Project MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT, Chapter Two – Prototyping

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Making prototypes can be a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end

Last time we made it to finalising our plans and outline a more or less clear concept about the finished products. However, these concepts are still subject to change and need a series of tests to make it to water cutting.

Why Prototyping?

A knifemaker has plenty of options for adjustment when hand crafting knives. This is not so when the process is taken up a notch and indurstrial methods are introduced. When we would send the plans to water cutting, we wanted to make sure that everything is right, and this made rigorous testing necessary.

The target areas of the test series were blade proportions and ergonomy. Everything looks different on the monitor, so we wanted to have a model that we could see in the flesh. On the other hand, grabbing even the blade blank tells a ton of information about the ergonomy, so that was the other aspect that we examined.

The Method

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Matt cutting the plywood

So we grabbed the plans and sent it over to FabLab Budapest to have them laser cut out of 3mm plywood. Plywood was the cheapest possible material that was suitable for prototyping, so we went with that.

The guys at FabLab were a dream to work with. George sent the drawings one night by e-mail and he could pick up the models next morning, and the whole job cost only a few bucks. And the result? Turned out quite nice. Looks like the guys at FabLab know their machines, since the cut was smooth and aside from some defects in the plywood, the models were perfect.

The plan was to create notes based on the test results of these blanks, make changes accordig to these notes on the drawings, send it over for laser cutting, then repeat until satisfied with the model. Matt stated however, that „I aint gonna spend all my beer money on plywood models”, and that „Dude, I can totally cut these out by hand”, and so did he.

 

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The model was in there, we just had to remove the rest

From that on, Matt made plywood models by hand that he outlined from paper printings. This seems like a step back, but the crew had more time at that point than money, so it seemed like a good tradeoff. Needless to say, the result was less tidy than the laser cut version, but it did the job.

All the concepts needed two or three iteration cycles before we were satisfied with the results. At this point, George put on the last bits and pieces that would have only interfered with the testing, did the last checkup and prepared the drawings to send them over for water cutting. We’re going to to talk about that in the next chapter. See you next time!

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Matt’s finished prototype

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