Orbis-Spokeless Wheel

prototyping

Spokless wheel Prototype

 

Happy New Year! As some may already know, I have been heavily involved for the last few years in what is now called ORBIS. We originally set out to solve a problem with poor electric bike hub motors but this has evolved into an incredible technology that I believe will change the world of powered, wheeled vehicles. I really cant share too much information as we are Patent Pending.  I am willing to say that in 2016, we plan on our first product launch with out technology. I will keep you posted.

The past year has been challenging and extremely fun creating prototypes of a motor bike, wheelchair and more to come. This photo is Levi, my 12 year old son trying the PiMoto out. Stop by the shop sometime to see what we are working on, perhaps you have an idea I can help bring to life!

Call or email any time for a free consultation.

scott@trueformdesign.com

888-405-4445

There’s always a better way….probably 10.

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Build a better mouse trap…world beats a path. etc, etc… I hope its true. One thing I know is true…there is always a better way…. I have come to make this my mantra when developing, inventing, problem solving. Every time I use this powerful little tool, It works for me. In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries describes the concept of the 5 whys. I believe it was originally from the Toyota Manufacturing playbook. As I understand, to plat this game, at least 5 why? must be asked, or until it is completely clear what the  original issue is, only then can a problem be solved. Otherwise, only symptoms are managed. In the following scenario Eric writes, a fuse was replaced several times before the 5 Whys were employed.

5 whys

 

I have found this so helpful. Not only in machine repair, but in the creative process. Where the 5 Whys dig into a problem to reveal a clear solution, I believe The 10 Ways can build up a platform of ideas one can employ to create, not only solve a problem. I have used this many times. I think it started when I was in a group of fabricators trying to solve a serious “painted yourself into a corner” problem. Ok, here is the scenario; We had built a huge Plastic pellet mixing, drying unit. Seriously big. It consisted of a Jacketed body roughly 100″ in diameter and 25 feet long. Inside the body, rotated a huge Rotor. The rotor consisted of a special custom “pipe” with 96″ diameter Stainless Steel discs welded so that about 50 of these discs set 4″ apart rotate. There are Stainless Steel arms that bolt to the side of the body and scrape the plastic material off the discs as they rotate.

Drying-top

 

Above is a picture of a 36″ unit, unpolished. Now, the rotor was too heavy to ship in the body but the client insisted the mixing arms needed to be installed so they would not be scratched during shipment over seas. The problem was that the particular unit we built was completely polished inside and was an end load unit, meaning there was no top to remove for access. The rotor had to be installed through the one open end. But all we had to do was install the mixing arms in the 25′ long body. No problem right? Standing there with the other journeyman guys as an apprentice, I was interested to see what the procedure would be to get all these arms installed. The mounts were at lease 10′ high and unfortunately, the bottom of the body was a trough, no flat surface, and polished to a shine. All attempts were embarrassing to those who tried to lift one of these 60-70 pound arms up to the mounting screws. I remember one guy there just threw up his arms and said,”it just cant be done….”. I guess they had no procedure for this type of problem.  Being the young apprentice, and a class A smart allic, I quipped,” oh, there are at least ten ways to get this done…”. The remark was met with lots of laughter obviously. But, as an exercise, I started listing them.

OK guys, we can;

•place cardboard down on the bottom and just walk to the back and lift them up to the mounting studs-oops, too heavy

•ok, we use two guys to help lift them up- oh no, once we got the part up and started for the wall,the cardboard just slid out from under us and we would drop everything while sliding back to the center of the body trough.

•Hey, we can cut a 2×12 just the right length so we can step out on it, that way we don’t have to raise the arms up so high and we can have a flat surface to walk on.- the board holds until it doesn’t, throwing me and the arm straight back to the floor.

•Ok, this time we will counter weight the two guys with a 2×4 from the platform to the top of the unit.- unfortunately, the top was rounded too so there was nothing for the 2x to bump ageist.

• what if we rig up a counterbalance on a spreader bar hanging from the crane and ten using the crane, side it in? - close but still no way to control it enough to line up the 4 studs and get nuts on them. but… this lead me to another idea.

•ok, I got it now, we load up the Snorkel man lift basket with the tools and an arm. then, using the telescoping arm, travel into the unit without touching the bottom or sides.

 

Using this technique, we quickly loaded all the arms, safely and with out scratching up the fine surface (anymore). Maybe it wasn’t a full 10 ways, but using this method got the job done in a way none of the “journeymen” guys had ever thought of.

