Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 24, 2010.

Update #109

The Lock Libraries

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Jason Scott, again.

Schuyler has one other set of physical rewards due - lock libraries.

He sent me one to pass to backer in Canada, and we're still working on the best way to mail it, but before I packaged it all away, I took some photos of the contents of what one of these Lock Libraries consists of. It's quite a dizzying array. 

As I've mentioned before, Schuyler really promised a lot with these libraries. He owes roughly 20 of them. He says he has the contents for most of them ready to go, but I have not verified that yet (I've asked for photos). It's a priority, to me, that these go out, and we will keep on Schuyler to mail them out as soon as he can.

Congratulations to every backer who went for the lock library - it's a deal. 


Update #108

Making Picks, Opening the Store

Jason Scott, speaking for the board.

Schuyler has gotten back the etched picks and handles from the first batch. Here's some photos in the process that he's sent along.

These are the picks themselves. It says it took him 3 hours to pluck the picks. The dirty hands are from oil used during etching. The picks will then be tumble-cleaned into being the shiny items expected as a product.

The handles and tension wrenches are next. When the sets are ready, they will begin going to backers. As picks are sold and Schuyler puts money into the fund, new picks will come. The metal for the full project has been bought - the costs are in etching.

I will be attending Derbycon in Kentucky at the end of September. The rough plan is to bring sets for sale there, and get these picks into hands and more importantly, raise the funds for the next batches to get them out as fast as possible.

Schuyler has now declared, in multiple public forums, that when the picks sell out, that is, that the backer picks are all out and all the for-sale picks are sold to pay for them, he's done with the pick-making business. So consider it a limited edition.

Meanwhile, our plan is to open the store with T-shirts and locks for sale shortly. The money raised from this store goes 100% into the fund, after postage and material costs. There are some people who still have t-shirts and locks as rewards and I am working with them to get the packages to them - I just want it clear that some items in this inventory have been reserved away to specifically make sure no backer fails to receive the non-pick rewards they deserve.

Thanks for your patience. It's great to see the picks existing.


Update #107

Taking Care of Business

8 comments

Jason Scott, speaking for the board.

The delay in the latest update centered around multiple factors. 

First, I didn't want us to post an update with "we plan to" in it. I wanted us to post about what is actually done. 

Next, I was in severe crunch time with finishing my latest project, a documentary about the hacking convention DEF CON, where Schuyler first burst into prominence a few years back by winning lockpicking contests. The entire movie has been put up for free, on Youtube, Vimeo, Internet Archive, and multiple torrents. I've written an entry about it here:

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/3984

Please enjoy that film with my compliments. It was shot using crew taken from my own kickstarter, who were flown to Las Vegas and taught how to shoot the film for me, and who have all become very close friends as a result.

Now, business.

The etcher is now etching the first batch of picks. The order has been placed and will then be shipped to Schuyler to be assembled and polished, at which point it will go to me for fulfillment.

Remnant items from the kickstarter (shirts, locks, cases) have been inventoried and will be put up for sale shortly (with some held back for reward fulfillment). In all cases, nothing will be sold that isn't right here in my hands, ready to be shipped to you immediately.

The delay came because when Schuyler put the check from his speaking engagement into the system at his bank, it got held and we had a mess with the bank. It took some effort to get it out and into the proper bank account. After that was finished, I transferred over the generous $1000 donation one of the backers provided to ensure we had enough for the first order.

So, regarding the batches. 

To make clear what's going on (this was mentioned previously), we are using a combination of sales of 50% of the made picks, as well as Schuyler putting in a portion of his salary and sales of these surplus kickstarter items, to ensure we can make our way to getting out all the required pick sets.

For the first batch, we are making 1,350 total picks. This is 60 sets of 20, 5 sets of 10, and 5 sets of 5.

The plan is to sell half of those to pay for the next batch, which means we're going to have 30 sets of 20 to sell, and so on. 

If we sell a lot of picks quickly and/or we get enough contribution from Schuyler and/or we sell off the surplus material faster, we can order the next batch that much quicker. Any of these slowing down or stopping means the project slows down as well.

This is the first run through all of this. Things can still go wrong and the chances of all 1,350 being absolutely perfect is not 100%. But we'll inform about that when it comes. 

Schuyler still has to make the picks. Locals to him in Vermont have offered to step forward to be taught how the process works, in case we need to hold some manufacturing parties to get the latest shipments done.

So we are moving forward. Slower than anyone ever wanted, but we are moving forward.

