Montie Design Participates in Defense Business Event

(Morrisville, N.C.) Montie Design, an innovative concept-to-marketplace product design and development firm, recently participated in the North Carolina Defense Business Association (NCDBA) Breakfast with a Prime event August 25th as one of the presenting companies. Held at the Research Triangle Park Archie K. Davis Conference Center, Breakfast with a Prime featured a main presentation by renowned government contracting group IEM and was well-attended by representatives of private businesses, local government and universities. (more…)

Slingshots Coming – Sound Fun?

Rob and Nick are putting the finishing touches on the new Montie Gear Slingshots. These slingshots were the winning entries of Nick Pennington in the 2011 Montie Gear Student Design Contest. Nick worked with us all summer to commercialize his entry, resulting in 4 different slingshot models.

Cutting the Y-shaped Slingshot Body the Water Jet at ADR Hydrocut
Cutting the Y-shaped Slingshot Body on the Water Jet at ADR Hydrocut
Nick and Al Ely (ADR Hydrocut) Looking at the Slingshot Body
Nick and Al Ely (ADR Hydrocut) Looking at the Slingshot Body
Y-shaped Slingshot Body Just Off the Water Jet at ADR Hydrocut
Y-shaped Slingshot Body Just Off the Water Jet at ADR Hydrocut
Rob (Montie Design Machinist) Prototyping a Montie Gear Slingshot
Test Fitting the Collapsible Montie Gear Slingshot Parts

Getting Feedback from Customers

The landscape of the average person is a very connected one.  As consumers, we are constantly bombarded with requests for our time and attention.  Surveys and focus groups only capture a sliver of the wealth of ideas and opinion that your customers already have.  Customers have amazingly valuable opinions and ideas for improving your product and customer service.  Maybe customer A has an idea for your next ground breaking, earth shattering product.  The dilemma is how do you engage your customers in a cost-effective manner.

Napkin Labs has risen to the challenge.  They are offering a service that provides a collaborative framework for customer engagement.  It even rewards participants using a point system.  Why not give your customers the opportunity to become super customers in the eyes of their fellow customers.  I like the idea.  Here are a couple of videos that describe the Napkin Labs approach.

Introduction to the Napkin Labs Way

 

Tour of the Napkin Labs User Interface and Overview of the Workflow

More Troublesome Gap Goodness

Last weekend, we packed up again to Troublesome Gap to do more product testing.  This time we were testing a bracket system for a company called Ronin Metal Masters.  They have a really cool technology that allows you to ship a sheet metal part flat and bend it by hand when you need it.  They have turned this into a product line called BendAShed.  This is a big advance in metal folding technology in an industry where large press brakes are normally needed, because you can now do it by hand.  Al Ely of ADR Hydrocut in Morrisville, used their waterjet to cut out the stainless steel brackets that we use.

Al Ely (ADR Hydrocut) and Mike Binion (Ronin Metal Masters) Installing the Hand Folded Bracket
Al Ely (ADR Hydrocut) and Mike Binion (Ronin Metal Masters) Installing the Hand Folded Bracket

After some hardwork and a bunch of those really cool brackets we ended up with a picnic shelter.   The purpose of the picnic shelter is to use the challenging weather conditions at Troublesome Gap to test just how robust the Ronin Metal Masters design really is.

Completed Shelter at Troublesome Gap
Completed Shelter at Troublesome Gap

We also had the opportunity to test an assault rifle accessory that we are working on.  Seems like we also consume a lot of ammo on trips to Troublesome Gap.

 

Looking for How People Misuse Your Product

Some of the best product enhancements come from how users put make use of your products in creative ways.  This picture is a good example.

 

Montie Gear Tree Hook Strap Used Creatively to Keep a Diet Pepsi Bottle Out of the Dirt
Montie Gear Tree Hook Strap Used Creatively to Keep a Diet Pepsi Bottle Out of the Dirt

I also noticed how the cutting board grip (handle) didn’t fit into the Montie Gear Camp Rack slot, so a short length of 550 cord fixed that problem.  Similar situation for the black plastic ladel.  Future products and products enhancement goodness in this picture for sure.  By the third evening, Al had decided that the loft in the structure would be a great place to sleep, so after using enough clamps he gave it a try.  Thankfully he remembered that the first step off the cot is a big one.  I think that Mike was already rethinking some of his structure design when he saw Al’s creative use.

Al Ely Putting the Structure Above the Picnic Table to a Creative Use

I will admit it was hard to come back to Raleigh after 4 wonderful days on Troublesome Gap.  Here are some pictures of why it is so hard to come back.

1860s Cabin Near Troublesome Gap
1860s Cabin Near Troublesome Gap

 

View from hill above Troublesome Gap
View from hill above Troublesome Gap

 

Our Swedish Intern enjoying the benefits of the Second Amendment
Our Swedish Intern enjoying the benefits of the Second Amendment. Something he doesn't get to do in Sweden!

 

We had a steady stream of visitors. Great folks pass through Troublesome Gap!
We had a steady stream of visitors. Great folks pass through Troublesome Gap!

Now the only question is “Are you Troublesome Gap Tough?”  Come with us next time and find out!