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and Design Considerations:
First let me say that this system represents almost 10 years of experience with developing primarily a gaming chair system that has steadily evolved to become what you now see here. Having worked for many years designing industrial machinery, I have quite a bit of experience with machines and the sciences that make the difference between a good one and a piece of junk. This system has proved to be a difficult task indeed.
I have worked to make this system meet several primary goals: 1.The system has to be a solid, rugged tool and not a cheap piece of junk that will last 6 months and disintegrate. 2. The system must be simple, expandable, modular, easily repairable and easy to install and use. 3. The system has to be lightweight, yet solid, holding the components as rigidly as possible while still meeting the #1 goal (a difficult task as I found out!). 4. The system must be at a price that is affordable to the average person.
As anyone familiar with this kind of work can attest, some degree of compromise is necessary and I found early on that the #4 goal was the hardest to keep in line with. I have managed to keep the price to a manageable amount, but it would be very easy to increase the cost… perhaps one day I will offer a ‘price is no object’ model for the few that can afford it (probably upwards of $1200-$1500 with a chair). All in all, this system meets the above goals to my personal satisfaction. I am an avid gamer and use one of these systems daily (I’ve been using it, in one version or another, for almost 10 years now) and am quite happy with how this system works.
From an engineering standpoint, the most difficult parts to overcome have been creating a solid mounting system that can fit on virtually any chair. While I do manufacture and sell mounts that fit literally dozens of chair models from all sorts of manufacturers (due to the fact that most of them have standardized the arms and the attachment locations) it is a huge task to try to make mounts for any style of chair without making mounts that require drilling. Even then, if the chair itself is not solid, the mount will not be as stable as desired, causing the keyboard to ‘bounce’ while typing. For some this may be acceptable. To me it is not. I want the keyboard to be as rock solid (steady) as possible and have worked diligently to make this happen in the design.
The materials used are the result of literally dozens of different types of materials that I have tested over the years. These materials represent a good balance of wear ability, light weight and low material costs. Early on, I decided on using a plastic-based material as much as possible to conserve weight. Steel is actually cheaper than the polymer plastics used, but it is considerably heavier and does not have a good “memory” that is needed for the friction clamping action to work. Aluminum is still heavy, wears faster, costs more and has an even worse memory than steel. Nylon would be a very good material except for one problem… cost. Nylon bar stock is almost 4 times the cost. Several other materials were tested. I found that none of them really offered any significant advantage over polymers. The materials can also, if properly prepared, be painted and many of the other plastics tested could not. Plastics continue to be the all-around best choice.
Finish has been a difficult task to overcome as well. Painting, while possible, is difficult for me to do in quantity and retain a level of quality that would be acceptable. I have painted these systems with several different types of paint and coatings (see the FAQ section for information on painting) but basic smoothing of the parts is all that is required for functionality. I have found that after a brief sanding by hand, ‘annealing’ the parts seem to give a decent finish. Cleaning and finish are very time consuming and therefore expensive. Once again the issue of cost savings becomes a problem. Because of this, I decided that this basic process is sufficient to give an acceptable finish.
I think that anyone who purchases my system will reach a point where they will wonder how they ever did without it. It truly does work and work well... a sentiment which I hear, time and time again from many happy customers.