Bluesky and Vaporware

Lab curiosities and bluesky products were some of the things we used to avoid during my tenure as a corporate guy. Sure, sometimes you needed to develop a tool or process which would never see the light of day, other than on the plant floor, and thats fine. The danger however is when you end up thinking that some bluesky thing is going to sell, and its even more dangerous if you think its going to be big. Granted, one can blow this, we had the concept of the Iphone on a bar napkin some 10 years prior to its release… we figured it would never have enough volume to get the price point down to a reasonable level.

That being said, back in the day, we had a bi=yearly push to get the catalog out to the print shop. Often times this meant we had to mock up new products well before they were complete, and in some cases well before we created a single drawing…

And then 6-12 months later, once we had a game plan in place development wise, there would always be one or two products which were just not feasible. Perhaps marketing was too optimistic on pricing. Perhaps thermodynamics threw a wrench into things mid way through. Perhaps there were mechanical reasons as to why something could never be that we had missed in our mockups.

Thus, for a 2 year cycle, we might have customers asking for the impossible… yes, we created vaporware.

And thats a common problem with cad systems. Its really easy to draw up something super cool, only to find out there are physical characteristics which prohibit it from ever coming to fruition.

Which is exaactly what I did a couple months back…. namely, when I end up with leftover and/or scrapped material, I’ll crank out a quick drawing to try and reuse it elsehwere. Most typically my scrap becomes shop tooling…

Except when I fail to consider the strength of a given used material, where things start making noise, often followed by a catostrophic failure. I’d picked up some water damaged plywood from alongside the road… and while it was no good for a customer project, I figured hey I can used this. Well, it turned out to be much weaker than expected, so evem with a modest safety margin, it went boom as soon as I started putting it under tension.

And I d

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