A group of Sumner County, Tennessee manufacturing companies have formed a new division, DVForge, with the goal of bringing “a terrific line-up of durable, gorgeous, all-metal Mac and Apple product accessories to market,” General Manager Jack Campbell told MacCentral.
Their first product is the DVBase, an iPod desk stand. It’s the first in a coming line of iPod-based docking and connectivity products, he said. The DVBase is built to complement the construction and appearance of the iPod.
“It’s designed to be the iPod desk stand solution,” Campbell said. “We exactly matched the radius of the iPod edges and back, and even experimented until we matched the color, reflectivity, and surface of the polished back of the iPod. This was built from its inception to be the most gorgeous Apple peripheral product ever to hit the market, and to make any iPod owner immensely proud to also own a DVBase.”
The DVBase is a 4-inch wide stand made from solid aircraft aluminum, hand polished, and then hard nickel alloy plated to match the finish used on the back of the iPod. The DVForge mark is laser engraved in the face of each DVBase, using the same technology Apple uses to engrave the backs of their iPod, Campbell said.
The production model DVBase will be made of die cast aluminum, with nickel plating. It will be available in January at a manufacturers suggested retail price of US$59.99. Preorders will be taken starting December 15.
However, a limited edition run of 1,000 special DVBaseLtd versions will be made, Campbell said. These models are CNC machined from a solid billet of T6 aluminum. Each DVBaseLtd will be individually laser serial numbered (from 0001 to 1000), and will include a certificate of authenticity individualized for the owner. They have a direct purchase price of $99.99 (including 2nd Day FedEx shipping in North America), and will ship on December 15. The DVBaseLtd will only be available directly from the product Web site.
Designing and making the DVBase was no easy task. It was done at Sunders Tool & Die in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The first one took eight hours to set up and make. The process is now down to 40 minutes. The goal is to reduce the time to 30 so “we can make a little profit on each unit,” Campbell said.
Among the factors leading to the complexity of the product is that the back of the iPod isn’t completely flat. It’s slightly contoured. This means the face of the DVBase also needs to slightly contoured to eliminate the possibility of an unwanted “pressure point,” Campbell said.
The DVBase is merely the first of several products the company has in the works. DVForge plans a presence at January’s Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. If all goes well, expo attendees can get up close and personal with the company’s second product: DVBaseTi, a nickel-plated stand for Titanium PowerBooks.
“We want the DVForge brand to be known for its elegant, beautifully crafted metal products,” Campbell said. “And we’ve got plans to knock people’s socks off throughout 2003. We’ll only be showing mechanical products in San Francisco, but we have some electronic products in the pipeline, as well.”
Campbell said the idea for DVForge was inspired by motorcycle accessories. He noticed that no one was making “durable, shiny, metal toys” for the Mac platform. He found the perfect partner in Sanders Tool & Die, a family owned and operated business that’s been around since 1964 and currently run by Dale Sanders.
“What Dale and his business bring to the table are a great track record and financial strength,” Campbell said. “Like a lot of Mac users, I sit around and dream up cool products, but I don’t know how to make them. Dale’s company offers the knowledge and relationships that can be used to bring the products to life.”
DVForge has already signed up two international distributors: Macland for continental Europe and AM Micro for the UK. Campbell said that the company’s target customer is the Mac user who wants the look and feel of a quality commodity.