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• 3D Modelling
• Product Specification
• Gym Equipment Prototyping
• Gym Equipment Production
• Powder Coating and Finishing
There are three to four main stages in the process of taking simple ideas of gym equipment to finished products ready to be sold to commercial gyms, rugby clubs or hotel gyms. The first stage of the process is the 3d modelling stage. Working with several concepts for each machine we use 3d modelling in order to produce computer generated parts and assemble them together to check for potential problems. 3D modelling can be carried out using numerous pieces of software in order to create accurate drawings of any product. With the ability to assign material specifications to each drawing such as rubber, plastic ferrous and non ferrous steels. There are many benefits to using 3d modelling when custom making gym equipment including
Before any production takes place when we make a computer generated custom piece of gym equipment we can ensure we work to a high specification and that all parts will work when assembled. This helps to increase the quality for the custom and lower costs by reducing costly errors.
In order to ensure we follow the values of our company slogan ‘Where Strength Meets Engineering’ we design the strongest equipment crafting it using high strength materials. By using 3D Modelling we are able to ensure specific weights are achieved for the equipment by assigning material densities to each part that has been drawn
Stress and impacts form part of daily life for gym equipment and ensuring our equipment is built to take this is vital for us. We use stress analysis tools in order to ensure welds and structure can handle the heavy weights thrown at it day in day out.
Once a 3d model of our product has been created we then move onto one of the most important factors in creating custom gym equipment. The bill of materials (also known as a BOM). A BOM is vital to any serious manufacturing facility and ensures a number of vital processes are followed with accuracy and precision. A BOM ensures costs are kept low for the consumer and business while ensuring repeatability and accurately understand the design process of each piece of gym equipment. A BOM is essentially a spreadsheet filled with information about that piece of equipment including part numbers and sizes, part quantities and bolt types as an example. Most people don’t realise how many individual parts are involved in creating what looks like a simple piece of equipment. How many parts do you think are used in the model below including bolts
When producing a BOM we produce a set of part numbers for each part ensuring the specification has been listed. This then forms a list which can be referred to when market prices of steel or components fluctuate enabling us to offer the best price for the highest quality. A BOM also ensures we can quickly and easily innovate and improve each piece of equipment over time. It’s always a surprise looking back at the quantity of parts involved in production and after leaving you hanging are you surprised to learn that eighty five parts are used in the production of the incline bench press above?
Once we have produced our initial BOM assigning part numbers to each individual drawing we then create sub assemblies. Sub Assemblies are groups of parts which are welded or fixed together and form part a part of the final product. Generally we limit every product to no greater than 8 sub assemblies.
Once our Bill of materials and 3D Model/s have been finalised we are ready to start prototyping. First we produce a set of annotated production drawings for our engineers which show a front view, side view, top view and orthographic view. The production drawings include sub assembly numbers and part numbers and show areas of welding, sizes of holes and steel dimensions.
From these drawings we will then start a prototype. A prototype piece of gym equipment is very important as it allows us to confirm that the 3D model is correct or if parts need changing. The main problem with 3d modelling is that it works to exact dimensions, bolt sizes and paint thicknesses but in the real world there is always a tolerance which can be very small to very large depending on the material or part you are working with. This can sometimes have a negative effect on the final outcome of the product. Did you know steel wall thickness can vary by 10%?
Problems that can be faced in production of steel fabricated gym equipment can vary but main problems can include
When steel is heated and filler metal is used to join steel together it can shrink or warp other parts resulting in bending or bowing of parts. Allowances need to be made in order to ensure products are straight and level and include the use of a flat table and clamps to minimise movement during production.
Structural integrity of welds is vital to ensuring a piece of gym equipment is strong and we must ensure adequate penetration. There are many ways to test this including ultrasonic testing, liquid dye penetration and radiography but the best and most cost effective way is manual destruction, when we carry out this we test the strength of the metals by trying to break a weld using a high impact heavy hammer.
Ensuring cuts are straight and at the perfect angle are problems that could be faced in early production. Simply having an angle that is out by just 1 degree or mm can have a large impact on the final appearance especially when designing products over longer lengths.
Cut a 5 meter length of steel at an 89 degree angle instead of 90 degrees over a large distance the incorrect cut by just 1 degree becomes greater resulting in huge gaps.
Look at the example below
The two steel sections below sit exactly 50mm apart at the base and 50mm at the top and are cut at exactly 90 degrees.
