We Tried Feet
They’re plastic. They’re inexpensive. They’re light. They’re 92% useless.
So Instead, We Used Expensive Rocks
The Tiki needed more weight on the bottom to prevent from tipping over. That weight needed to look good and not affect the system’s footprint in a significant way. So, I approached the company that made the granite countertops for my kitchen with the idea for a Tiki base. See this ginormous machine? It cuts huge granite countertops with diamond-tipped bits. It’s made in Italy and costs $500 000. See that tiny rectangle of black stone at the man’s foot? That’s a Tiki base prototype. If I didn’t already know the nice family that runs this outfit and work with them in the past, they probably would’ve thrown me out on my butt after prototype change number three. Now we’re in production and cutting 100 Tiki bases from each eight-foot master slab of granite. But, for several months of making and re-making prototypes, this machine operator gave me dirty looks for setting up such a large piece of hardware for dinky 13” parts.
Now It Needs Edging And Polishing…
We used another few hundred thousand dollars’ worth of computerized machinery for edging and polishing. That water raining down off the machines is coolant, as cutting rocks with diamond bits causes a bit of friction.
A Beautiful Result
The granite base took months of tweaking to get right, and even now we’re still tweaking it. Just this week we figured out a way to attach the base without visible screws. Previously, that was only possible if we were willing to break one diamond drill bit per base cut. Generally, cost is our last concern. But that machine operator would’ve slashed my tires if he had to change all of those bits.
Most system-builder CEOs are probably much busier running their shops than designing cases and testing fans, but that’s why I like keeping Falcon Northwest a boutique. I’m an enthusiast at heart, and Tiki is our first product that literally could not be built by anyone but an enthusiast. If the wiring isn’t bound perfectly, Tiki doesn’t fit together. It’s only quiet if you use exactly the right fans. It doesn’t even work in a CAD model. But I built the system I wanted on my own desk. I firmly believe that, with the recent advancements in power efficiency and miniaturization, micro-towers will become the new mid-tower in a few years. I hope Tiki becomes a showcase of what can be done in this form factor.
My sincere thanks to Tom’s Hardware for allowing me to share Tiki’s backstory with you!