Podcast: About Montie Design

About Montie Design

Montie Design was founded in 2006 by Montie Roland (pdf resume, word, html), a practicing engineer looking for an outlet for his desire to design and engineer great products. Montie Design moved to Morrisville, NC in 2007 to add additional space and locate closer to customers in the Research Triangle area.

As Montie Design has grown, we have been fortunate to work on a variety of awesome projects in diverse markets from electronics to sporting goods. One quarter we’re designing rackmount equipment to go in data center. Another project, we find ourselves designing an environmental test chamber for Aberdeen Proving Grounds to test equipment before it goes out to the warfighter. We’ve created consumer products like the Invisi-ball and the Fog Thief. This type of variety is great because no two projects are ever the same.

Look to us for help with:

  • Mechanical Engineering / Product Engineering / Product Development
  • Industrial Design
  • Prototypes
  • Electrical Engineering / Firmware / PCB Layout
  • Consultation on Product Viability
  • Project Management
  • Product / Brand Management

Our President has this crazy passion for designing equipment to make life in the outdoors more fun and more comfortable. This passion was put in motion in 2009 when we started the Montie Gear product line. This was originally started as our own skunkworks for fun. In 3-1/2 years it went from a few concepts to a six figure a year operation. Today Montie Gear is a separate company and has over 30 unique products. While we are very passionate about designing products for camping, shooting and the great outdoors, we stand ready to put that same enthusiasm and knowledge to work designing and engineering great products for you. If you are looking for a shooting rest or slingshot, please www.montiegear.com.

There are several areas where we really stand out with the services that we provide.

Designing and Engineer Low-to-Medium Volume Products

Montie Design excels in the difficult area of designing low and medium volume products. We are experts at balancing capital / tooling expenses with product costs. With decades of experience in product engineering, we are ready to deploy our process and move your product from concept to market.

Electronics Enclosures and CFD / Thermal Analysis

The design phase is critical to keep electronics cool, avoid EMI / EMC issues, and predict thermal issues. We perform thermal analysis in-house using state of the art CFD (computation fluid dynamics) tools for accurate and reliable results.

Outdoor Equipment

We enjoy building rugged equipment for outdoor sporting and downrange applications with experience in shooting sports such as firearm accessories and slingshots. Camping, hiking, shooting and backpacking are passions of ours. We pour that passion into your product! This includes designing accessories for firearms, military, tactical and slingshots.

Gathering Social Reviews for Clients

We connect your new product to active bloggers, writers, and lead users to allow those experts to lend their credibility to your product. This is vital, because most customers now check internet reviews before purchasing. We can assist you in creating this base of reviews that are so critical for customers.

Strong Vendor Network

Take the risk out of receiving your prototype on time! Our great vendors, that we have successfully worked with for years, allow us to extend great service. Our responsive vendors provide a range of services that include waterjet cutting, rapid machining, rapid sheetmetal, paint, powder coat, rapid prototyping, rapid tooling and CNC machining. If we can’t do in-house, we generally have a local vendor that can respond quickly and help us make your prototype, or limited production run, a reality.

Sustainability Analysis Tools

Our easy-to-understand report shows your customers exactly where you stand when it comes to sustainability. There are no difficult to understand metrics. Our common sense approach will update your customers on the success of your product sustainability.
Read more at http://www.montie.com/#U6K8ukfuzCG59KDV.99

[Transcript] Audio File: 2014 Feb 17 – About Montie Design.mp3
Audio Length: 11:08 minutes

Hello, my name is Montie Roland. I’m the president of Montie Design in Morrisville, North Carolina. I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce you to Montie Design.

Montie Design is what we call a full-service design firm. We provide mechanical engineering, industrial design, and we also build prototypes. There are also requirements that we need to fulfill for electrical engineering and software development and firmware development. And so we can help with that as well.

Our core competency is those first three – mechanical engineering, industrial design and prototyping. What we do is fill in gaps. We take your project and we go from an estimate to a completed job. Usually a kind of a workflow, when it comes to a project, goes through several stages. The first stage is the information gathering and understanding. Well, what we want to do is understand what you need us to accomplish so that we can put together a proposal. And that proposal is usually an estimate with stages to it. Sometimes we work against an estimate on a time-of-materials basis, and other times we work as a firm fixed price.