As for Schuyler himself, he has moved into an apartment near his parents, allowing him and his fiancee' to be out of his old bedroom in the house. I visited him, his parents and Schuyler last month during a filming trip to Montreal. It is a wonderful house of history and decoration, and it was good to see him there. Schuyler and Amy were both up very early in the morning to get to work, and he looks very happy and healthy, properly medicated and secure. His job has worked out nicely and it appears to be using his skills and knowledge in design, with lots of interesting variation and a good policy of "something's wrong if you're working past 6". 

The plan is that the first picks of many are going out this month. 

I hope to update you again very soon.


Update #106

Good News on Several Fronts

Jason Scott here, speaking for the board.

As mentioned before, I was travelling, but I am now back from my trips and in the last week, several good bits of news hit, although I encourage patience in them becoming reality - it's just best practice to wait until things are concrete before saying they're a success. But it looks good.

As discussed, we have created a business plan where sales of the lockpick sets will drive getting the sets into the hands of backers. It needed "seed" money, to pay for the first batch.

Schuyler spoke at RVAsec recently, and has been given a good honorarium for this presentation, one which he is now forwarding, wholecloth, into the bank account set aside for this sort of money. Combined with the generous donation from one of the backers, there's now enough money for the first batch.

We'll begin the manufacturing process shortly.

There will be a store soon - a simple one was set up for selling the shirts and practice locks, and I will be fulfilling those orders. As promised, no items in the store will be "pre-orders" - so the lockpick sets will NOT be available for purchase until we have actual inventory in my hands. All the profit from this store will go into the bank account to fund more lockpick manufacture.

Additionally, a wholesaler has contacted us about selling the lockpicks in his online store - this and other offers will be calculated out so as to speed along the process of getting all the lockpicks out.

Finally, Schuyler is no longer employed as a Barista. Instead, he has accepted a job at a manufacturing company that has an inventory website, where he will be one of their web engineers. With this comes a more significant income, a portion of which he will be putting into the bank account, and the rest of it to allow his fiancee' and himself to move out of his parents' basement. He won't be moving far, so he'll still have the full family support he needs. This new job also includes generous health insurance, so that he will no longer be dependent on a kind doctor giving him a bag of "samples" to have him not drop off medication. 

If his new co-workers do not force him to make the morning coffee, it will be a real shame.


Update #105

Update: Store Preparations and Materials Order

2 comments

Jason Scott, speaking for the board.

Preparations are underway for the store.

As I have strongly indicated previously (I hope), you will never be able to "pre-order" or order an item that does not exist, right now, in the real world, in my storage or shipping area.  That's a pillar, and it does mean things are shifted forward in time instead of being "back-ordered" or "on the way". If you order something, it will go out.

We've got a plan locked down for the discussed hybrid selling of pick sets while also sending out promised sets. The whole cycle depends on sales and whatever Schuyler is able to put into the account (not very much right now, as a Barista, but occasionally some payments as a speaker/consultant/teacher).

There will be three different types of pick sets you'll be able to order, as well as shirts and practice locks. The goal is to sell out each "cycle" of picks to be able to order the next set. People constantly mail in asking to buy them, so there's some audience out there, and that's a bright spot in this.

If you start here and go backwards in the album, there are some photos taken by Schuyler of his work area. He has also talked with some local friends about helping with the building process for the picks. 

The "seed money" for the cycles is about $3000 - $1000 of that has been contributed by a donor, and the rest will be raised from either Schuyler's contribution or from the sales of these shirts, locks, and so on.

This weekend, I begin a trip set to Washington DC, San Francisco, and Minnesota, returning on roughly July 10th. While I'd like to think I can get the store running on the road, I am not 100% sure that will be the case, so keep that date in mind for some aspects to ramp up if they haven't already.

Onward.


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    Anyone who donates will get templates of the tools in EPS, PDF, PNG, SVG, etc. formats (basically every format I can export, which will include CAD files) along with instructions for making these tools yourself. I'll offer material suggestions and finishing ideas too.

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    Uber Lock Library! Everything in the Lock Library times 2! 100 locks! 60 individual picks! 2 full sets of 20 in cases! 2 different sets of handcuffs and a 2 cutaways! One of a pin-tumbler lock, one of the locking mechanism in handcuffs! In addition to all of this I'll send you training materials. Nicely illustrated guides to lockpicking, impressioning, bumping, overlifting, etc. etc! I can guarantee 10 different reproducible worksheets and I'm hoping to do 20+!

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