The FLEXROUTE is here to fill the void fixed frame cable guides and fasteners (i.e. zip ties) could never truly accomplish: provide a universal, consistent, and secure solution that protects the frame and the cable. After years of watching a zip tie attempt this, only to wear and scratch the frame of a bike that was worth more than my car, it was clear a solution was needed.
In general, the only real option to secure very important and expensive systems, whether it be brake cables on a touring bike or lighting, radio, and GPS cables on a trophy truck, was to use a cheap cable tie. The cable tie, while great for fastening, can crush a cable housing and hamper system components, never uniformly secures a cable to a frame, and frankly just doesn't look good.
Since frames vary infinitely both in shape and size, the idea was to make something that was strong and durable, but able to adapt to a range of frame types and cable diameters. The FLEXROUTE, which still utilizes the great fastening capabilities of a zip tie, will flex and form around a frame providing uniform traction that a zip tie just can't accomplish on it's own.
| Design & Development
Once it was clear a solution was needed, the design process began, which was essentially a cycle from CAD, to the 3D printer, and out to the trail. Since the University of Nevada, Reno offers at cost FDM 3D printing for students and faculty, it allowed me to make a ton of prototypes without breaking the bank.
Over time I realized that this could work on everything that has a frame or support structure and a closed cable system. As I stepped back and took a more macro approach, I went back to the drawing board to see if I could make this work as a universal application. After designing and defining what this actually was, a provisional patent was filed with the USPTO.
| Variable Cable Diameters
A large part of the development process was spent designing the cable passage to be able to accommodate and properly secure a wide range of commonly used cable diameters. That meant measuring a ton of common cables used on bikes, off-road vehicles, computers, office equipment, and residential and commercial wiring. From this, I was able to re-design a cable passage that naturally adjusts and effectively secures the most commonly used cables.
| Simple Install
Easy user installation was always a design requirement. All cable systems may be different in function, but, for the most part, are closed and are not easily or quickly disassembled. The FLEXROUTE is designed to adapt to the cable and frame, not the other way around.
| Infinite Applications
What began as an answer for a specific problem, evolved into a universal solution with a wide range of applications.
In order for the FLEXROUTE to be flexible yet durable while performing in extreme environments, material selection was crucial. After researching, comparing, and testing quite a few rubber compounds, I chose one that is highly regarded for its stringent electrical component requirements, sealing performance, and flex fatigue resistance. It is a high quality rubber compound commonly used to make power tool grips, automotive under-hood applications, weather seals, and even bridge expansion joints.
| Low-Profile Cable Tie Utilization
The FLEXROUTE doesn't replace the conventional cable tie entirely, it still relies on it's unsurpassed fastening capabilities. We saw that the conventional zip tie has many drawbacks both functionally and aesthetically, that is why we will be including the lowest profile nylon cable tie on the market, the Cobra Tie. Cobra zip ties offer superior tensile strength and robust quality that stand up well in a wide range of environments. Safer than a traditional tie, Cobra features a smooth, snag-proof contour with no barbs or spikes to injure an installer, technician or end user.
Certain critical project factors like mold and unit quality, production rate, and effective and timely communication are in the hands of the manufacturer. After screening companies all over the US, I went with a local injection molding company known for taking on specialized and complex biomedical projects, building high quality molds, and delivering on time. They were also chosen for their successful track record making complex components and the ability to eliminate a large portion of the overall shipping cost due to being local.
The injection molder will be crucial in the production process and will be responsible for 90% of the process once the funds are obtained. That is why a strong relationship has been established with them over the past several months.
Unlike many projects, since these parts will be injection molded at a fairly quick rate, we will be able to accommodate many orders (above and beyond what we are looking for from Kickstarter). Shipping times will increase for late backers due to the nature of a longer manufacturing time, but shouldn't be too bad. We will be in constant communication with all of our backers to let them know about the status of every step along the way: mold design/testing, production, packaging, shipping.
| Safe Use
- The FLEXROUTE is simply a cable guide and is not intended for load bearing application
- The FLEXROUTE was only designed to use the very common 5mm wide zip tie. It was not intended for narrower or wider zip ties.
- Do not use if failure of either the FLEXROUTE or the zip tie would cause damage or injury.
Once the funding goal is reached and the project is completed, we will get these gears turning that have been in place for several months.
WEEK 1 (Project Funded): Manufacturer is notified and mold production begins.
WEEK 2: Funds released by Amazon
WEEK 6-8: Mold production and testing complete and manufacturing begins by our experienced local injection molder. (Production output at approximately 5,600 units/day)
WEEK 6-8: Packaging and Shipping begins.
Depending on the amount of orders received, packaging and shipping may take several weeks to complete. First come first serve.
WEEK 8-12: Begin receiving the very first FLEXROUTE