The Fan Ce Blog

April … well nearly May for that matter

Its seams the weather is set for improving and less stoves are being used as orders begin to tail off for another summer. The last of the Special Edition Black chrome Fans have sold as we continue to search the global market for available parts to convert.
Progress in the workshop continues and new tooling and jigs are being developed to improve the quality of the Stove Top Fan and create a little more space for production batches as these increase in size and frequency.

Interesting development on the coating front – with a little more time available for development we may invest in a DIY nickel coating system to determine if this might provide a supply solution for the special edition series whilst stocks are sought. If trials prove successful it would be a nice little project to contract out to a chemistry student looking for some summer work ! From a personal point, I don’t much fancy undertaking the coating process in house – I never enjoyed chemistry at school and never grasped the principles once the electrons, equations and chalk on the black board took over from the bunson burner and test tubes and drawing diagrams of the experiment. Despite repeated attempts to locate and get interest from an established coatings firm – none seam interested – small volumes, difficult product etc etc – which doesn’t look good for the DIY trials !

More soon.
Mat

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Spring 2014

Having had some issues with the LOG IN – I am sorry to say that the site and this blog have been left for quite some time. I now see lambs in the fields above the workshop and the apple trees are budding – I love spring.
Hope to add some new images and updates on product development over the next few weeks, meanwhile we have stock of the Fan-C copper versions and Black Fan-Ce but no Black Fan-C. Copper Fan-Ce under production.
Time for lunch and then back to the workshop.

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2014 – Happy New Year

Slightly blurry eyes looking around the workshop after the festive break. Lots of product assembly underway and parts arriving in dribs and drabs as our postal and courier system get back on line after a break for the new year.
We have received a lot of 10 black Fan_c coolers to build up and half are pre-ordered as i type – the good news is that leaves 5 free … well not free but ‘available’ ! Following some helpful feedback from a client that undertook some of his own development work we are now searching for a supply of 75mm copper disks to offer for stove tops which are less than flat – most cast stoves have some distortion – even my Morso Squirrel ! This gives rise to point contact on the Fan-C base – effectively reducing the heat throughput from the stove top. So if the stove is partially enclosed and the air temperature above is elevated … (which lets face it is why we use a fan in the first place) the fan speed is at best low. Inserting a copper disk below the base on top of the stove does two things:-
It creates a better flat surface for greater heat transfer and being copper conducts the heat through any point contacts better than aluminium.

Once we have a supply ongoing, we hope to undertake some tests and report on the improvements. Initial tests with aluminium disks look good so copper should be better.

Wishing all who read these entries a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous 2014.

Mat

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New Additions to the Website – under development … so to speek

Decembers here – OMG as the youths text !

Just about on top of production – stocks of components running low including many of those made here – so looks like a busy week ahead to avoid any further lengthy delays. Another order just pinged in so back to packing again….

Whilst taking a well earned tea break around late morning the thought occurred that I should really add some useful tips, hints and other stuff to the website – then my thoughts moved to the things which most websites now have … you know the little notices that flash up as you enter the site …

“This site uses cookies, to view our policy please click here…” kind of thing.

So I thought – I bet this is some sort of EC legislation related response – so am now looking to see how we can add our own set of similar along the lines of :-….

“This site uses cookies ……………… mostly with a hot mug of tea for dunking”

Then amused at my own wit – I moved onto the more serious issues of health warnings:-

“This product may contain traces of Nuts…. screws for sure and on occasion a pair of nuts on bolts ”

Interesting to note the comments on some on line forums where having discovered the Stove Top Fan-C range, comments related to the inherent danger of spinning fan blades scything digits from very small childs’ hands cropped up. It was quite some time before I was able to post a reply that as the blade is ‘pushing air’ and the gap between the blades is so small – it would be pretty near impossible to get a finger in there – aside from which at full speed the hazard presented is minimal – unlike the burning hot stove upon which the fan is sat which to a child represents a far more serious hazard……. the mind boggles.

Not long after the tea break a former colleague arrived to ‘catch up’ – we discussed the product prototypes I have been developing – always good to get a fresh pair of eyes and alternative insight – within minutes we were developing a ‘turbo’ powered unit with venturi feeds and the prospects were endless….. clearly the tea had been too strong ! we parted by lunchtime and I set about the usual rush of postal run, return, process orders and start wrapping and packing again….

