You never know when or where a good archery conversation will occur…
Today, while on a United Airlines flight to the 2015 Archery Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, I got to sit beside BOWTECH's Design Engineer, Nick Obteshka.
The brains behind BOWTECH's 2015 Prodigy and Boss, Obteshka is a bank of knowledge, and I had a blast picking his brain.
BW: What is the funnest thing about being a design engineer at BOWTECH?
NO: We have a lot of freedom at BOWTECH to explore and design, and that makes it fun. That's how we are able to design and create ground-breaking bows. I love working with everyone at the company because everyone is so passionate about archery. We bounce ideas off each other and really do our best to support each other. When you feel supported and feel like you have room to explore, the sky is the limit. Exploration and a drive to create excellent bow models led us to the Prodigy and Boss.
My degree is in mechanical engineering, and I love getting to put my degree to use every single day.
BW: What's the most difficult thing about your job?
NO: The hardest part about my job is making products manufacturable. We have cost targets we have to hit, and we want to make the products affordable for the consumer. Sometimes I have a vision to do something, but it just may not be cost effective. It looks awesome in the design phase on a computer, but it doesn't end up being cost effective. Another difficult thing is designing and making something that is new. It can be a challenge to design something you've never worked on before. Then there is real estate [on the bow]. So many times you just need a little more real estate to make a certain design work, but when you're dealing with small parts, that can be a real challenge.
BW: What in your mind is the coolest thing about the Prodigy and Boss bows?
NO: From an engineering standpoint, I'm thrilled to give bowhunters options. The smooth/speed debate has been going for a longtime, and it's awesome to have designed a bow that offers so much flexibility. Bowhunters now have a bow that they can customize to be fast and ultra-smooth.
BW: How does BOWTECH test it's bows?
NO: We have five shooting machines — four for vertical bows and one for our crossbows. We test every bow at 40,000 cycles. Sometimes, as was the case with the Prodigy, we did several different tests and are approaching half a million shots. We want our bows to be bulletproof. If at any point we make a change or notice something, we start retesting. We even retest for something as simple as changing a coating on a screw. Changing that one coating could cause the screw to back out. You never really know until you test, test and test again. It takes about 100 hours for us to cycle 40,000 shots. The testing process is just crazy.
BW: Have we hit the height of bow design and function?
NO: No, not in my opinion. I think bows will continue to get better and even more efficient. There are so many materials out there to play and explore with. Some aren't cost effective, but some are. When you start tinkering with different materials, you never know what may come of it.
BW: What can we expect from PowerShift Technology in the future?
NO: We are going to build on it. I can't say much about it, but I will say that from a design point, there is a lot that can be done with this technology and I'm really excited about it.
What better way to kill the exhausting hours on a small plane than to talk bow design with a "bow brainiac." And what better way to start ATA. Here we go…
Stay tuned for more daily coverage of the 2015 Archery Trade Association show this week at www.grandviewoutdoors.com.