Projects go from, you know, creating that estimate to . . . the next stage is usually the industrial design stage. The industrial design stage is where we sit down, work with you to understand your vision. And then take that vision and commit it to concepts on paper. Sometimes those are hand drawn sketches; sometimes those are computer generated assets. But what we want to do is take your vision and pluck that vision out and then get it down on paper so we understand it. Then we also want to take our understanding of other industries and see where we can bring other techniques, other technologies and other approaches to bear. So what we’re trying to do there is to make sure that your product has the benefit of the knowledge that we’ve gained over the years doing projects for other people.

And that way you’ve got a broad perspective on your next product. We want to look and see what, you know, what are people doing in your industry and what are people doing across other industries. Bring that into the product development process so that your product is robust, fits the market, and also, you know, we’ve looked to see where we can bring value to your product and to your customer by bringing in other technologies and other approaches and other thoughts.

So, we take that; generate sketches and additional assets, depending on the project. And then we may build what’s called a “massing model”. And a massing model’s a prototype where it’s really only meant to show size and shape and just general, is it the right size. So, you can hold it. It’s usually not functional, but it gives you a feeling; you can actually put it in your hands, turn it, show it to people. A lot of times what that also does between that and the sketches and the renderings, compare that to your spec or, if need be, we can develop that spec for you. And once you put something down on the table, that’s also when the unwritten requirements come out. Because that’s when someone says, “Hey, Montie. We need to do this” or “No, this can’t be more than two inches tall” or twelve inches or one-six pounds or it needs to do that. And those undocumented requirements are understated requirements then have this opportunity to flow out; we can capture those early on because finding out that the product didn’t perform as advertised at the end of the project is not good. So, we want to capture that in the beginning so we build in success from the front.

 

We go from there to an engineering phase. As soon as we can we want to build a prototype. In the engineering phase we take our mechanical engineers, start making solid works, solid models. Testing those models with computer-aided tools like finite element analysis or computational fluid dynamics (or CFD) for airflow and thermal analysis. We use that to, I guess, prototype digitally and then pretty quickly we want to build a mock-up. And depending on the project and the scope, some mock-ups may be to test a particular thing; for example, airflow. We might build a mock-up that’s aimed completely at testing airflow to verify and validate our CFD results.

So, then we go through there and build models in the computer (SolidWorks). And then build a prototype. And as we go forward our prototypes, you know, the cost of these prototypes increases. Obviously, if you’ve got a block of foam that someone worked on for an hour its much less expensive than if you have, you know, a fully functional, fully developed engineering-grade prototype that tests out functionality, aesthetics, manufacturing concepts. So we want to match the prototype to your needs, or the needs at that point. There again, so we want to make sure that we’re containing costs where we need to. And make sure that we’re providing you with high value for the money you’re spending.

So, build a prototype. Test that prototype. Make any adjustments to the design based on that testing. And then go out for quotes. So we go out for quotes and come back with a costed bill of material. So you now know what it’s going to cost to build your product and production.

So, we’ve added some tremendous value in several areas here. One is that we’re helping you to leverage our relationship with vendors and component manufactures, contract manufacturers. So we’re taking our relationships, introducing you to the people you need to be introduced to. And then also working with them to generate this costed bill of materials that tells you what it’s really going to cost to manufacture your product at the quantities you want to sell it at. And that’s something we’re good at. That’s something we bring a tremendous amount of value to the table with. Because of those relationships, because of our understanding of how to make this happen, and also, too, to help save you money because you’ve got folks that are on your side (us) and helping you work through questions with vendors and contractors. And so we’re putting our experience to use. And also, you may have all this experience in-house. At the same time, it may be what we’re simply doing is providing a relief for your staff, so they can be doing other potentially higher-value activities, or things that they’re better at, and then we can work on the things we’re good at and get those through your pipeline quicker, and to where they’re on the shipping dock and you’re selling them and you’re adding to your bottom line.

