Portland-based Scott Seelye was an industrial designer for clients like Nike, InFocus and Hewlett-Packard for about twenty years before he decided to start his own thing, together with wife Jennifer. With the unique idea of producing ukuleles tough enough to withstand "backpacking, camping, traveling" and plain ol' extreme conditions, the Seelye worked with several manufacturers in an effort to produce a durable, injection molded, glass-filled polycarbonate ukulele.
Glass-filled polycarbonate is tough stuff; the problem is, it can be a bitch to mold. Seelye spent two years looking at mold-flow computer simulations telling him it his designs wouldn't work, and struggling with manufacturers who couldn't produce the object to his standards.
Finally Seelye discovered Sea-Lect Plastics, a manufacturer also located in Portland. "With the help and cooperation of our exceptional material and color suppliers," that company writes, "plus utilizing two brand new Milacron molding machines, we were able to meet Outdoor Ukulele's expectations."
Today the Seelyes' Outdoor Ukulele has been going strong for four years, and has expanded into banjoleles and guitars, and carbon fiber models in addition to the polycarbonate ones. Their models have "played in the Arctic Ocean, paddled down the Amazon River, and hiked both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails," the Seelyes write.
With the body parts delivered from Sea-Lect, Scott can assemble 16 units per day, at the tidy workstation he's designed and that you can see below:
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Congratulations to the Seelyes! Check out their wares here.