Load Bearing Equipment: Design, Use, Sustainment

Diz posted:

...when I worked at Lockheed-Martin, I enjoyed working with the process engineering studs, cuz it was fascinating to get the science behind all the shit we built.  When we worked together, we often had amazing results.  They got their hands dirty, which we appreciated, and we tried to understand the theory, which they probably thought was cute.  Actually it did help us to know the why behind the what.  If problems arose, we could make better informed decisions, by knowing the designer's intent...

100% that. We hear about collaboration a lot these days. Or more: I am told to "collaborate," by which they mean, do whatever the biggest whiners say, but in a room with them. 

Real collab, where everyone gets a little experience on each others' job is awesome. 

Seen or worked with people at several engineering-centric places you'd recognize (but... NDAs) where the prototyping centers, or auto lifts to try components on vehicles, were within 20 yards of the designers, software developers, boss and conference room. Cross pollinate ideas, walk out with greasy hands to solve problems now, not have a meeting in three weeks with all issues boiled down to PPT, and lost in the mix. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Point of order, your honor, the Vector/CFP-90/UM-whatever didn't need to be so shitty.  This is a good example of when .gov R&D was flawed, for whatever reason.  I'm sure Lowe-Alpine, Gregory, et al could have fixed that shit, probably with a day in the field to see what was happening.  That was a damn good bag that was shit-canned because the harness was, well, a POS.  Update the bag, put it on a DG-16 frameset, and well, there's the DG-16 system.  

Someone mentioned this on another thread, but attaching the "carrying handle" and/or lash points to the (external) frame would probably solve this shit.  Just a quirk of the internal frame design; I think the lash points need to be superimposed on top of the stay pockets; that way you're pulling from the "frame" as it were, instead of cordura and webbing alone.      

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Yeah when it's all working together, it's awesome.  L/M used to have a program where all these dudes from the Skunk Works visited other company sites and shared this approach with us.  You had a hard time telling the engineer, from the machinist, from the material planner.  They all worked together, getting shit done, without any regard to title, status, whatever.  When there was an evolution, whether on paper (well computer really) or metal (n other stuff) fab,  they all turned to and got it done.  So fucking simple.   Yet so hard to do.     

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Diz posted:

Point of order, your honor, the Vector/CFP-90/UM-whatever didn't need to be so shitty.  This is a good example of when .gov R&D was flawed, for whatever reason.  I'm sure Lowe-Alpine, Gregory, et al could have fixed that shit...

Someone mentioned this on another thread, but attaching the "carrying handle" and/or lash points to the (external) frame would probably solve this shit.  Just a quirk of the internal frame design; I think the lash points need to be superimposed on top of the stay pockets; that way you're pulling from the "frame" as it were, instead of cordura and webbing alone.      

I have absolutely had packs like that. My fix for the LCS84 was based on one of those predecessor civ expedition pack designs. Several of those had tubular webbing stay pockets, and would attach everything to those. Sometimes, hardware directly touching the aluminum in gaps in the pockets, sometimes wrapped around the pocket. You could light the pack body on fire and still not have support structure failure from drag handle down to waist belt. 

IIRC, my old 80s expedition pack (a Camp Trails knockoff of something, Gregory?) tied the vertical load straps (to hold the lid to the body to the sleep compartment... into these pockets also, so there was a ring of nylon, no ability for bag fabric tears to matter much. And I absolutely abused the hell out of that pack. I think the liquid butter explosion was a test no pack should have to endure. 

So, I say not intrinsic to any frame design, and not even a bombproof/add-weight, but very much how one approaches the design. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Diz posted:

I get where you're coming from,  I really do, but, I also know what I know.  Maybe I can't give you the scientific proof for it, but I know that it works.  So, if it works for me, what does it matter whether if it was proven by whatever method a person might prefer?  I'm not writing a thesis on it;  I'm not trying to establish some new doctrine; I am merely looking for what works for me, in a given situation.  So I guess you have to take that for what it's worth.  

I'm sure Natick Labs and whoever have all their degrees and protocol to test all this shit out, in a scientifically proven manner.  And I'm sure they do some wonderful things.     But they have produced some real turds as well.  So while I do respect the scientific process and so forth, I don't believe it is so sacrosanct that it can't be questioned, or even that I, lowly parachute rigger, at large, can't figure some of this stuff out for myself.

