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 Post subject: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:46 am 
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There's been some discussion lately about acquiring one or more "anchor" tools for the shop (a 3d part printer by Stratasys and a laser cutter/etcher by Epilog are generally the two most cited options). Paul and I have done some investigation on this matter (at least, the laser front) and here's what we've found out:

1. The Epilog Zing 24, 60W is the device we're most likely looking at wanting. This accepts work pieces up to 26" wide, and has a door on the front so a larger piece of stock can be slid in, with proper support. Overall cutting/etching footprint is 12"x24". It will cut plastics and plywood up to 1/4" thick, and etch an awful lot of other surfaces.
2. Price, new, on the 60W Zing 24 is $15,995.
3. Virgil from Midwest Woodworking is planning to bring one by the Hack Factory for next week's Wednesday meeting. I don't anticipate canceling that plan.
4. Usually, MWS sends those wanting to finance to Geneva Capital, a financing org in Alexandria. I spoke with their rep the other day, and he said, conservatively, we'd be looking at 20% down ($3200) and 3 years at $440 a month. That's steep, but it's also *almost* worst case. If some wonderful sugar daddy in the group is willing to be the front-man for this and put up their personal credit, we may well get much better terms. Also note that while this is termed a "lease", it has a $1 buyout at the end, so there's no catastrophe at the end, and we can buy it out at any time.
5. Kickstarter is reluctant to engage with us on this. They cite the lack of a discrete project as the reasoning behind not wanting to be involved.
6. For reference, the part printer is in the same price range (maybe $1000 cheaper, IIRC), the lease price quoted was lower ($225/month, IIRC), but terms were less well defined (no info on down payment, buyout price, or length). Another VERY important point is that the part printer has a fairly high consumables cost which either need to be borne by individual user (you buy your plastic and take it with you when you leave) or metered somehow (ick). Also, the part printer has a higher user entry point- users need to be familiar with some form of 3d CAD program whereas the laser cutter will work with pretty much any 2d image.

FWIW, most of the group members I've talked to have been more enthused about a laser cutter.

I present this merely as a datapoint, since we've talked about this quite a bit and I've been asked what the current status is. If anyone wants to step up and be the frontman for credit purposes, I have the credit application...

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:20 am 
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I assume there's not much interest among the Board in getting a MakerBot for $750?

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:25 am 
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I may be in a minority here, but I will state my opinion.

While both items would add value to our group, and I would love to have both, I think it is prudent to wait on both (unless somebody wants to donate it, or significantly underwrite it) until we have basic tools.

I can list way to many woodworking, and metal working tools that are considered staples that we should have long before we make this type of purchase.

and the other side to this is, we get more established as a group, so we may have more members and reduce the long term payments with more up front funds.

Of course this is just one opinion out of the group, but I still think it needs to be stated.

Booka


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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:33 am 
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jwb wrote:
I assume there's not much interest among the Board in getting a MakerBot for $750?


You know, it seems like if somebody did a class on 3d printing it would easily pay for that thing and would be repeatable.

We could work on building up a mini-Fab Lab as an entry point to more capable devices.

Also as a maker community I think we should be supporting other makers.

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:41 am 
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And there's the lottery method that the Providence hacker collective did, selling $1,500 in lottery tickets with the winner getting one machine and the hackerspace getting the other.

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:15 pm 
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I'm in agreement with Booka. I think we need to get some more basic tools before we drop huge wads of capital on gee-whiz tools.

In the gee-whiz department, I'd be much more interested in having a laser cutter than a 3D printer. The laser cutter is SO much more flexible in terms of materials it can work with. (It can etch BACON! What can a 3d printer do with bacon?)

If we can get a Makerbot and have the project be self funding (raffle or whatever...) I'd be all in favor of that too.


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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:51 pm 
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I am not currently a member of the Hack Factory, and it is mainly because I looked into it to see if the factory had a laser or wood CNC.

I already have project space and basic tools, so I can't really justify $50 a month for that.

Access to a large tool like this that puts many more projects into scope and *is* the exactly sort of thing that would make me justify paying dues in a heart beat, even if I'm only able to get there a few times a year.

That said, complicated tools like this are more useful if there is someone around to give tips on their use. If more basic tools will attract more "regulars" willing to "babysit" future advanced tools, than maybe that is the best first step.

Again, not a member, so not trying to cast a vote here, just trying to relay prospective of a member-on-the-fence.


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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 pm 
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jwb wrote:
And there's the lottery method that the Providence hacker collective did, selling $1,500 in lottery tickets with the winner getting one machine and the hackerspace getting the other.


Okay, we're going to do this. $5 a ticket, when we hit $1500, we buy two, keep one and draw for the other. Anyone can enter, no limit on tickets purchased (other than the natural limit of 300 tickets to reach the $1500 mark). Buy via PayPal or the usual methods at a meeting. I will announce it more thoroughly anon, but for now, anyone following this thread gets heads up on it. If you PayPal funds for it, make sure they're clearly marked for the drawing.

laserdog wrote:
I already have project space and basic tools, so I can't really justify $50 a month for that.


This, of course, is only PART of what the Hack Factory is about- I don't really consider my $50 a rental fee for workspace and tools. I consider it a monthly donation to fund an organization that gives me a place to make, share, and learn. If I spent $50 a month on tools, I could have a pretty decent garage full in a year or two. I'd still be working, alone, in my garage, limited by my own skills and with nobody to show off too (except the cold, cold intertubes).

laserdog wrote:
Access to a large tool like this that puts many more projects into scope and *is* the exactly sort of thing that would make me justify paying dues in a heart beat, even if I'm only able to get there a few times a year.


This is EXACTLY why I think we should be angling to get a laser cutter sooner rather than later. Let's just say we can pull that cost down to $300 a month. If we get five more people like laserdog, the device is revenue neutral AND we ALL get access to it. The only question is, ARE there five more people like laserdog around? Or eight more, at the above quoted price?

As for getting basic hand tools, we seem to be doing quite well getting those donated. Pulling in another half-dozen members will only increase our tool donations.

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Let me know when the details of the lottery are finalized and I'll post it on MAKE.

Here is the original AS220 post and I'll see if I can find out more.

http://www.as220.org/labs/blog/2009/06/ ... affle.html

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 Post subject: Re: Funds for capital equipment (laser cutter, etc)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Becky Stern, who won the AS220 cupcake, paid $10 for her ticket.

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