Over the past 13 years, you’ve seen Band Shoppe’s Air Blade on the field, in marching band shows, winter guard shows, and on TV including an episode of Glee and during Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime show. But have you ever wondered where the idea of the Air Blade actually came from?
In May 2005, Band Shoppe started the “Simitar Design Project” with a rough concept of an innovative new spinning prop for color guard that would give schools a safe, spinning-weapon alternative. Kenny Fisher, a master woodworker and sculptor, whose designs, creations, restorations, and interpretation of the Lambing Chair are known throughout North America and Western Europe, was hired to start development. Beginning from a simple hand-sketched concept, Kenny built the first prototype from laminated wood. After getting feedback from several color guard directors, high density foam prototypes were then created to perfect the design. In total, 20 prototypes were created, tested, and refined before the final design was fabricated. “It looks like a futuristic sword or a Klingon Weapon.” people said. Simple, elegant, and stunning, no company in color guard had ever developed anything this groundbreaking.
With the design finalized Band Shoppe worked with mechanical engineers to develop an innovative way to build to Air Blade. The traditional material for color guard rifles is North American Poplar wood. The laminated wood prototypes were very strong but weighed over six pounds. The engineers recommended an ABS plastic construction that is sonically welded together for extreme durability and perfect balance.
In the spring of 2008, Band Shoppe introduced the revolutionary Air Blade to the public, changing the way people thought about traditional spinning props like color guard rifles and sabers. Designed with strength and durability in mind, the Air Blade is construed of high impact ABS plastic that eliminates weight variances in traditional wood color guard rifles.
The Air Blade measures 39” long and weighs approximately 2.4 lbs. It’s perfectly balanced for tossing and offers endless hand hold positions with its unique curve shape and cutouts.
The patented design of the Air Blade grew out of Band Shoppe’s commitment to innovation as well as feedback from color guard instructors looking for an alternative to traditional color guard spinning equipment.
Since its introduction the Air Blade has been hugely popular with marching bands, color guards, winter guards, pageantry arts, and drum corps around the world. At Band Shoppe we are proud of the revolutionary Air Blade and its many devoted fans.