While September 22nd was technically the first day of fall, today it’s really setting in. Much needed rain is falling, and the guilt of relaxing inside is gone. Being born and raised in the PNW, I am used to cramming 12 months of social activities into our brief summer period. COVID has only augmented this reality, so we’ve made the most of every nice weekend to visit friends and family, which is why there hasn’t been an update to this site since May despite a lot of really big news.
First off, while this may not be exciting for you, it’s super exciting to me as a composites engineer: We recently replaced the original single cavity carbon molds with a four-cavity press-compatible tool that will signficantly increase throughput of the structural core sections. As a bonus, it will reduce in-process manufauctring waste. Curing carbon fiber in an oven or autoclave generates a lot of consumables waste from vacuum bags to tacky-tape. The press eliminates the need for those materials, and uses less energy.
Second, and perhaps much more exciting to potential customers, is an investment in new assembly jigs which both increase throughput and allow custom sizing of Project Cedrus from 55cm to 96cm. I am grateful for my customers, and when a loyal rider asked for a 55cm mast for a shallow site, I invested in new tooling to make it for him. We can now offer 17 different lengths, basically in increments of 1inch, for the perfect custom foil length. Because every adapter is slightly different, I provide a rough sizing table below (and on the purchase page), but we can dial in exact lengths when you place your order.
We still continue to battle supply chain challenges, but fortunately with all components produced between CA and WA, a short supply chain certainly helps. Hurricane Irma dealt a blow to the adhesives and paint indusries, with chemical plants shutting down along the Gulf coast. We saw the same effects after the Texas Freeze, and have a decent supply of materials needed, but please understand if there is additional delay to assembly as the material starts flowing again. Another challenge has been FedEx: shipments that used to take a day consistently can now take 3. I had one package of critical Clydesdale mounts stuck at the Portland hub for almost 2 weeks! In fact, the FedEx Portland hub was highlighted as a challenge in FedEx’s quarterly earnings call. They are severely understaffed for even normal volumes, and almost handcuffed under COVID-19 and approaching Holiday volumes. I want to thank these workers for everything they do, and also request everyone else consider every purchase they make to reduce the burden on these people and on our environment.
Finally, in an effort to reduce the load on my website email submission forms, I want to say something about an Armstrong adapter. I am not one to announce products before they are ready. It’s one of the things I appreciated most about my time at Apple, and also one of the things that frustrates me most as a customer of technologically advanced products. If it’s not ready, don’t tease. But I don’t have the bandwidth to respond to every email, and I also may need a little crowd-funding for this product. It is not possible to machine an Armstrong adapter for Project Cedrus, at least at a reasonable cost. The long hexagonal pocket would require many tool passes and design changes to accomodate a CNC process; there’s a reason Armstrong molds it out of carbon fiber.
I am exploring casting, metal 3D printing (out of Titanium), and even molding out of carbon fiber. Either way, this will not be a $100 adapter. I’ll be completely transperant with you so you understand the economics, in case you are interested. Metal 3D printing would cost about $450/each. That’s ZERO markup by me, which I am actually OK with, because I want to create value for my customers who have invested in a mast. Casting out of aluminum is quite reasonable on a per-part cost, at only $20… but that requires an $8,000 invesment into a casting mold! Carbon fiber would probably be on the order of a few hundred dollars per part, but with a cheaper mold of maybe $1-2k. I already have some customers willing to spend $450 on a 3D printed Titanium adapter, and will let you know if/when I place this order. I still have some [plastic] 3D printing fit-checks, so stay tuned to Instagram or send me a note if you are interested.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to thank my customers for an amazing summer. It’s been really hard to be honest, managing a full time job, and this project on the side, with a toddler. But every time I get an email from someone telling me how much they love the ride, it makes everything worth it. I want to thank my retail partners, who have been patient with me while I scale my manufacturing, and this includes Tucker @ MACkite, TJ @ Big Winds, Kevin @ Sunset Sailboards, and finally Patrick and Josh @ The Foil Shop; it is an honor to do business with you. And thank you to everyone who helps me build these beautiful masts, including but not limited to Kris @ PCT, Devin, Stringy, and the CRTC. And thank you to those considering a purchase for your patience and understanding!