TANDEMKROSS is a New Hampshire-based company that locally designs and manufactures gun improvement products. Their mission is to solve firearm problems that the manufacturers can’t or won’t: Making good guns great.
Their market is predominantly gun-owners who use their firearms for competitive shooting. They make magazine expanders, front and rear sights, and kits to simplify the takedown of guns for cleaning, as well as many other accessories for Ruger, KelTec, and other manufacturers.
“The firearm industry, as we know it today, has been around since the 50’s. When you look back at the number of manufacturers that have been around for a while, there aren’t that many. Colt, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Springfield, to name a few. Lately, there has been a surge of new companies and a lot of interest in handguns.” This interest in handguns has provided TANDEMKROSS with a market of competitive shooters desiring their products.
Guns with Bugs
Jake and his partner both grew up in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire, where approximately 30% of residents own a firearm. Jake explains, “We were not strangers to guns and recently started getting more involved in competitions. Some of the newer models of handguns have usability issues and we weren’t happy with the off-the-shelf products.”
It’s much like the “software world” that Jake and his partner come from, where many times the products are mass-released when only 80% complete and bugs are fixed in one of the later releases. The similarity, as Jake states, is “they
Adding CAM to the CAD
TANDEMKROSS is serious about improving products, but also about improving their own business process. Since Jake has CAD experience, he completes the initial product design and prototyping. Originally, they used a machine shop to complete their prototypes, with a return time of about 3-4 weeks.
“We’d communicate back and forth, and when we would finally get the prototype, many times it was not what we wanted, and we would start the cycle all over again. It was costing us $300 – $600 for a simple prototype, and it cost us even more in time and the delay of getting to market.”
Jake knew that there had to be a more efficient way to get their products to their customers. At about this time, desktop 3D printers were breaking into the market and Jake was beginning to read a lot about them in the press. “We knew we had to get one to reduce the time it took to go back and forth with the machine shops. With the Afinia, we can produce the CAD file exactly how we want it before we pay to make a metal prototype. This significantly speeds up our prototyping process.”
500 Prototypes From One Spool
Of course, Afinia isn’t the only brand of desktop 3D printer on the market. But Jake did his research and determined it was the right brand for TANDEMKROSS and their business needs. “I saw a product review website that contained articles on three similar desktop 3D printers. I chose the Afinia because I liked that the software is simple. At the time, everyone had to pre-slice their models and go through all kinds of steps just to get them ready to print. The Afinia’s ease of use was the key for us. Also, the cost of materials was very low and open source, as opposed to the others’ proprietary filament cartridges.”
Jake continues to be pleased with his purchase. “When I received our Afinia, we had one black spool and have just recently used it up. I’ve gotten more than 500 prototypes out of that first spool!”
Rock ‘n Roll!
With Jake and his partner’s innovative ideas and quality products, things are looking good for TANDEMKROSS. Jake adds, “We need a bigger 3D printer to prototype much larger products. ”
Overall, Jake and TANDEMKROSS know what both they and their customers want and are moving forward to their desired outcomes. “Our challenge is to create new and interesting items that our customers are demanding. In-house design and prototyping helps get products to market faster and our Afinia 3D printer helps us do just that.”