So, at the end of the day, our job is to help you drive towards improving your bottom line. We want to have products that are robust and that are profitable and that are manufacturable. That’s Montie Design. We take you through that process. Our job is to serve you and help you turn that next product concept into that next product winner.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call – it’s Montie Roland, 1-800-722-7987. Visit us on the web – www. montie.com. Or shoot me an email – montie (M-O-N-T-I-E)@montie(M-O-N-T-I-E) .com. And my staff, as I say, we’re here to serve you; do a good job for you, and add a tremendous amount of value to your product development and engineering process. Please give me a call and let’s talk about that project that’s on your desk, or the one that’s going to be on your desk soon, and let’s make your life a little easier and your company more profitable. Montie Roland, signing off.

END AUDIO

Podcast: Micromanufacturing In Spring Creek

July – Micromanufacturing In Spring Creek

 

Audio Transcript

Hi. My name is Montie Roland. And right now I’m coming to you [from] about two hundred vertical feet above Troublesome Gap [at an elevation of  approximately 3900 feet].

Troublesome Gap is between the communities of Spring Creek and Big Pond, which is just south of Hot Springs, North Carolina, which is where the Appalachian Trail goes through Hot Springs, and just north of Asheville. And so I had an opportunity to come up this weekend and just relax.

We had a meeting in Spring Creek earlier and a meeting the night before at ASU for the IDSA Student Merit Competition judging. And I was right here, and I said, You know, it might be a good weekend to pitch a tent and sit back and just relax. So, that’s what I’m doing. So, right now, I am literally the only person within three-quarters of a mile of where I am. I think the closest people, from right here, from where I am, are Bob and Patsy Allan, who are down farther on Baltimore Branch Road. And they’re about three-quarters of a mile away. So, it’s nice and remote up here. And then the next neighbors . . . there’s another neighbor about three-quarters of a mile away and then you got to go farther to get to more neighbors. So it’s quiet up here. It’s about to rain, I think. It’s been holding off all day but . . . so I built a fire, pitched a tent, and there’s a stack of wood in kind of a U-shape behind the fire, which keeps the wind off. There’s a lot of wind up here. And it comes from Tennessee and comes up the Spring Creek Valley and it’s pretty energetic. So we have to build this pseudo-kiva structure to keep the wind off the fire. And I’ll tell you that has a really nice effect of pushing a lot of that heat back, I believe. Or maybe it captures it and radiates it, but, whatever, it’s nice and cozy warm here. It was in the high-70’s today and now it’s a little cooler.

So, it’s nice to get away. It’s nice to sit back and relax and enjoy life.

So, we are, as a company, Montie Design and manufacturers of Montie Gear products, are setting (or in the process of) setting up . . . I’m going to call it micro-manufacturing facility for now. Maybe one day we can actually graduate to the mini-manufacturing facility size. But we’re planning on renting a building up here and down in the valley in Spring Creek, and have a couple of local folks that work part time and do some assembly for us. And hopefully grow that into a way to bring jobs to this community. And then also serve our Montie Gear clients better, and our Montie Design clients. And I think I just hear my iPhone beep. Boy, that kills the woodsy mood. Sorry about that. But anyway so we’re putting in this facility and been making arrangements to do that. And what I wanted to do was chat a little bit about my vision for that facility.

My contention is that we can have a facility up here, in this remote location, and bring jobs to a group of people who are struggling to find employment. And that also gives us the labor rate that’s lower than what we can do in Raleigh. And hopefully we can put some of this mountain culture and mountain know-how to use in a way that, like I said, is good for the Montie Gear and Montie Design clients; customers.

So, what we’re setting up is a very flexible assembly area where we’ll do some of the assembly on our Montie Gear products. For example, the slingshot has a paracord handle, and that’s . . . that has to be woven into the aluminum frame. And it takes . . . its time consuming. So what I want to try with that is to . . . it’s just out to here, so it’s not something we’re doing in the office anymore in Raleigh; it’s something we’re doing up here. And I think that’ll work out as a win-win for everybody. You know, that brings some work here. It keeps our labor rate low, which is a win for our customers, too, because that helps our prices reasonable.

