An Inventor's Quest for the NHL Pt. 17
This series follows my attempt to develop a product that I dream of getting into the NHL. 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
I should know better by now, but I keep hanging onto the delusion that each step of this process will be a walk in the park. La dee da, I think I’ll just have someone bend a tube into a complex curve for me so I can have a stiff and robust frame for my cage. Surely it’ll be cheap and quick, right? Right?!
Not exactly. Of the forty shops I contacted, eighteen didn’t bother to respond, fifteen either couldn’t or wouldn’t manufacture my frame, three asked me for more information and then ghosted me, and three gave me quotes of $1000, $400, and $600 – each with a month’s lead time. I don’t think I’ve spent $1000 on this whole project to date (unless you count the cost of my existence), so the quotes were a little jarring.
I had hesitated to make it myself only because I’ve never done any tube bending before. Maybe after factoring in the necessary tools and the extra material for my inevitable screw-ups, I thought, it would be cheaper (and faster) to go with a shop. But in the end, after seeing those quotes, I decided against it.
I looked into a bunch of different bending tools. (Shoutout to Spencer for his advice.) A tabletop bending tool, like this one, would have been ideal as it allows for different bend radius sizes. But it is expensive and the different bend radii required different dies, which meant more time and more money.
Using different bend radii allowed me to closely match the curvature of the helmet. But I decided that, for the sake of testing, I didn’t need to have the most aesthetically pleasing product. Changing the design to a single bend radius would let me get a cheaper tool. Which is what I did.
Here’s how the build went.
Thanks for reading and watching,