Top 5 Constraints of Making a Bamboo Fly Rod

1) Sourcing Appropriate Materials

I found out on my upcycle project that designing the concept is only half of the logistical battle. I spent more time specifying and tracking down the appropriate materials than I did on the design and fabrication combined. Whenever I had forgotten something I would have to make an extra trip to track down a suitable option. During each consecutive trip to McGuckin’s I found better materials that achieved the aesthetic and functional design better than the previous versions. It felt like I was iterating prototype designs without actually fabricating each version.

2) Achieving the “Naturalist” Aesthetic

The design goal of this design is to strive for a very natural aesthetic. This is why I chose to create the rod out of bamboo. The challenge will be promoting that aesthetic in all the other components that will be necessary to complete the design. The reel is the biggest challenge as they are inherently industrial looking since they are die cast, machined or injection molded parts.

3) Enabling the Functional Elements within the Aesthetic

While the goal of creating this project is convey the aesthetic is the chosen medium, it would be nice to have a functional fly rod at the end of the endeavor. My focus is to strive for the aesthetic first and define how the road will function based on what the design will allow for after.

4) Prototype Iterations

I am confident I can mock up the design with proxy material for both the aesthetic and functional facets of the design. That said, since I will likely need to specially source a few of these components, I may only get one shot at combining the aesthetic and functional components into the final design.

5) Balancing Design Goals with a Target Cost

Anyone whom is familiar with fly fishing know that the gear can get expensive quickly. While I entirely willing to spend the correct amount of money to make a beautiful rod that functions correctly, I am not looking to shell out over $100 for the first spin of this design. Perhaps once I have worked out some of the kinks, it will be less of a concerning to spend more on a refined design.

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Hunter Miller
    May 10, 2017 11:19 pm

    Fly rods are definitely not easy to manufacture. I understand that there are a lot of constraints with materials. I thin manufacturing is definitely another constraint for what your project is. I think it will be a great finished product. Good luck! Tight lines!

  • Maxfield Scrimgeour
    March 14, 2017 9:39 pm

    I would love to see this project when it is completed. I hope that this ends up as a functional design. I think some prototypes before will really help the design process. I would like to see some cork incorporated into the handle as well as i feel this would complete the design.

  • Sounds like a great project with some very accurate constraints. I think it’s great that you see them already so you can prepare to overcome them. For your prototype iterations are you familiar with any Computer Aided Design programs that can help you visualize things before you have to build it? You could find that helpful and save yourself a lot of time.

  • Alexander Lien
    March 12, 2017 11:01 pm

    This is a great post. I really like the idea of the ‘naturalistic’ aesthetic. One way you might be able to apply that to the reel would be to paint it! Or have you looked into any kind of wall paper type thing that you could press onto the reel? Then you could easily press a wood print onto the reel.

  • Emma Hammerton
    March 12, 2017 10:32 pm

    Hi there! I really love this idea of a naturalist fly rod — it’s almost like a more refined version of upcycling. It’s great to see too that you have chosen to prioritize the aesthetics of your project and let the functionality follow. What kind of material do you plan to use for the reel? Maybe some sort of wooden pulley mechanism would work? I think you’ve given yourself a realistic budget, which is clever to do before jumping into a design. I’m also a bit curious on how many prototypes you plan to produce. Were you thinking just the one for the design review? Or do you plan to produce several designs while broadening your end goal? Really neat idea!


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