About a year ago or so I learned of a new character on the scene known as “Mad Scientist”. What people were consistently saying was that he was making the best latex vacbed on the market and that perhaps one of the reasons is that he is an engineer.
A bit of nationalist pride fueled my curiosity.
You have to understand that for so very long quality equipment of this nature was typically a mail-order item from Europe or something purchased on a special vacation abroad.
Matt (the man behind the handle), is not only Canadian, but a fellow Torontonian. I determined that at some point I would have to meet this person and observe a demonstration of this vacbed.
Eventually I did contact him to ask for this demo, however he said he was just too busy with manufacturing to set up the apparatus. During our exchange we somehow got on the subject of Ego Assassin’s latex-making workshops, which he strongly recommended
The details of this workshop will be their own story, but I will say that it was at this workshop that James – from Ego Assassin – informed me that Kink Engineering (the company founded by “Mad Scientist”) would be distributing latex sheeting locally.
This was very exciting news.
I walked straight to my computer upon my arrival home and went to their website. Sure enough, they were advertising a number of available colours and thicknesses. I did not, however, see what I wanted for a corset experiment and so I contacted them.
Matt emailed me quickly, advising me that he would have what I needed in stock some time in February. I practically counted the minutes until contacting Kink Engineering to confirm that what I needed was available.
While setting the date for pick up of my order, I asked Matt if he’d mind making some extra time for me as I essentially wanted to interview him for 3xL.
In my excitement about finally being able to experiment with my corset design, I mentioned to a number of my friends that I would be meeting with Matt and everyone commented on what a wonderful person he is. I have to say, it’s not often that one encounters someone in this scene whom everyone likes!
I could already tell that Matt was a rare breed before having met him.
The 33 year-old kink equipment designer greeted me warmly and promptly introduced me to their very friendly and playful cat. There were sweet and yummy-looking treats on a table – mindfully presented by Matt’s partner Archean, who could not be present at that time. This was a definitely an artist’s studio and I immediately felt at home.
We sat for a time discussing issues with vacbeds and the solutions he’s come up with. The big issue for me is the noise of the vacuum cleaner. The very idea of suffering the noise of the machine throughout a scene is a complete turn-off for me as I know it would be a profoundly irritating distraction.
The vacbed manufactured by Kink Engineering was designed in such a way that it maintains suction once all of the air has been removed. The machine is turned off and no longer required.
*NOTE: I’ve not yet seen this bed demonstrated, but we are in the process of planning a date for the demo and I’ll let you know all about it.*
I then brought up different access issues – head in or out, access to male “private bits”, etc. Matt quickly described the solutions he’s come up with that are readily available as each piece is made custom according to the customers’ needs.
He is also working at creating some new designs and was kind enough to show me some images on his computer of something very cool in the works – I’ll keep you all posted.
Time just evaporated as I asked him about his background, how he found his interest in latex (the defining moment being revealed to me as when he saw Madonna’s “Human Nature” video)…
I have decided to keep our Q & A in that exact format as Matt does have his own voice and I wish to share this with you.
Q: How long were you operating as an occasional custom manufacturer before you knew you were in business?
A: For about 3 months we operated on custom occasional work only. That was in mid 2008. Once it got to the point that I had correspondence and physical building to be done every day, I knew that this was not a hobby any more.
At that point I consulted my financial planner, incorporated, and created our website www.kinkengineering.com for custom latex vacbeds. That was October 2008.
About 4 months later I created our first online store to handle ordering, payment and stock-keeping. In early 2009 we moved to a commercial space to have a larger workshop for the business and we branched out into supplying latex sheeting by creating www.sheetlatex.com.
Q: At what point did you go full time?
A: Very recently. I was working out the end of a long contract engineering/educational position that finished at the end of January.
The last little bit of working both jobs was very stressful as the latex business did not seem to want to wait for me to be ready to devote the time it needed.
We are now at the point of being totally caught up with back-orders and supply chain needs, so we expect to see a lot of product development happening coupled with much faster turn around on products.
