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The Field Assistant is a titanium memo notebook cover, writing surface, drawing template tool, phone prop, light stand and more
120 backers pledged $6,853 to help bring this project to life.

About

The Field Assistant: Titanium memo notebook cover and more! project video thumbnail
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$6,853

120

UPDATE MAY 10, 2014 -

This project has been fully funded.  To get your own Field Assistant, visit www.TheFieldAssistant.com   The website will launch with purchase options as soon as all rewards from this campaign are shipped.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions:  metalcombworks@gmail.com  Thanks, Jeff Grant

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Background

Thanks to the support of the Kickstarter community this is my third campaign.  Both of my two previous campaigns were successfully funded.  Go here to check out those campaigns.  

Encouraged by the success of those projects, I decided to create another product design that would be a useful everyday carry (EDC).  My goal was to come up with an item that would be functional, simple, useful and would last a lifetime.   I wanted to do something unique, something that had not been offered before on Kickstarter, a product I was unable to find anywhere else.    

Inspiration - Research - Prototyping 

I did a lot of research on the internet, surveyed friends, family, colleagues business contacts and even strangers to see what folks carry with them everyday. (You get interesting reactions when you ask someone "what's in your pocket?")  I came across lots of people that carried Field Notes or other little memo books.  This was surprising to me in this digital age but I really like the idea and it caught my attention.  (I started carrying one myself. Super handy.)  I also thought back to what my grandfather would carry in his pockets. I remember his wad of notes and his little staple bound memo book where he kept all sorts of information, sketches, reminders, etc.  It was a tattered old book that he changed out every couple months for a crisp new one.  Then he'd stack the old one neatly in the shelving of his locksmith truck.  Eureka - that was it!  I would create a memo book cover.  

I searched online for memo book and notebook covers and found some very nice leather covers.  They look great but have limitations.  They are not weatherproof, don't provide protection from bending and don't do much more than provide storage for a single book and maybe some credit cards. 

I decided to create a light-weight multipurpose cover and so began the design process. I had the following design goals in mind:

  • Durable:  Crafted to last a lifetime.
  • Protective: To keep the edges of the book from getting bent and worn in the pocket.
  • Minimalist design:  Simple with no hinges, clasps or latches.
  • Versatile:  Make it universal in design to hold different makes of memo books and passports.
  • Easy to carry:  Must be thin to fit in the pocket and light weight so it is not a burden to carry.
  • Weather proof:  No problem in the rain, snow, heat, wind, etc.
  • Multipurpose:  Do more than cover the book.
  • Backing for writing:  Flat supporting surface for writing on the go.
  • Phone stand:  A hands-free phone prop for watching videos or a video call...and taking notes at the same time.
  • Light stand:  A stand for a phone with flashlight mode to light a small work space.
  • Camera stand:  Macro photography platform or a selfie studio.
  • Drawing and drafting tool:  A drawing template for common shapes and lines.

I started with a blank sheet of paper and new Field Notes and WORD. brand memo books. 

Project Start
Project Start

I made some hand sketches, mock-ups and created CAD files to make a prototype.

Sketches and mock ups.
Sketches and mock ups.
CAD drawing of The Field Assistant
CAD drawing of The Field Assistant

Here is the first working prototype hot off the laser cutting machine.

First titanium prototype - The Field Assistant
First titanium prototype - The Field Assistant

Here is the completed Titanium prototype after machining.

Working prototype - Field Assistant memo book cover
Working prototype - Field Assistant memo book cover

Template pattern shapes:

The Field Assistant - Drawing Template.
The Field Assistant - Drawing Template.
Drawing template, portrait and landscape stand.
Drawing template, portrait and landscape stand.
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Minimalist construction and thin materials allow for the memo book to be kept in your pocket. The material is about the thickness of a dime.  The rounded edges of the cover extend beyond the corners of the book to protect the edges.

Thin, light weight Titanium alloy construction.
Thin, light weight Titanium alloy construction.

Phone / Light Stand function.  Covers easily slip together to form the stand in either portrait or landscape configuration:

Phone and light stand.
Phone and light stand.

Design Challenges

The critical design challenges were:

  • Find the right material and material thickness to make the design clean and safe so it would not snag on clothing, have sharp edges or pinch points.  
  • Incorporate several features into a relatively small space without making it too complicated and cumbersome.  
  • Make the aesthetics clean and functional.
  • Craft it to last a lifetime.

Some of these consideration I had already gone through with my pocket comb designs but others required more thought and research.

The material needed to be strong, light weight, weather proof, machinable and attractive.  I considered wood, aluminum, stainless steel and others.  In the end I settled on Titanium alloy as it met the design criteria and wouldn't bend or crack easily like aluminum, it would be more weather proof than wood and it has a much better strength to weight ratio than stainless steel.

For the thickness I wanted the cover to be thick enough to avoid bending but thin enough to fit in the pocket and make a good drawing template.  I evaluated several thicknesses and went with what I considered to be the right balance between strength and dimensions.  For this project I am using 18 gauge grade 5 Titanium.

