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Messages - Kord

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1
My list of material would be:
- 5 yards of 500D Cordura
- 50 yards of 1" webbing (you can most likely get a full 100 yard roll for less)
- Maybe some 1.5" or 2" if you think you'll use it, or some 1.75 if you really want to do belts
- 2" roll of hook and loop (~25-35 yards are rolls)
- Some plastic hardware that you see the need for

I bet that if you aren't picky on colors, members here could probably sort you out with all the random shit you get sent by some suppliers or just old stock.

For tools:
- A good pair of scissors. Doesn't have to be $100 pair, but nice big scissors are better to work with.
- Thread trimmers. I like the Chinese scissor types.
- Mechanical pencil with white chalk
- A grommet setting pliar. The Prym one is great if you can find those locally.
- A metal square (to draw all the boxes that are your pattern pieces)
- A lighter (to burn threads and sear webbing ends (before you fold them))

When I started out, I think my first offical order was from Gerald Schawrtz Inc., being outside the US it was nice to have a one stop shop. https://www.geraldschwartzinc.com
They have US made products as well as OCONUS which are cheaper. I've been happy enough with their products. I think they only sell webbing and fabric by the roll, but it's fairly inexpensive as to buying by the yard. Never used them, but I think Jontay might be a part of GSI or at least seem to have the same sources.
Rockywoods is a good source for low volumes.
As a beginner you can stick to one type of fabric. It's hard enough. 500d is easier to work with than 1000d.

2
SloMo,

I see that you have posted many questions. You seem to be very motivated to start sewing soon. I get the impression that you have little to no experience sewing at this point. Here is some down and dirty advice I would have been happy with in the beginning. I too started sewing while active duty. I remember looking at all the gear around me and thinking I could do it better. Once you get into sewing, you start to realize why things were made the way and why they were using the construction techniques they did.

T111
These machines are awesome for beginners. Spend the $500-1000 and be set for the next 5-10 years. I have used mine to see through 3 layers type 13 webbing over 4 layers of 1000D with 138 thread and a size 25 needle. These machine are simple enough but have a bunch of attachments.

Hot Cutter
The $20 hot gun will not come close to performing within your expectations. They're fine for small runs if you're melting 5038 (binding webbing) or maybe 17337, but will barely cut 55301. It will also be extremely under powered to melt belt weight webbing like type 7 or 13.
Your table idea sounds cool, but when it comes to webbing, however, I find that I usually cut my webbing long and then cut it to size after its attached to the fabric. Obviously there are many reasons for cutting webbing to length, but I think I you'll find your table to be excessive and that monry could have been spent elsewhere.

Laser cut material
Can be lighter in certain applications, will potentially be heavier for your designs at first.
But I'm not going to tell you how to design your gear. Here is my recommendation for getting started though.
Purchase:
5 yards of 500D
100 yards 1" 5038 (binding)
25 yards 1" 17337
25 yards 1" 55301
25 yards type 7, a couple plastic 1.75" cobra buckles
Some 1" plastic buckles like SRB's
With the above materials, make a couple of common pouches - M4 mag pouch, 6x6 general purpose pouch, canteen pouch. You'll get a feel for measuring, cutting, layout, layer buildup, machine tolerances, etc.

I say all this because the gear I built in my head before I bought a sewing machine looked glorious on paper but didn't work in reality. Hell, i just built a bunch of pouches that i thought would be amazing, using a new to me sewing technique, and they all failed miserably.

Think of sewing like an AR15 - the barbie doll for men - I can buy a bunch of parts, and build a gun, but if I don't understand the weapon system, the firearm won't function. It takes the experience of an armorer to make the parts work in harmony. Same with sewing.

3
I have been reading threads. All are good in their own way for me to read.

So, hot knife - a simple $20 soldering iron with sharp edge will do? It seems a salvaged or recycled glass door/table top with a measuring chart beneath it will do wonders for clean and consistent lines.

What other things would be nice?

I would be interested in the whole laser cut aspect, it looks very sharp and well.. I am not certain that it 'weighs less' comparing 1000D and 1" webbing versus multiple layers of 1000D with the top laser cut.. though it is clean. I like that and have been interested. On a side inquiry - is the HANK/CSM/Hypalon worth getting into? That is another 'trend'.

I have seen some ebay laser cutters.. dunno a thing about it.

I want to do belts, carriers and other bits. Nothing too major yet. I have ideas that.. is in my head. However, refining it and producing them will be a compromise of reality of cost versus skill.

Would it be more cost effective to learn simple sewing technique and use 'chalk lines'(a colored pencil, lightly scribed on materials) with manual effort? I am.. 'cheap'. Less invested.. means more rapid recoup investment. Yes it takes extra time.. but.. $8000 invested is easier to pay off than $20,000.

