10-25-2017, 11:21 AM
#1
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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In the summer of 2013, I set out to create a stainless steel razor that had a thin head profile and that took Artist Club blades. I had always enjoyed the shave of the Cobra Classic but, I did not like the blade holding mechanism or the build quality. I wanted something that had a similarly thin head profile but that securely locked the blade down and that was heirloom quality. How hard could it be?

I started out by calling machine shops in the area that specialized in either the aerospace industry or the medical field figuring that anything they produced would have tight tolerances. A local shop in Gardena, CA was intrigued and they put me in touch with Larry Calderon, a product engineer who had designed a number of products that now have become household names. I was off to a flying start.

Larry was located in West Covina, CA so we decided to meet somewhere in the middle -An IHOP in Pasadena. After a couple of meetings where I explained what I was after, Larry emailed his first set of drawings. After a week or so of back and forth emails, I approved the drawings. Larry then sent the drawings to a 3D printing company and within two weeks, I had a working prototype. We actually had designs for two similar razors -one that took artist club blades and one that took standard injector blades. We were cooking with gas!


[Image: DSCN2189_large.JPG?v=1508953372]

Unfortunately, this is where the wheels momentarily fell off the bus. I circled back to the machine shop that had referred Larry to me and they seemed to have lost interest. They at first told me that it could not be machined as designed and then they quoted a sky high price to get me to go away. I decided to shop it to other machine shops.

I did a search of machine shops that had 5 axis machines and sent files to shops that expressed an interest. I sent the files to dozens of shops and got traction with a few. Ultimately though, these shops either did not have the skill set or, they were a bit lazy. There was one university affiliated shop in the midwest that wanted to produce the razor but, they had a few specific things that they wanted revised. Larry revised the drawings slightly and we sent the shop the new copy. At this point, we are about one year past when the original drawings were made. Despite receiving revised drawings, the university shop now said that they could not machine the razor after all. It has officially become a grind.

At around this time, I received a visit at my shop from Bruce Weber -the man behind Mongoose razors. I showed Bruce the plastic models and he offered to shop them to the machine shop that he was currently using in the Miami, Florida area. I again was very optimistic. The owner of the shop liked the look of the drawings but, the computer program that Larry has used to create the CNC code was apparently obsolete and he wanted Larry to convert it to a newer program. When I called Larry to see if this would be possible, I got the bad news from his widow. Larry had died of cancer a few weeks earlier. He apparently did not want people to know that he was sick.

The Miami Machine Shop took another look at the drawings and said they wanted to make some slight revisions to make the razor easier to machine. As you can see, these images do not look anything like my original concept.

[Image: ugly_version_large.png?v=1508955922]
[Image: Ugly_2_large.png?v=1508955880]

I could not get them to budge off this new design so, we went our separate way. I was about to give up on the razor and I just let it sit until January of 2016 when I happened upon another machine shop in the midwest...this time in Illinois. They had someone who was able to convert the code from Larry's old computer program. We were again in business.

In October of 2016, I officially released the razor and, it has been hugely popular with wet shavers who like a highly efficient razor. As you can see from the following picture, it is very close to the original drawings and the plastic prototype. I am very glad that I stuck to my guns and did not compromise the design.

 [Image: pier_razor_large.jpg?v=1508957776]

The Asylum Rx can be purchased here.

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 10-25-2017, 11:47 AM
#2
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Fascinating story Phil.

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 10-25-2017, 11:57 AM
#3
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(10-25-2017, 11:47 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: Fascinating story Phil.
Thank you Ricardo. Some day I will tell the story about Crazy Mike - the machinist from Amish Country

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 10-25-2017, 12:21 PM
#4
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Thanks for sharing this Phil.  Very interesting to hear the story.

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 10-25-2017, 12:44 PM
#5
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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The designer of the razor gets the run around
Run around, run around
The designer of the razor just stood his ground
Illegitimi non carborundum

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 10-25-2017, 12:47 PM
#6
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How many printed prototypes were there?  Now that's a collector's item!

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 10-25-2017, 01:22 PM
#7
  • Entasis
  • Atop the Razor's Edge
  • Southern California
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Still my favorite SE razor and I hope we get to see the injector version come to fruition.

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 10-26-2017, 08:04 PM
#8
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(10-25-2017, 12:47 PM)wreck | fish Wrote: How many printed prototypes were there?  Now that's a collector's item!

There was only one prototype of each model (AC and Injector). Unfortunately, the machine shop in Florida still has them.

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 10-27-2017, 03:08 PM
#9
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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(10-26-2017, 08:04 PM)bullgoose Wrote:
(10-25-2017, 12:47 PM)wreck | fish Wrote: How many printed prototypes were there?  Now that's a collector's item!

There was only one prototype of each model (AC and Injector). Unfortunately, the machine shop in Florida still has them.

That doesn’t seem right. You’d think the owner/financier of the project would have custody of all prototypes.

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 10-27-2017, 06:03 PM
#10
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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I do have legal custody but, what are you going to do? He may have lost them?

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 10-28-2017, 01:59 PM
#11
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Phil, this was a great story to post considering the back and forth about a certain new razor and the non-understanding from some people about the difficulties and costs of machining stainless steel razors. Thanks for this. I will save this thread because your story is fascinating! My Rx continues to be one of my absolute favorite razors and I almost bought one in black but my wallet says “just stop”!!


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