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!

Montie Roland

Montie Roland is President of Montie Gear, a manufacturer of outdoor sporting equipment in Sanford, NC. Montie is also employed at Pentair in Sanford, NC as a Mechanical Engineer on the New Product Development team. Montie enjoys finding innovative solutions to customer requirements. He has 15 years of experience engineering products in diverse market spaces including industrial, commercial and military. Montie earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is also the President Emeritus of the Carolinas chapter of the Product Design Management Association (www.pdma.org/carolinas) and a founder of the RTP Product Development Guild (www.rtpproductguild.com).

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