Illustration by Zara Picken
DIY

Mindtribe’s Most Challenging Teardown to Date (Hint: April Fools!)

The Teardown You’ve All Been Waiting For

We have a lot of fun tearing down innovative hardware here at the office. From the Apple AirPods to the Nike HyperAdapts, there is no challenge too great for us to tackle. With an influx of game-changing products hitting the market, we always have to be on our toes – ready to whip out the x-acto knives, tweezers, and multimeter, all at the drop of a hat.

This month, we’re hoping to gain more technical insight into cutting-edge engineering techniques. We chose three products to tear down that have transcended generations and challenged our long-held assumptions. The products are:

  • An award-winning 20-piece “My San Francisco Puzzle” (For ages 3-7 years)
  • A fresh, certified organic Avocado
  • A ceramic 12 oz coffee mug

The Jigsaw Puzzle

After opening the packaging, we noticed that the puzzle was dispersed into a variety of pieces. With great care, we quickly assembled the pieces to mirror the image on the box (starting with the border first). Fortunately, the chamfered edges connected somewhat easily. Their construction appears to be modular, with three distinct module shapes for the corners, sides, and interior pieces. However, astoundingly, each piece is actually unique in shape. This lack of standardization is surprising and must have really increased manufacturing costs!

Figure A

Next, we decided to get another perspective into the internals by deconstructing the puzzle. The pieces pried apart very easily, possibly pointing to an insufficient use of glue. It also looks like the main ground element is in the lower left-hand corner (see figure A), and all components appeared on the top layer of this single-sided board.

Figure C

After further examination, we weren’t able to identify the part number of the unnamed integrated ship in the lower right-hand corner (see figure C).

The join lines are very clear and we see generous fillets used to avoid stress concentrations. It appears that no effort was made to sand the edges down. They may have been lacking an ID team or, maybe, the join lines could be a feature? One can only guess.

Success! After further deconstruction, we were left with the same pile we started with. On the plus side, reassembly is straightforward and the product is easy to fix if a part breaks.

Avocado

Our next product, the certified organic avocado, was difficult to cut open at first because it kept rolling around. After gaining control, we were able to cut a clear parting line. The rough exterior surface texture and dark color appear to be masking any manufacturing marks.

After finally opening the avocado, we noticed serious material degradation within the time period of the teardown. There was significant color change to the filler materials and weakening of the overall bulk properties of the sample. These materials seem surprisingly unstable and may be a sign of supply chain sourcing difficulties on the part of the manufacturer.

There was also some sort of seed (or possibly a dinosaur egg?) potted in the squishy yellow-green material. We are curious how this was assembled: did someone have to inject the potting into the avocado through the small divot on top? There were serious efforts made at ingress protection. The dinosaur egg within had been ruggedized to withstand the elements.

Despite the rumors of a potential upgrade, this year’s Avocado appears to still only be running on a single core.

Coffee Mug

We are hoping to learn a lot from the final product: a ceramic coffee mug. The design is very orientation-specific and quite unforgiving. Use of the mug outside of its recommended parameters could result in unexpected dispersal of its payload. However, this seems pretty typical of competitor products, probably for cost savings. The ceramic construction is well suited for RF transparency and thermal regulation. Disassembly was also, surprisingly, very easy.

We examined what appeared to be the antenna, but after further examination we concluded it was an obsolete piece of material. For such a simple mug, we didn’t expect to have so many components!

The mug does not appear to be user upgradeable or serviceable, and unlike the puzzle, seems to be harder to put back together.

 

Happy April Fools’ Day!

 

We hope you enjoyed our teardown of these complex, highly-engineered products. Want us to tear something else down? Let us know by sending us a message.