2012 had it’s share of ups and downs. The Pro Tour announced that their final tournament was to be held in York, Pennsylvania on November 2nd thru 4th. That would be my target for the year. I joined the HP Pro Tour for another year, ultimately paid my entry fee and cleared my calendar. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other plans, so, I had to pull out at the last minute to help out a friend in Delaware.
Overall, I had a great year. First place in the Maryland State Doubles, second place in the Maryland State Singles and first place in the Maryland State Senior Olympics for my age group. A few tournament wins in Baltimore and Frederick and ended my weekly Post 7 doubles league with a second place and 66 point average. With the exception of the weekly league, I was able to pitch a prototype pair of Tridents with great success.
2012 was extremely frustrating for production and 3D printing. My 3D printing company had an equipment failure on their ZCorp printer and was unable to fix the problem. I sent out RFQs to a multitude of companies with a variety of printers, most of them printing in ABS plastic. I had been paying $85 for printing my singles and splits. I actually received quotes for over $1,000 for a single horseshoe printed in FDM ABS M30 plastic. I decided to test the output from a $2,000 desktop printer and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Unfortunately, the MakerBot printing platform forced me to cut the horseshoe into 4 pieces, so, I just requested 1/4th printed for a quality test for $25.00. See photos below. I had also had a single printed in FDM ABS M30 plastic from a California company for $165.00. So far, the layer thicknesses, i.e., the thickness of each slice from FDM plastic is too prominent. It requires too much filling and sanding to end up with a nice smooth finish for prototype casting. My original 3D printing company is now seeking to replace their ZCorp printer with another style printer. In the meantime, I will be taking a class at Catonsville Community College which will give me access to a UPrint 3D printer and ShopBot CNC.
Double click any photo to see an enlarged view.
Frustration continued after the foundry notified me that they would not be casting ductile iron until February 2013. Although I had paid the NHPA licensing fee in June for the 2012 pitching season, I was the only one pitching the Trident, using an original pair of prototypes. I am hopeful that the foundry will gear up for ductile iron casting before then. I continue to submit RFQs for prototype casting of my singles and splits without much success. Unfortunately, there are very few small foundries left in the U.S., leaving only the larger firms not interested in casting 1 to 3 horseshoes.
If the foundry can handle it, I will be going into production for 2013 with the “Patriot.” I am dedicating the Patriot to the Vietnam Veteran. I had discussed the Patriot before, but, was finally able to get a 3D printed version from a small firm in California. I was also able to receive 4 copies from the foundry which I am presently testing. The thumb calk design works exactly as I had hoped. By creating the thumb calk as an arc, it now permits the pitcher to slide the thumb around to the left or right to alter the arrival of the horseshoe at the stake. The thumb placed on the left side of the thumb calk results in a shoe that arrives with the right shank first when flipped. Placing the thumb on the right side of the thumb calk causes the shoe to left shank to arrive first. Either way, it causes the shoe to arrive un-square and reducing the problem of bounceback. (see photo below)
Below is an image of the Patriot showing “POW” engraved on the left shank. “MIA” on the right shank. (see Patriot below)
Below is an image of one shank on the bottom of the horseshoe, opposite the thumb calk side with raised lettering in reverse so that the text will show “POW” and “MIA” in the clay when the shoe arrives thumb caulk down. (see photo below)
NOTE: Added August 3rd, 2016 This rendition of the Patriot was rejected after prototype casting and testing. It was determined that the area of bend was too narrow and susceptible to breakage. The Eagle shown below ultimately became the Patriot.
The NHPA had previously approved the Eagle for production, but, I wasn’t sure about it, so, I went with the Trident. I’ve had so many requests for the Eagle, that I’ve decided to add a second shoe to the production schedule for 2013. Seems that everyone who has tried the Eagle wants to buy a pair. The Eagle is a flip or turn shoe. The ringer break is just enough to direct the shoe to the left or right when hitting the stake. My league night partner is a reverse flipper and loves this horseshoe. (see Eagle below)