Pledge by Friday at 7pm to help us reach our first stretch goal and turn this DVD into a multi-disc edition, making it the Complete Micro Programmable Controller training DVD!
PLC Basics: Help Kickstart The Creation Of An Affordable Step-by-Step Training DVD On How To Use And Program A Micro Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)Introduction
Hello and thank you for checking out my Kickstarter campaign!
My name is Shawn Tierney, founder of TheAutomationBlog.com and InsightsInAutomation.com, and I’m here to ask for your pledge to help me “kick start” the production of the first DVD in what I hope will become a whole series of very affordable “step by step” automation training videos.
To make this first DVD a reality, I've created this Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase the PLC's the video will cover, the industrial control parts and pieces that will be wired into the PLC, as well as all the remaining studio equipment and software needed to produce a high quality but affordable DVD.
To get a sample of what the lessons on this DVD may look like, you can check out my previous PLC tutorial videos on YouTube at http://www.YouTube.com/InsightsInAutomation.
Main Kickstarter Project Goal
After nearly a quarter century working in the Automation field, and having had the opportunity of working with some of the best and brightest in the industry, I now want to take what I’ve learned over all those years and pour it into a series of affordable “step by step” Automation Training DVD videos.
With that in mind, I’ve set the initial project goal at $5,000 - the amount needed to produce the initial DVD, “Micro Programmable Controller Basics: Using the MicroLogix 1000 and RSLogix Micro Starter Lite.”
If this Kickstarter campaign is successful, on May 1st I'll place orders for all the supplies and services needed for production. Since everything is readily available, I would expect to begin production no later than May 10th, and complete filming and post production by June 7th. This should allow ample time for professional duplication and shipping to all pledge levels receiving the DVD (level 6 and higher.)
How I picked the subject of the first DVD
I chose the subject of the first DVD for a two reasons:
- First, anyone can buy a MicroLogix 1000 from a local dealer for considerably less than the cost of a video game console.
- Second, the free programming software DVD viewers will learn to use is nearly identical to the most popular automation controllers installed and used in North America today.
Keeping these DVDs affordable
When completed, I plan to publicly sell this DVD at the extremely affordable price of just $29 US. You can’t get 20 minutes of an automation expert’s time for that price! Plus, this DVD will have an approximate running time of 2 hours, and can be watched over and over again with no additional cost!
As far as other DVD's in the series, I do expect them to run well over two hours, and they may even become multi-disc DVD's. Still, my plan is to keep ALL DVD's in the series affordable, and all priced LESS than the price of a video game disc.
Pledge rewards are very important to a Kickstarter campaign as a way to thank project backers for their faith and support.
Below you'll find this campaign's rewards divided into four categories:
- Appreciation (Thank you!)
- Credit (Your name in the credits!)
- Swag (Physical items you'll receive!)
- Insider (Early online access & additional stretch goal rewards!)
While the initial campaign goal is set to enable production of the first DVD, I've also created the below stretch goals to allow the creation an entire series of DVDs covering over a dozen different automation topics.
The money pledged to reach each stretch goal will be used to purchase the additional automation hardware and software needed to produce a comprehensive step-by-step training DVD video on that subject.
More stretch goals and DVD's planned if we surpass our first stretch goal!
A total of twelve DVD stretch goals exist, covering PLC's, PAC's, HMI's and SCADA software. Each will be reviled one at a time as the prior stretch goal is reached.
Where are Programmable Controllers used in Industry
Not familiar with automation and programmable controllers? Well, knowing most folks aren’t, I thought it might be helpful to have a section with some examples of where these “Programmable Controllers” are used in industry. Note: What follows are all real world examples I’m personally familiar with:
First, think of any product on the shelf at your local department store, and there you’ll find a product that was most likely made and/or packaged with the help of a programmable controller. Examples include not only the beverage you may be drinking right now, but also the can or bottle it’s in.
Programmable Controllers also play a key role in automating the power plant that makes the electricity that kept your drink cool (or heated it up) as well as the water plant that provided the fresh water that went into the product. It was also likely packed into its box and case by a programmable controller, and even palletized by one too. If fact, there’s a good chance any bridge or tunnel it traveled also had systems automated with programmable controllers.
Beyond products, packaging, and utilities, these products are also found in some unique places as well. Some of the more interesting uses are actually within the amusement industry. I’ve seen first hand programmable controllers controlling some of the world’s most popular roller coasters, as well as the world’s most popular amusement park ride of the last decade.
I’ve also seen them used as props in waiting areas to board rides, as well as doing the menial task of counting how many aliens you shot while you were on the ride. I’ve even seen them controlling robotic warriors which rise out of the floor to shoot lasers at actors on a stage. Pretty cool stuff!
Not Just for Industry: Hobby Projects
Have I sparked any ideas for using automation in your own projects? If you know how to safely work and wire electrical systems, there’s no reasons you can’t take on one of the home based projects my friends have, including:
- Automating a home sprinkler system
- Automating a boat lift
- Automating a model railroad
- Automating a pool pump and solar heating system
- Automating a holiday light display
- Automating a Haunted House’s lights, sounds, and actuators
The best part is, while you’re automating your personal projects you’ll also be learning valuable skills used in most all of today’s industries.
I’ve been passionate about gadgets and technology since I was a child. Then as a preteen I received my first personal computer, a Commodore VIC-20, and almost overnight became a passionate programmer (or hacker as we liked to call ourselves back then)
During this time I quickly found another passion, one shared by most other programmers I knew at that time: A passion for helping other people learn what I’ve learned, and freely sharing new discoveries with them.
Since graduating college and taking a job in the automation industry, I’ve traveled to thousands of manufacturing sites to assist in the design, programming, and debugging of automation systems. And at these facilities I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of nicest people on the planet, who also happen to be some the brightest minds in the industry.
And all throughout my career I’ve continued expressing my passion of sharing what I’ve learned with others. Initially I created a printed newsletter, then I ran a BBS for awhile. I also hosted programmer's "user group" meetings, and in 1999 I built my first personal website and began fifteen years of sharing automation code and samples on the world wide web.
While it has been a rewarding career, after spending half a million miles behind my steering wheel I’m ready to take some time off the road. So with your help I hope to "Kick Start" my dream of sharing what I’ve learned over the last quarter century with the next generation of automation programmers.
Risks and challenges
First, I know the material I plan to cover. For nearly a quarter century I have been employed to help clients use and implement these technologies, so no risk here.
Second, I’ve spent most of my weekends over the last year building a home office and studio. So I have a dedicated, warm, and quiet space in which to film.
I’ve also created dozens of test videos with trial software and borrowed hardware, giving me the confidence that I can produce this video series.
With all that in mind, I believe the only real risk is the production schedule of the DVD(s). I’ve tried to balance my desire to complete the series, with the knowledge that as a family man unexpected things will happen.
So if there is a risk, it would be in meeting the planned production schedule of the initial DVD, as well stretch goal DVDs. However, I promise to do everything in my power to meet the planned schedule!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)