For the template shapes I evaluated many commercial templates.  I decided to provide some basic shapes that would most commonly be used.  Circles for those like me that can't seem to get them round.  I incorporated template features on the front cover so as not to block the "Field Notes" and "WORD." names on the front of their covers.  The Field Assistant fits any standard sized memo or notebook that is 3.5 x 5.5 inches in size.  It even fits the new pocket size Furrow Books notebook which is a project about to be funded here on Kickstarter.  Check it out HERE. 

For the interlocking stand up features, I relied on my experience with paper craft, Lego's, model construction and IKEA furniture assembly ;).   The simple slots in each cover did the trick.

The closure design is simple.  Rubber bands hold the covers in place and can be used in different configurations depending on your needs and allow you to expand the cover to hold more than just one memo book. The bands also work as stops and friction pads to keep a phone in place.  I am working on custom bands for this project as a stretch goal.  Rewards will be offered with black bands if I can't get custom bands in time.

View this video to see how to remove the memo book without removing the rubber band: 

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The Titanium prototype worked out great.  Below is a photo describing many of the design features incorporated into The Field Assistant:

Design feature description.
Design feature description.

Designs / Rewards Offered 

Reward #1 & 2: The Field Assistant:  Titanium construction memo book cover and stand.  Perfect accessory for your notebook, sketchbook or memo book.  Comes with 1 Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

Reward #3:  The Field Assistant - Trochilidae, Titanium construction memo book cover / stand.  Humming bird image on the front and rear covers.  Comes with 1 Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

Reward #4

Reward #5:  The Field Assistant - Octopoda,  Titanium construction memo book cover / stand.  Port hole image on front and Octopus on back cover.  Comes with 1 Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

Reward #5: The Field Assistant - Osteon, Titanium construction memo book cover / stand. Skull on the front cover and Skull and bones on the back cover. Comes with 1 Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

Reward #6:  The FIELD ASSISTANT: APOIDEA - Titanium memo book cover with Bee and honey comb design. Comes with 1 Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands. Limited Edition

Reward #7: The Field Assistant - Custom, Titanium construction memo book cover / stand with your artwork on the front and rear covers.  A one of a kind creation just for you.  Comes with a 3 pack of Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.  

Here is how this reward works.  Send me a silhouette image to fill the cross hatched areas in the photos below.   The space on the front of the cover is about 2.2" x 1.4".  The space on the rear cover is about 3" x 4".  I will adapt your image to work in the space.  I will tweak the image so that it has structural integrity and will work with my manufacturing process.  Very complex images will be simplified, simple images may need a frame work added for support.  

Make your pledge and send your image to: customfieldassistant@gmail.com

 

Production and Fulfillment Plan

I will personally manage or perform all of the activities listed below unless otherwise noted. 

Product design: Complete. I have created CAD drawings of The Field Assistant design and have them ready for production. 

Material selection: Complete. I will use grade 5 Titanium sheet. This is the material I used for the prototype. 

Prototyping: Complete. I have manufactured a working prototype which is shown in the photos. 

Raw material sourcing: Vendors have been identified and quotations are secured for the Titanium sheet. Lead time is less than 3 days for this material including shipping.

Laser blanking:  This will be done at a nearby shop under my onsite supervision. 

Machining: This will be done in my shop. Lead time will depend on the success of the campaign, but I have adequate capacity to handle it. 

Finishing: The Field Assistant will have a tumble finished surface.  This is a process that will be done at my shop. 

Packaging and delivery: I will do this operation with the support of my family and friends will ship promptly. Alternatively, there is a locally owned and operated copy/print/mailing shop where I can get additional support if necessary. 

Shipping Goal: I have limited this funding effort to 30 days. With successful funding I am targeting June 30, 2014 as the ship date for all rewards. 

Use of Funds:

Funds will be used for; raw materials, laser cutting services, in-house machining, tumble polishing, finishing materials, memo books, rubber bands, shop supplies, packaging materials and shipping costs.  Titanium is an expensive material and is the majority of the manufacturing cost.

Thank you for your support!   

Risks and challenges

This project is low risk as I have worked through many of the design and fabrication challenges already. Real prototypes are shown in the images here. If the project becomes massively over funded it could push back the delivery date. With that said, anyone who pledges to my project can do so with confidence as I have a history of promptly delivering quality rewards.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    Early Bird Special: The FIELD ASSISTANT - Titanium memo book cover. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

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    Limited 89 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    The FIELD ASSISTANT - Titanium memo book cover with geometric template back. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands.

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    6 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $57 or more About $57

    The FIELD ASSISTANT: TROCHILIDAE - Titanium memo book cover with humming bird on front and rear covers. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands. Limited Edition

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    Limited 2 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $58 or more About $58

    The FIELD ASSISTANT: OCTOPODA - Titanium memo book cover with port hole design on front and Octopus on the back. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands. Limited Edition

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    Limited 8 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    The FIELD ASSISTANT: OSTEON- Titanium memo book cover with skull design on front and skull and bones on rear cover. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands. Limited Edition

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    Limited 4 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    The FIELD ASSISTANT: APOIDEA - Titanium memo book cover with Bee and honey comb design. Includes one Field Notes memo book and 6 rubber bands. Limited Edition

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    Limited 8 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    The FIELD ASSISTANT: CUSTOM - Titanium memo book cover with your artwork on the front and back. A one of a kind creation just for you. Includes a 3 pack of Field Notes memo books and 6 rubber bands.

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    Limited 3 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)