The two steel sections sit exactly 50mm apart at the base yet 137mm difference at the top. Why? Because unlike the left hand pair one of the angles was cut at 89 degrees rather than 90 degrees over short distances issues like this are rarely noticeable but over long lengths you can see the issues that will arise. Accuracy matters
When producing high quality gym equipment investments need to be made in high quality industrial machinery to ensure the customer receives the very best equipment. At Kustom Kit we only purchase the very best equipment in order to ensure we produce the very best gym kit. Investments into our workshop are ongoing but in order to create the best facility we make use of the following machinery
Using high quality materials dosn’t mean you get a high quality finish so its imperative your welder has a good knowledge and is using high quality equipment suitable to create a strong weld. Our facility uses Pow Con Industrial welders which are known for their excellent reliability and high power. We can comfortably weld over 10mm steel plate allowing for exceptional penetration and strength
A mill when used to its full capability is capable of a range of tasks including shaping of parts and removal of material layers and is vital in accurate production of our gym equipment
A lathe is used to turn and shape cylindrical objects such as tube and bar. We use our lathe to create parts that require tight tolerances or accurate shaping. We can produce chamfers and radius’s in order to reduce stress points or increase aesthetic appeal.
A high quality bandsaw is vital in order to create straight accurate cuts. We use a high quality industrial saw which features a feed roller and a measure roller at the rear. This ensures steel stock enters the machine at the perfect angle creating accurate cuts quickly and efficiently
We make use of Trumpf laser cutting machines which use a high powered laser beam which heats the material cutting it to a tolerance of just 0.1mm. With a capacity to cut up to 20mm thick steel this is an exceptional piece of equipment
A press brake is used to fold materials to a specific angle. We make use of a Bystronic Expert machine made in Switzerland to accurate fold material up to 3 meters long using up to 320 tons of pressure.
Once our initial prototype has been made we are able to test it’s functionality. If the gym equipment passes our testing process we then confirm the 3D model and our Bill of Materials and move to the next stage of production which is the colour coating process.
We have chosen to Powder Coat all our gym equipment. We prefer powder coating over wet spraying due to a number of reasons
Powder coat is between four and ten times thicker than traditional wet spray systems providing a better coverage, visual appeal and resistance to chipping.
Powder coat provided the material has been prepared properly has a better adhesion than wet spray paint providing better resistance to corrosion
Not only is powder coat flexible with respect to the types and finishes available but it is literally flexible and tests have shown an elongation of up to 800% meaning if something should warp or flex the powder coat will move with the material where as traditional wet spraying will peel or flake
Powder coating is more environmentally friendly as opposed to wet spraying which is full of carcinogens, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and is highly flammable.
Preparation of the material is vital to produce a high quality finish. The steel is prepared by removing excess grease or oil used when drilling or welding, this can be done by either wiping down the product or by using an acid bath where acid vapour eats away at any contaminants which will ruin the finish of the paint.
An electrostatic charge is applied to the piece of equipment and powder is applied through a ‘gun’. This powder sticks to the product providing a film of powder which sits over the steel
In order to finish the powder coating process the powder covered part is placed in an oven and heated to a temperature of up to 200 degreees depending on the type of powder coat used. This heat melts the powder which starts to flow then as it cools it forms a skin which binds together and covers the final piece of equipment.
Although Kustom Kit uses 6 main colours there are a huge list of variations and finishes available and most colours can be found by using a RAL chart
Our stock colours are
There are huge differences in buying between reputable gym equipment manufacturers and someone that can do a bit of welding out of their garage. There will always be individuals who will offer to do something cheaper but as a consumer it is imperative you look at what is being offered in order to make the best decision. We will explain why there are differences in price and quality
There are many differences between cheap gym equipment and high quality commercial grade gym equipment that is made to last. It can usually be split into two categories. Someone who knows how to do a bit of cutting and welding (also known as the garage fabricator) or the foreign import. I will explain the differences between the two
Whats the difference between the two gym equipment suppliers?
• The Garage Fabricator uses DIY or low quality welding and cutting equipment
• Kustom Kit uses 3 phase high quality industrial Pow Con welders to ensure strong joints that don’t just look good but are also strong and that our cuts and perfect
Why is there a difference?
• The Garage Fabricator can’t afford to invest thousands of pounds on high quality welders, saws and upgrades to the standard household electrical supply as they are consistently offering rock bottom prices and are operating as an individual and not a business
• Kustom Kit has invested thousands of pounds in high quality machinery as we understand the importance of accurate, strong and safe equipment which is built to last. Although we understand the importance of price it is not an overriding factor when making equipment, we aim to make the best equipment that is best for the customer.
Whats the difference between the two gym equipment suppliers?
• The Garage Fabricator has no insurance and can’t get the valid certificates as they are an individual operating from their garage with no operating procedures, safety checks or quality control regulations.
• Kustom Kit has full public and product liability insurance which covers any injury which would be caused by the malfunction of equipment in a commercial environment
Why is there a difference?
• The Garage Fabricator is operating outside of any regulations or liabilities. Insurance companies won’t offer individuals insurance as there are no manufacturing guidelines or safety checks put in place and they cannot assure safety of what they have made
• Kustom Kit understands the importance of safety and liability of members of the public using its equipment and takes suitable steps to protect its customers, this is why we use the thickest materials possible in order to make strong durable equipment
Whats the difference between the two gym equipment suppliers?
• The Garage Fabricator has no marketing overheads, limited operating costs and can avoid tax or VAT in order to make some additional income as a sideline
• Kustom Kit as its operating as a business needs to invest in better equipment to innovate products, market the products to attract customers and has to pay for premises and staff in order to improve the fitness market
Why is there a difference?
• The Garage Fabricator has no need to invest as they only see the production of the equipment as additional income or may lack the skills or business knowledge to turn their skills into a business in order to innovate the gym equipment market.
• Kustom Kit has to invest in order to improve the market and offer a greater range of equipment. Without investment the industry will not grow. If a hobbyist becomes successful the prices cannot remain low due to increases in business expenses
Most people look at price as there main decision to buy a piece of equipment. I’m now telling you that you shouldn’t only look at price and there are a selection of other things you need to look at in order to ensure you are getting the best value for money. The majority of cheap gym equipment in the UK is imported from foreign countries such as India and China where labour costs are low and output very high.
Take a moment to read the details below to find out what you should be looking at next time you buy gym equipment
Foreign imported Gym equipment VS UK Gym Equipment
The first question as a customer you should be asking yourself is.
How can a foreign manufacturer produce a product of similar quality. Ship it across the world. Make a profit selling to a third party reseller.That reseller then sells the product on and makes a profit. But the RRP of the third party reseller is still less than items that look the same that are made in Great Britain.
This article will outline how this is possible but in short it’s simple.
Imports are offering you a poor product in comparison to British alternatives.
In a time when our own government has abandoned our country in search of investment from a trillion dollar industry in China we want you to support British Manufacturing. I will now explain why
Perhaps the most important aspect is safety. The majority of foreign suppliers will not take responsibility if your gym equipment breaks as it didn’t withstand the specified weight. Why would you take the risk on an inferior product which could seriously injure a customer or employee?
A huge amount of worldwide products are now made in China and with its huge population of over 1.34 billion competition in the marketplace is huge. With huge competition and focus on price most companies cut corners to the detriment of their products.
The modern outlook from a customer perspective focuses ONLY on the price and with such huge demand for cheap products manufacturers will often employ staff with limited skills or experience in the industry and most have zero experience in the fitness industry often attempting to copy Western developed gym equipment. These cheap employees are manufacturing equipment which requires a certain degree of structural analysis and design in order to keep you safe.
By buying foreign or specifically chinese products you are supporting a communist country where corruption runs deep, poverty is widespread and with over 3 TRILLION USD in bank savings this country still takes advantage of the population offering extremely low wages of just £23 a day focusing only on maximal profit and not product quality.
Due to poor quality controls accuracy is poor. We recently saw a set of Olympic plates supposed to weigh 20kg come in at a range of 18-21kg when put on our set of calibrated scales. These were purchased from a company in the UK offering low priced plates. We have also seen barbells rated to over 0.5 ton on sale in China for just $55? Look up the price of a high quality Japanese spring steel then tell us if you could produce it for just £32 shipped across the world
In order to ensure you are getting the very best equipment you must ask the following questions.
What is the wall thickness and quality of materials? Generally most foreign imports are 2mm. Kustom Kit uses a minimum of 3mm and our Catalyst V2 uses a massive 5mm thick wall section
What makes the gym equipment cheaper/more expensive than the rest? A good manufacturer will always be able to explain why something is more expensive and offer a comparison or price check with over models
Accuracy, especially when buying a product weight specific
Is what your buying commercial gym equipment and does it have a guarantee?
Can I view the gym equipment before buying it?
Check that all parts of your gym equipment that are in contact with bars or plates are made from a corrosion resistant material or have received additional processes such as zinc or nickel plating
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