Podcast: Romance of Manufacturing Your Own Products

There is a great satisfaction that comes from design and manufacturing your own products.  Seems like that we lost that romance (as a nation) for a while, so its good to see it coming back.  The Made Local movement is an important one for the long term success of the United States.  Lets explore this for a few minutes.

Romance of Manufacturing Your Own Products

Thanks for listening.

Let me know if we can help with any of your design projects.  Call me at 800-722-7987 or email montie@montie.com today to get started!

Cheers,
Montie

Audio Transcript

Hi. My name is Montie Roland. And I’m with Montie Design. I’m going to spend a few minutes with you today talking about a subject that comes up a good bit. And that is do I license? Or do I manufacture it myself.

And we’ve kind of talked about this in some different ways over the past few months, and I think that there’s this thing that we’ve kind of lost as a culture. And that is the craftsmanship, the makers. And I get the fact that someone looks at developing a product and getting a patent and licensing it out as a way of earning some income. That is completely valid. And I’m not running that down at all. As a matter of fact, that’s a very healthy thing for our economy. It’s a winner all the way around. And that’s kind of a little bit different than what I want to focus on.

I’m driving down Highway 49 in North Carolina between Raleigh and Charlotte. As I’m driving, I’m seeing these places where there are these small manufacturers. Very small; we’ll call them micro-manufacturers. One is I drove by an old building where the faded sign said “Len’s Saddlery”. And I’m guessing – now, I could be wrong here – but I’m guessing, since it says saddlery, he might have been a reseller, but he might have made them, too. And if he made them, that’s kind of neat. You know? Somebody that makes horse saddles. I’ve seen other places as I’ve gone by where there were these small businesses that had other, similar niche products, and some of these businesses never grow beyond a guy and his helper in a shed. At the same time, there’s a lot of situations like that where there’s one or two or three or four people where everybody in that shed does very well. They have a great product. It has a market. It sells. They’re very busy. We have a company down . . . well, maybe forty-five minutes or an hour from the office, that makes safes. And they can only make so many safes a month. And right now with all the political turmoil regarding firearms, they have more orders than they can fill. And they have these really high-quality, kick-butt safes. And so they have a safe where their competitor’s safe is maybe made of 16-gauge metal; and their safe is made of quarter-inch thick metal. So, in this case, we’re talking, you know, four times as thick. So, their safes are more expensive. But, they kind of have this following that’s interesting that the owner of the company told me that they’d actually have offers to buy their company. First question he asked is, Where you going to make ‘em? And the guy got real quiet. Said, We’re going to produce them wherever’s the most cost effective way, or something like that. Which basically means they may not be made in North Carolina anymore; may not be made in the U.S. I’ve heard other business owners who had the same comment. We talked to a guy the other day that the company said I want to license your patent and take over your product. And he said, Where are you going to make it? And they said, Wherever’s cheapest. And so that probably means it’s going to go to the Far East. And there’s nothing wrong with making products in the Far East. I’m not railing against any way. We design products that get made in the Far East. Every year we have very successful clients who trade, and international trade is a good thing, despite whatever anybody tells you. As long as it’s on a fair basis, it’s a good thing. Without delving too deep, I think we have to be careful about trade imbalances, but . . .

So, these folks that I’m talking about have these . . . you know, from boutique to slightly bigger businesses. And, as I drive through the country I see these places where some of these older businesses have close. And, you know, I look and some of them were, you know, maybe more on the reseller’s side; and some of them were on the small manufacturer. But I look and there’s this . . . I imagine somebody that’s older that is an expert in making ABC. And he has some folks that are maybe younger working for him and they make ABC. And maybe they make the best ABC on the planet. Maybe it’s just good. Or maybe it just meets the needs. But, so I look at that and there’s kind of this romantic fascination that says, Hey, it’d be nice if we had more of those companies. And, we’re starting to see more. I think the ones you’re seeing now that are at least getting the press, or these companies that, like, for example, make cupcakes. I don’t know if you know it or not but you can buy a $20 cupcake now; $10, $20, $8, $7, $6. You can buy cupcakes that are gourmet cupcakes. And that’s awesome. I think that a lot of these older styles of doing business are coming back. In Durham, there’s a company that has a meat truck. And so, I think it’s healthy for the economy and vibrant. And it also gives people a kind of an outlet. Because they can look at it and go, I could do that. They’re not . . . you know, they can look at General Motors and go, Oh; wow, that’s beyond me. And it probably is beyond most people to start the next General Motors. But, to start the next business where you’ve got a storefront and maybe a helper and you make a few of these a month – whatever that is – or a bunch of these a month, that’s something I think a lot of people can get their arms around. And I think that’s a great thing because when they do, that drives the economy. You know, those goods require raw materials, they require other vendors. It’s just a winner. And one of the things that I’m happy to see is micro-brands.

