This is a long post (best to go and grab a coffee …or a beer).
In this update I’m going to show you some prototypes I’ve been working on …as well as talk a little about business and what’s been going on this last six months or so (and why you’ve not really been hearing from me!).
So, first up…
A Blatant “Sales Pitch”
As you may know – I like to “pitch” stuff to you. I make no apologies for it. And, more often than not, I like to do it relatively shamelessly (but only because I believe in what I’m pitching 100%).
So before we start getting elbow-deep in prototypes and such …I’m going to highlight a Kickstarter project for you to check out. It’s my machinist’s latest titanium offering.
It launched a few days ago and is already massively overfunded (I knew it was going to do well – but it’s doing even better than I thought).
Here’s the kicker though…
Don’t tell anyone, but, because I’m registered with Kickstarter as a “Collaborator” on his project (i.e. I can make changes to the project page and such) I can see the behind-the-scenes dashboard. And the dashboard is telling me that a very high percentage of people pledging for his new, Fine Titanium Grater also backed his original grater project.
In other words, Backers were so blown-away by the original titanium cheese grater …they are absolutely jumping on board this new “fine” grating version.
Here’s what this new titanium grater looks like:
To check it out click here: http://kck.st/2JUrJOR
Again, full disclosure, I’m part of the manufacturing of this project. I will be doing the initial water-jet cutting as well as the final tumbling and surface finishing.
Okay, next up…
A Titanium Letter Opener (prototype)
I’m going to reveal to you an incredibly crude prototype titanium letter opener.
Before I show you the photos – I’d like to reiterate that this letter opener is the result of me learning how to use my cnc-milling machine. All my products are designed by me …but I work with my machinist to bring them to life. This titanium letter opener prototype is entirely me though this time.
Here’s a couple of photos of it fresh off the cnc machine:
Out of interest… those six holes are how I hold the initial piece of titanium down.
Once the machining was done I then snapped-off the six fixing points and then hand-ground around the edges. Once this was done I then tumbled and the result was this:
Don’t look too closely at it because you’re going to see the various machining “issues”.
The main thing I was aiming for was to make sure it functions 100% (if you know me by now then you know I prioritise functionality above everything else …and only then start ensuring the aesthetics of the design is going to work).
Long story short, the design worked very well (although, truthfully, it could do with a little bit more of an edge).
Right now I’m waiting for more tools for the milling machine to arrive so I can continue with improving the machining of it – hopefully it will be ready in a few weeks.
Let’s talk business…
“Magnus, What The Hell Happened To You The Last Six Months?”
In the past I’ve usually been fairly frequent in my emails and blog posts to you (as well as updates to Kickstarter projects).
But, over the last six months (actually, it’s probably a lot longer than that), I all but disappeared.
Truthfully, it wasn’t intentional… it just sort happened. From what I can tell (doing a post-mortem of sorts) I think I just got a little overwhelmed by business and the projects I had taken on.
At one point I had five (yes, FIVE!) projects I had to fulfill and deliver to customers (this was a combination of three kickstarter projects, one website pre-order and a product for my machinist’s Kickstarter project). Totalling literally thousands of individual products to be tumbled, assembled and shipped.
The workload peaked late last year just before Nathan — my first full-time employee — came on board …and only now (this week) are we getting the last of those projects out the door.
Here’s the thing…
I don’t think it’s coincidence that, for the first time in months, we’ve finally caught up with the projects …and I’m also sitting here writing this long, detailed blog post about everything that’s currently going on (and really enjoying it too! :-P).
I can confirm there has been a LOT of stress and such (but not as much as you’d think perhaps). The real “killer” is that this is a manufacturing business with monthly expenses and having such a massive backlog of projects to fulfill stopped us producing any new projects …and the knock-on effect of that was no money coming into the business. Now that gets a little stressful for sure.
I might do a more in-depth post or video on this another day (if you’re interested of course) …but, for now, let’s just say I was a little “overwhelmed” for the last few months …but things are back on track now. Happy days. 😀
Now, coming soon…
A New Kickstarter Project
Yes, it’s been some time since I launched a Kickstarter project – but the next one is not too far away.
The project is for a titanium carabiner. What makes this carabiner unique is, as you will see, the gate mechanism (some people may call this the “spring” or “lever”).
This design is one I initially prototyped a couple of years ago …but let myself get side-tracked by various other projects. In hindsight this is a good thing because the quality standards of what I produce has gone up since then (as well as my design skills to a degree). The result is something I’m fairly exciting to share with you if I’m honest.
Here’s a couple of photos:
There have been a bunch of very good titanium carabiners on Kickstarter over the last few years (I’ve backed most of them I think). And out of those there have been some very minimalist ones …with great aesthetics. However, of the ones I pledged for and received, almost all of these had a crazy amount of “side play” on the gate.
So while these carabiners looked like they would function well in a photo …the gate turned out not just to go forwards a backward …but also side-to-side …which is crazy because it compromises the entire functionality of the carabiner.
Long story short:
This new gate mechanism I’ve designed has no side-play whatsoever (oh and it’s buttery smooth too!).
Okay, enough of a “pitch” on that carabiner – I’ll let you know when it’s launched.
More In-House CNC Machining
Earlier this year I designed and made my first product where I did the cnc-machining myself (this was the Tank Bottle Opener).
I’m bang in the middle of the production run of my second in-house cnc-project …the “Bruiser” Titanium Pry-bar.
Truth be told I’m actually taking a little bit of a hands-off approach to this one and having my employee Nathan tackle the production of this. He’s never done CNC before (but he does have experience with designing on CAD software …so, for Nathan, it’s now about learning to physically machine products).
Yes, I know, I barely know cnc-machining myself …yet here I am “teaching” someone else to do it. I only know a little more than Nathan ….and, hopefully, he’ll blaze past me in terms of knowledge and ability in the coming weeks and months (so I can focus more on designing and writing blogs posts like this! :-D).
Here’s the CAD progress we made today:
The red block above is the “fixture” that the prybar blanks will be fixed to for machining. As you can see we have simulated the prybars on there.
We made more progress than we thought we would get done today and managed to get some machining of the actual prybars done – here is a shot of the raw water-jet cut blanks:
And here are a couple of shots after the first machining operation (part of the outside has been machined as well as the keyring hole):
We’re hoping to have a lot of these Bruiser titanium prybars fully cnc-machined by the end of the week and shipped next week (they are on pre-order on the website and you can still get them here right now).
I think that’s all I have for you today.
Any comments or such? Then fire away below…
(Note: Recently the blog comments were not working – but you should be able to post fine now!)