$1,422
pledged of $25,000pledged of $25,000 goal
20
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, May 18 2018 5:00 AM UTC +00:00
Jotham McMillanBy Jotham McMillan
First created
Jotham McMillanBy Jotham McMillan
First created
$1,422
pledged of $25,000pledged of $25,000 goal
20
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, May 18 2018 5:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

The Story

Dear fellow Kickstarter Patrons, at various points in my life, I’ve built RC cars, messed with Arduino projects, built custom computers, assembled models, added LEDs to my snowboard and so on. A common thread in these projects was the need to hold pieces in place while I soldered, glued or painted my parts.

ViseLoc Pro config holding an arduino plus NeoPixel Ring
ViseLoc Pro config holding an arduino plus NeoPixel Ring

The usual solution is some type of third hand tool…and there are some good ones out there but none of them have the functionality that I was looking for and they often had compromises with the parts they use. My wife can tell you that I don’t like to compromise thus… 

  • RaptorLoc Pro is my best-of-breed tool that has all of the functionality of any third hand tool and adds so much more.
  • RaptorLoc Pro is a platform that you can change and whose use is only limited by your imagination.
  • RaptorLoc Pro is machined in the US which means I can directly incorporate feedback from my customers into new offerings with a short lead time. Got a custom need, we’ll talk…

Enough exposition already, let’s get down to the features…

The Features

Workholding

Flexible alligator arms using premium Loc-Line hose hold small pieces/wires securely between silicon-booted jaws. The arms have 8 different possible locations for installation.

Three arms worshipping their glowy deity
Three arms worshipping their glowy deity

Rigid zip-tie mounts based on standard hardware are used in conjunction with t-slots to lift your large pieces off the surface for detail work 

The poor student's car lift...using RaptorLoc Standard components
The poor student's car lift...using RaptorLoc Standard components

T-Slots  

Built-in t-slots allow the use of 1/4-20 bolts enabling owner-created jigs and lots of available accessories

A camera and his flashy friend entered a bar and proceeded to get lit... creating using a mix of RaptorLoc Pro and Standard bases
A camera and his flashy friend entered a bar and proceeded to get lit... creating using a mix of RaptorLoc Pro and Standard bases

Modular  

Each base is a stand-alone module that can also interlock with other bases. 

 Quick connect tabs can be used or external t-tracks for extreme flexibility. Five connected bases will form a giant robot * 

 * this claim has not been proven outside of our lab…

Four bases connected with tabs...shows two RaptorLoc Pro and two RaptorLoc Standard bases.  They play well together with minimal bickering.
Four bases connected with tabs...shows two RaptorLoc Pro and two RaptorLoc Standard bases. They play well together with minimal bickering.
RaptorLoc Standard bases using t-track mounted to workbench
RaptorLoc Standard bases using t-track mounted to workbench

Variety  

A family of bases with different functionalities have been created. Some configurations have more t-slots, others are configured for PanaVise™ tools, some include additional recesses for small parts and standard modeling paints. 

All your base are belong to us
All your base are belong to us

Lastly, I have bases with minimal features that can be used for user-created applications.  I also have a number of different t-track accessories that will be available on my online store.  I left them out of the Kickstarter campaign to reduce complexity.  If the campaign funds, they will be available in May online. 

Customizable

Each Pro-style base is machined from marine-grade 3/4” HDPE, similar to the material used in professional cutting boards. This means you can customize it with standard tools. 

Jig used to machine Standard bases, the Pro bases are somewhat shy and hard to photograph.
Jig used to machine Standard bases, the Pro bases are somewhat shy and hard to photograph.

The Rewards 

FalconLoc Pro with simple circuit board holders
FalconLoc Pro with simple circuit board holders
ViseLoc Pro with optional PanaVise PV Jr. Vise
ViseLoc Pro with optional PanaVise PV Jr. Vise
FalconLoc Pro dual station configuration with optional t-track hardware
FalconLoc Pro dual station configuration with optional t-track hardware
ViseLoc Pro dual station configuration with PanaVise PV Jr. and optional t-track hardware
ViseLoc Pro dual station configuration with PanaVise PV Jr. and optional t-track hardware

Add-Ons 

For the add-ons, just add the value of the add-on to your pledge.  I will reach out to each person to clarify add-on details as necessary.  

RaptorLoc Pro Plumage base (reward + $20) - holds paints and parts
RaptorLoc Pro Plumage base (reward + $20) - holds paints and parts

Action Shots 

RaptorLoc bases using t-track mounted to workbench
RaptorLoc bases using t-track mounted to workbench
A full ecosystem mounted to a portable workbench
A full ecosystem mounted to a portable workbench
That somewhat aloof led light is mounted on one of my t-track accessory 1/2" arms.  Super useful for detail work!
That somewhat aloof led light is mounted on one of my t-track accessory 1/2" arms. Super useful for detail work!
Honestly, this picture is totally superfluous.  I just like shiny, glowy stuff...I wonder if this is what a unicorn patty looks like ?
Honestly, this picture is totally superfluous. I just like shiny, glowy stuff...I wonder if this is what a unicorn patty looks like ?

Why Kickstarter? 
 

I have two major reasons to launch my latest product line via Kickstarter. One, the RaptorLoc Pro editions are built using a more expensive base material (King Starboard) that I think is great but I need to know if others besides myself are interested in a premium product. My previous products were machined from industrial cutting boards and they work very well but there are some subtle and aesthetic issues that this new material solves. This new material opens up some future functionality as well. However, I need to know if this level of quality is worth pursuing in the market.

Two, I used to sell via Amazon but much as I love Amazon’s convenience, it doesn’t allow for complex multi-part product lines and customer interaction is forbidden. I want to build and customize tools for you! I can’t do that in the Amazon domain. So, I’m migrating to a Shopify platform so I can have a better interaction with my customers. If this Kickstarter campaign funds, it will transition naturally to Shopify so that any reward you get, you can count on further support through my website.