So, as a Montie Design client, you know, what’s the benefit for you if you’re a Montie Design client? And that is, now, we have a good way to do that initial prototyping for you, where there is a . . . you’ve not moved it to a full-blown contract manufacturer, but maybe you want to get the first hundred units out while you’re tooling up or what have you. And so I think this is a lot more cost effective way where we can take that product (a lot of times one we designed), shift it over to here to be assembled, tested, debugged. And so that way we’ve got this very flexible facility – very small but very flexible – taking your product and building your prototypes. And I’m thinking this is the . . . you know, we’ll build the first few prototypes in the office, develop some documentation, and then we move those prototypes to here and maybe that’s the first two hundred . . . thousand, what have you. But you get those fairly quickly; we can use to make those . . . maybe they’re cast parts; maybe they’re rapid prototype-type parts, but . . . what have you. So those first market samples go out.

So that’s kind of part of the reason . . . big chunk of the reason we’re doing that is to give us capabilities that we didn’t have before. And a way of keeping that economical.

It’s really beautiful up here; it’s gorgeous. And it’s remote. And, I think the nice thing is that for . . . if your production is up here, you can go meet the people that are building your product. You can see where it’s built; you can see, you know, is this a sustainable model, are we treating people well. And just ask them. And so I think that’s an awfully nice thing in today’s times where we’ve . . . you know, there’s so much, so many times, that it comes over from a boat, and, what was it like when it was made? You know what? What considerations are there for, you know what, how people are treated? Or, you know, how . . . are people paying attention to the quality of your product as they’re putting it together. And so what we’re trying to do here is give you a way to address those concerns. Do it locally and do it in a very cost effective manner.

So I hope as this project progresses you’ll keep track and I will . . . will definitely post information as it proceeds. And that can . . . inspire you to think about, you know, letting us do some of your production here in Spring Creek, North Carolina.

I hope you have a great evening. And I think it’s starting to rain so I believe I’m going to move underneath the picnic shelter to keep me dry.

Thanks. Have a great evening. Bye.

END AUDIO

Product Win – Paintball Marker Rack

The variety of paintball markers seems endless. They come in many, many shapes and sizes so designing a “universal” rack looked like a daunting task at first. The secret to the success of this design was to look for areas of commonality between the different markers. We identified the areas that didn’t vary significantly from marker to marker. These included the thickness of the pistol grip, barrel outer diameters and the presence of finger guards that varied in location, but along a single vector.

The rack has to keep the marker upright to prevent balls from spilling out of the hopper. The rack also holds the marker upright for maintenance, hopper fills, and to protect the marker when not in use.

The rack quickly breaks down for transportation. The aggressive shape is designed to compliment the nature of the paintball sport. The racks are available on the Montie Gear site starting in March. Do you like the rack? Give us a call at 1-800-722-7987 and we’ll put our engineering and design skills to use on your product!

AnchorNeed Engineering or Design Help?
We can bring our know how and drive for success to your products and help you succeed. Call us today help with:- mechanical engineering
– industrial design
– prototypes
– project management and cost prediction

We help manufacturers engineer, develop and prototype new products. Whether you are a funded startup or a medium-size manufacturer, we can help!

Contact Montie Roland at 800-722-7987 x107 or montie@montie.com. Please visit our website at www.montie.com.

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

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

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Dispeser, round, belt.210 copy

Whisker Biscuit Mount for Y-Shot Slingshot

I’m Daniel, an intern at Montie Design this summer and I’ll be starting my Senior year in Industrial Design at Appalachian State University this fall. I’ve been working on a Whisker Biscuit Mount for the Y-Shot Slingshot and it’s going pretty well.

I started by looking into ways that people were already shooting arrows from slingshots and ran across a video by Dave Cantebury. Dave was using a simple keyring and a few pieces of rubber to shoot arrows from his slingshot. This looked like a great idea to me, so I used the Y-Shot Arrow Rest with some pieces of shock cord to make a similar set up. It worked great but, a whisker biscuit would be better. This gave me an idea for how to mount the whisker biscuit and use brackets from the Y-Shot Arrow Rest.