I continue to use this to open my mind up. Every time someone tells me that there is only one way to get a job done, I love proving them wrong. There is always a better way, in fact probably 10 ways. What ever issue or problem you are working through, I bet if you stop and think of 10 ways to solve it, you will find one that works better than the one you are using now.

 

BRING YOUR IDEA, I’LL MAKE IT HAPPEN

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Fixture Plate for Laser Engraver

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complete Fixture Plate

 

Custom Fixture Plate

I love working on custom parts. One of my affiliates that does my laser etching came to me with an idea for a fixture plate to add to his Laser machine. This will enhance the table size by about 200% as well as ensuring great accuracy and speed up set ups. By using precision pins in reamed holes, we can create walls and stops for parts to “lock” into. This will save a lot of time when repeat parts are changes in and out of the machine for engraving.

This is typically how these types of jobs come about; someone has an idea that will make their lives or job better. The problem is, there is a gap between the idea and the execution of that idea. This is the gap I live and work in. I may not be the only one that can bridge this “gap” but I can promise you this; I am your best choice. Here is why;

○ with my background in the bicycle industry I have a constant eye on form ( ascetics), function and fit.

○ my food and chemical industrial equipment background at BEPEX, where I earned a journeyman card in metal fabrication taught me the systematic procedures for construction, finish, efficiency in manufacturing and industrial design.

○ managing Bulldog Machine Inc, where I received a machinist journeyman card after a 4 year apprenticeship, I learned project management, sourcing, networking, customer service, large part machining, cutting edge manufacturing practices among many other skills that add value to my clients now.

○ Now that my own shop is up and running, I can provide immediate help with design and rapid prototyping.

○ I care.

What could utilizing all my resources allow you to create?

Kickstarter sneek peek

 

 

 

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RIM RING , the bike rim bottle opener/keychain

 

 

Ava, my second daughter and I spent one afternoon to come up with a kickstarter campaign for a little product I have been prototyping for months. Literally this took a few hours one evening and a few hours yesterday. I am going with the MVP approach to product development here. Please check out this test page and offer any suggestions to the campaign before we go live. Please click on the link to view and comment.  Thanks so much!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/110500571/1231712285?token=2219f09c

Portable Sales Display

stainless pipe display

custom display

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My old friend, Jim Passey is a sales rep for Krausz USA, a pipe coupling company. Jim needed a mobile way to display some of the products Krausz sells. This way he can take a “mobile showroom” to the people that need to see them. Jim had a basic idea of what he wanted. We met to brainstorm some ideas of a display that would slide into his truck but be able to be removed easily. Jim decided on a handful of products to showcase, we measured them up and designed a way to hold them at eye level for display. The frame is made of stainless steel with a light grain polish. This finish will last forever and if scratches do occur, a quick sand will hide them. The beautiful stainless looks great against the bright blue of the products too. The last element is the Krausz Logo sign.

Custom designed displays like this can be extremely valuable for all types of products. I would love to work with you on your next display!

ENEMY : Perfection

Katie Upton #2While reading John Maxwells 15 invaluable laws of growth, several concepts have piqued my interest and I intend on posting on these topics. The next one that I will be exploring is the perfection Gap. This is the 5 th reason Maxwell gives for people not growing. They may want to start but just can’t seem to get over several humps. This is one that I have struggled with. I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist but the Perfection Gap has certainly affected my growth process. Remember, I’m just a lowly machinist/ welder. What do I know? There are so many above me, what could I offer the world? All these questions have pledged me. It reminds me of a story an art teacher I had in College told me.
I was taking a drawing class at the Santa Barbara City College in the mid 90′s. Katie Upton is her name. Katieupton.com is her site, check her out. She is well known for huge, larger than life drawings and paintings of horses. She told us once about a time early in her career when she purchased a large sheet of paper. It was quite expensive. She went into great detail describing the beauty of the raw paper. It was very special, and probably difficult to acquire. Her tools were laid out ready for her to begin. She walked around the paper looking at it from all angles. She just couldn’t start. The fear of making a mistake and ruining this large investment was too much to bear. After a long time struggling with this invisible foe, she accidentally spilled her coffee all over the sheet! It was ruined. Or so she thought. Stunned, Katie just looked at the mess. Black coffee splattered over a pristine and enormous sheet of expensive paper. It was then that the perfection lost hold of her, and she begun.
 