Now, as a company, if you come and say we want you to design something that I’m going to turn around and license, we’re happy to do that. And I’m happy to see that, too. The micro-brand part has that, you know, that romantic fascination because somebody’s going to actually put it together and ship it. Somebody’s going to get it out of the box and . . . and I think that’s an awfully nice way to do business.

I think it’s important to help those businesses along. From Montie Design’s standpoint, I don’t know that it’s a government role. The best government role there is just less regulation, because regulation ultimately slows down the growth of the smaller companies and . . . slows down the growth of all companies but it really hurts the smaller companies the worst. So, you know, the government’s role, I think, is just to reduce regulation. From a Montie Design role, hey, I’m happy to do podcasts and teach some classes and maybe encourage some folks.

I do think this is a great time in some ways, because all of a sudden, there’s a lot of people rethinking what they can do for a living. And rethinking, you know, how we can manufacture in the U.S. and make that work. I’m excited about that. It’s definitely a difficult economic time all the way around. Economy’s slowing down. But, you know, when there’s change, there’s opportunity. And so, I hope if you’re thinking about, you know, making your own product or . . . or driving forward, you know, that micro-brand or maybe that big brand, I hope that you’ll make that happen.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Shoot me an email. It’s Montie Roland at 1-800-722-7987. 1-800-722-7987. Or shoot me an email at montie (M-O-N-T-I-E)@montie(M-O-N-T-I-E).com. Or you can visit our website – www.montie.com. Say hi on the chat. We have a little chat app at the bottom right. Click on it and say hi and introduce yourself. And let me know if any of these podcasts are interesting or helpful, or if you have suggestions.

Thanks. Have a great day. Montie Roland, signing off.

END AUDIO

Slingshot Testing Soon!

This week has been very interesting, we’ve been wanting to test the speed of ammo when fired from the Y-Shot Slingshot, so we setup a testing area in the shop. The setup uses a mechanical release to fire the slingshot and a chronograph to measure the speed. We ran into a problem with the chronograph, it would not work indoors because of the fluorescent lights in the shop.
We need an indoor testing area so we can control the temperature of the room and avoid wind and other variables. We found an accessory that uses infrared LED’s to give the constant light source the chronograph needs to work. We plan to test many different bands and record the speeds compared to our current slingshot bands. The setup is working very well, now that we have the chronograph lights, and we will be testing the bands soon.

Thanks for Reading,
Daniel Helms

"Looking down the barrel" of the slingshot.
“Looking down the barrel” of the slingshot.

Slingshot Test Area

Slingshot Test Area

Podcast: The Corona Effect

Greetings,

The way customers find out about your product has changed.  Customer reviews no play a huge role in the success of your products.  Join me for a short discussion about this.

This podcast was recorded on a rainy evening while I was camping at a place called Troublesome Gap (elevation 3700 feet) in Western North Carolina.  You can even hear the rain during portions of the podcast.

Thanks for listening.

Cheers,
Montie

 

The Corona Effect

Simpler is better – New Towel Holder design

Hello again!

You might have read about the towel holder a while back. It is a smart design, as it is a very simple product that solves a problem in an elegant way. However, it is pretty big. This drives the production costs up, and might also be unwanted in a camping situation when you carry your own gear between camp sites.

DSC_6539

So what we wanted to do was to slim it down as much as possible, even if that required removing some functionality.

PC Solo 450

The new design is about as slim as it gets. It has only one towel slot, and no slot for sponges. The slim shape makes it easy to room many towel holders in a small piece of sheet, which in it’s turn makes it cost effective in production. It also makes the holder easier to carry around on the outside of your pack, for when you need something to get dry while you’re walking. It comes with a carabiner, so you can attach it to just about anything. but you could also pull a cord or a strap straight through it.

