Friday, October 02, 2009

The shop

while this blog is really about running around in the mountains, I figured it was time to do a post on where I spend the vast majority of my time these days (especially recently!)
The shop started in the basement of a rental, not much, just the Juki and a small table. It eventually moved into a 1 car garage and had a bit more breathing room. Since then I've moved 3 times due to crappy housing situations until this spring when my friend Jeff granted me sweatshop Asylum. I've been taking up like half to 2/3rds of his garage ever since, slowly inching outwards (don't worry man, I'm done for a while!).

Chaos generally prevails:

This is the fulfillment center, finished stuff waits more finished stuff, then gets boxed up and weighed.

The big table: Originally I used the floor when I started out, then got some drafting tables.. Then built a 4x8 table, then expanded it to 6 x 8.. now it's 6x10 with fabric storage underneath (key...)

The big table is used for everything, but when it comes time to do a major cutting session - the thing gets cleared off completely and this comes out:

It will go through 5 layers of VX21 pretty well which lets me cut, well 5x as much...

Using lighters to sear the ends of webbing got old, a dedicated soldering gun was not much better, so I picked up this hot knife chopper. Makes chopping webbing oh so fun.

It's not on Surly's website yet, but it soon will be. It gets very very hot and I'll be happy come winter when my hands are numb.

Machine time:
Ms. Juki (DNU -241H) has been with me from the start and has made everything with an Epic Designs logo on it to date. It's former life was doing repair work for the coast guard. Smooth running and simple, it has never given me any problems or needed really any work or adjustments. With Big Brother in the house, ms Juki will be doing binding duties and other special tasks.

Big Brother... B891-705 This beast arrived on a palate shipped by truck from Tennessee yesterday. It's not your grandma's singer that's for sure. Tony and I muscled it's 250 lb+ girth into ms. Juki's old spot. I think it came out of an automotive seat factory - so I'm happy that it's new life will be in making bike gear. I wanted a machine geared towards efficiency and production - It's more machine than I really need, but once you make the jump from a basic walking foot and want features like thread trimming, needle position, auto back tacking etc, it's all or nothing. Used machines are good since they are broken in, and easily half the price of new ones. I had to buy a small air compressor today to get all the functions working. Its nuts and somewhat intimidating, very, very fast, yet controllable with a computerized servo motor and no I don't know how to really use it yet. Eating rice and beans for capital investments works.

Bartack - LK 1852. This machine is great, although somewhat fickle at times. I'm still learning it's nuances, since what it does - it does ridiculously fast and it's hard to tell what went wrong. See the video below...
Bartack reinforces key stress points and makes simple attachments easier and faster. it's also a major time saver for finishing off webbing ends.

The shelf - all the raw materials go there like zippers, velcro, webbing, buckles. It's on it's last legs, I don't think it will survive another move... the sound system typically is blaring mindless repetitive music, gotta keep the groove on somehow.

and I almost forgot - Shop Mascot and constant play needer: Lucy Dog

If there is dog hair in your velcro, it's not my fault!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!


Dave said...

Still love the smoking needle.

The brotha looks like a beast. Does that LED display up top include a self-destruct option?

Roman Dial said...

That Juki Bartack is like som sorta automatic weapon

coastkid said...

weapons of mass (bag)construction!,that brotha is a beast alright! nice

Eric said...

yeah Dave - it shoots laser beams!

Adam said...

Awesome post!

Re: the air compressor -- I visited Rickshaw Bagworks factory while they were setting it up, and they have copper piping run along the exposed brick walls carrying compressed air from the central compressor to all the machines that need it. Crazy.

Tommy said...

I guess you need a weapon permit for a Bartack - LK 1852. lol

Vik said...

Glad business is going well. You make great stuff!

karen said...

Sure blame the dog :-)

Thanks for the tour, pretty neat set up.