Step 4: Prototyping
After all the emails are sent back and forth, we get to a point where everyone is happy with what they see. This is where things get interesting. Now we have to produce something that resembles what we have on our computer screens. Fortunately we have a lot of tools at our disposal. Our shop is equipped with a CNC table that allows us to cut wood and plastics in 3D. We also have an outdoor digital printer that helps with logos and lettering; and if all else fails we have two 3D printers. This new technology allows us to do things with tremendous precision while at the same time doing things a lot quicker.
After the basic shape is made we then start finishing it. We use a variety of sprays and resins to create a perfect finish.
Now it's time for paint. This is where the magic happens. We use a variety of sprays, airbrushing and hand painting to achieve the looks we want. It is by far the most time consuming part, but the results show.
Step 2: Initial proofs
Although they may be crude we found this is the best way to start throwing ideas around. We feel this is the most crucial step. Without a good foundation on where we want to end up we can end up wasting a lot of time and money. This is also the time where we decide on materials. We have to manufacture different materials in different ways. Wood for instance has to be done on our CNC, whereas urethane would get moulded. Because of where we are located (eastern BC) we have access to hundreds of amazing artisans; everything from glass blowers to blacksmiths. This all plays a part in our initial designs.
Step 7: Enjoy
This is the step where you get your shipment, crack open a beer, and celebrate what a cool tap handle you created.
Step 3: Design and engineering
This is where we get to the nuts and bolts of the project. We finally get to the computers and start designing in 2d and 3d models. They serve two purposes. One is to get a more refined idea of the finished product. Second is to figure out how we are going to actually make the final product. Sometimes a very simple and elegant tap handle requires a lot of engineering.
Step 1: Consultation
We have to start somewhere. Sometimes it's over the phone, via email or if we are lucky enough... over a beer. We start with the goal you want to achieve with the tap handle. (not everyone wants to stand out) Then we get to how we are going to achieve that within your budget.
Step 5: Prototype approval
This is probably the most exciting step for our customers. We carefully package the prototype and ship it off for approval. This is where all the hard work comes together. We expect them to critique every aspect because after their approval there is no going back. After they are done with their inspection the prototype is sent back as we actually use the prototype to make our moulds.
At Wylie Jack Tap Handles we want our customers to feel that they had an integral part in producing their products. From start to finish we try to keep everyone involved. There are no secrets here. We want you to know how we come up with the initial ideas, how we create the prototypes and how we are going to produce the finished product. It is important to us that our customers get a unique tap handle that they can be proud of.
Step 6: Production
Although this is not very exciting for our customers we want them to know how we make their tap handles. Sometimes we cut material down on our CNC and sometimes we make moulds to cast in urethane. There are also times that we have to send some elements out for metal or glass work. We walk you through every step of the production process