Keep an eye out at the Montie Gear Webshop, it might be available sooner than you know!

/ Robin

Logo 450lightCarabiner 450

Podcast: Referrals & Reviews Part 2

Today’s customer, or client, if very well informed.  Much of this information comes from reviews on the internet.  The effect of internet referrals and reviews on the internet is so important that if you ignore it, your business will quickly suffer.  Lets spend a few minutes talking about how this process works and the Montie Gear process for generating great reviews on the internet.  This is the same process that took Montie Gear from $0 in sales to a six figure sales performer in 3 years.  Click on the play button below to listen.

Please don’t hesitate to email me at montie@montie.com with any comments or if we can help design and roll out your next successful product!  Our social review program is a very cost effective way to get the word out about your product.

Cheers,

Montie

Referrals & Reviews Part 2

Paintball Marker Stand

Hey Y’all,

Over the past few weeks we have been working on a Paintball Marker Stand. This stand can be broken down into three pieces using the pins on the sides of the stand. The marker is supported by the U-Shaped cut out in the back of the stand and the Slot in the front of the stand. The sliding cylinder, seen in the middle of the stand, allows this stand to support the marker and prevent it from falling forward and out of the stand. This slide also allows the stand to work with multiple markers. Everything is going well and we should be trying out a prototype soon.

Thanks for Reading,
Daniel Helms

Paintball Stand Render 1.WITHMARKER

Paintball Stand Render 1.WITHOUTMARKER

Paintball Stand Render 1.FRONT

Paintball Stand Render 1.BACK

Ball dispenser sent off for prototyping

Hey!

So the belt clip ball dispenser is finally coming together. After testing more mock-up models the decision was taken not to use any plate or similar to separate the balls from the magnet, as more than one kept falling off when trying to pull only one off. Instead the magnet will be coated with a durable finish and the balls will be in direct contact with it. This simplified the design significantly, but put increased the demand on the aesthetic form of the back plate, as this now became the mail feature of the whole product. A simple plate can have many different forms:

assembly

One option was to add a top bumber to create a feeling of better encapsulating the balls, as well as giving more depth to the product. Unfortunately, the manufacturing complexity of adding this feature was greater than expected. As this would drive up the cost of the product a lot the decision was taken to put this feature on hold for now.

As for the final design the initial round magnet was kept and the plate form includes some curved lines to follow the magnet while still keeping some edges to go with the rectangular belt clip. After quite a bit of struggle finding a good form, this one actually feels pretty obvious I would say! Let’s just hope the prototype will look just as good!

Have a good weekend!

/Richard Boden

untitled.189untitled.191

Dispeser, round, belt.210 copy

Whisker Biscuit Mount For Y-Shot Update

Hey Y’all,

This week I’ve made some progress on the Whisker Biscuit Mount for the Y-Shot. When the Whisker Biscuit arrived there were a few problems with the dimensions but, those were worked out pretty quickly. I made a quick model from PVC and we did some testing with it. Everything went great and I’m working on the aesthetics of the design. A prototype is in the works based on the rendering in the pictures but, the design might change some more.

Thanks for Reading,
Daniel Helms

Whisker Biscuit For Y-Shot Front

Whisker Biscuit Mount For Y-Shot Back

 

Whisker Biscuit Arrow Rest Distance Test Medium Quality Video

Podcast: Referrals & Reviews Part 1

Today’s customer, or client, if very well informed.  Much of this information comes from reviews on the internet.  The effect of internet referrals and reviews on the internet is so important that if you ignore it, your business will quickly suffer.  Lets spend a few minutes talking about how this process works and the Montie Design process for generating great reviews on the internet.  Click on the play button below to listen.

Please don’t hesitate to email me at montie@montie.com with any comments or if we can help design and roll out your next successful product!

Cheers,

Montie

Referrals & Reviews Part 1

Montie Gear Y-shot Wrist Adapter – Robin

Hello everyone!