If you do have a very small gap over your stove – like 100mm or 4″ in old money – then keep looking at the blog – if I get a couple of hours spare to complete the next prototype I will post a picture – it should prove interesting with the ‘turbo’ !

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Novembers Arrived & Almost Gone & Now Snow in the Forecast !

The last couple of weeks have to have been the most frustrating. Some great weather outside, trees changing colour, loads going on and I’m busy in the workshop making parts for a full order book. All set for the due date for the last parts due in …. and thats when it all slowed to a halt.
Now I find that things like ‘on-line parcel tracking’ are .. shall I say OK ? At best you get to know where the package was when it last went through a ‘check point’ – in the case in hand – all the key checkpoints over the pond re there in black and white – then once it arrived this side of the pond….’awaiting customs clearance’ …. for a few days ….and a few more …… a week goes by, then its 2nd weekend – meanwhile orders here are backed up and the workshop is full of part assembled fans. Finally after 10 days – parcel now cleared customs …… 3 days later – Parcel now held awaiting payment of duty .. addressee to be notified. At this point I lost the plot and rang the Parcel Force Office which handled the delivery last time… three weeks before.

Nice chap on the phone – searched the ‘system’, then the ‘other system’ found the reference details (which are due to me in the next few days or so….) – offered that I pay the duty due over the phone and then advised me the package would be delivered next morning – which I have no doubt as thats what always happens within 24hrs of my paying the import duty.

Rant over – well almost – surely there must be a way that goods imported can be Duty Paid in advance – its not as if the value isn’t known before hand – or is the operation so under manned that it takes that long to sort the parcels ?

So to all my clients awaiting Fan-C & Fan-Ce ordered between 9th November – 19th Nov – I am doing my best – I can only hope that the following call off of TEG’s arrives as planned – next week – that I suspect will be the last shipment ahead of 25th Dec’

The long range forecast (i.e. three days) includes snow flurries and freezing weather. Hardly a surprise given its near the end of November – still my log pile is far from dry and I have a ruck load of logs to cut & split & stack – something I usually have completed by the end of October.

Busy week or so ahead I feel.

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Fan-C Black Stock

It has been some considerable time since we had any stock of the Black /Chrome Coolers come in. The stock built over the summer months went mid September – time spent searching the used market for units is getting to the stage where it is becoming uneconomic if its cost was allocated to the cost of each unit sold. Every now and then there is a scent of ‘box of 10 unused stock’ awaiting purchase – Having found just such a scent I am awaiting confirmation that they are ‘real’ product to buy and not some virtual record legacy of last years stock adjustments in a warehouse….. But still 10 new unused units – could be a good find !

Meanwhile, back in the workshop, having made up all product available it is time to review what next – until the next batch is required. There remains lots of components to produce ‘eggs in baskets’ all well and good but not really what I fancy doing just now.

I have a small commission for a ‘steak knife’ made from a Damascus steel blank I found on line. Olive wood handle cheeks secured with brass rivets – should be a fine looking knife. My pair of similar knives with Juniper Wood handles are very pleasant to use if a little robust for fine dining – but that’s not me. I love to eat good food – not a great fan of fuss and trimmings – but good wholesome simple cooking.

If I can’t make it ready to eat within 20 minutes -its too much trouble – which does kind of limit things in the preparation department if like me you are not so quick around the kitchen. Steaks – bit of the ‘green stuff’ alongside well that works.

His & hers

His & hers

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Each is approx 8″ long in total – The blades hold a good keen edge – honed to a mirror finish – which lets me slice an over ripe tomatoe for my cheese butty and cuts through my ‘economy’ steaks as if it was prime top notch sirloin.

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Up Up & Away….. well so to speek

If you are reading this then you have already found our new fancy looking website.

The design, code work and …. well everything is down to a young graduate from Sheffield Hallam University – ‘Byron’ working for Reflow Studio in Hathersage – smashing bunch of chaps – I only wished a understood half of what they tell me when we talk about the architecture of the sites. Some day code work may well be generated automatically from icon driven interfaces – between then and now I should think the likes of Byron have a prosperous future ahead of them interfacing as they do between the ‘have no idea how but can you just make it do this..’ and the internet !

http://www.reflowstudio.com/

 

 

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Well, where to start, still making parts and running when we can in between school runs, decorating and clearing out some of the junk accumulated in the past 15 years at HQ.  The reason for the clear out and sprucing up – besides from th eclear and obvious fact that it neaded it – is here :-
Green Buildings Open Up

Take a look at the website – there is lots of great opportunities to see what you can do with a little motivation and some funds to work with in order to reduce your carbon foot print.