I love this story for so many reasons. It depicts one of the artists most deceptive enemies, resistance. She overcame it. And another enemy, her perfectionism. She was so terrified of hurting this beautiful slate, her perfectionism held her captive. What an empowering thought, that when we get stuck, perhaps all we need is to make a mess so we can begin to clean it up. Much like the saying that you can only steer a moving ship. In my business, metal work, I have adopted the saying that “we can fix anything”. Meaning, lets just make some progress, move forward and from there, we can clean up any messes. 
 
When I purchased my mill for my new shop, Levi, my son and I trailered it all the way from Santa Clara. Once we got it to the shop, it had to be unloaded so we could return the rental trailer. We pulled up to the shop, rolled up the door, empty slate. Wide open shop space. Nothing was in the shop yet. I could unload the machine anywhere though I understood that where you place the heavy equipment dictates the flow of ,the shop. It’s a big decision. It’s not just where I install the machine, this decision I may regret for years, not to mention all the voices I heard of future employees asking why I the world would someone put the mill in this location….  Needless to say, the mill sat on the trailer for a while. I walked around, looked at the different views of the shop. Levi moaned ,”are we going home soon?”. THATS IT”, I said. We unloaded the mill, put it in the location it is now and went home. My new shop had begun.
 
As I lean into leadership training and personal growth, I am so thankful for knowing this concept. Just do it. Push through the resistance. It won’t be perfect but remember, you can’t steer a motionless ship. Go ahead and break it, spill coffee on it, you can fix anything.
 
 
What are you afraid of ruining or failing at? What if you just did it?

CUSTOM HEX DOOR HANDLES

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CUSTOM DOOR HANDELS

Custom door handles look great on the front of your business! Let me incorporate your Logo or a shape that complements your company Identity right into your door handles. That way, the first thing that your customers touch is already customized to them. This type of impressions go far in retail and restaurant settings. Any commercial door can be made into a custom door simply by dropping me a line. Wood, powder-coated steel, Aluminum, Stainless Steel can all be used to achieve the desired look, feel and colors that set your business apart from the rest.

Here are the steps I take to ensure you receive the right custom job;
○ I collect logo, design constraints, door info and usage info

○My designer imports the concept design into a CAD program for the client to OK and manufacturing to create programs for.

○We work with our clients to tweak and refine the design until everyone is happy. < After all the design work and planning is complete, an estimate of cost and lead-time is provided and after a deposit is received, production starts!

○Then we ship! The whole process can take hours until production. Installation can be discussed as well.

 

 

I hope I can help you soon!

Waterjet cutting….FAQs’

waterjet parts

Most frequently asked questions for waterjet cutting.

Water jet cutting is the most effective way to cut shapes in metal for the majority of jobs. I guess I’m bias as a water jet cutting provider. Though the water jet cutting machine industry is becoming ever refined, the acceptance of water jet cutting is still growing. We have new customers all the time. They usually have a bundle of questions. Here are just the first five questions we usually get when a customer starts cutting with us.

1). How does water cut metal?

The water is really just the vehicle for the cutting media. Abrasive garnet is mixed with the high pressure water to make the cut.

2). How many pounds of pressure will the machine generate?

The early water jet machines would pump at 30,000 psi. The most common is 60,000 psi but 90K and 120k models are coming out now.

3). How thick can you cut?

The great thing about water jet cutting is that you can cut any thickness. However, the thicker you cut, the slower the machine travels. While it may take one minute to cut a part out in 1/4″ steel, it may take an hour to cut the same part in 3″ steel. For each part, there is a thickness that hits diminishing returns. Often times parts thicker than 1.5″ can be flame cut and machined for the same cost as water jetting.

4). What materials can you cut?

About any material can be cut with water jet cutting. The harder the material is, the better, as long as it’s not brittle. Plastics can do well but if the material is laminated, I don not recommend waterjet cutting. The stream of water will break through the first layer but then while entering the second, the blast will rip the layers apart, delaminating the material. It will end up looking like bad plywood left out in the rain for a year. Sometimes, a trick to eliminate this is to add a long “lead-in”. The lead-in is the cut between the initial pierce of the waterjet and the start of the actual cutting of the feature. A lead-in is used to eliminate any distortion from the pierce and enhance the tolerance of the cut feature. The lead-in is always left in the scrap drop, or the parent plate, not in the part.
Any metal, stone or solid plastic arterial is a fine candidate for waterjet cutting.

