I was recently commissioned by a customer to construct a set of flat, velcro attachable panels to hold a LifeHammer Emergency Hammer. While vaguely familiar with the glass breaking rescue product, I had no personal experience with one. It took a little homework, some consultation and getting a prototype to the customer to narrow down the design. The requirement was simple enough: retain the hammer securely yet allow it to be easily accessible and simple to deploy. Pretty straight forward stuff.
The whole thing is built on an HDPE reinforced hook (velcro) backer, similar to many other pieces in my design portfolio. The hammer is retained against the panel with a length of 6″ wide elastic. This offers what I feel is a good compromise between close, formfitting retention of the hammer, yet the elastic will also give a little when extracting the hammer and should be more forgiving if not pulled straight out. The customer specified a velcro closure over the end to secure the hammer into place.
Not personally owning a LifeHammer and with no hands-on time with one, I had to rely heavily on the customer’s input while inserting a little bit of practical design experience. In cases like this, you do your homework, work closely with the customer and collaborate to make sure the thing works. I never had the hammer in hand to test the fit and function of the panel, this was all done via email exchanges of pictures, sketches and direct feedback from the initial prototype. Ultimately, building custom gear is about providing the customer with a solution he can’t obtain elsewhere and backing the work down to the the last stitch. Customer service starts in earnest after the product has shipped.