**Apologies for the sound not being great. Factories are loud.**
Considering making your own Rifle Rods for ample gun safe storage? Curious what makes the Rifle Rods gun rack system so special even though they look so simple? The devil is in the details, so let’s get your questions answered! In this video, Kevin and Todd describe the manufacturing process in three stages and why we do what we do.
- The intentional blend of vinyl material to make Rifle Rods
- The injection molding process to form Rifle Rods
- Ultrasonic welding of “hook” coin on head of Rifle Rods
- Can you make the Rifle Rods longer or stronger?
- Can you make the Rifle Rods caliber specific?
- Why are the Rifle Rods more expensive than expected?
Katie: Hi, I'm Katie with Guns Storage Solutions, and today we want to show you how the Rifle Rods are made. You can see them back here storing our long guns in the safe. Now this may just look like a plastic stick to you, but I'm telling you, a lot of thought, research and development, trial and error has gone into making this a refined product. Today, Kevin and Todd are going to take us for a little tour through the factory. We're going to talk about the materials that we use, the molding process, and how exactly we get the hook coin on the end of the Rifle Rod. To go to the factory we just say right here in Bloomington, Illinois! Join me!
Material Used to Make Rifle Rods
Kevin: We're at the factory. I'm here with Todd. Todd made me clean out my warehouse last week so I wanted to show you one of the early, early Rifle Rods. When we first started making these they weren't as strong as they are today. I want to just address a couple of issues right now. Our three main complaints are:
- the Rifle Rods are expensive
- You're Rifle Rods need to be longer
- and the Rifle Rods are not strong enough
First of all, they're much stronger than they used to be. They need to be made out of plastic because my number one rule is they won't damage the gun. Wood, of course, would rust the inside of the gun. Metal, even if you coat it, if you get a little kink in it, it could rub off and damage and rifling - we don't want that! Plastic is the obvious choice and Todd is here to explain to you why we use the plastic that we do and why it is more expensive than what you're used to seeing in plastic products.
Todd: Right, so a lot of people don't realize that there's a wide variety of the types of plastic that exist in the world. From the cheap plastics they use to make containers you drink out of to more expensive heavy duty plastics that are made to be used in industrial environments where they're roughed up quite a bit. So, what our product does is something pretty unique in the sense that this is a very long, narrow and strong item. We had to come up with a very specific blend of plastic that not only gives it the flexibility that is needed under pressure, but also gives you the strength to stay stiff. The only downfall to finding a plastic like this is that it tends to be very expensive, which is why we don't make the rods any bigger than they are now. If we made them thicker they would only fit larger calibers and they would ultimately be just too expensive for anyone to actually want to purchase.
Kevin: Then, they wouldn't fit down the barrel of your 22's and just about everybody has a 22. So if we come up with a kit when we don't know how many 12 gauge shotgun, you have how many 10 gauge, or 16 gauge. So, they are all 22 and it'll fit in basically any gun, except the 17 cal. We have a special rod for that, but it doesn't make any sense to have a special rod for everything.
Todd: If you have any questions about these products at all, you can always call us we're happy to talk you through what the best practices are. If you are having issues with the rods bending, you need to bring the guns up closer to the shelf. I can show you some techniques for how to do that. It's not difficult and it is ultimately, the best way to use these products.
Injection Molding Process
Todd: This is Todd with Gun Storage Solutions. Going through the factory, we've been cleaning things out and we discovered the original tool that we had built here at GSS. This particular tool ran about half a million pieces for us over several years.
The way that this process works is these two halves will be closed together trapping the cavities together as one. The plastic is then injected into the tool, the tool is then opened and the parts are ejected out. The process itself - because it's under so much pressure and it is moving molten liquid through it - it tends to deteriorate these cavities over time. Over the lifetime of this tool, we went through several different changes. We added cavities to it, we harden the steel, and we changed the design a little bit. We had to add material and then cut it back out to make the rods even stronger and more effective. Then we retired this tool and built a new tool.
Our newest tool is an eight cavity tool that has a hardened surface to help protect both the cavities and the face of the tool for longer. We're hoping to get at least 2 million parts out of that tool. It is currently running right now. So, we're going to continue to make all of these designs stronger and stronger, given the restrictions that we want the rods to be able to fit a 22 caliber, and anything larger.
We're constantly looking for different ways to improve the Rifle Rods. As the technology for molding, as well as the material manufacturing process, continue to advance we hope to stay at the cutting edge of those things and to make the absolute best Rifle Rods that we can make for our customers.
Ultrasonic Welding the Hook Coin to Rifle Rods
Kevin: We're back at our scenic facility. Today we're going to show you a little bit about how we make these Rifle Rods. We're going to show you our ultrasonic welder.
I can tell you a little bit of history about how they became ultrasonically welded. When we first started out with the Rifle Rods we were using this hook fabric dot and we would glue them on with self adhesive. That worked until it got hot in the summer and they slowly slid off the Rifle Rod. It became an issue with a lot of gun owners. We issued a recall on them when we came up with this process. Todd's going to talk a little bit about the process of ultrasonic welding.
Todd: This is an ultrasonic welder right here. What this is capable of doing is taking two similar types of plastic. The plastic found in the coins that we use and the plastic in the Rifle Rods themselves. By putting this coin directly over the rod, using the centering jig, the welding head comes down, uses electrical pulses creating ultrasonic wavelengths that ultimately weld these two parts together. So now instead of having to freestanding pieces - the rod and the coin - it's all essentially one piece. There is no possible way of this ever coming apart.
Kevin: I just want to mention that we had this specifically made. The carousel is specifically made and the horn here specifically made for this process. The first 1100 - 1500 we did we just glued them on. We didn't sell very many that year. We were just getting started going gun shows. Since then we've sold close to 2 million.
We've never had an issue. We've never had one come off. We've solved the problem! Thank you for your attention.
Katie: Thanks so much for taking the time to see how the Rifle Rods are made. If your gun safe is getting full try out Rifle Rods. I'm sure they can win back some of that space for you. For more information about our Rifle Rods or our other gun safe accessories, check out GunStorageSolutions.com.