So this is not additive manufacturing per se, although it was used to prototype the device early on by the developers.

In 2018 I backed a project on Kickstarter for a metal detector that showed a lot of promise – Air Metal Detector – which used a smartphone app to run the system through a Bluetooth connection. The basic idea was to reduce the cost to just the active components in the coil and support structure while providing the option for more sophistication with the application. OTA updates of application and embedded coil software would permit fixes and improvements. Along with this was the potential to reduce weight but the final weight of course depends on the choice of phone. Promised delivery was for November 2019.

Air Metal Detector (from Kickstarter page:
Air MD application as shown on Kickstarter project page

Fast forward to June 2021 – just as I was going on our first out-of-town vacation to a New Jersey beach resort, I got an email from FedEx stating that a package was being delivered the following day that required a direct signature. Thankfully FedEx now has package hold options at DollarGeneral stores, so I picked the one that was going to be on my return trip path home! But the sender listed made no sense to me and I had no direct notice that this was going to be the long awaited Air MD unit, though some weeks earlier I got a request to confirm my shipping address from the project.

In going back to the Kickstarter project page I soon realized I was in a very unique position at least for now – apparently I’m one of 3 or 4 to receive this out of 299 or so folks who pledged for it. Thus this hasty post (with more details to come) to prove I’m not making this up!

As received package.
The detector with phone mount installed and fully collapsed shafts.
OLED screen after power up and charging port.

It did connect to the app on my iPhone and a quick test with a 25c piece worked as expected, but this is just a quick “all systems go” outcome. I’ll be working on more extensive tests and collecting some user experiences to share in the next day or so. If you have questions you’d like answered in all that, leave it in the comments. Two quick things from me already – the charging port is magnetic like Apple products and is unprotected from the elements. And there is no changing out an eventually defective battery – the head is sealed to IP65 standards they say, and I see no way to service anything inside.

Stay tuned for updates! I plan on comparing this to a Nokta Makro Simplex, which is my current favorite detector.

A bit of an update – I was waiting for the Android app to become available as it was not on the Play store or downloadable through their web site. But I continued to check. It did get out recently. I had some connectivity problems with Bluetooth – it would try to connect then shortly lose the connection with a cryptic error message. This did not happen on my iOS device – an iPhone 5. I am inclined to use the Android option because of a much bigger screen. My first test was on an LG G3 Stylus. However, after trying it on another Android phone I got the same response. The app installed on both Android platforms without any error or warning messages.

Weather here in the last 2 weeks has been lousy and wet, and whenever I’ve had an opening for a test I’ve been discouraged by all that. But I’ve turned on comments for this post, so please suggest things for me to try. I was out to a very rural wooded site using the Nokta Simplex to find old iron pins for a property survey – not exactly treasure hunting, but still valuable to the owner. I found all of them in quick succession, except for one that by rough measurement was under a large snowplow blade! Too much iron for sure.

And one more impression – I had occasion to try some comparisons with my Nokta unit at the end of the summer, in between rain and other chores needed when it wasn’t! If I had to choose one or the other I’d pick the Nokta. Both were pretty reliable in the simple stuff like coins thrown into my yard tests but I found the Air MD unit a bit “fussier.” While I want to do some “calibrated” tests at depth, time for that has eluded me so far. I have not found any of the major commercial vendors of metal detectors selling or reviewing it as of November 2021, but I’ll add any I find here. Plus, sooner or later I’ll probably find a more specific use for testing – or if you are reading this, please suggest one!