So it seems building 30 trumpets in 30 is quite difficult, but not impossible. What makes this goal difficult are all the other happenings in my life like building out the showroom space in the evenings, supplier issues that have resulted in me building even more custom parts myself and Oscar's need of attention. Oscar probably keeps me sane when I work this much. Regular breaks to play catch or tag are important to any trumpet shop!
I know what else slows me down, incredibly difficult custom artwork and text. I love this part of the process almost as much as playing trumpet, but it can be very involved computer and machining time that tests my brain, patience and focus. I'm learning to be one with the process and things are getting faster and easier everyday. I wonder how many readers would persevere just one of these design/machining projects? It is to the point where my mind shuts down if I'm not thinking about something requiring multiple layers of steps, rules and warnings. I'm not kidding. I subscribed to Netflix a few weeks ago and have found that almost anything will put me to sleep in around 183 seconds. Documentaries keep me up for about 9 minutes. Reading while watching a documentary will keep me up all night depending on the text. What is wrong with me? Is it possible I may have forgotten how to turn my mind off?
Either way, I'll do my best to meet this ridiculous goal. I know many people think Harrelson Trumpets are made in a factory of "workers", but in reality, I make them myself. I design and machine each part personally and assemble/solder them daily. James cleans them up and I inspect final assembly, make adjustments and play test before we ship.
The latest news in the shop, I'm buying another cnc lathe to put more parts into production this summer. This will include new types of receivers, new SWE trim kit designs, new SWE mouthpiece sleeves and bell/tuning slide couplers. There's nothing more fun than learning something completely new like the nuances of a robotic piece of machinery and it's own special (most likely Fanuc) language!
back to work...
Somehow Summer is suddenly here. Yesterday was ninety degrees and today will be ninety five. Seasons come and go yet I measure time in progress, ideas and physical representations of these. Here's a quick recap of the past two years...
Summer 2009 - delayed moving back to Nevada when 2011ITG Minneapolis was announced
Winter 2009 - moved into new 4000 sqft shop space in Minneapolis, needed room for larger machinery
Summer 2010 - installed new machining center, began reading the manual to learn new programming
Autumn 2010 - finished building new modular fixture/jig system and began cutting HT parts
- built first SWE tuning slide milled from two solid brass bars
- moved production of following parts to new machining center:
- elliptical & ergonomic finger rings
- Bravura, Summit, HT3/4/5 braces
- mouthpiece receivers for all instruments
- all custom milling & engraving
- new jigs and fixtures used with other production techniques
- prototyped bracing for new Bravura Flugel coming summer 2011
Winter 2010 - completed 5th generation revision of SWE tuning slides for Summit trumpet and 2nd generation SWE tuning slides for Gravity. Seven generations total in around 6 months accounts for the majority of my time this period. Learned new software to increase artistic production limits.
Spring 2011 - Designed & Built latest Summit Art Nouveau (major undertaking), Summit ONE, built first SWE leadpipe (2 milled bars), created dovetail magnetic lock leadpipe and bell system to be introduced in new demo trumpets being built this summer, dovetail modular finger ring system, showed progress at ITG in Minneapolis, which was a huge success and a ton of fun!
Summer 2011 - since summer just started, I'm not really sure how things will go, but my goals include:
- build first SWE bell for Elliptiphone
- introduce SWE tuning slides for Bach trumpets
- debut new Bravura Flugelhorn
- debut new Bravura piccolo (4-valve)
- debut Summit M, incorporates dovetail modular leadpipe system
- take delivery of second machining center equipped with rotary 4th axis
So I guess it is summer, maybe I'll take my boat out this weekend!