The concept is a tube that will hold the whisker biscuit in place and use shock and cable to attach to the Y-Shot brackets. So far, everything is going well and we should be working on a model soon.

Thanks for Reading,
Daniel Helms

Key Ring Arrow Rest Adapted from Dave Cantebury

Whisker Biscuit Mount Concept

Join Us at the 2009 RTP Product Design Street Faire on Saturday, 12 Sept!

Scene from the 2008 Street FaireThe RTP Product Development Guild – a local group of engineers and designers working together to improve the regional economy – is hosting its third annual RTP Product Design Street Faire Saturday, Sept. 12  from 3:00 – 6:30 pm at 400 Dominion Drive in Morrisville. This fun, outdoor networking and educational event will feature exhibits and demonstrations by leading Triangle-area product designers and affiliated professionals showcasing the technological innovation that makes North Carolina a hotbed of state-of-the-art manufacturing design and production talent.

Admission to the Street Faire is free but requires pre-registration online at RTPStreetFaire.com.

Barbeque, drinks, popcorn, snacks and other treats will be served throughout this family friendly event which will include an inflatable kids’ play area and plenty of shaded space for business networking among peers.

“The Street Faire is a great way for area businesses and manufacturers to get to know product design and prototyping professionals right here in RTP,” Montie Roland, president of the RTP Product Development Guild, said, adding, “Why spend hours on conference calls or travel overseas to work with vendors when you can find the resources you need right down the street? I think people will be surprised at how competitive the region has become in the global marketplace.”

According to Roland, each year has seen increased attendance and vendor participation at the Street Faire, with well over 200 attendees representing a diverse range of business professions and 26 vendors last year. Vendor spaces are still available for this year’s event; pricing and information is available at RTPStreetFaire.com.

Sponsors of the 2009 Product Design Street Faire include Montie Design, the RTP Product Development Guild, Studio Hagler and Trimech, with Gilmore Global as a contributor.

The annual Street Faire is one of many educational and business development programs conducted by the Guild, which also hosts networking meetings, lunch-and-learn seminars, and other events at member locations throughout the year.

“We love our craft and do a lot of different things to promote it, share leads and resources, and build essential working relationships,” Roland said.

For more information visit RTPStreetFaire.com or call 919-481-1845.

About the RTP Product Development Guild
The RTP Product Development Guild seeks to improve the regional economy in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C. by providing a framework for product developers and startups to work together on products in a collaborative environment. This helps entrepreneurs move products to market that might otherwise languish due to a lack of funding and professional guidance. The Guild accepts applications for products, services or concepts from entrepreneurs, early stage start-ups and corporate spin-offs. More information is available online at www.rtpproductguild.com.

Customer Feedback – Up-Close and Personal

Product reviews (especially online) are increasingly important in helping customers make purchasing decisions. A study by CompUSA and iPerections discovered 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. According to a Forrester study, 71% of online shoppers read reviews, making it the most widely read consumer-generated content.

The beauty of the internet is that even small companies can integrate online reviews into their website. Companies such as RatePoint (www.ratepoint.com) provided neutral, third party management of online reviews. They also provide tools (called Widgets) that simplify the integration of the collection and display of customer reviews into the seller’s website. We use RatePoint as a way to give our clients an outlet to rate the services and products from Montie Design.

Customer reviews are a great way to encourage sales, especially of a new product. However, you have to have sales to have customers who can write the reviews. Strategic users are the early adopters (often cultivated by the product manufacturer) who test the product and write a review. These reviews help drive customer sales and they also help encourage resellers and distributors to carry the product.

Strategic users can include writers and product evaluators for magazines and blogs. Thought leaders in the industry are also candidates for strategic users. Anyone who is in a position to influence the opinion of the marketspace is a possible strategic user. Carefully selecting the strategic users and getting product in their hands is an effective to way to begin to shaping the opinion of the marketspace as early as possible. The reviews generated by the strategic users should be a planned part of your public relations strategy. Excerpts from the reviews can also be used in your advertising campaign. The links from published reviews also help drive traffic to your website. A potentially bigger benefit occurs as the links drive up the PageRank of your website and help potential customers find the product through search engine results.

