An Inventor's Quest for the NHL Pt. 25
Upgrading My Test Setup
This series follows my attempt to develop a product that I dream of getting into the elite levels of hockey. Previously on the Quest: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Concept Launch, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24
After my last failure, I traveled deep into the forests of the Idaho panhandle for a week of consideration, contemplation, and a whole host of other -ations.
Coincidentally, some college friends were also there for our annual reunion trip. Okay, so maybe my week was more vacation than rumination in isolation. But still, it was a nice refresh.
When I got back, a handful of boxes waited for me, containing a new testing method. Why did I need a new testing method? That last failure showed me not only the weaknesses of my cage but also the weaknesses of my garage-based testing. Of course, I could always just go back down to San Jose and test with the puck shooting machine at Extra Hour. But since my development relies so heavily on testing, the smaller the feedback loop between change and test result, the quicker I can progress.
I considered dozens of different options for a new test setup, before landing on what seemed to be the simplest and most reliable method: a drop test. I found that the gravitational potential energy of 40 lbs dropped from 3 feet high is about equal to the kinetic energy of a puck traveling at 100 mph. My toes rebelled strongly against the idea of simply dropping some weights from waist height onto the cage, so I looked into adding some bare minimum of safety.
After browsing through Amazon, I found just the thing – a cheap-ish game hoist, normally used to string up deer for skinning and whatnot. The cheap-ish part was important because I needed a winch that could be encouraged to let its load free fall back to the ground, and this one does.
Excellent! I had something that could drop the weights in a (somewhat) controlled manner. Now, I just needed the weights and a way to attach them to the game hoist. The answer was a 2” tube, which allowed me to use weight plates and clamping collars intended for barbells. For this kind of stuff, I prefer buying things off the shelf over making some complicated, custom design.
The only customization I did was at the ends of the tube. One one end, I shoved a puck into a slot in the tube so that the puck – and not the tube – would be the surface impacting the cage. On the other end, I added a rod that the hoist could hook onto.
It took a little while to come up with all the pieces of the puzzle, but it was pretty straightforward to put together in the end. I feel a lot more solid about this setup than the slingshot I had previously. Hopefully, it means that there won’t be a discrepancy between my tests and the tests with the puck-shooting machine next time around.
I have been working on modifications to the Uncage alongside this new test setup, but it’ll make more sense if I tell you about them in the next update when I know how they perform.
Until then, thanks for reading,