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Local Manufacturing Makes Local Paper

The contractors doing our circuit board manufacturing recently made their local paper with a feature on how they work from home to make BlueTipz. Since it’s a small paper with limited distribution, we’ve scanned it and reposted the article. The text is reproduced below, too:


Fisk, Powers producing BlueTipz parts locally

Sauk Prairie Star, Thursday January 30, 2014, by Michael Cargnan

Two of the Sauk Prairie area’s bright young entrepreneurs have teamed up to use their Knowledge of computers to help produce the main circuit boards for a new product of interest to ice fishermen called BlueTipz.

Zach Powers and Austin Fisk were attending a monthly Sector67 meeting not so long ago and while there they met Bob Baddeley from Madison, Wisconsin. Sector67 is a collaborative space in Madison where people can go to learn about, teach, work on, build and create next generation technology Powers and Fisk saw Baddeley’s product BlueTipz and were curious about how it worked.

The next thing they knew, Baddeley, who came up with the product’s design and developed it, asked them if they wanted a job. They accepted.

BlueTipz is a wireless tip-up for ice fishing that sends an alert when a fish bites to the fisherman’s iOS or Android device, like an iPhone or iPad, Samsung Galaxy or LG Nexus, letting them know of the strike and thereby eliminating the need to continually keep an eye on their tip-ups from inside the ice shanty or out on the ice.

The idea is to catch more fish.

The device clips on to conventional tip-ups. When there is a strike it lights up and sends a signal to a device up to 600 feet away. It’s especially useful for night fishing.

Powers and Fisk have contracted with Baddeley to assemble the circuit boards that makes the units work. Baddeley supplies the parts.

Their process begins with a blank board with a total of eight circuits on it. A stencil is placed on the board to line up components. The worker then solders the face and puts the board in a reflow oven, where it is heated to 250 degrees.

Once the circuit boards cool down to 100 degrees, Powers and Fisk remove them and break them into eight pieces. After programming and testing, the boards are ready for final assembly, which is done by Baddeley.

“We use lead-free solder, which is both safer to work with and better for the environment should the device be dropped into the water,” said Powers.

Fisk and Powers have been assembling the boards for three months now and have produced over 3,000 of them. “We made 1,700 in just the last month,” said Powers. “Not only are the parts produced locally they are completely made and assembled in the U.S.”

BlueTipz sell for $39.95 and are available in 19 states at Sheel’s, Dick’s, Mills Fleet Farm, Reed’s, Joe’s, as well as at the Sauk City Ace Hardware and at Sauk Prairie Bait & Tackle. They may also be purchased on the business’ website

“We’re making jobs right here,” said Powers. “It’s neat to see they are made here, sent off to be packaged and then come back here to be sold.”

Fisk and Powers are looking for other products they can contract out their services to produce. Meanwhile Fisk has been attending UW-Baraboo/Sauk County studying computer engineering since last summer and Powers has begun taking a few classes there as well beginning this winter.