I believe there needs to be a synthesis of process you are referring to, whatever that may be (not being a dick, I really don't know) and the field experience of grunts like us.  I think there is probably much to be learned if you try and combine the theoretical with the actual experience.  I think it would be a mistake for either one to discount the other.  

For example, if you tell me what the force vector or whatever would be for a ruck strap hanging off a vehicle.  We could design a sewn joint for a certain tensile strength and test it out (yeah, I have the formulas for that).  What I would hazard to guess is that there are other forces at play that we hadn't even accounted for that bite us in the ass.  Then it's like, ah, no shit, we actually need to have this kind of strength.  So then from practical experience we would know that a ruck strap needs this sewn joint in order to hang off a typical vehicle.  

Theory and process are fine.  Not discounting them.  But there's something to be said for just going out there and doing it.  If you can find balance in both worlds, I'd think you'd be on the right track.  But it's like officers and NCO's; sometimes hard to get them to trust each other.   Or acknowledge that each one brings something to the table.        

And  this is why there are still test pilots to go out and fly the CAD made airplane. To test the reality from the theoretical.

_____________________________________________

 

Doug

If I mention Corona, I ain't talking about beer.

 

"It's your turn to do until it's not."  TA

 

"Afterall.... if you get yourself into a fair fight.. you really haven't learned anything in all the time you have spent on Lightfighter, your tactics suck, and you don't deserve to breed."  David Reeves

 

JOINED:  9/20/09     LOCATION:  Outside of KSA Finally!

I look at some of the recent crowdsourcing efforts used to bring civvy-use travel packs to market, as an efficient way to pull in design input from legit practioners.  Helmie Ashiblie of Alpha One Niner is a perfect example, and I wish it occurred more often.

It seems awkward and goofy at times, but there Is room for input from guys who abuse issued gear and buy their own stuff, and the geek collectors who have the means to buy higher-priced items but are only going to use it for the “urban jungle”.  One side can prevent the other from being overly fanatical about any single element of design or construction.  

Hard-use guys can often be ignorant (I once was) of the potential weight savings out there from strong but still lighter materials.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.

 

                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence

 

 

POSREP: UAE

"For example, if you tell me what the force vector or whatever would be for a ruck strap hanging off a vehicle.  We could design a sewn joint for a certain tensile strength and test it out (yeah, I have the formulas for that).  What I would hazard to guess is that there are other forces at play that we hadn't even accounted for that bite us in the ass.  Then it's like, ah, no shit, we actually need to have this kind of strength.  So then from practical experience we would know that a ruck strap needs this sewn joint in order to hang off a typical vehicle.  

Theory and process are fine.  Not discounting them.  But there's something to be said for just going out there and doing it.  If you can find balance in both worlds, I'd think you'd be on the right track.  But it's like officers and NCO's; sometimes hard to get them to trust each other.   Or acknowledge that each one brings something to the table.   "

 

Coming from a guy who did it for a living up until recently, this is the 'E' part of the RDT&E process. Equipment that is simply field tested isn't tested. Letting the boys chew on some kit for a few weeks and getting a bunch of "it's cool" nods of approval afterward isn't testing- in spite of what some may think. The other side of the coin- where a product is simply lab tested to death without SME feedback is just as half assed. 

A well-managed T&E program will work with SME's to define product requirements in a measurable, repeatable way so that we can apply actual science to testing conditions that duplicate real world loads and other variables. This testing SHOULD be the meat and potatoes of a good program, with a lot of back and forth with the end user community to really nail down definitions and requirements and to design a formal testing program to validate the product against those needs. This is the most critical and often overlooked piece- a testing team will answer the questions asked of them, but two-way communication with the end user group will ensure that they're answering the RIGHT questions. Even with all that locked down, the best run testing program still needs field trial type work- this is the evaluation portion, the 'E' of T&E. 

