Production work

I have been working with Daniel Grande Racecar Casting for all my
casting. I took a detour 15 years ago to learn casting and thought I
could do a better job than anyone, which I did. I found that I
couldn’t be a production caster and all the other jobs required to
make a successful career in “art” so I had to swallow the bitter pill
of failure, sell the casting equipment I had sold my soul for and
find a subcontractor. Daniel is top notch and has taught me allot
about casting and what is necessary for him to produce casting. This
came about because he attended last years Orchid dinner in Tucson and
I had the invaluable opportunity to walk around Rio’s catalog in
motion with Daniel. I feel face to face distribution of knowledge is
really the only way.

My production fabrication is done by Lapis Enterprises out of Mesa
Arizona. Ron Johnson is the proprietor, 480-699-0179, . Ron is bringing Taxco craftsmen to a city on the
border called Nogales. 60 miles south of Tucson, I have been to his
workshop many times. I first wanted to go there to see if it was a
sweat shop. I found Ron was able to attract workers from Taxco by
paying well them and housing them and their families. In short,
offering opportunity, not just work.

I took pancake dies, RT dies, made by Sheltech to Nogales to quicken
the production, also an old hydraulic press my grandfather had made
50 years ago. I felt that this would provide me and the workers there
an edge. This was fascinating though because I had to teach the
workers there how to use the tools I brought and found resistance to
using them. They would rather hand saw. I was blown away but, I think
I made my point and they are using the provided tools.

From a video I got from Rio, years ago, from the Santa Fe symposium
called “Design For Production” and the experiences with Ron and
Daniel I started realizing that I could design all day long but, if
the actual producers didn’t like the way I had mapped out they were
going to do it differently and I wasn’t going to get what I thought I
was. Fortunately mine and my families designs are extremely simple (
which can be a production nightmare with out the right people) and
just finding top quality crafts-people made all the difference in the

My method for production now is to design, make a prototype and
place and order to see what I get. This is 90% effective, the 10% is
waste but, this method gives me a realistic costing path for
production and a clear idea of production time and outcome. OK, so I
have production behind me, now how do I sell? Well, that’s the story
in progress. Sam Patania, Tucson @Patania_s