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Brace Mk-1 Prototype

At long last the metal prototype for the first Brace is finished, and it's time to let everyone see what is coming down the pipe here at BRACE. The Mk-1 is a solid stainless steel bracelet that locks onto your wrist via two latches on top. This bracelet has been in the works for a long time now (over the course of many... many different designs), and I'm excited to finally have something tangible to share and to show off.

Right now it is going through the "wear-ability" phase to see how it feels doing everyday things, and to find out what needs improvement. I can already tell you that some of the edges are too sharp and that there needs to be tighter tolerances on several faces. Right now it is also cut to fit, which I would like to not do and add adjustability to make manufacturing easier. This would also prevent any mishaps if the limbs were cut slightly off and it didn't fit, as well as letting the wearer tweak it to suit their desires. This should help people adjust who aren't used to wearing rigid metal bangles, or who prefer stable tight fits.

I'm also planning for these to be modular bracelets, so you can swap out the limbs or the latches with ones that suit your style. One problem this presents is having removable screws, which tend to loosen as the Brace is opened and closed a lot, to the point where they may fall out. This can be solved with more lubrication without sacrificing interfacing tolerances, but we also need to make sure that grease doesn't drip on the wearers wrist, or anywhere else for that matter. Right now the plan is to use better machining practices and tooling to solve some of these friction problems.

This prototype is also a good test of the look and feel (material wise) of the bracelet. The raw parts are made by indirect metal printing, which fuses powdered steel layers using an adhesive that holds it together until the part is sintered. The alloy is a 420 stainless steel infused with bronze (which takes the place of the adhesive), which gives its surface a black finish. These parts are then machined down to their final look and finish, giving it a unique two tone appearance. I'm not sure if this will be the final look that the Mk-1 ends up with, but it looks good so far. Since it is completely stainless steel, the bracelet is very solid feeling, and some of the pieces I thought would be questionable strength-wise, turned out to be overkill, so it might get slimmed down some. This is a new manufacturing method for me, so I'm still learning some of the quirks and capabilities.

The next few months will hold some design changes and more prototypes of the Mk-1, which will hopefully yield a superior product. This is a great way to start 2018, and I'm looking forward to revealing more from BRACE!

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