My name is Robin, and I’m the next summer intern in line to introduce myself. Just like Richard, I’m an Indutrial Design Engineering student from Chalmers University in Sweden, and just like Richard, I’ve started working with accessories for the Y-shot. My main project so far has been a wrist support. This will unload the stress on the wrist, which can be significant if you’re shooting a lot or if you’re using a strong rubber band.

IMG_20130703_164351

I tested a few mock-ups to get an approximation of the right dimensions, and to make sure that the side brackets wouldn’t get in the way of the hand.

IMG_20130703_155230x

Since the Gloveshot has a similar function to the wrist adapter, and the same design language as the Y-shot, it was my main inspiration during the sketching process.

IMG_20130703_155230x21

I finished the drawings for the prototype a couple of days ago, so now we’re just waiting for the side brackets to arrive. Can’t wait to put it together!

To be continued.

/Robin

Montie Design May 2013 Newsletter

In this Issue:

  • Sign up for Customer Requirements Lunch and Learn on June 4
  • Last Chance to RSVP Last Stand on Troublesome Gap Event for Montie Design Clients and Friends
  • New Class – Getting Your Product To Market 101 – Taught by Montie Roland
  • Product Design Win – Slingshot Holster
  • Spring Intern Update – Coco’s Bench and Rachael’s Utensil Holders

Sign Up for “Difficulty Getting Real Customer Requirements” Lunch & Learn on June 4th

Andy Roth will give us practical tools and advice on gathering customer requirements.  Andy has almost 15 years of experience managing complex corporate projects while at Tekelec.  Put his experience and knowledge to work for you at this insightful Lunch & Learn.  This is a great way to sharpen your project management skills and network with other engineers and project managers.  Click here to sign up.

The Montie Design Lunch and Learn series is developed to connect professionals involved in the technical or business side of designing and producing innovative products and technologies with one another as well as with speakers, who have agreed to share their knowledge, professionalism, and willingness to support entrepreneurial growth.

Upcoming events include:

June 4 –  Difficulty Getting Real Customer Requirements?

June 18 – How to Size a Battery

June 28 – Final Friday End of Quarter Networking Event

July 18 – Flex Circuits 101

Aug 7 – Social Reviews 101

Aug 21 –  Designing Rubber Keypads

Sept 11 – Personalities & Personas

Sept 25 – Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Machining and Rapid Sheetmetal

Sept 27 – Final Friday End of Quarter Networking Event

 

RSVP by Friday and Join Us at the Last Stand on Troublesome Gap

Every year Montie Design staff, industry peers, and clients meet up in the mountains out at beautiful Troublesome Gap, NC for a weekend of fun on Memorial Day Weekend.  Sit by the campfire and relax, and be sure to join in the fun of our first annual Zombie shooting course and competition.  In order to complete the course, you engage the Zombie targets with a rifle, pistol, shotgun and slingshot.  The event is free, but an RSVP is required.  RVSP to montie@montie.com.  The brochure is available for download here.

 

Getting Your Product to Market 101 – How to Design, Prototype and Manufacture Your Product

A two day seminar that provides participants an overview of product development, prototyping, product manufacture, and low cost public relations tools to develop a “buzz” about the product.  Hosted by Product Design Veteran and design firm owner Montie Roland

Class Description:  Montie Design, an innovative concept-to-marketplace product design and development firm, has announced that Company President Montie Roland will host a two part class “How-to-Design-A-Product” in Morrisville on Tuesday, June 11, and Thursday, June 13.

Roland, a product design veteran, will be generating a casual dialog where attendees can learn about how to develop a product or service from concept through the patent process all the way through to the point of manufacturing and selling the product.

With a small manufacturing facility in Spring Creek complimenting its main operation in the Triangle region of North Carolina, Montie Design has a successful history of taking products from concept to marketplace. The firm’s team of product design professionals has over 140 years of knowledge and experience helping clients realize products that are economical to manufacture, elegant and robust. Paying special attention to achieving excellence in functionality, operability, value and aesthetics regardless of market or industry, Montie Design staffers have helped turn over 750 exciting product ideas into reality.

