Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Homemade Hardware

Bronze flat stock hammered into gudgeons, pintles, and straps to hold the tang of the tiller. Gudgeons attach the the stern of the boat and provide a pivot point for the pintles. Pintles are attached to the rudder and allow it to be unshipped at will. These are made in-house, by hand, providing employment, training skills, and reducing transport and manufacturing cost elsewhere, keeping the embedded expenses lower.

The fact that they are made "in house" is rather pleasant since I enjoy the "how" of making things. It is the actual manipulation of materials as well as the challenge of problem solving that interests me. The reality of these parts are a number of things. They are not readily available, not "off the shelf" items. The foundry that might cast them for us is in Port Townsend, Washington, 4000 miles away, and freight is expensive for heavy metal parts. If they were to be made in China, we would have translation difficulties, the travel time for freight is long, drawings & patterns would be made, the first ones coming back would be incorrect, the materials may not be standardized, etc. If we were making hundreds of thousands of units, the risks might be worth it, but we only needed what you see above, one or two of each piece and all of them different sizes that fit different places. These could be adjusted and adapted for fit. They were done in a few days.

1 comment:

Professor Fleming said...

how does your comments relate to the idea of a green economy - locally skilled laborers providing goods of service at a fair market rate. you seem to gain some satisfaction that these tools are handmade...if they were machine made in china but worked well to finish the job, would that be acceptable to you?