A note from Bill Harrison:
At Hardened Power Systems, we have cultivated a reputation for electrical power systems and accessories. Clearly, this is our chosen area of expertise and is what our customers expect. In most cases, this means using metal and plastic as the primary construction material for cases, housings, and chassis.
Recently, I was in the shop after hours, re-starting a row of 3D printers. It was quiet and dimly lit, and I was comfortably moving through the shop getting our little robots ready to do their yeoman’s work during the night hours. I remember glancing around at the equipment… the CNC machines, the sanders, the drill presses, the workbenches, the CAD systems… and I was struck by a realization. My Grandfather would have had a blast in this shop, and he would have done it with wood.
Please understand. My grandfather was an accomplished medical doctor who highly valued the work of one’s hands. He, along with my father, schooled me on the principles of design, construction, careful assembly, and the raw delight of holding something newly-created. He would certainly appreciate the high technology that I now take for granted, but he would not stop at using metal and plastic.
…As I stood there, paused, I imagined him considering the tools I had at my disposal. I looked around as the gentle sing-song of 3D printers and the HVAC system hummed. I could clearly see him with a huge grin, elbowing me in the ribs: “that CNC machine? What could it do with solid cherry wood?” “That amazing CAD\CAM system that is so accurate? What can you create using wood?” With an extended finger, he gently poked me in the temple: “that noggin of yours? What could it do if you were not limiting yourself to metal and plastic?”
And I realized something. If I wanted to start working with wood, I could. There was no boss telling me not to, no X-factor stopping me. Maybe I risk confusing our customer base a little. So what. They’re smart people. Maybe I lose a little money experimenting in the beginning. So what, it will pay dividends in the long run. Most of all, running through my mind, was the happy realization that I was going to do some unique, interesting things with wood that are only possible thanks to the high-tech shop I already owned, and the old-tech schooling my Grandfather provided years ago.
I invite you to come along as I take a happy journey combining old-school woodworking and high-tech manufacturing. Wherever it leads, whatever is created, it is going to be interesting.