Earlier this year we launched a product called the X-Rest. Part of our launch strategy for the X-Rest shooting rest involved identifying strategic users to evaluate the product and help form a positive opinion of the X-Rest within the shooting community.

Here are some rules for soliciting reviews from strategic users:

* don’t interfere with the review process, it has to be honest and genuine
* stay open to criticism, not all reviews are 100% positive, bad reviews can lead to great product improvements
* look for new ways that users interpret how they should use the product and find new markets
* have faith in your customers, they have a perspective that can help you create even better products

The following is an example of a review from one of our strategic users:

FIELD-TESTING THE X-REST
By: Peter J. Kolovos

INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND:
Peter J. Kolovos, was a Deputy Sheriff with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois, before retiring.  He has been involved in the shooting sports for well over 40 years.  He is currently the Secretary-Treasurer and Director of Training for the North Suburban Police Pistol League, Inc.  With over 200 members, the NSPPL, is probably one the largest police shooting clubs in the country.

His credentials are many but my most noteworthy are the following: Pete is a highly competitive rifle and pistol shooter.  He is Certified as a Rifle Coach (Level-2) and a Pistol Coach (Level-3) with the National Rifle Association.  He is a NRA Training Counselor and Certified Instructor in several shooting disciplines.  Pete has been certified as a Police Firearms & Sub-Machinegun Instructor with the State of Illinois.  He attended the FBI’s Sniper/Observer School in 1994, and shot a perfect score during the final qualification course.  He has hunted extensively in 15 states including Alaska, and has hunted in Canada.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
The first thing I noticed when I received my sample of the X-Rest, was how compact and light weight the unit was.  Made of Aluminum, it came nicely tucked into a 14.5” x 4.5” digital Camo carrying bag with a draw string closure.  The disassembled unit was approximately one-inch thick.

Each of the unit’s three legs measured out at  9” x 1.5”.  The legs join together through a rectangular slot in two of the sections and are held in place by the third leg which has a half-round section with a hole in it, and a pin which is attached to the main section via a split ring affixed to a short length of plastic coated wire cable.  This system virtually guarantees that you’ll never lose the joining pin even in rough conditions.  I also liked the fact that it was made in the USA.

Once the three sections are assembled, the rest seemed extremely steady.  The cross sections, where you’d lay your rifle measured out at approximately six-inches high, making it best suited for either Bench or Prone work.  Both of the cross-sections that actually formed the cradle seemed to have an ample amount of a protective rubber coating applied them to keep the rifle steady and to aid in protecting the rifle stock from being damaged during recoil.

INITIAL RANGE SESSION:
On Sunday, May 31, 2009, I took the “X-Rest” to the Racine County Line Rifle Club which is located in Racine, Wisconsin.  My club was holding it’s monthly F-Class rifle match, so I would be able to better evaluate the rest at distance from the Prone position.  The weather was overcast as we had a lot of precipitation during the last week.  The ground was still somewhat soft from all the rain we had, so these conditions would prove interesting for the “X-Rest”.

RANGE SESSION EVALUATION:
Being that I would personally use a this rest for Predator hunting, I chose a Remington Model 700 Varmint, bolt-action rifle chambered in .223 Remington for the evaluation.  This particular rifle was equipped with a 6.5 x 20 power Leupold target scope.

I set up the “X-Rest” at the 300 yard line, placed a small sand bag near the toe of the stock, took careful aim and fired.  Since I wanted to be totally impartial from the get-go, I decided that if I muffed a particular shot I would not consider it as part of the evaluation.  I would only consider the shots that I felt I broke cleanly.

