We thought you would enjoy a couple photos of our production process as we continue to put in 12-15 hour days to get the 8" and 12" vivariums out on schedule. There have been a lot of hiccups along the way, including the fact that our laser cutter isn't square (anyone who has done wood working knows what a headache this is!), the laser was cutting at an angle instead of straight down, and we were over $1,000 short of what we needed to complete our shop set up, to name a few. We almost broke even on the purchase of the laser cutter and materials, but had to come up with the extra cash needed for everything else (like additional tools, tables, and materials in quantities large enough to order). Lesson learned!
BUT, the good news is that our shop is completely set up, and we are pretty sure we have worked out the major kinks with the laser cutter. The pledge levels up through the $25 level have been fulfilled, with the custom thank-you plaques mailed out on August 9th.
Speaking of the custom thank-you plaques, designing and laser cutting these was a pretty awesome experience and a great way to "get to know" our new machinery. The laser cutter came with a surprisingly low amount of information for actual projects, so it took over a week of experimentation (read: lots of wasted material) to get everything to work right - but we finally got it! Fortunately, we already owned some premium design software to allow us to design it and experiment the way we needed to. What you see in the photo below is a laser cut image of an orchid, our logo, and a thank you message. The engraving was inverted so that it would be on the back of the acrylic. I hand made (well, I used my sewing machine for part of it) the velvet bags and fashioned a green draw string for a pretty presentation. Tell us what you think in the comments!
The other photos below show the acrylic in process. First, you can see our stacks of clear acrylic 2'x4' sheets that have been cut with our saw down to a size the laser cutter can handle. Then, we use a layout program to help us determine how to get the most parts out of the acrylic in the laser cutter.
Next is the laser cutter in action. Unfortunately, the laser cutter isn't saving us as much time as we had hoped, but it is invaluable for creating accurate sized parts, the really tiny pieces (like the 5.25"x0.25" pieces and the 1.75"x1.00" pieces) and eliminating the need for window screen in the acrylic. We can actually create a "screen" in the acrylic itself, which makes it smoother and eliminates any possibility of fruit flies (often used as feeder bugs) escaping through the screen. How cool is that (yes, we are geeking out over here... just a little bit :).
Finally, you can see our growing finished acrylic parts. The amount may look small, but what is hard to tell from the photo is that there are over a hundred parts in the bags and baskets on this table! Each vivarium back (the pieces on the far left in the photo), with the laser-cut screen, took over half an hour to complete in the laser cutter.
So, we are feeling pretty confident that the 8" and 12" Vivarium ONLY orders will be shipped next week. We are waiting on final orchid choices from a couple people, but if we don't get those by Monday, we will go ahead and make the orchid order so that we can hopefully ship all the 8" and 12" KITS either Monday, September 3 or Tuesday, September 4 to guarantee live arrival of the orchids.
Sorry for the long post, but I hope you enjoy the photos and the update! Have a great weekend!
Seth & Rachel