Flint Hills Design Logo

FHD 2021 Week 49 - 52

I decided not to send extra emails during the holidays given the typical glut of communication everyone receives. But that was a mistake–I won’t skip that many weeks again. Thanks to those that said they missed seeing the updates. I’ll include a bunch of photos to make up for it!

In short, we were super busy–it was the busiest 4 weeks we’ve ever had based on the number of hours worked. Here are the highlights…


The Hive shop buzzed with activity pretty much non-stop, despite the fact that we were still waiting on suppliers for glass and steel. Now several months late…

tapping welding cutting

Mark and Dan worked through the final production details on all the elements before getting the larger team involved.

Here they are measuring light lens…

measuring light lens for showcase

…before carefully cutting to final size on the tablesaw:

cutting light lens for showcase

…and test fitting in the various case tops:

fitting light lens for showcase

…so they could check every part off the list, one-by-one:

production checklist

We also received the last shipment of steel, to everyone’s relief. Unfortunately it was quite oily and needed to be washed before welding and powder coat, but the team worked through the stacks cheerfully.

washing steel washing steel

With the metal prepped it was on to welding and shipping the final sets of parts to the powder coater.

welding fixturing table

Then, with the final sets of parts delivered to the powder coater and the previous batches complete, we set to doing as much assembly in our shop (or outside, given the nice weather!) as possible with Brad, Tim, Ben, Josh, and Christopher all diving in.

installing showcase backs installing showcase backs

We worked hard, but the mood was always upbeat and cheerful. Donuts, and watching people discover the small details we hid inside the products, made the work genuinely fun and rewarding.

lincoln showcase design detail

lasered Lincoln profile

Of course, it can’t all be rosy. A fire knocked our CNC machine out of commission for nearly a week. Fortunately it was small and didn’t get out of hand. But still. Not cool.

cnc machine fire

During the repair process we opted to make a few upgrades. Hopefully that will help us recoup some of the expense incurred with the downtime and lengthy required fixes.

cnc machine t track

Once Isaac got the machine back up and running, it was back to cranking out parts so that the finishing process could be kept moving forward. Jocelyn did an outstanding job managing this process.

stacks of display case tops stacks of display case trim

And we wrapped up the year getting the rest of the metal parts cranked out, with Brian & Cory’s help.

crimping cable

We even started loading the first delivery truck a few weeks early since the weather was so nice!

loading delivery truck museum showcases

All we need now is glass. You know, like the most important piece of large museum showcases. It’s months late. Slightly unnerving… Guess we’ll see how that story turns out in the new year…

Design Highlights

There’s just too much work to share it all, but the design team was hard at work as well.

Graham designed a number of units for the News exhibit. This was one of my favorite units:

news exhibit column display design draft

Anthony powered through conceptual floorplans for a couple different exhibit installations…

burlington depot conceptual floorplan draft bank museum exhibit conceptual floorplan draft

And was able to make 3D models for a couple of the buildings to clearly communicate the design intent and proposed exhibit furniture.

train depot exhibit display model

And I decided it was time to simplify the way we brand our Upland products since the engravings we’ve done for the last number of years just take a lot of detail work to finish out. We’ll start incorporating these new steel and enamel inserts into our products in 2022 as we continue to look for ways to streamline and improve everything we do.

upland logo coin

2021 was our biggest and best year yet. I can’t wait to share what we do in 2022!

Get these updates weekly via email!

"I thoroughly enjoy getting the emails that, in a short, succinct way, clearly give an overview of the projects you are working on.

I like how you enjoy the highs of the job and let us know about the lows, which everyone has, so it's relatable.

I know it must take time to do this weekly digest, but it's one of the highlights of my day when I get to read it. Thank you and carry on!"

- Wendee