However, I would rather be known as a manufacturer who is “slow but high quality” rather than the opposite. Even if there is nothing on the table, vacbeds take about 3 weeks to get out the door. This is largely because I spend a good amount of time on back and forth correspondence with my customers to make sure that the product is exactly what they want.
Measurements need to be taken and small design decisions are often put back in the hands of the customers. Since a lot of vacbeds are shared by a couple (or more) there is often a bit of decision making on what size and location to place the various breathing/playing ports so that everyone can play. We work that out with each customer before we assemble the bed.
Q: Please confirm: You’ve been a engineer/educator. You were also an actor, set designer. Anything else?
A: Ha ha ha! Jobs! I have never been fired but I have a strange path. I’ve always followed the most interesting path, regardless of money. Highlights include (I’m not making this up):
• Nuclear Science/Engineering
• Research Design Engineer
• Web Design/Marketing Consultant
• Indoor Landscaping
• Theatre Set Designer/Special FX artist
• Building Maintenance
• Professional Actor
• Education Director of a children’s theatre company
• Science Teacher
• Latex Designer/Distributor
Q: There’s been a lot of buzz about how the strength of your designing comes from your engineering background. Please tell me about your degree.
A: I have a bachelors and Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and as a side project I also got an Education Degree (teacher’s college). The engineering educational experience is all about 2 things. Learning how to work… HARD, and learning how to solve problems. I do the classic engineering treatment on my latex designs: Use off the shelf parts when possible to reduce costs. Design, test, troubleshoot, re-design (loop this until you are satisfied with the product… but keep testing and improving continuously). I’ve found myself making unique tools to take on the specific challenges of the gear that I design and build, so that I can make myself more efficient and keep up with demand.
I’m also really into quantifying information (just try answering “stretchy-ish?” on an engineering exam… NOT – GETTING – MARKS!) so I work very closely with our suppliers of latex sheeting to get the clarity, stretch, surface, thickness and colour exactly what we want them to be. Luckily Archean has a background in Materials Engineering, so she’s an expert on material properties and chemistry.
Q: When were you first motivated to make your own vacbed?
A; First experiments into making vacbeds would go back to around 1997 when I first got out of the parent’s house, went to university and had a room of my own to build stuff in.
Plastic was used at first to get an idea of how they worked… I always wanted a latex vacbed, but I didn’t want to lay out the money if it was not going to work like I wanted, and all of them on the market were either leaky or super expensive.
I built my first latex based vacbed in 2007 when my girlfriend (and now business partner) Archean and I started exploring our fetish side more deeply. The first bed included a lot of early designs that have evolved into the standard features in the current product, after a lot of design cycles to get them just right.
The first bed was technically successful but the seams were UGLY! UGGGGLLY!! And it was hell to build since I was totally untrained in making latex. I had no sense of what thickness to use, how to get the glue/latex to behave, how to make strong seams… it was a fiasco.
I’m surprised that 1) Archean agreed to try it (her latex fetish was young at that point) and that 2) it wasn’t so much of a pain that I never did it again.
Thankfully I’m very stubborn, and Archean LOVED the sensation of the vacbed.
Q: Were these issues in the early stages of development what motivated you to take the latex-making workshop at Ego Assassin?
A: Archean found the course online and said “maybe the next vacbed can be built better?… Plus we’ll get some fun-underwear!” I was sold. The workshop was very fun, and was groundbreaking in terms of our latex making skills. We still don’t come anywhere near the skills of Ego Assassin, they are truly masters of their craft, but we have thoroughly developed the skill set of making vacbeds, which are a bit more function based than the delicate and sleek fetish clothing that they put out.
Q: How long ago was that?
A: That was in early 2008. We now work with Ego Assassin often (They do our custom printing for extra-special vacbeds), and we buy FAR too much of their amazing clothing.
After a considerable amount of enthusiastic conversation, I left Matt and Archean’s studio with my roll of latex sheeting inspired beyond belief to proceed with my own rubber corset experiment.
We have since planned a second visit when I will be given a demonstration of their vacbed, will pick up more latex sheeting and have an opportunity to meet with Archean to interview her personally as she is very much a part of the design process.
I will follow-up with Part II shortly.