In addition to serving customers in a myriad of industry sectors, Montie Design produces its own Montie Gear line of outdoor equipment, including a slingshot; ultralight knife; multi-purpose tree hook archery rest for sturdy support of a bow, crossbow, or rifle with a sling; a camp rack designed to hold pots, lids, serving bowls and utensils off the ground to dry after cleaning; and the popular X-Rest and AR-Rest shooting supports for hunters and recreational shooters.

All equipment in the Montie Gear line is heirloom quality, Troublesome Gap tough. Located near the peak of Hap Mountain overlooking Spring Creek, North Carolina, Troublesome Gap is a rugged mountain area where Montie Gear prototypes are tested and evaluated. 

Sign up at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6546126641/eorg

 

Design Win – Slingshot Holster 

The mighty Montie Gear Y-Shot slingshot now is even better with a rugged and locally made holster. We call it a win because the initial production run is almost sold out before the die cutting tools are even complete.  Call or email us today to find out how we can make your product a winner too!  Click here to see the holster on the www.montiegear.com website.

Intern Spotlights: Kitchen Utensil Holders, Campfire Bench

Spring 2013 Montie Design interns Rachael Hughes and Coco Feng have been working on some very interesting concepts for additions to the Montie Gear line of outdoor camping equipment. Rachael is closing in on a final design for something to keep utensils from setting on surfaces typical to camping, such as picnic tables or coolers — where they may attract wildlife and collect bugs or harmful bacteria – while Coco is working on an outdoor wooden bench design which solves a customer need for hanging backpacks, coats and garbage bags.

We are proud to say that the wood for the bench was sawn on site at our Spring Creek facility from locally harvested timber.  Otherwise the sizes of lumber we used wouldn’t have been commercially available.  The seat is made from a single pine board over 16″ wide by 1-3/4″ thick.  The final shapes were cut from 20″ wide boards using a water jet giving a very precise fit.

Designs can be viewed online at blog.montiegear.com. Montie Design has a long history of hosting interns from colleges throughout North Carolina and from Sweden in order to prepare them for their chosen fields and help them build a portfolio of solid work for prospective employers.


Finally A Way to Hang Your Hand or Bath Towels to Dry


Towels and Sponges Kept Off the Ground to Dry


Finally A Way to Dry Your Silverware and Untensils after Washing


Silverware and Untensils Hanging to Dry

Sit by the Campfire in Style!

Prototype Bench – yes, the seat is a single board 16″ wide by 1-3/4″ thick!


Prototype Bench – come by and give it a test sit

 

We Can Help!  Call Today

Want to talk product development or need help with a project?  Don’t hesitate to contact Montie Roland at 919-481-1845×103 or montie@montie.com.-7987

About Montie Design 

Montie Design is an innovation and commercialization firm with core competencies in mechanical engineering and industrial design. Active in the product design, defense, and technology sectors, we leverage years of industry leadership and extensive technical capabilities to help clients take products from concept to marketplace that are economical to manufacture, elegant and robust. Montie Design is a North Carolina company headquartered in the Research Triangle region with clients across the country and overseas. We are dedicated to economic development throughout our home state and furthering excellence in design and engineering. For more information, visit www.montie.com or download the capabilities statement in PDF format here.

Intern Project – Campfire Bench

coco and her assignment

I am coco, an industrial design graduate student at NCSU. I am an intern at Montie Design this winter. I am now working on the outdoor wood bench design. This bench design focuses on the customer need which has a hanger for people to put their back packs and their coat when they feel hot and a hook for people to hang on the garbage when they talk with their family member and take some snacks.

sketching

The following picture shows how the concept developed.  Fist I have three different ideas about the bench and then narrow down to one idea. Secondly I started to have different styling about the concept and at last I decided the assemble method.

Sketching / Ideation Process

final design

This is the outdoor bench. In order to matches the whole environment, the design comes from the tree branch and also matches the function of it.

The higher one on the right is the hanger of the coats or backpacks. The small one on the left is hook for people to hang on the garbage bag or other paper or plastic bags. The first purpose of this bench is setting around the camping fire. So at the bottom of the bench, there is a shelf for people to store the fire wood.

Montie Gear Campfire Bench

Montie Gear Campfire Bench

Weekly Podcast: I Just Need A Protoype

I Need A Prototype

Inventors often come to us and say “I just need a prototype.”  Lets take a look at how we can get that prototype to you.