5). How fast will the machine travel?
This is a function of three things; the material being cut, the thickness of that material and the quality of kerf quality desired.
The less dense the material, the faster the travel speed is. Aluminum is about 2-3 times faster cutting than steel. Stainless is about 5%-10% slower than steel in the same thickness. If the part will be machined to size and final shape later, then a faster cutting speed can be used, reducing cost. Many times the final part finish remains the waterjet cut shape, so a slower travel speed is used to enhance the cut surface.

I will update with the next set of FAQs’ regarding waterjet cutting soon. I hope this is helpful and I really hope I can bring waterjet cutting into your workflow. Contact me any time for more info or a quote.

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Custom adjustable speaker mounts.

Audio speaker mounts

Custom Speaker Mount

 

 

 

I have been attending Hoe Chapel for about 18 years. That entire time I have been looking at the homemade brackets holding up the Church speakers. Whoever made them had a challenge. Our church meets in an old renovated yellow barn. The walls in this building are far from plumb. Picture the shape of a pentagon, that’s the basic section view of our building. The walls in the sanctuary are around 60 degrees. Roughly  30 degrees out of square from the floor. This actually works out well for the acoustics in the building but wreaks havoc on wall mount speakers. When Chad, the music leader secured new speakers to replace the old blown set we used, new mounts were needed. Chad gave me a few constraints for mount design; first, the speakers were already purchased so I could just measure them up. The new speakers are much taller and heavier. Chad also wanted to be able to adjust the direction of the speakers, left to right. This is not too much of a challenge as the new speakers have female sockets on the top and bottom for mounting but still allowing rotation. The tough one is that Chad wanted them to tilt as well. The old mounts did not have this option but when it was time to install them, whoever did the work, just mounted them at an angle. This worked but in all my years, it really bugged me. Obviously they were not designed to tilt so they just screwed them to the angled wall crooked so that it always looked like the speakers were about to roll right off the mounts. I was so happy when Chad asked me to help him with the new system. I could finally wright this engineering wrong. Of course another constraint is that the speakers needed to be removable, easily. The last challenge was of course the odd angle of the wall that the mounts hang from.

A great friend and contractor, Andy, volunteered to help measure and install the finished product. Once Andy and I measured the speakers and deciphered the angle of the wall, we also verified the location of the studs. These new speakers weigh a ton so we needed to be sure that the new mounts would secure into solid framing. At this point, it was time to make some sketches of a design that would encompass all the given constraints while still remaining under $100,000.

The finished product employs everything that Chad hoped for as well as the Hope Chapel logo subtlety cut into the bracing of the mount. One hand screw secured the speakers in place while a rubberized finish keeps the speakers from rotating or vibrating. Another hand screw tightens agents the bracket to allow for tilt adjustment. I am completely satisfied how they came out. One of the best complements I received is that someone didn’t even notice them holding the new speakers. They tend to blend into the background. This is the type of custom job that Trueform excels at. Give us as many constraints as necessary, a budget and any other pertinent information and my team will knock it out of the park.

 

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TRAILER VENT GUARDS

Stainless Steel trailer vent guard.

Stainless Steel trailer vent guard.

TRAILER VENT GUARDS

Little League is a large part of our family these days. Levi, my youngest plays at Westside Little League in Santa Rosa and has for several years. West side does a great job with the kids on the field. My daughters’ favorite part is the snack bar however. At the beginning of the 2014 season, as the snack bar was being stocked, it was broken into. Christine is the snack bar boss. When the last break in was through the top vents in the snack bar trailer, she decided we needed vent guards. Kids were ripping off the vents, lowering themselves into the trailer and opening the door for others. They would trash the place and take all the candy and food.  Christine figured that if I could make some type of vent cover, which would keep the little buggers out. I designed the covers to fit over the standard trailer vents to allow them to open but still be secure enough to keep visitors out. These guards will be perfect for protecting fragile vents from branches as well. ¼” bolts go through the roof so waterproofing is necessary at install. The bolts back to a secure ring inside so that the guard is very solid. Stainless steel or powder coated steel models will last forever. For the snack bar, I used 3/16” stainless steel plate cut on the waterjet machine. The plates fit together with notches to create one solid frame that is then welded to a base. This design can be altered to fit any size or shape. Perhaps I could build a security guard for an air conditioning unit, for example.   Please feel free to contact me for your custom set of guards or to come up with a design for your idea.