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The Development Process | FishOly

The Development Process

The first prototype was born in 2010.  Since then, we’ve experienced lots of changes and improvements.  We knew we wanted colored flags, flashing lights, and beeps that would indicate when a unit had tipped and we wanted to be able to  identify whose tip-up had the strike.  Here’s some insight on how the Strike-N-Light was developed.

Colors

Rod (top piece):  We wanted to offer the Strike-N-Light in at least two colors to give people a choice.  We talked to lots of friends and family and found the most popular choices were chartreuse-green and hot-pink.  Groovy!  The pigment had to withstand 600°F during the molding process; it was difficult to find colorant that could withstand such high temperatures.  We finally found a product that was rated for 575°F.  The chartreuse came through the process with flying colors… (pun intended).  But the pink would burn every time and come out a root beer color, and not in a good way, in a yucky weird way.  So, that is why we only offer one color of rod and that is why it is chartreuse.

Base (bottom piece):  We made the base black for two reasons: 

  1. Black is easy to see against the snow
  2. We didn’t want to worry about matching rods and bases.

Some people would want only pink rods on pink bases, green rods on green bases and blue rods on blue bases. (Hum… this could get complicated. 🙄   We reasoned that if all the bases were black, it wouldn’t matter what color of rods we eventually came up with. 

Bottom line, we felt having all black bases would simplify things. 

Light Pipes (colored tubes):  We decided to start with four colors.  Three didn’t seem like enough and five seemed like too many.  We chose pink, yellow, blue, and green as a starting point.  Initially the light pipes were pretty translucent because we thought it would help them be bright at night.  Happily, the pigment makers made a mistake…they put an extra measure of stuff in the powder that made the color more opaque.  Turns out the light pipes now trap the light better which makes them easier to see at night and the opaque color is easier to see during the day.  Just for the record, sometimes “mistakes” along the way in a development process actually works out for the best! 

If we get enough requests, we will probably add more light pipe colors in the future.

 

Inside the Strike-N-Light

The first prototype incorporated watch batteries, but then we starting thinking that it would be better to use a more common battery such as AA.

We designed the controls to utilize three buttons:  power, lights, sound. 

  1. Power:  You can use the Strike-N-Light without any power and still catch fish… but why would you? 
  2. Lights:  You may not feel the need to use the light during the day, so you can turn that feature off but still have sound.
  3. Sound:  We designed the Strike-N-Light so that you can turn the horn off while you’re reeling in a fish. 

The printed circuit board (PCB) has also gone through many revisions to make the light as bright and long lasting as possible.  We tried  several horns to find the loudest one that was still small enough to fit in the housing.

 

Materials

Polycarbonate:  The rod and base are constructed of polycarbonate.  This material is surprisingly tough.  If you’ve ever tried to break a CD in half you have a feel for how tough we’re talking.  Some people might think these units look like they’re made out of cheap plastic. Let me tell you a story.  Rob at Legacy Molding advised us to make these tip-ups out of polycarbonate.  While in his office, he said watch this.  He took a steel ball the size of a golf ball and dropped it on a little polycarbonate box as a demonstration.  It didn’t break!  He kept dropping the ball from a higher point and with more force.  The box didn’t break.  He stood on this little box.  The box didn’t break.  Sold!  Thus, the Strike-N-Light is made out of polycarbonate which makes it light weight and strong even in freezing cold temperatures.

Once we had actual units to play around with, we took a base, froze it, stood on it, ran over it with a 4-wheeler… you get the idea.  It never broke.  We finally managed to break a rod, but it wasn’t easy.  We feel good about the fact that regular wear and tear of throwing these things in a bucket throughout the ice fishing season will not be a problem. 

Acrylic:  The light pipes are made out of acrylic.  They’re not quite as tough as the polycarbonate units, but they are plenty strong.  We used acrylic due to its ability to transmit light like we wanted.

Other Materials We Use:

  • Rod Guide Eyelet: Stainless steel with ceramic rings
  • Fuji Hood and Nut: Polycarbonate and stainless steel
  • Plastite screws: Torx head stainless steel
  • On-off buttons: UV resistant silicone
  • PCB: Coated printed circuit board