I fired twenty (20) rounds at this distance and put all of the called shots just under a minute of angle (three-inch group at 300 yards), which is exactly what I was hoping for.  I only muffed two of the rounds.  Several other members then gave the rest a try and we also quite impressed with it’s construction and how steady the rest was.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS:
This neat little rest is simple, well made, and quite solid when assembled.  I feel it definitely has some law enforcement and military applications, as well as the civilian market.  This is a nice item for someone who’d like to have a portable rest available but not necessarily have a Bi-pod constantly attached to their rifles.  This would be a most excellent tool for a Rancher, or a Predator hunter.  It is also a very nice item for the casual shooter who’d like to have a solid rest to sight in their rifles but don’t necessarily want to pay several hundred dollars to do so.

If I were a school teacher I’d give the X-Rest a solid “B+” for it’s innovation, light weight, ease transport and of assembly.  My only recommendation would be to dip the lower part of the legs in some type of non-slip coating to resist scratching a vehicle’s paint-job if it were placed on top of the roof or hood.

Submitted by:
Peter J. Kolovos

——— End of Review ———–

Reviewers can connect with potential customers in a very intimate way through an honest evaluation of the product.  Reviews build trust in your product.  Small flaws in grammar or composition in the review help convince that the reader that the review was not a corporate fabrication from a paid talking head, but rather an honest evaluation from someone they can trust.  Less than stellar reviews are often more believable that glowing reviews.  Customers understand that no product is perfect and can be suspicious when reviews are overly flattering.

Product reviews are part of the precious dialog between you and your customers.  Embracing user reviews can give you an advantage over your competition.  Finding strategic users is the first step in encouraging the creation of third party reviews.  The next step is to get your product in their hands for them to test and evaluate.  Trust them to take it from there, using their reviews they create as a part of your website, public relations and marketing campaigns.  After all,  you worked so hard to get that product out to the market, now is the time to let the strategic users tell potential customers what a great product you’ve created.

Give me a call, or send me an email, if this was helpful or if you have topics that you would like to see in future updates.  Don’t forget to call when you are ready for us to contribute to the success of your project!

Cheers,
Montie Roland
President -Montie Design
montie@montie.com
800-722-7987

About Montie Design

Montie Design is a collaborative product design and  development firm with core competencies in industrial design,  mechanical design and fuzzy front end services. Implementing  a client-centric approach in taking products from concept to  marketplace, Montie Design balances vision with usability in  realizing products that are economical to manufacture, elegant and robust. The firm operates out of the Research Triangle  Park region of North Carolina with access to industry-leading  technology, resources and innovative thought. For more  information, visit www.montie.com.

New Portable Shooting Rest Released by Montie Design

Xrest Testing(Morrisville, N.C.) Collaborative product design and development firm Montie Design announces the availability of its unique portable shooting rest, the second original product conceived, designed, and distributed by the RTP-based company in the last nine months. Designed to meet the needs of all shooters as well as most firearms, the easy-to-carry rest weighs less than two pounds and disassembles easily in three pieces, fitting neatly into a small carrying case. Unlike conventional bench rests, which are heavy and complex, the novel Montie Design model — made of sturdy yet lightweight aluminum — provides steady support for different sized long guns ranging from semi-automatic and bolt action rifles to shotguns, carbines and pistols.

“There’s nothing like this on the market,” said Montie Roland, president of Montie Design and active shooting enthusiast. Roland, who used to shoot competitively and has a daughter on a local junior rifle team, said he got the idea for the product after tiring of carrying around a conventional combination of a heavy rest and sand bags for recreational shooting.

“I realized that a lighter weight version would serve the recreational shooter better,” he said.

Karl Frank, business development manager at Montie Design, received positive feedback on the portable shooting rest at a recent Special Operations trade show in Fayetteville, N.C. “It’s clear this product has military or police applications as a training tool for the long gunners in the squad, and for sighting in and maintenance operations,” Frank, whose background includes development of tactical equipment for military applications, said.

Roland said the idea for the product came not only from personal experience but also from what he saw as the market prospects for such a product. Nationally, approximately 200 companies are actively involved in the U.S. firearms industry, combining for an annual revenue of $2 billion. In the Triangle region of North Carolina there are more than five shooting ranges and multiple firearms retailers, not to mention major chains selling guns and ammo to hunters and competitive shooters.