Ideally would like to keep costs low, do this in my spare time and.. six years down the line when I exit strategy military.. I will have my shop complete.

I used to be an automotive technician. I invested into some gunsmithing lessons.. I want to have a do all building. Jack of trades. Fix up and flip vintage cars, turn a few 1911's and AR's, keep up with the multi-gun shooting and maybe flip some tacticool gears.

Keep myself in reasonable living. Wife wants to be back working then. Kid will be doing school. We both will be in late thirties.

Offer me insight and advice please? I want this to work while potentially driving a schoolbus part time and taking a large roll at the family farm.

I am open minded and receptive. Have been mentoring with skilled persons from all trades. Time for my dreams to culminate.

My goals are small scale and simple. Not wanting to be the next crye or anything.

Please guide me?

Thank you
SloMOguy

4
Packs and bags / Proton Pack - Sling Messenger Bag
« on: October 29, 2018, 08:04:20 AM »
Adapted my pattern for a smaller waist/slingpack and elongated the body and widend it by an inch. I am digging it!

1680D nylon with 420 packcloth (teal) interior.






5
Workspace, tools, machinery, and manufacturing / Bartacker jigs
« on: October 25, 2018, 11:49:00 AM »
I have made a few jigs for my bartacker. they are cut in 3mm acrylics





6
Off Topic / Re: Pricing Methodology?
« on: October 31, 2016, 12:14:53 PM »
Here's how we did it:

We made a big old spreadsheet, but guessed at many of the numbers. The materials list got very specific as we bought and paid for things (material, hardware, labels, tags, stickers that we include, etc.). The labor time and rate is really variable - we're getting faster, and we're now paying some part time people, but we estimated sort of optimistically how long it would take to make stuff. Overhead is important, but we had to largely estimate/guess at that (rent, electricity, machine maintenance, website, marketing, insurance, city and state permits and taxes, CPA, etc).

All of those things are your costs, and if you want to be profitable, your price has to cover your costs. (As others have said above.)

One thing I didn't see mentioned: if you think you might want to ever sell in stores, then take your profitable price and double it to establish your retail price. If you sell wholesale, you'll need to knock 40-50% off of the retail price to set your wholesale price. If you don't set your retail price with that in mind, you could be sorta screwed later. If your retail price just covers your cost and time, then you won't be able to give discounts to wholesale buyers. Not everyone wants to do that, of course, but if you're thinking along those lines, go ahead and prepare for it now. If you end up just selling direct-retail at inflated prices, then congratulations on your additional profit.

We don't try to compete on price. We cannot compete on price with Chinese, Indian, or other large scale factory operations. They will simply be cheaper. It would just be a race to the bottom to try to get cheap enough to compete, and we'd end up living in a way that we don't want to live. What's the point of starting your own business if you're just recreating some corporate profit farm? Instead, we compete on quality, uncompromised technical merit, and throw in some "Made in the USA" pride. It's working ok. We're not rich yet, but we're very happy with what we're producing.

7
Everything else / Laser cut project
« on: June 03, 2016, 04:36:47 PM »
My son is graduating high school this year and headed to the Marines this summer, he asked me to help him decorate his cap. I had a few yards of Marine fabric that I thought would work great.
Some parents have a "Cricket" paper cutter, I have a laser. It took a few hours and three test cuts to get it the way I wanted it. I learn a little more about my programs every time I try something new. The image was off the web and needed some work to get it to cut properly.
Enjoy, Scott



8
Off Topic / Re: Pricing Methodology?
« on: January 27, 2016, 10:33:08 PM »
<snip>add up every buckle/ inch of webbing etc and then pay yourself a fixed hourly rate<snip>

BOM.  Bill Of Materials.  It's tedious and necessary.  Don't forget to weigh your thread, preferably in grams, before and after sewing the item.  Track length, area, piece, minute, weight, and every minute detail for accurate costing.

Techniques, speed, accuracy, etc need to be developed and consistent prior to establishing an accurate hourly rate.  What's the cost per square foot of the operation?  Payroll, electric, water, climate control, insurance, rent/mortgage, etc, etc, etc.  Until then, there's no reason one couldn't experiment with different hourly rates to see how it translates against market retail pricing.  It's intriguing to see how different hourly rates translate to retail pricing in a spreadsheet.  On top of all that, add what you'd like to earn an hour.

Don't be bashful about your rate; In order for a business to be sustainable, a certain amount of revenue must generated.

9
The office / Re: Packaging critiques
« on: January 27, 2016, 07:38:19 PM »
So here's the packaging with sling inserted.  It's definitely a little tight, so I may need to either shrink the insert or grow the bag for the next run.

