Welcome to the Tournament!
If you're as competitive as I am, you love tournaments. I created the Big Bracket as an over-the-top, yet classy tribute to the ultimate embodiment of competition - the tournament bracket.
I originally built this bracket as a one-off project for my man-cave, but after I got it up on the wall I realized that there were probably others who would love to have one. I decided to put it on Kickstarter to see if there really is any demand for it.
I hope you like it!
Size Does Matter
This bracket makes a big impact. It measures in at 104.75" inches long by 47.5" tall. It ships in five pieces for cost-effectiveness and is easily assembled and installed. A total of 8 screws hold the pieces together, and 4 mounting brackets hold it to the wall to ensure strength and eliminate sagging or bowing.
The Manufacturing Process
The Big Bracket is manufactured using a computer numerically controlled router. Currently, I am using a ShopBot CNC, which is affordable and effective. A more expensive machine could increase productivity, but right now this is getting the job done just fine.
I program the machine to leave tabs on the edges of the bracket, to keep it in place during cutting. This ensures a nice, clean cut and dramatically reduces sanding time.
After the tabs are chiseled away, the parts are removed from the table and move to post-production. It is now ready for sanding and painting.
The Big Bracket is then painted with either Rust-Oleum dry-erase paint or Valspar chalkboard paint.
The Big Bracket is being offered on Kickstarter at a discounted rate. Several different materials, thicknesses, and paint options are available.
Bracket Buster is for those who wish to save some money and paint it themselves, or those who want to trim the bracket with personalized colors. It is bare MDF (Medium-density fiberboard) and comes complete with all assembly and mounting hardware. Bracket Buster comes in both .5" and .75" thick MDF. The .75" thick version is more durable and has more presence on the wall.
Points in the Paint is a fully-painted variation. It comes in either dry-erase paint or chalkboard paint and is offered in .5" and .75" thick MDF.
Home and Away is a two-toned variation. It comes in either dry-erase paint/bare MDF sides or chalkboard paint/grey sides and is offered in .5" and .75" thick MDF. This two-toned look adds a level of complexity to the design and a more refined look.
Hardwood Special is made from simply beautiful void-free Russian Birch plywood. It is offered painted or unpainted, and is .75" thick. You will not regret this upgrade!
The finished product is fun, larger-than-life, but still classy at the same time. It almost becomes an art installation piece. It can be left up for all sports seasons, not just college basketball season.
Thank you for viewing my project! If you like what you see, PLEASE spread the word. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers. Tell the world! Blog about it, and share the link on Facebook and Twitter. Also, if you see something you don't like, or have any suggestions at all, please e-mail me. I consider this as much crowdsourcing as it is crowdfunding, and I know the Big Bracket is only going to get better with input from you!
Risks and challenges
The nice thing about the Big Bracket project is its low technological barrier. The vector linework is already created and functional prototypes have already been produced. However, scalability could be difficult if demand exceeds expectations. I currently have the capability to make 10-15 Big Brackets a day. If I needed to dramatically increase production, it would take time to purchase and assemble additional CNC equipment.
The durability and erasability of the dry-erase and chalkboard paint is still under evaluation. As of now, the marker erases without trace, but it will be interesting to see how well it erases after it's been up for the entire college basketball tournament. After all, most dry-erase boards seem to have issues if the ink is left on too long. I do not currently anticipate issues with the paint.
Safely shipping such a large product is certainly a challenge, and I am looking into a strong, inexpensive way to ship the Big Bracket. All suggestions are welcome!
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter