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For Christmas I made my wife a tool roll for some high end jewelry tools that I bought her. The tools were expensive and I wanted a way to protect them. I found that to make a good tool roll takes careful planning of sizes and nesting to make a good roll up
I did a lot of on paper planning and thought through the construction before I sewed a first rough prototype. Even before the first sew, I crumpled and made a paper prototype, these are useful to estimate fabric flow.
I thought about a lot of materials and in the end I used three different ones. I used a wax canvas on the outside, a duck cotton for the pockets and a natural canvas for the tool backer. This looked nice and had a durable, purposeful feel.
More coming, I need to take some good photos of the final thing.
One of my friends asked me if I could create a roll from a used Chrome bag of theirs. The bag was a 15yr old single strap messenger bag that had seen some crashes and some hard wear. The strap was broke and was headed for recycling but more more likely landfill. I liked the idea of reuse so I jumped into it.
Finding areas on the bag to salvage. I wanted the least worn parts of the material as I wanted to keep some structure and water repellency. Luckily Chromebags are made from high grade stuff, in fact the same material that I make virgin ones from, thats normally 1000d Cordura. Also they use a heavy pvc tarp (shown in red) I decided to use this also for the internal flap on the roll. It’s a little stiffer in hand, so i’m hoping it will fold up and roll in a flexible manner.
My friend would be using this to carry bigger tubes for his gravel bike, (35-43mm) I wanted to try a different method of securing the tube in the roll to improve the actual rolling and giving more pocket space. I came up with this mid harness design made with elastic that could stretch and accommodate different tube sizes without bunching or taking up unnecessary room.
The black and red aesthetic of the original bag was working great and I even used some PVC segments as strengtheners between the pockets. I reached a point where I had a lot of questions and some untested ideas that I wanted to run by someone. A quick coffee meet did the trick to share those ideas, get another perspective and discuss what tools went in the roll. You can see the elastic harness in practice here.
Back to the drawing board for a little while with a few ideas up my sleeve to make this design even better. Addressing improvements in the pockets and making the elastic a touch smaller to free up space elsewhere.
Following earlier development of Saddle Roll Version 2 here, I continued down the path of refining and working on details.
The aesthetic is important and the bike industry has a large emphasis on custom color of accessories and gear, just like the smartphone industry with it’s plethora of cases and finishes. I put together some color pallets using swatches I know of in fabrics that are achievable. My emphasis was on the trendy pop colors of Cyan and Purple but then also some classic combo’s of Navy, Orange, Grey
Modifying the details – Development is looking at the details and improving them, so I decided to modify a few physical details from v2. When I was grabbing materials I realized the pink and purple vibe is really strong!
– I improved the internal flap shape, main difference is left and right edges have a more gradual curve instead of angle, a shape that is visually pleasing , folds easier and better to sew.
– The spacing of the pockets is very dependent on the spare tube you are carrying in the middle pockets. The centre pocket on v2 flanked with 60mm wide side pockets, this was an on the fly edit for a larger tube size. This may have been too much. My original design had 75mm side pockets, so I decided I wanted to try that on v3.
– This brings me to the concept of pocket for the middle. It’s a pocket and to hold a inner tube which normally goes there it has to be a certain size depending on tube size. One of my thoughts was instead of pocket, to use an elastic band system.
The new roll came out well and I didn’t even realize that I lacked shots on the bike, so here are some, the new pink on the bike
Here are some shots of the inside of the saddle roll. In this case you can see the flap modifications and also the dividers between the pockets is different. In this version I experimented with a different bias tape in purple, its a little thicker and harder to sew with.
Its true that boredom can drive creativity. I was bored one day and desided to design a tool roll. Given my obsession with bikes and gear (buckyrides.com) it does make sense, and its not a bad place to start since I have access to the items to design around. This is a minimal tool roll that attaches to a bike.
I started planning this on paper riffing off my previous design, but this time I was going to wrap a band around the outside to attach to the bike. But the essence was similar, I wanted good access. I drew some basic shapes to scale with the proportions I needed. I folded bits of paper and studied material before moving onto a canvas prototype to dial in sizes and see if my edge new binding would work.
After creating the first canvas proto, I looked at some other designs on the web, many were waxed cotton and I decided I wanted more durability. I had set my mind on a heavy waterproof Cordura and this also allowed me to keep 1 layer, allowing for lighter weight. At some point (not sure when) I became inspired to make clear pockets so you could easily see the contents or lack of. In my prior design, I used a semi transparent sailcloth, but this time I was inspired to go full clear. I found some stretchy sewable PVC film and gave it a go. Onto proto v2:-
I made the bike attachment strap from a wider Military spec webbing so it can be cinched down hard without fear of breaking, this was important because I wanted it to snug on the bike really tight. Movement and flopping on the bike is not an acceptable option, so I had to mess around with the proportions of hook and loop on the strap. I made it size adjustable by having a double size patch of loop so that the hooks could stick in multi positions.
I had to modify the pockets to make them more durable / support for the topstich between the pockets. I used some trimmed grosgrain strips and bit of care in execution looked good too.
One of the tings I like about sewing is realizations made when sewing and testing. At one point I placed the roll on my bike and it lead to the idea to position a reflective hit for safety, so I positioned it in the best place and made it look like a cool tag, just popping off the side. Coincidentally this worked well with the grey and black scheme.
The design was pretty successful, it secured to the bike great, the functionality was spot on. Not stoked about the colors, but it’s material I had around and the transparent pockets seemed to work. This was lot more successful than most similar stage v2 prototypes. Since then I have since modified the design, mainly the shape of the flap to make folding and sewing easier.
Mil Spec 39mm Webbing
Plastic D Loop
Transparent Sewable PVC
Color Pop Pull Tab – nylon 1″ Webbing
Hook and Loop same width as strap
Field Testing , I’m a big believer in making things better through iterative prototyping and real world use. I gave v2 to my friend Dustin to test and provide more feedback before I get into designing and prototyping v3.
The great thing about this design is that it’s easy to customize. Future color explorations are in the works, and can make it interesting. Fun and playful, subtle and serious or even matched to your bike. These should be up in v3. Im just in the process of working out the trim details.
At the moment I am set up to make small batches, so send me a message if you fancy one. I’m currently getting setup to make a small batch in different colors, not just the one shown above. There are technically still prototypes, but shoot me an e mail with your fav colors and we can see what we can do
Quick bike light design. Main features:
-Large area light and storage inside
-Attaches to a common engineering point- the rear angled seat rails.
– 2 part design housing, Cleanly and simply held together with 4 high power magnets.
– No faffing, easy to access the inside as the front snaps off. No messing with bloody zippers or rolls and clips that are a large pain in the arse.
A quick sketch idea for a bike hook / rack that can be formed from a single piece of metal. The shape being laser cut with holes and reliefs.
The idea being of a simple low waste, efficient to ship that users can assemble themselves.
a rubber wheel protector piece would be supplied or the user could be super cool and wrap the hook with reused inner tubes to be even more eco .