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The Fruits of your Labor

It says it right on my home page: "Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea.". Those words could not have been truer when I drove to High Point, North Carolina Sunday for the High Point Market; a semi-annual furniture showcase. No, I did not need furniture, or collect furniture, or was just bored. I was there to see see the fruits of my labor.

About little over two years ago, a client reached out to me via Upwork needing help developing his idea for pipe furniture. He had fantastic ideas but was no drafter or CAD Designer. Moshe needed his modern industrial "pipe furniture" brought to life. At first it was just to create the fittings that were to be based on cast iron pipe fittings, but made of aluminum. I created the 3D CAD files and manufacturing prints within the week and submitted. Job well done. I thought that was the end of that relationship. About a month passes and some revisions are needed based on his manufacturing process. Then one thing leads to another; next thing I know, I am being asked to be there primary CAD designer and bring to life 30 units for their launch.

I get stated right away developing ideas that I have learned in my past few years as a mechanical designer. I find the screws I want to use, various fastening systems, fittings, etc... I get a workflow put together for streamlining the creation of each furniture assembly. Its comical now, but I was creating 3D CAD models from line sketches done on notebook paper (and that is perfectly fine by me!). About two months into the process, Moshe brings on a new member to the team (Ave) to handle production and work with me with the designs. At first we butt heads as I had worked so hard in developing the product. It was "lets no use this screw, but let's use this one instead". I very persistent at first as I was looking at it from a design aspect alone and not a cost vs functionality aspect. Ave looked at it from cost and sourcing standpoint and we eventually came up with a very good design aspect for the furniture.

I blaze though 30 units (I say that but it took a while lol), but then more units are needed as they wanted a good repertoire of units to start with as not all would make the cut. Then just when I think I have a job well finished, I am asked to create Assembly Instructions, wood drawings, mounting templates--basically the whole nine yards of what comes with the territory of furniture. I loved every second of it. Little ol' me--Mr. mechanical designer, never created the first piece of furniture in his life in CAD had just created all the documentation for 30+ units of furniture.

As the design process goes, once they went into pre-production, we ran into minor changes to the product and hit some snags along the way. There was nothing we couldn't overcome! If a problem presented itself, we remedied it immediately and waited for the next one to show face.

Then one day I get some pictures from my client...our real life--not a rendering, not a CAD file. There it was, a coffee table, a shelf, a side table, etc... It was really happening--product that I helped design was actually being produced!

Fast forward about a year and I get an invite to High Point Market; one of the largest furniture expos in the world.. Moshe & Ave were down for the week about an hour from me in High Point to showcase their furniture. My wife and I drive up to meet them for the day. Other than Skype, Slack, phone or text messages, I had yet to meet in person the two that I had worked so hard and long with on this project. Setup proudly behind them were about 20 or so of our units out there on display for the world to see!! As the CAD designer, I could not be prouder!!! I cannot express enough to anyone that doesn't understand my profession that seeing product in real life that you had a hand in creating is mesmerizing! I could not stop look at the furniture, touching it, and picking it up. I bet I looked at every unit ten times. Each of those times pointing out the design nuances that had come along--remembering the lines I had drawn, the math I had figured, the dimensions that I placed, the fasteners that I had picked. Somewhere on each unit is a piece of Scott Lester Drafting & Design. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world.

#CAD #solidedge #design #drafting

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