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Modern super magnets replace the ancient torsion engine in a desktop catapult to get an awesome cubicle warfare machine!
Modern super magnets replace the ancient torsion engine in a desktop catapult to get an awesome cubicle warfare machine!
183 backers pledged $8,513 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

The Mini Magnetapult: Big punch in a little package

Hello my Backers and future Backers!

First of all, if some of you are thinking of getting more than one award, simply increase your amount by whatever the new award is, and when the deadline comes, I'll be asking anyone pledging over their award level what other award they wanted.  If you're from outside the US, please email me about the shipping price, as it will go down with multiple awards.

I was showing my daughter an early version of the Magnetapult (smaller, and less powerful) and she suggested that since the Standard one is so strong, I should make a smaller one for kids.  Since I'd already bought a ton of different sizes and shapes of magnets, I decided to see how much I could pack into a little package.  The result is The Mini Magnetapult:

Its 3" high by a bit over 3" long with an arm length of about 3.5". (The Standard is about 5" high by 6" long, with an arm length of a bit over 6".)  I originally designed it to fire airsoft bb's, and as you can barely see in the video, it launches them pretty fast.  It can launch other light projectiles as well, but as your mother said, 'Careful, you'll take an eye out with one of those!'

Best of all, since the magnets are smaller, I can offer it at a very reasonable award level of $20!  I also added a new 'Family Plan' at a reduced rate if you want to get all three!

I hope you enjoy the video, and decide to get a Magnetapult or two (or three or four!) of your very own!  If you have a hard time seeing some of the smaller ammo fly, try the full HD version on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrjDQuq1b1A&hd=1

  John

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We made it!

Thanks to my wonderful backers, we've reached the $5000 goal in less than half the funding period!  You guys rock!

I've gotten most of my supplies/suppliers figured out... The only thing I've not completely decided on is the projectiles themselves.  What I'm optimally looking for is a 1" soft rubber foam ball.  (1.5" maximum) All the places I've gotten quotes or samples from tell me its 4+ weeks for shipping, because of their factories in China, Taiwan, etc.  It seems there's no rubber or foam balls that are actually American made, which is what I was looking for, so I decided to try to buy directly from China. Unfortunately, its the chinese new year, so I have to wait another week until they're back at work to get the samples.  Worse comes to worse, I'll use the 1" mini super-balls. (I was hoping to avoid them because they hit a lot harder than foam balls, and I'd rather my backers not get in trouble for breaking stuff. :)

Thanks again!  Please remember to read post 1 to bump up the ammo you'll be getting with your reward! Thanks for helping spread the word!

  John

The Metal Machines are up!

Hello Backers and future backers!

I've gotten lots of feedback about an aluminum version, so after careful thought, I've put two up:  The Metal Machine, which is the aluminum version of the Magnetapult, and the Custom Metal Machine, which is a limited, numbered aluminum version which also has a special thanks to you (by name) permanently marked onto the aluminum.  The price was determined by the cost difference between the Standard one, and the added expense of the aluminum cutting in the Aluminum version.

Here's about what it should look like. (I'll probably trim the metal on the arm a bit to lose weight, since its much more than strong enough, and less weight=more distance! :)

Thanks again, everyone! We're almost there!

Success with multiple sized ammo, and an aluminum Magnetapult?

Hello Backers and future backers!

I've been working hard trying to come up with a way to launch small, 1" diameter ammo and larger ammo.  I've tried numerous models, including some with a back wall. Unfortunately, all that added weight slows down the arm too much for my taste, but I've found that with the right stop angles at the end of the arm, and lengthening that part, it will work just as well. Here's the latest magnetapult!

Most of the rest of the changes are cosmetic.

Aluminum Magnetapult?

I've contacted some laser metal cutting companies for quotes on an aluminum version of the Magnetapult.  Unfortunately, there's a minimum order of 100 units, so I'm out quite a bit unless I can sell a good fraction of that.  If you think you might be interested, send me a note, and I'll figure out the feasability. It would be a numbered, limited edition kickstarter version.

Thanks to all my backers, and future backers!

Shipping dates and Pricing

Hello my excellent backers, and future backers!

Shipping end of February?

I've had some inquiries about how I expect to start shipping in February if the project ends on the 6th of February.  Add the 14 day hold by amazon payments and the 5 days to transfer into my bank account, and we're right near the end of February already! How can I ship before then?

The answer is that once the project successfully hits the goal of $5000 (approximately 150 kits) I will begin using my credit cards to start ordering everything in bulk, for as many kits as $5000 will buy me. At that point, it will be only a month until I'll get the funds, so I'll be able to pay the credit card bill at that point. Once the project is finished (on February 6th) I'll calculate what my total will be after kickstarter & amazon fees, and I'll order more bulk at that time. Rewards will be sent in order of backing, so the earlier you back, the earlier you'll get your reward!

If there's one thing I hate, its delays shipping rewards!  I will work just as hard as I did on the Magnetic Levitation Sculpture project to get things out when I say I will! :)

Kickstarter Pricing

You may wonder where I come up with the pricing for my project rewards.  Generally, for the 'standard model', I calculate what it would cost YOU to make it yourself, and price a bit under that.  Lets take a look at what it would cost you to make the Magnetapult yourself:

  • 2 3/4"Dx3/8"T N52 supermagnets: $20 at K & J Magnetics with USPS shipping
  • 4 1.375" and 1 1" Chicago Bolts: $5 at your local hardware store (hard to find though)
  • 2 1/16" thick 1" and 1.375" Metallic Flux Concentrators: $1 at hardware store
  • 12"x12" 1/8" MDF board: $3 with cutting costs (depending on cutting costs) at hardware store
  • 2 rubber sponge balls: $1 at the dollar store if you're not picky
  • Laser cutting: 8 minutes @ $2.50 +$5 shipping= $25 at pololu.com

Total: $55

As you can see, even the non-early backer version is MUCH cheaper than making it yourself.

How can I sell it this cheap?

The biggest savings I have is in the laser cutting. Since I have a small laser cutter myself, my laser cutting is a fraction of what you would pay.

The rest of my savings is on buying everything in bulk.  How much I save really depends on how many of each I can afford to buy.

How much of the Rewards price gets to me?

Ignoring the cost of the parts, here's what I'll get of the first $5000:

Kickstarter takes 5% and amazon takes 3-5%. Worst case, that leaves me with $4500.

$5000 is approximately 150 kits.  Shipping is about $6 (with tracking!) at USPS, for a total of $900.  That leaves $3600, or $24/kit.  Its this $24 that I'll use to pay for everything in bulk.

After the $5000 mark, my $/kit goes up, my buying power goes up, and my cost/kit goes down.  Lets hope we shoot way past the $5000 mark! :)

What can my backers do to help?

You've already helped a great deal by becoming a backer!  I've given some ideas (and rewards!) on post #1 for how to help spread the word, but showing your friends and family the project page would help get more backers as well, I'm sure!

Thanks for listening!  If you have any questions, feel free to ask!