The Birth of the Hammock Mount
Hi friends! This is Chris with McLean Metalworks. Welcome to our Blog! I took a break from designing and took to the keyboard today to share the epic tale of "The Birth of the Hammock Mount" with you all.
We often hear from folks asking if the Hammock Mount is our idea and how we came up with it. Well, the hammock mount goes back to my college days at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I had an IME (Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering) course called Product-Process Design. In this course, we were required to form a team and develop a new product from concept through manufacture. We bounced some ideas around and I had the outlandish idea to make a hammock stand that attaches to a trailer hitch. This idea won our down-select process and so it began.
Being one of the few engineers in the group with experience in mechanical design and CAD software, I started the design process and worked with the team to develop our "product." By the end of the course we had a crude, yet working prototype and the instructor was blown away! Here are a few photos of the very first Hammock Mount- (which was originally dubbed the "Hitch Hammock").
I loved this concept and wanted to continue to iterate and improve the design; however, life happened and I soon became distracted with other projects, the remainder of college, graduation, and then getting a corporate job and moving to Seattle. This project was now indefinitely on hold, with hopes of one day returning to the drawing board to make a marketable product.
It wasn't until spring of 2016 when I finally seized this opportunity. I went back to the drawing board (more like "back to the CAD Software" now) and made many improvements to the prototype design. I tried using some new materials and hardware, but more-or-less kept a similar design to the first prototype. I pushed to get this ready for NW Overland Expo that year to show off my gadget and see if people might be interested in it. Once deployed with a hammock hung off the front hitch of my big Dodge truck, nearly everyone who came by was asking about it. "Where did you get this?!" or "Where can I buy one?" were the questions that seemed to echo all weekend. This was the point that I realized I needed to move on this concept if I ever wanted to make something of it.
The 2nd iteration I made was definitely an improvement over the first, but I knew there was still a lot more potential to unlock in order to get this contraption more user-friendly and compact. While continuing to work full-time, I spent much of my free time designing, testing, and building prototypes to make what I had hoped to be the perfect collapsible hammock stand.
By early 2017, I finally had a design that had been exhaustively engineered and tested, and I was ready to share it with the world. As manufacturing began and demand increased, the now dubbed- McLean Metalworks Hammock Mount was beginning to take off.
I quickly realized that there was no way to effectively manufacture products and run a business (McLean Metalworks) while working my full-time corporate job. In April 2017, I parted ways with
Boeing and began on this epic journey of entrepreneurship.
Now I get to work more, sweat more, AND struggle more...yet every day is a new challenge filled with much more satisfaction. Thankfully, in this business, I can still squeeze in some time for "hanging out." I'm excited to share the other ideas I've been working on, and to share this journey with you.
I wouldn't be here without the support of my amazing wife and business partner, Jillian, or without the encouragement of my friends and family. I feel so lucky to have to opportunity to do what I love every day and to spend my time creating things to enhance recreation and relaxation.