At the beginning of November 2013, I watched as my first two full size CNC routed rulers were being made. As each step of the process finished, I was amazed with with how the results went above and beyond anything I pictured in my mind. I knew, without question, that other people would love to have a similar growth ruler for their child and that I would enjoy making the rulers myself.
What started off as a small personal project soon turned into a catalyst for a much bigger dream. The underlying idea behind the ruler is that a simple, well crafted piece of wood could tell a powerful story of growth through a captured glance at some handwritten marks and notes. Each additional child or generation of children included on the board adds a deeper layer that increases the depth of the story exponentially.
The idea of objects telling stories really resonated with me and I began to think of other products that could catalog personal journeys and legacies. In addition to the growth rulers, I plan on releasing other products that could tell personal yet captivating stories through their physical presence.
I hope you will come along for the ride and see how everything progresses. I plan on releasing status updates on a regular basis so that you will know all the highs and lows, and see first hand what goes into making the rulers.
I chose to use a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) router to make this project because it gives me the capability to deliver a much more personalized product with a higher degree of accuracy and faster speed than anything produced by hand with a router.
After the first rulers were completed, I was bit by the CNC bug and decided to learn and practice as much as I could. I joined the closest TechShop three and a half hours away in Austin, TX and spent hours at a time experimenting with different techniques, processes and designs for the Kickstarter rulers.
6"x11" PERSONALIZED CNC ROUTED THANK YOU POSTCARD:
- A personalized thank you message will be CNC routed with the RNS Baruta Black typeface (Kickstarter Font) approximately 1/16" deep on one side of a 5.2mm thick piece of rotary cut birch plywood and delivered straight to your front door.
- Each card will include a handwritten message on the back.
- Shipping is INCLUDED.
CUSTOMIZED LEGACY GROWTH RULER:
Choose your measuring system of choice - Imperial or Metric
- Choose the type of wood - Solid Radiata Pine or Maple, Cherry, Mahogany, or Walnut Veneered PureBond Plywood.
- Choose the custom title message - Specify the name(s) or phrase you would like milled along the left edge of the board in 2" tall letters, approximately 1/4" deep.
- Choose the specific fonts to be used throughout the board - ChuckFive, Sant Joan Despi or RNS Baruta Black.
- Specify two titles or names to be permanently routed in the board next to their corresponding heights. Space is limited, so it helps to keeps these short (Mom, Dad, Mum, Pop, etc.)
- Lacquer Finished
- Custom made mounting brackets and screws are INCLUDED.
US shipping is INCLUDED. Will not ship internationally.
Claymark® uses only the finest New Zealand-grown radiata pine, from carefully managed and certified plantation forests to produce premium class solid pine boards. My wife and her father chose this wood to make our first growth ruler and I have used it ever since. During the routing process, the pine keeps a crisp edge and has minimal tear out. It looks beautiful before or after finishing and has a wonderful grain.
Columbia's soy-based Purebond plywood panels are comprised of no added urea formaldehyde components and assembled with zero urea formaldehyde adhesives which makes it one of the best plywoods on the market. Additionally, it outperforms UF bonded panels in all moisture degradation tests, making it more longer lasting than other plywood one the market. Like the radiata pine wood, this plywood keeps a crisp edge and has minimal tear out during the CNC routing process.
ONE IMPORTANT THING TO CONSIDER WITH THE PLYWOOD IS ROUTED:
Both the face and back of the plywood I am planning on purchasing will be very high quality - A1 (plywood faces come in 6 different grades: AA - E, and 4 different back grades: 1-4). However, the middle layers will be of lesser quality, meaning there might be visible defects such as knots, mineral streaks or gum spots. These defects do not take effect the strength of the board. I consider them to be a beautiful and natural part of the wood but want to disclose their presence nonetheless.
After some experimentation, I selected three fonts that were simple, yet had distinct personality and looked good after being routed into the boards.
To ensure that the boards last a long time, Valtec's Ultra Low VOC Self Seal Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer will be used to protect every ruler shipped for the Kickstarter campaign. As shown in the above picture, the lacquer enhances the grain of the wood with a glass smooth, matte finish.
The lacquer is formulated for excellent durability and provides enhanced UV protection with excellent mar, water, solvent and general chemical resistance. Professional refinishers use this product for cabinets, fine furniture, and other interior wood surfaces that require a durable, long lasting finish.
Some of the many advantages of Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer include:
- Enhanced UV protection
- Excellent mar, water, solvent and household chemical resistance
Low in Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)
- Ultra-low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) formula
- Meets or exceeds all KCMA performance standards when applied properly
- Good with all wood species
Several different markers and pens were tested on the lacquer finish. The best results came from colored ultra fine point Sharpie permanent markers. Ballpoint pens also worked well. After writing, the ink from both types dried quickly without any smearing.
The ruler is attached to the wall by sliding the upside down "U" shaped board-mounted bracket over the wall-mounted "I" bracket. The perimeter of both shapes is cut at a 45 degree angle which creates a modified french cleat system that provides a secure connection between the ruler and the wall, while also restricting side to side movement.
A second benefit for using this type of mounting bracket is that it allows the board to be mounted over existing baseboards. Rulers are able to touch the ground, despite the presence of a baseboard, because the wood brackets are milled out of 1/2" thick plywood. This causes the back of the ruler to rest 1/2" away from the surface of the wall.
As long as the wall-mounted "I" bracket is securely attached to the wall by screwing into wood studs or using drywall wall anchors, the ruler will stay put for a long time.
However, keep in mind that I have a 2 year old daughter who has shown little interest in trying to yank our ruler off of the wall, If you have young boys who will be determined to use the ruler for a makeshift slide, I suggest running a screw through the bottom of the board into the baseboard.
Everyone who has completed a successful Kickstarter campaign tells me that the backer survey sent out at the end of the campaign is the most critical part to delivering all the orders in a timely manner. To set myself up for success, I have chosen customizations that can easily be translated into survey form.
But, if you wish there were more customizations, wood variations or font choices, send me an descriptive email and attach high quality black and white artwork (icons and simple graphics works best) of what you might like to add to the board.
I will confirm whether or not I will be able to add the desired customization and quote any additional costs associated with bringing the idea to life.
Risks and challenges
In 2012 CNN Money reported that 84% of the Top 50 Most Funded Kickstarter projects shipped late. I don't want that to happen to this project. My biggest concern and ultimate challenge will be getting the finished ruler to you the backer ON TIME.
To accomplish this, I have limited the total number of rulers I will make before December to 550. And when I say "I will make...", what I really mean is that I personally will be the one making the cut files and routing the rulers out on my own machine in my own little shop. 550 rulers is an ambitious but realistic number of rulers for me to make.
The second challenge will be shipping the rulers. Some smart people have suggested that I break the ruler into pieces or use hinges to fold it so that it will fit into a standard shipping box. But let's face it, nothing about this ruler is standard. I really believe that the power behind the ruler is the fact that it is one solid piece of wood. It commands your attention with grace without being an eyesore. Plus, FedEx and UPS will ship it. I'll just have to think of some creative packaging to ease the process.
Finally, there is no escaping the fact that this is my first Kickstarter campaign and even though I think I have considered all the large factors involved in delivering the finished ruler, I am sure there is something that will sneak up. I have fueled my knowledge by reading "It Will Be Exhilarating" by the Kickstarter veterans Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost of Studio Neat and listening to Edgemade's Podcast; "You Can't Eat Bits for Breakfast" which is loaded with lots of great tips for Kickstarter hopefuls. I have also backed three great Kickstarter projects myself and have learned what great executed projects look like from the receiving end.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)