Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Calder Guitar Case Story Ch 21 Suspension System sketch

Here's a rough sketch I did last week showing how the suspension system might be laid out. The shaded areas are the suspension pods attached to the top and bottom of the case - forming a cradle for the guitar when the case is closed.

Here's our brief for the system's performance:

hold the guitar securely when the case/bag is closed.
keep the guitar away from the sides of the case.
have as few points of contact with the guitar as possible
adjust easily to fit a range of guitars from Les Paul's to Strats.

Plan is the pods are made of foam covered in velvet. Barry Noble had the cool idea of making the pods a bit like a bean bag to make them self adjusting for different body shape - so we're exploring that idea.

Any comments or suggestions about the susp system ? Tell me.

Ultra susp sketch 26:9003

category: early development

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Calder Guitar Case Story Ch 20 Ultra Gig Bag Sketch

Here's a sketch showing how the ultra might look. I presented vertically as gig bags are more often used like this than horizontally.

The external zipped pocket is quite large but slim to keep the overall profile as shallow as possible.

The exterior will be a loose cover made of Cordura (or similar) tailored to fit the hard shell, this will close with a weaterproof zip.

I've shown a very simple handle design which seem in keeping with the overall look.

Ultra sketch 26:9001

category: early development

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Simplicity in design

I wanted some inspiration on the theme of simplicity in design and found this great quote from Steve Jobs

"Design...its not just what it looks like and feels like.

This totally hits the button for me - and its what I want Calder products to deliver.

There's more on this here on the blackbeltjones blog

Calder Guitar Case Story Ch 19 Gig Bag Handle

Michael Mailling has just sent these drawings for the gig bag handle - I like them a lot but think we need something completely laid back and simple - more in tune with the style of a gig bag.

Gbag handle 5

Gbag handle 4

category: early development

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Calder Guitar Case Story Ch 18 Carbon Fibre Ultra Gig Bag

Sept 05

Exploring the idea of a Calder Ultra Gig Bag. The Ultra would look like a gig bag - fabric exterior, zip fastener, shoulder straps etc - but would have a carbon fibre inner shell which would give the same level of protection as the best hardcase.

Helping me with this is carbon fibre whizz Barry Noble. Barry knows all there is to know about carbon fibre and is also designer of very cool things - his most recent project is a very very neat little led torch - check his website here.

To make the Calder Ultra even lighter and stronger we're also checking out a material called Dyneema - this is the world's strongest lightest fibre - used a lot by the military and in aviation.

The guitarists from the excellent Gear Page bulletin board have been sending me loads of great feedback about the Ultra concept - you can read what they say here.

So bloggers my questions are:

-does the idea of an ultra gig bag turn you on?

- the price would be high - over $500 would you pay this ? (Remember this is a gig bag that will protect your guitar from
everything you can imagine - including a car driving over it).

- people have told me they want gig bags to be as small as possible - so the Calder Ultra would have just slim external pocket - does this sound good to you?

-because of the hard shell it would not be possible to undo the zip halfway and then slip your guitar out of the Ultra like a regular gig bag. The ultra would have to be put down and fully opened like a hard case. Would this be a major disadvantage?

- colours - black or something more distinctive and heat reflecting?

I'll post some sketches I've done of the Ultra design - different from the designs you've seen so far - tomorrow.

....love your guitar

category: early development

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Cool Guys

Thanks to Tom at the indispensable Music Thing for his mention of my Gig Bag post.

And thanks to Blaine Brownell from Princeton University who responded so helpfully to my enquiry. Blaine's website on materials and much more is Transstudio and he writes writes the Product of the Week email newsletter - a thing of utility and elegance.

And big thanks to Dave Burrluck who writes for the UK edition of Guitarist magazine. Dave gave me an hour of his time and a hugely valuable number of insights on the way guitarists transport their instruments and the market for gig bags vs cases - this kind of support make my life so much richer.

Calder Guitar Case Story Ch 17 Summer update

August 05

Everyone going on holiday...frustrating month.

Gig Bag prototype tool is being made up in the North of England - should be ready 19th Sept - nothing to do but be patient with this one.

Hard Case outer shell - processing the CURV polyprop material for the shell is tricky - its a new material and few companies have processed it. Hoped to run trials in Italy but then it seemed the people there couldn't do it. NetComposites boss Gordon Bishop suggested making a trial moulding tool but at first pass I rejected this as it seemed too expensive and time consuming. Told him I would probably just go ahead and make a full size aluminium production tool and hope that it worked....

Hopes raised when heard from CURV manufacturer that a major luggage manufacturer was launching a range of cases made in CURV. It seemed these people would let us come and see what they were doing. I was hopeful that seeing their production line would give me the confidence to go ahead with our product. More frustration when the company declared they were too busy to see us - come back in 3 months they said...great (not).

Hard Case interior - another challenging component. We want to make the core of the case and the lining all in one shot. This is a known process but we can't find anyone doing it at the moment. So more hours web trawling and more phone calls. I get lucky with a great guy Bob Collins from Bayer MaterialScience. He knows almost everyone in this line of business and gives me lots of leads - some of whom are encouragingly positive. Others worry me by telling me all the problems involved and the high cost of tooling...fuck why did I ever start this project?

Sept - at last the holiday season ends...kids are going to school and people to work.

Webtrawl picks up John Mcloughlin a plastics consultant who's also a musician. He gives a load of information (some of which I understand) and another bunch of possible leads. Seem to hit jackpot with Thompson Plastics- talk to their Group Projects Manager Iain Douglas - he's direct and to the point. Tells me they can do and why don't they do the hard shell as well?
This can do attitude is what I need. This week they should get back to me with quotes for tooling and processing.

Out of the blue comes an email from Giacomo dal Busco at the Italian company Engineering Team. He's back from holiday and they've run some trials with CURV using our prototype mould. They used a diaphragm machine (imagine a huge tough balloon that presses the preheated material over the mould. Because of this technique the definition is poor but the great thing for me is that there is no folding. Its these tight corners that are the most difficult to mould CURV round...hey maybe this thing is going to work after all. Here's a pic Giacomo sent - you get an idea of how the CURV material looks.

category: early development

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