Joel

Photo Jan 27, 21 25 00 by X Echo 1, on Flickr

10
Yes.  Get the 60 watt if possible.

As I prefer to offer information for one to make an informed decision, perhaps related musings would be more appropriate...

-  Are you aware of any makerspaces or similar nearby?  Often times they have lasers of varying sizes and outputs.  Map of hackerspaces.  There's a laser cutter in Yakima ;D.  The right places will have people tripping over themselves to help.  Sometimes the help is helpful.  Other times the help is less than helpful.  Be careful of know it alls who will crash your machine or put their greasy hands all over your pretty fabric.

-  I bought a month membership at a nearby TechShop to use their Universal VLS 4.60s.  Please note that not all TechShop locations use the same brand and/or model of lasers.  The price of admission was worth it-  There was an hour long orientation class and then they turn you loose.  It was very, very useful to have alone time with the laser to understand better how to use it.  After that, I was able to use an Epilog Helix for a few hours at the local rep.  There were some manufacturing creature comforts on the Epilog that sold me.

-  I do not understand the cutting speed difference between a 50 and 60 watt laser as every laser I've used has been 60 watts or higher.  On Hypalon and similar engineered fabrics, the 60 watt Helix, at 100% power, maxes out at about 75-80% speed to consistently cut through35oz.  Any faster and 60 watts doesn't have the oomph to punch through.  16oz may be cut at 100% speed on a 60 watt.  On 500D and 1000D, 100% speed may be used with approx 50% power.  Remember that, at these speeds, cut quality can begin to degrade.  Unfortunately, lasers of these types express their speeds and feeds through percentages rather than actual IPM and wattage output.

-  If rastering becomes an integral part of one's laser operation (and it will ;)), more power can be useful to increase the rastering speed.  Rastering, when the X axis moves back and forth delivering dot matrix like laser marking, can be used for all sorts of cool effects on various materials.

-  One must establish their hourly laser rate.  Without this, consistent costing and cycle times will be difficult.  It will be equally difficult understanding the difference in cut time, and thus the cost of the part, between 50% and 75% (or any other percentages) cutting speed.  Again, if the laser can't maintain cut quality above a certain speed, any additional wattage is effectively useless for the application.

-  Overbuying machinery is just good business.  I'll find a way to fill the additional capacity either through internal needs or contract cutting for clients.  There's always someone somewhere who needs something laser cut.  When it comes to table size, overbuy all day long.  When it comes to higher wattage, I'm still formulating my opinion as it applies to this application.  I do not know if a higher wattage laser, run at 50% power all the time, would last longer than a lower watt run at full tilt all day.  I was told by a rep that running a laser every day, which excites all the chemicals and whatnot, is the best way to ensure tube lift life.  I've no idea if it's true.

11
Vendors and sources / Re: M81 Woodland Webbing
« on: January 25, 2015, 11:27:10 AM »
If it's Murdock that we're getting it from, it'll be 50yd rolls... That being said, if you wanted, I could chop 20 yards off and sell it to you.

12
Pouches / Half-mesh minimalist gym bag
« on: January 18, 2015, 01:36:08 PM »
I made this a while ago, and it's still going strong. I wanted a new gym bag which had a mesh area to let my shoes dry so they wouldn't smell horrible, and hopefully stay good for longer.


One half is 500D Multicam cordura, lined with pack cloth, the other half has a mesh base and side panel.



Inside has storage pockets for organization. It's fairly compact, so it fits comfortably in the small gym lockers, but big enough for my gear.



Since I made this I added d-rings for a shoulder strap, and a matching strap. It gets a lot of use, and it still looks great. And most importantly my shoes still smell fine!

-S

13
fwiw-  stack cutting is totally possible.  I've reproduced acceptable results up to four layers thick.  Over four layers proved tricky to produce consistent, acceptable results.

14
I agree completely with your thoughts, and since February last year have been researching the best bang for my buck. I now have a laser on the way, and can only see it increasing production speed, easing manufacturing issues (as all information will be on the fabric rather than having to use jigs or guides) and opening avenues to other production methods, techniques or completely left of field opportunities.

Mine is a 130W, however I found a standard 60W could deal with Nylon and Cordura easily. 130W was chosen so the machine doesn't come redundant as I find new opportunities for it. It also means it can cut faster than the 60W machine.

At this stage all our custom bags take minimum 1hr to hand mark and cut, and between 1 - 3 hrs to sew. Simply reducing the cutting time down to 5 mins (which is being generous) is a massive time saver and for me a no brainer given the high cost of wages here in Australia. This easily reduces the bag build time by 25% - 50%. This alone allowed me to justify the machine.

