The Challenge of Prototyping

This week has been interesting, by which I mean challenging, by which I really mean difficult. I've been in the throes of prototyping. I'm doing a headlight surround and fairings that I've never done before and that means doing things over and over as I figure out what will and won't work.

For example, I've been through three different ideas for how to mount the headlight surround. None of them have really worked and they've taken a lot of time to make. Yesterday I finally had an idea that will be clean and relatively easy to make. That means I'll be going through round four on the mount. 

Today I realized that the headlight surround itself was made in a much more difficult way than was necessary. It was made from four individually shaped parts which were welded together. I could simply have shaped it from a single piece of aluminum and had a better shape that would be stronger and much quicker to make. I'll probably end up making it over again because I'd also like to refine the shape a little bit.

I've made the parts that attach the headlight to the forks of the bike twice already and now I think they need to be made again. Each time I learn something. The second mount looks good but I didn't allow enough room for the headlight to mount without interfering with the fork mount. Oh well...

I've also been struggling with making and attaching the mesh grills that will be the front of the fairing. I made very complicated and time consuming mounts to use slick Dzus fasteners only to find that the parts are too thick to work with them. I've torn apart all the work, filled all the holes and ground them down. I even made one of the grills all over from scratch because it had gotten banged up in the process of fitting the Dzus fasteners. It was a very slow process to cut out this mesh opening by hand and smooth all of the edges. This morning I thought of a way to make the parts cleaner and sharper in a fraction of the time. I need to make a template from wood and use a router to cut out the parts in one quick process. Oh well, better late than never.

None of this is easy to do. It requires a lot of patience to keep doing things over and over but I'm committed to a polished finished product. Next time will go much faster. It's just that I'm feeling a lot of pressure to make this bike fast and get it on the market. It's very expensive to go through all the learning that I've had to do and I'm using money that I had hoped not to use. Otherwise I wouldn't mind doing this. It would almost be fun.