That’s all folks – back to the workshop for me.

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Progress…. of a sort !

As September draws to a close, the new website is all but ready, awaiting a final run through and couple of images – frustrating how getting the right product in use shot takes sooooooo long !

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The new Product prototype has been set up and put to the test – initial impressions are good. Air movement is far higher than the Fan-Ce – mainly as a result of the blade set up. Still some work to do to get it market ready.

We took a stroll through YouTube this week and surprise  surprise several new videos uploaded on ‘How To.. & Buy my Stove Top Fan’ with lots looking similar to the Fan-Ce – flattering I guess – but I wonder how serious these ‘project are’ ?

We continue to scour the used market for Black cooler bodies and whilst the larger series Fan-Ce have been purchased and converted & most sold, the small units remain very similar to rocking horse teeth in terms of availability.

The sun is out, the solar PV is running and I have fire wood to cut, chop & stack and fan parts to make on the lathe.

I leave you with a sample of the product photo’s in a ‘warm look’

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Distractions Come & Go

My life today is full of distractions, in that there are just so many things to take the focus off of what I am ‘trying’ to do. Every now and then I get the chance or stumble up on, something which actually makes me stop, think and puts me back on track. Last night was a good example.

I attended a networking meeting in the Peak District Dales town of Bakewell, attended by a group of approximately 30 ‘like minded individuals which share a common interest’ – there were a number of speakers myself included – un-prepared as ever ! Always good to catch up with friends made through business.

After the comfort / snack break, I sat and listened to a well written short presentation by a local chap, Paul Cox – he grew up in the village next to mine – Chapel en le Frith in the High Peak, Derbyshire. It was clear he had spent quite some time building up his presentation which was very personal to him.

Paul Cox of  Spin Less Plates builds small business software;  as a micro business he experiences much the same as I do and many others like us. The thrust of his presentation was (as I suspected he had been asked) to highlight the benefit of a ‘Master Mind’ approach – that is to say two heads are better than one and 3 than 2 etc etc. All true enough and we could all benefit from fresh perspective and networking with others especially those which a are head of their game. A read once that you can only improve your chess game by getting beaten by a better player.

However, for me Pauls’ motivational talk re-focused my own perspective on the WHY do I work for myself doing what I do – it is the question we should all take time out to re-assess.

It is not my intention to put into type my ‘WHY’ – if for no other reason than my own privacy. Just to say that if I can give one bit of advice to any would be micro-business builders – ask yourself WHY. It makes all the other questions and answers flow far easier.

Talking of distractions, too often these take us further from the WHY on occasion to the point where we have in fact lost track of the WHY and replaced it with a BECAUSE – in an attempt to justify to ourselves at least the fact that we are ‘off target’.

Caught up in the ‘production of components’ earlier in the week and for a brief period having lost track of the WHY as I moved materials around the workshop – my attention was re-focussed by a ‘distraction’. Not the kids, or one of the various pets which come to visit the workshop… cats, chickens or dogs.  Not one of my retired former work pals. This came in the form of a streak of Blue & Orange with a very long sharp beak and pretty nearly collided with the back of my head.  After a few seconds of the poor thing getting lost in the workshop I recovered it from the window ledge and released it outside – it set off as they do with its load SQUEEK and characteristic jet speed back toward the small stream beyond the workshop.

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The kingfisher – a bit of a ‘Grab Shot’ left handed with my mobile phone – still not many can claim to have held such a bird in the UK – protected as it is. Fiesty little thing as well. Stunning colours and quite a few years since I have seen one locally. After a week of running about after others and fitting in production time as and when I could – these simple few seconds of wonder made me re-focus on my WHY.
I have to get out with my Nikon and do more of the things I like; creating new things, solving new challenges – which brings me to a new project for the Stove Fans – watch the blogs for more news soon.
WHY – well because I want to. !

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