Software and file format? Not entirely sure at this stage, however will be digitising my files into Adobe Illustrator, and then opening it in the native cut program. I will design the files to fit as best as possible to the bed size so little to no wasted fabric is created. This may mean I will be inserting smaller products into bigger cut projects, but this will only help ease current stock level issues. In addition I can offer these smaller products as an upsell bundle. The final thing I was considering would be to cut out "standard" sized shapes so that I can patchwork them together for our WTF style bags (these are insanely popular and having pre-cut and standardised shapes will be a massive time saver).

Srsly.  One our vests was a 47 minute marking and cutting operation.  With a laser, it's less than 5 minutes and oh so precise!  Moreover, as competent sewing machine operators are trained, a competent laser operator can set the tempo of a shop. 

As we exhaust the backlog from BLE (before laser era), on demand sewing is pretty much a reality now-  Receive order, pull fabric, select file, cut fabric, hand off to sewing.  Even when self educating on the manufacturing life cycle with a smaller laser, a single laser can constantly feed 4-8 sewing machine operators depending on the product manufactured.

The more exciting thing, to me, is the ability to do apparel with a laser.  For the most part, bags, packs, etc are relatively geometric.  With apparel, the male body is tricky.  With the female body, it melts my brain in a most wonderful way ;D  Now, with a laser, cutting all those compound curves is a matter of pressing a button.

Quote from: BOgear
My bed is 1600mm x 1000mm and is an auto-feeding conveyor belt style complete with vacuum. This means I don't need to pre-slit the fabric down to a usable width, and can leave the machine run for a single bag or multiple bags (it just keeps feeding itself).

Exhaust is something I am still considering, however once I have the machine will let you know more. It does need an extraction system, however am not sure how to duct it, where to send the gasses, and whether or not to scrub the gasses.

Below freezing winter temperatures? I have the complete opposite; we are currently experiencing 37C days here in Brisbane, with temperatures in my studio easily hitting 40C. Humidity is through the roof so I am worried about how the machine will handle it. The machine will be supplied with a cooler/chiller, so it should be able to cope, however I may need to make this more robust/future proof it.

Again I don't have the machine as it is being custom built for me, but once I have it correctly set up and installed I will share all that I can.

I'm super anxious to see the new machine!

15
Guys,
I wanted to get some conversation started on Co2 laser tables for cutting textiles.
As we all know, cutting and marking fabric for complex bags and pouches quickly grows old.
I'm interested to know about software and file format that is used in the industry.

Pick your favorite lightweight, 2D CAD software.  Make everything in DXFs.  A machine may have its own proprietary CAM but everything speaks DXF.  Start with DXF.  DXF.  DXF.  Then convert/export/import as necessary.

Quote from: SunriseTacticalGear
I would like to get some thoughts on table size. Is there a size that would work best for us, considering the standard width of Nylons (500-1,000 denier) fabrics that we use?

A machine with a 60" dimension, if one can afford it, would be ideal.  Pricing on a machine of reputable manufacture with those dimensions gets expensive.  Kern would be the for a larger machine.  Anything smaller and one should check out Epilog and/or Universal.

Quote from: SunriseTacticalGear
What kind of power requirements and exhaust will be needed?

So long as one is only after a non metal cutting laser, power requirements are easy.  While most modern lasers have built in voltage switching, they all should be able to run on 110VAC.

Don't be in a hurry to overspend on power.  Most lasers of this type aren't built (rigidly enough) to provide accurate cutting at high speeds.  This means that even though the machine is perfectly capable of traveling X inches/min, it doesn't mean it will provide a quality cut around curves.  These aren't CNC VMCs whittling pretty things out of steel.  Chatter, especially on radii, will be evident at higher speeds.  If one is not concerned with cut quality, one may plow the laser at 100% speed and set the power appropriately.

It really depends on one's manufacturing outlook-  do you want to cram and jam, "good enough," parts through your machine or do you wish to have a quality cut at a respectable speed?  There are circumstances where price is more of a concern than quality and that's ok.

I'd much rather spend money on a larger table than higher wattage.  A 60 watt rating, on a reputable manufacture laser, will be plenty.  Again, if you want a quality cut, one can only run the machine so fast.  Chances are, 60 watts will be plenty for the max quality cut speed.

Even if one chose to get into making EPP RC plane kits, fun wood projects, or cutting ABS, etc, the biggest limiting factor to throughput will be a cut speed that still produces a quality part.

One could color map their part to blaze down straight cuts at insane-o speed while assigning sharper radii a slower speed.  I've tried this and it almost always takes more time than cutting with a single, optimized speed.

Quote from: SunriseTacticalGear
Is the machine something that can be kept in an outdoor shed subject to below freezing Winter temperatures?

No.  It's a precision instrument and should be treated as such.  Extreme temperature changes will affect dimensional stability.

Quote from: SunriseTacticalGear
Lets hear some thoughts on this, as I really believe this is the future of our industry.
Scott

Indeed it is.

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