PMS-7690C). Also, the samples are clearly zinc-alloy, not brass-alloy. Color error reported to factory. Requested confirmation that coins will be produced with brass-alloy.
  • 17 August - Factory acknowledged color error and confirmed it has been corrected. No mention of the alloy concerns.
  • 18 August - Mint is informed that mass production cannot begin until the alloy issue is resolved.
  • 23 August - Another request is submitted to mint for clarification on alloy issue
  • 1 September - Update requested from CacheAdvance


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:54 pm 
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GEOCOIN UPDATE
 
Those of you watching for updates on status of the CAM 2017 geocoin project will have noticed the stream of information slow to a trickle. The reason for my reluctance to post updates? Superstition. Each time we announced the project was moving forward, something went wrong. The metal work issues were resolved months ago, but working through the continuous cycle of errors in the enamelling has been a nightmare. But now, finally, all the blueprint corrections and sample rejections are behind us, and the Chinese factory has verified that all versions of the coins are in full production.

At risk of inviting disaster, I'm pleased to announce that we've been given an "estimated" delivery date of 22 November. This is the date the coins are expected to hit US soil. With any luck – and if I didn't just jinx everything by posting this – we may have the coins in time for the Holiday Swap. Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, watch the forum for an impending announcement about pre-orders for the MGS 15th Anniversary geocoin!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:16 pm 
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We received an email update from our vendor:
On 2017-11-27, Cache Advance wrote:
Update on this project - the factory had the order complete last Wednesday but their quality control rejected 10 pieces. Those 10 have been remade and the factory advised me they will ship this week. Just before this email to you I pinged the factory for a status update. I will let you know if anything is different.

So if you've been holding your breath for the Holiday Swap, you'd better start breathing. I'm sorry to quash hope with disappointment, but we want to keep all of you in the loop. You'll know what we know when we know it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:55 pm 
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A NOTE FROM OUR DESIGNER
 
If you've ever picked up a geocoin and thought "wow, i've never seen anything like this before", it was probably designed by Christian Mackey of AURA Design Group. Chris has been designing our MGS coins since CAM 2016, and he's also responsible for the stylized "CAM" logo many of you have complimented. He is one of the foremost geocoin designers on the planet, and as such he has worked with most if not all of the coin vendors out there. When I recently asked our vendor, Cache Advance, to provide a project history of the CAM 2017 coin to present to the MGS Board of Directors, Chris was kind enough to send me a message offering his perspective on our production problems. His explanation gave me a clearer understanding of the situation when I read it, so with his permission I'm sharing it with all of you:
Christian Mackey wrote:
There were several problems that added to the project timeline that could not be foreseen. For me, these are the things that stand out in this unusual project...

The first was that the project had to be moved by a company that simply stopped communicating. I have conferred with Tsunrisebey Designs, GxProxy, JP Geodesigns and others who have all reported communication and timing issues with the BonJet factory. I can confirm that my own contact at BonJet is no longer working there, her assistant has also moved on and a 3rd person has now taken over management of my other projects at that company (all during this spring and summer). Tsunrisebey has been unsuccessful in 5 months of reaching out to the company to get any response from them as well. While I was not happy about the abrupt reassignment of the [CAM 2017] project to a new mint, I do understand why it was done and I have reassigned 3 other projects initially slated with BonJet since April.

The second is that once the project was moved the new production company did not follow their own blueprints and cut the die incorrectly which resulted in needing to recut dies and adding to the delay.

The third is the belief that ANY coin can be completed in "2-3 months max". This is simply not true in general and simply impossible for this coin for several reasons:
   1) 2-3 Months is currently the absolute MINIMUM required time for almost all coin production. I know this because I'm working on dozens of coins right this moment and the average turnaround time is currently 3-5 months. In the past 36 months I can name less than 5 where this occurred in under 12 weeks and the majority of those coins had production quality issues. BonJet in particular has actually set a "minimum 12 week turnaround" (and no physical samples provided within that minimum timeframe) on any design completed by AURA Design Group because of my tendency to create highly detailed coins.
   2) This coin is IHE style enamel which ALWAYS takes at least 10-12 days more production time than soft enamel. The grinding and polishing process is more labor intensive and also has a much higher ROE resulting in needing to produce more coins to make the minimum number needed to complete an order.
   3) This project includes glow enamels. I've been informed that glow enamels are "treated" for a period of 20-22 days on average AFTER they are enameled and ground/polished so with IHE we're talking on average the possibility of a month to a month and a half EXTRA time in addition to the minimum 3 months current average production turnaround. (I can not confirm the exact glow treatment time personally, but have heard it from 2 different sources now and am asking mints directly at the moment).

While I do recognize there have been numerous problems in the general production of this coin, I believe there is an absolute limit to what any coin producer can be held accountable for. Those items being orderliness, timeliness and most importantly communication. I have saved every email on this project from it's inception and can not recall anywhere Cache Advance failed to respond in a timely manner to the best of their availability. For that reason and the level of quality returned I will continue to use this producer for current and future projects. This is a highly unusual situation that I have only encountered a very few number of times in the past decade. The worst of those was 26 months from start to completion. While that is an extreme, it should be noted that I work with many producers in multiple countries on a weekly basis, and currently Cache Advance is among the quickest to return correctly produced goods and the very best at communication. I'm not taking sides or being compensated for my 2 cents, but I do believe credit is due where it is due.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:39 pm 
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COINS IN TRANSIT!
 
As of yesterday (Wednesday) the coins were in transit from China to Cache Advance in Washington state. I just received an email tonight (Thursday) saying that 66 pounds of metal are headed my way. UPS tracking indicates they should arrive Dec 7th (next Thursday). I'll keep you posted.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:00 am 
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:dance: THEY'VE ARRIVED!!! :dance:
 
We have our monthly officers' meeting tomorrow during which we'll discuss options for distributing coins at events. For those who already paid for shipping, I will start packaging them tomorrow and get them in the post posthaste. Watch this space for more information.

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:06 pm 
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CAM COIN DISTRIBUTION
 
Now that the CAM 2017 geocoins have finally arrived, it's time to find the best way to distribute them. A new CAM 2017 Geocoin Distribution topic has been created for that purpose. All further announcements regarding the CAM 2017 geocoin will be posted in this new topic.


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