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Volpe's Velox gossip


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Steve A
Heavyweight Member


Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 1454
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They sent this update on October 4th:

Hi Velox and Coyote folks,

Finally, some news!

FIRST - an apology. I know this has been beyond frustrating for many of you. I hope you will trust me when I say I am up at night agonizing over this process and the fact that I’ve let many people down. We had to let our operations manager go in 2018 and I have been taking over most of her tasks (shipping, inventory, ordering), which has taken me further away from the Velox/Coyote project than I wanted. HOWEVER, we have recently hired an individual from another leather goods company who will be transitioning into a shop management position over the next several months - this will include jobs held by the previous operations manager. Which means (good news!) I’m finally back on this project at full steam and will be making faster progress than I have been over the last two years. I am truly sorry for all I’ve put you through, and greatly appreciate those of you who have reached out with encouraging words and support. The Velox and Coyote are now rolling again at a hurried pace.

NOW the details (if you don’t want to read through all of these, you can scroll to the end paragraph for the conclusion):

Over the past several months, HED Cycle has been working with us to refine and finish this case so that we can start producing parts. It’s a little bit bitter sweet for me, as I really intended to make these in-house. It’s an expensive process without middlemen! However, HED knows what they are doing, at least with compression molding, which is where this is headed (see what I did there?).

Here’s what I’ve learned from them from our experiments and conversations:

Heated compression molding is much faster than bagging. A mold this size may have more delays from required cooling off than actually making a part!

Their process allows for fairly sloppy layup, as the fibers can be squished into place later with pressures around 150psi. They can actually bend 1 inch aluminum flanges and have to press them back in place after some number of parts! The much more common bagging pressure is about 15psi. What they didn’t like about our bagging experiments was that the layup has to be perfect, and that can take an hour or more per part, plus de-bulking vacuum steps. None of their parts were cosmetically perfect, as they just didn’t have the patience for building 3 bags/part. That’s good, in my opinion — they are pushing me toward a true space-grade or hyper-car process.

With 150psi, the risk of a bad part is mostly eliminated. There is almost no risk of bridging or air entrapment.

There are some disadvantages:

The honeycomb will have to be added later, maybe by us. Since that’s a straight piece needed only on the sides, it will be easy to do, but is definitely a step that will have to be added. We are trying to produce parts that would not require that — I’ve seen some carbon bike seats they made that do NOT flex, but still have very thin walls and weigh basically nothing.

We will also have to have these top-coat sprayed either at Torpedo Bags or by a third party, as compression molding reveals some minor flaws in the layup. HED is not set up for that kind of smelly off-gassing. We have access to a large spray booth on site, so in the short term this won’t be a big deal to do ourselves.

As it stands, they have a 5 axis CNC tool in house, and we’ve located a vendor who can supply aluminum blocks big enough to cut, once again, a new mold. The laborious portion of this project were the CAD drawings, which were completed in late 2017, so this shouldn’t take terribly long. The interior CAD molds are long since drawn as well (for the injected foam), and I’m borrowing one of their “nerds” to help us cut them on our CNC machine.


CONCLUSIONS: I hesitate to provide a timeframe, as that has gotten me in trouble in the past - although I know that’s really what you want. But I am still investing time and money into the project (and I’m feeling re-energized and less frustrated on this project with HED's expert help and advice). Since I’ve decided to move forward and turn this over to HED, my personal time will become less of an issue. They are a much larger company, and will be able to deliver a little easier than we could do in-house. And now that we have an individual helping with shipping/shop duties (Lindsey has been adding more time in the shop to take over some of my tasks as well), I am a bit more flexible to devote more time to finishing this and FINALLY getting you patient folks your cases.

Stay tuned, and please stay patient — Lindsey loves hearing from people, but about 2 people on the waiting list have really impacted her sanity (and are rejecting a refund, which is really counterproductive). I have told her more than once that we deserve some complaints, and I’m very empathetic with everyone’s frustrations, but it is really not her fault. She isn’t as involved in the project as I am, so she really doesn’t have more information than a basic “we’re working on it”. She’s probably more upset with me than you folks are.

I gave HED the go-ahead, so they’re off and running. Since I am pushing forward faster than I have in the last couple years, I hope to have Velox cases to ship shortly after the new year (the Coyote should follow a few months after that). While the holidays get busy and certainly can get in the way of things, I have Lindsey and our new shop employee helping with the rush, which won’t take away as much of my time as it has in the past.

Thank you again! Happy fall!

Steve
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