On the road again

by Devin on May 25, 2012

Miles and miles.

To prototype the Boiler, I only had to go as far as my back porch. To make the first large batch, it was across town. But ever since, I’ve been hitting the highway – in search of capacity and capability. I’ve put thousand of miles on my car to meet potential contract manufacturers and check on production.

I see these trips as pilgrimages, where I seek brothers(or sisters)-in-arms. Those who take as much care in how they make things as I do. Together we fight against boring, facsimilied, or poorly made products.

Even for a drive, I choose an alpine start. Pre-dawn, to make a mid-afternoon meeting hours away, then it’s back into the car to make it home by nightfall, and then off to the day job tomorrow. If not, it’s a low-rent hotel or youth hostel – badges of the bootstrapped. My soundtrack is a mixture of NPR, tech podcasts, and science fiction. Nina Totenberg, Steven Levy, and Robert Heinlein.

Last week, I made a promising trek to the North East and met with two shops. One to form the Boiler’s parts, the other to cut and assemble. I find out if the forming shop has the right stuff by June 15, and the assembly shop two weeks thereafter. I haven’t always made the right assessment of a manufacturer’s capabilities, but I’m cautiously optimistic about these two. Less talk, more timetables.