110% Satisfaction Guarantee! 

A major motivation for me to do this Kickstarter campaign is to gain satisfied customers. I want to build this ecosystem and I want to have repeat customers. So, if there are any issues, just contact me and I will take care of it. I’ll refund money, ship parts, etc. I will not however wash your car. My 100% Satisfaction Guarantee only applies to my products and campaign.

Heck, if you need advice on other benchtop tools, drop me a line, I’m not above recommending other tools including competitors. This is where the other 10% Satisfaction comes from. I’m trying to be modest about the value of my advice.

Design Details aka The Deep Dive

One of the driving paradigms for the RaptorLoc series is to use as much standard hardware as possible. By using standard 1/4-20 threaded hardware most of the accessories can be disassembled and rebuilt to match specific needs. I’m noticing that more and more of the tools in my life cannot be repaired and it disconcerts me. If something small breaks, then I’m out of luck and I have to throw it all away. The relative simplicity of my tools mean that you aren’t dependent on me. Some of the parts are a bit hard to source but there are reasonable alternatives that you can pick up at the local hardware store.

The other major detail was the decision to machine HDPE plastic as opposed to aluminum or steel. This one was tough and I still question myself periodically. It would be a lot easier to source simplistic metal bases but it would not allow me to add or delete additional features without large cost implications. Also, it is more difficult for my customers to make changes to a thick metal base. It’s certainly possible but you usually have to use more expensive tooling and cutting fluids. With HDPE, anyone who owns a standard drill and bit can make changes. I want to offer a whole family of bases and add-ons and HDPE aids me in that.

The last and most expensive decision was using Loc-Line hose as the base material for the alligator arms. I love the Loc-Line ecosystem and it’s huge variety/quality (http://www.loc-line.com/products/14-loc-line-system/). That said, their products are pricey. A typical 6” Loc-Line hose is about 6 times more expensive than a generic knock-off. However, the knockoff doesn’t work as well or connect to the Loc-Line products and thus doesn’t give me their options. This is my no-compromise product and that informed my decisions.

In Appreciation 

Don't feed him after midnight...
Don't feed him after midnight...

I’ve been slowly developing, thinking and improving this product for years, showing prototypes at Maker Faires and at no point did any of the people involved stop supporting me. John K. has done all of the heavy lifting for my patent, Chris R. takes gorgeous photos and videos, Josh W. provides detailed feedback and all of them have manned the booth for days. In spite of me constantly hitting them up for their copious skills, they still remain friends! Lastly, my wife Dana supported me while I left my job to bring this baby to life. She has been incredibly supportive when everyone else thinks I’m an idiot (she doesn’t have great judgement apparently). 

Risks and challenges

Even though this is my first project on Kickstarter, I have been selling the Standard version edition of my tools on Amazon for almost a year. With my current setup, I have production locked down and am comfortable with the shipping side of things. There is zero chance that I will not ship your rewards in a reasonable time period. If I can’t, I will refund all the money, see the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

If there is enough demand to warrant it, I may upgrade my equipment. This could theoretically impact my shipping dates by a couple weeks as I dial in the new equipment. The upside would be even higher tolerances. I’ve tried to incorporate that possibility into my shipping dates but it is a slight delay risk.

Lastly, I will be very communicative in terms of updates. I’ve sponsored a fair amount of projects myself and I can’t stand information blackholes.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Insider Business Intelligence

    You'll receive all the detailed and scintillating project updates as well as occasional Deep Insights. You will also receive free entry to my Shopify store after the kickstarter campaign.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Early Bird FalconLoc Pro

    Includes the following :
    One baseboard with bumpers
    3 alligator arms
    3 simple circuit board holders – black and brass thumbscrews

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Early Bird ViseLoc Pro - No Vise

    Includes the following:
    One baseboard with bumpers
    3 sets of brass inserts and screws for standard PanaVise bolt pattern
    3 alligator arms

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    FalconLoc Pro

    Includes the following :
    One baseboard with bumpers
    3 alligator arms
    3 simple circuit board holders – black and brass thumbscrews

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ViseLoc Pro - No Vise

    Includes the following:
    One baseboard with bumpers
    3 sets of brass inserts and screws for standard PanaVise bolt pattern
    3 alligator arms

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    Limited 0 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Early Bird ViseLoc Pro with Vise

    Includes the following:
    PanaVise PV Jr.
    One baseboard with bumpers
    3 sets of brass inserts and screws for standard PanaVise bolt pattern
    3 alligator arms

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ViseLoc Pro with Vise

    Includes the following: 

    PanaVise PV Jr. 
    
One baseboard with bumpers 
    
3 sets of brass inserts and screws for standard PanaVise bolt pattern 

    3 alligator arms

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    FalconLoc Pro - dual station slider

    Includes the following :
    Two baseboards with bumpers
    3 alligator arms
    Four long zip tie saddles
    t-track hardware for two bases
    base coupler for standalone configuration

    Does not include any external t-tracks but links to good choices will be emailed.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Early Bird Custom work surface

    A custom build of the Lee Valley Veritas Worksurface, it features 6 inch spacing for the t-tracks to allow for easy integration of RaptorLoc products. The dimensions are 26" by 8".

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    Pledge $110 or more About $110

    ViseLoc Pro w/Vise - dual station

    Includes the following :
    PanaVise PV Jr.
    Two baseboards with bumpers
    one base has 3 sets of brass inserts and screws for standard PanaVise bolt pattern
    3 alligator arms
    Four long saddles
    t-track hardware for two bases
    base coupler for standalone configuration

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Funding period

- (20 days)