Engineers and designers often tend to pencil whip the 'E', while end users go the other way, bypassing formal, controlled test methods - see Youtube firearms "tests" for good examples of end users just dicking around and not generating any usable information. A chest rig designed in CAD and tested with finite element analysis and released to the market isn't any better than dragging a rifle behind a truck to "test" it's durability. A good program is all about balance. For something like a ruck, we've got all kinds of published textile and rigging standards to test everything from abrasion to static and dynamic loads, but all the force gauges in the world are worth jack and shit without giving that ruck to PFC Benotz for a jaunt down Range 400 or something similar. Likewise, giving a ruck to a knuckledragger for a few weeks of hard use leaves some enormous blind spots that WILL come out eventually. When it sees salt water or airborne work for the first time, breaks down after 18 months of UV exposure or is found to be impossible to repair or maintain isn't something that a field trial is likely to demonstrate. BUT, when we've got 80 packs being dissected by nerds, baked in UV chambers, stretched and pulled apart by force gauges, blasted in dust and salt spray chambers and ground up in abrasion tests prior to another few dozen sent to a Marine or Army line platoon in the middle of a workup, we end up with a well-understood product with a TON of opportunities for revision and improvement. Some companies get this- sadly, more do not. 

Yeah Helmie is a good dude.  I liked his approach.  We talked about some stuff back in the day.

To Shoobe01's point, you can't just let the end-user run the whole process, but blindly following engineering theory, interference from higher ups trying to prove their value-add, and contractors paying off dirty civil servants, may also result in suboptimal results.

Back in the day, the engineers at Lockheed all came up from the ranks, meaning they worked on the line, learning the trade way before they went to school to learn the theory.  So they spoke from authority.  Today, although I'm sure there's still some guys like that (like SHoobe01, who has experience on both sides of the table), we see all these dudes who never worked a real day in their lives.  By that I mean getting your hands dirty doing the actual physical labor.  

That means when you come to guy like me, and tell me how all your wonderful ideas are going to work, I am a little skeptical that you know what you're talking about.  People who lives revolve around the digital world are some what disconnected from the real one.  This is especially true of the current crop.  

So again I think you need a combination of worker bee and brain bugs to really design and build a workable solution.  And that's granted there is competency on both sides.  

Legend has it there was a cartoon at the Skunk works that showed a prototype, as viewed from the different shops.  Production was simply a few boards nailed together (naturally), engineering, some sexy, complex looking number (also naturally), and so on.  The point of the cartoon was to show what low observables shop looked like, but our take-away is the perceptions, often true, of "production" vs "engineering".  At Space systems, where I worked, we had another cartoon on the board.  It shows two workers on the line, and an exasperated engineer exclaiming: "Oh shit, you built it exactly like I told you!"  Little bit of an inside joke that takes a poke at our engineers.

Then there is the little parable of all the aerospace  companies having a canoe race.  Aboard were an aero engineer, industrial engineer, a process engineer, and a machinist.  When Lockheed came in dead last, they hired consultants, who took a year studying the issue and then presented their results.  They determined that the boat wasn't moving fast enough, because only the machinist was paddling.  So they hired more consultants and studied it for another year and then presented their conclusions: the machinist had to paddle faster.

 

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

Want to see that Skunkworks cartoon. This is one of many along the same lines circulated today, naturally with software instead: 

May be the same, as this guy claims the joke dates to the 60s https://www.businessballs.com/...rtoons-new-versions/

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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Yeah that's a good visual history of production.  

Another side note.  True story BTW.  Two engineers walk up to the major weld station where I was working.  One's been there a few weeks, the other is brand new.  He points to the propellant tank I'm working on and says:  "Here's our Titan-Centaur model".  Except it isn't.  Titan Centaur is 14' dia, the one I'm working on is 10' dia, which coincidently is an Atlas-Centaur.  I'm fucking scratching my head, like these ass-clowns are engineers?  We just had a big influx of new hires, I mean I get that, but WTF?  If you don't know 14' from 10, we're in big trouble!

Huck brings up a good analysis of a RDT&E program.  The process may be in place, but it gets pencil-whipped in the various phases, which skews actual results.  So it's back to the last Troop Leading Step:  Supervise.  To ensure shit is getting done, right, on time, on tgt.  

Also, point well taken, you tube vids of various antics being held up as honest-to-god Truth in the matter.  Yeah, I get that.  Luckily I have confined myself to spewing off on LF.

In the final analysis, I think it comes down to people.  Having the right people on a team that actually gets the project done, fairly, accurately, no pre-conceived notions or axes to grind.  People who can cross-pollinate between the theoretical and the practical.  

So yeah I get it, spewing off about LBE design on LF maybe nothing more than mental masturbation.  Sewing up your own little projects at home may be a quaint little hobby.  But, on the other hand, lots of good things have come from such humble beginnings.        

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine where a person claims all the benefits of the body politic, without any of the responsibilities, and then claims a halo for their dishonesty." Heinlein

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