The design and distribution of the shooting rest comes on the heels of Montie Design’s innovative radio frequency identification (RFID) detector card which was released in January and is now being sold throughout the U.S. and seven foreign countries.

“Sometimes there is no better way for a design firm to find the next client than to show off a simple, well-designed product to a potential client and say, ‘we did this in our spare time, imagine what we could do for your product line,’” Roland said, adding that concrete examples like the RFID detector and portable shooting rest show initiative, leadership and capability to his clients

Both the RFID detector and the shooting rest are produced in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, using local manufacturers.

“The Triangle is full of not only thousands of ideas for great products, but many innovative, quality firms with talented professionals who can produce, market, and distribute those products throughout the world,” Roland said. ADR Hydrocut, a Morrisville company that waterjets the parts for the portable shooting rest was instrumental in the development of the product.

According to Frank, ADR Hydrocut provided prototypes and extremely valuable input. “Having the manufacturer literally just down the street made the development process much easier and convenient. We call this approach ‘Made Right Here,’” he said.

Future plans for the portable shooting rest include releasing drawings and design specs as open source in addition to designing an adjustable, pistol-oriented version of the product.

To learn more, or purchase the new shooting rest or RFID Detector, visit www.montie.com.


About Montie Design

Montie Design is a collaborative product design and development firm with core competencies in
industrial design, mechanical design and fuzzy front end services. Implementing a client-centric approach in taking products from
concept to marketplace, Montie Design balances vision with usability in realizing products that are economical to manufacture, elegant and
robust. The firm operates out of the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina with access to industry-leading technology, resources
and innovative thought. For more information, visit www.montie.com.

Media Contact:

Montie Roland
montie@montie.com
800-722-7987
919-412-0559 [cell]

Montie Design Begins Internation Distribution of New RFID Detector Card

RFID Detector Car in Use(Morrisville, N.C.) Collaborative product design and development firm Montie Design is now actively selling its innovative radio frequency identification (RFID) detector card to domestic and international clients. Small enough to fit into a shirt pocket or clip to an ID badge, Montie Design’s product enables users and installers to detect whether an RFID reader is actually sending out a signal.

“We have sold cards in six foreign countries and have interest from distributors in Japan and Sweden,” said Karl Frank, Montie Design’s Business Development Manager. The $20 cards were released for purchase just two months ago. “We have also sold cards to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and users of every kind from research labs to system integrators across the United States,” Frank added.

Manufacturers and retailers utilize RFID tags heavily in supply chain management for identification and tracking purposes to improve efficiency and save costs. They are growing in popularity as replacements for barcode tags due to their ability to be read at a distance without contact. Every RFID tag attached to a product contains an integrated circuit and antenna, and is dependent upon the functionality of a corresponding RFID reader to effectively read and record the information encoded on the tag.

According to Montie Roland, his company’s product – assembled by GRT Electronics in Raleigh, N.C. – helps determine if an RFID reader might have suffered a hardware failure, a triggering sensor may not be working, or communications with a back-end system may have been interrupted.

“The first question during setup or troubleshooting of an RFID system is whether the system is radiating a signal from the reader’s antenna,” he said.

Installers or users need simply move the RFID detector card towards the RFID reader antenna; if the RFID reader antenna is actively radiating a signal, the center of the card will activate a bright blue led light. Depending on the antenna and the power level radiated by the RFID system, the card will illuminate as far as two feet away from the antenna.

The Montie Design card works with European and Japanese RFID frequencies as well.

To learn more, or purchase a card, visit www.montie.com.

About Montie Design
Montie Design is a collaborative product design and development firm with core competencies in industrial design, mechanical design and fuzzy front end services. Implementing a client-centric approach in taking products from concept to marketplace, Montie Design balances vision with usability in realizing products that are economical to manufacture, elegant and robust. The firm operates out of the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina with access to industry-leading technology, resources and innovative thought. For more information, visit www.montie.com.

Media Contact:
Montie Roland
montie@montie.com
800-722-7987
919-412-0559