Holy Crap! time flies when you're having fun! I'm long overdue for an update so I'll take some time to share.
You may or may not know that I've moved twice since beginning this project earlier in the year. Weeks after I completed the funding drive our house sold and my wife and I packed up and moved across the state to a temporary location and 1 month later into our new (to us) home. Thanks to good planning and help from family and friends both moves went smoothly and after a few weeks of settling in to our new home I got my shop set up and was back in the process of building iMacAquariums. I finished and delivered all of the aquariums and kits well ahead of schedule and last week I finally shipped the Thank You's and Apple Fish Magnets to the rest of the backers. I published the "Thank You" page on my website (www.jakeharms.com) with all backers listed. Hopefully it will help bring some attention to Kickstarter and the awesome people such as yourselves who help make these campaigns successful.
Here are some of the things I've been working on over the past few months.
- Improved the design of the aquarium. I eliminated the need for the grey inner bezel around the front of the tank, the tank now has an attachment that secures it to the aluminum baseplate. The front bezel and colored part of the case are glued together so they simply lift off as one piece instead of two pieces. This makes the design simpler, it makes the lighting better, access to the tank easier, and allows for daily feeding through the apple emblem hole on the top of the case.
- Perfected polishing technique. Most of the iMac cases look like trash when I get them with scuffs, scratches, and stickers all over them. After wearing out my arms by polishing cases for several hours a day and experimenting with different polishing compounds and buffing wheels, I'm now able to buff, polish, and wax the cases to look even better than I could before. Polishing is one of the most time consuming and tiering aspects of building an aquarium, but it is the most rewarding when I get rave compliments about how good they look.
- Improved Website. I've brought the website up to date a bit by optimizing and tweaking the design to make it more professional while still keeping it as simple and fun as possible. I've added a PayPal Buy Button for easy ordering, and am maintaining an iMacAquarium facebook page to stay connected with customers and share tips, photos, ect. I love seeing pictures of everyone's aquariums when they are set up and running. Feel free to share a picture of your iMacAquarium if you wish. www.facebook.com/iMacAquarium
- Strategic ordering of materials. I've built good relationships with the business I order materials from. With a growing number of orders I've been able to purchase materials in bulk which provides a savings in both material cost and shipping.
- Very little is left to waste. All unused pieces of the iMac are securely recycled. I keep all bolts and screws to re-use in other projects. The boxes I ship are made of recycled material. I re-use old newspapers, and re-use bubble wrap from other business when packing the aquariums for shipping. So when you order you get an iMacAquarium AND daily news from random small town America! If your lucky you'll get "the funnies" section!
- The Problem! iMacs are becoming fewer and farther between. When I first started building these aquariums as a hobby I was picking and choosing the best iMacs from the piles of them. However I've noticed an extreme drop in availability of them as they are becoming phased out due to their age. Although I've found several ways to save money on materials, the time and expense of finding the iMacs, traveling to get them (sometimes hundreds of miles to different states) or the cost to have them shipped to me has grown exponentially. I'll keep building iMacAquariums as long as I can find iMacs, but I'll be sad when the day comes and I run out :(
- The Future. I am currently working on several other up-cycled products that re-use materials that would have otherwise gone to the trash. Most involve an Apple product of some sort, so if you happen to know of a place where old computers go to die please let me know! I'm on a mission to snatch up as many doomed computers as possible so I can give them a new life as an aquarium, clock, lamp, or whatever I decide to build next.
...and now it's late....and I'm off to bed. Thanks - Jake