My GoalTo learn about these 'big ideas' I have, and the details of the available perks, stay tuned to the Updates tab!
Minimum Funding Goals
The short version is that I suffer from acute social phobia and agoraphobia, and am prone to crippling anxiety attacks when faced with the outside world. You can read about how I got that way in my profile.
I've all but given up on having a 'normal life', or any of the day-to-day experiences and simple joys that go with it, and honestly I'm okay with that; Because all I want is to make things. There is so much I could be doing, so much I want to be doing, so many ideas. I just don't have the means to carry them out. After living expenses, I only have a meager $30 of disposable income left from my disability checks each month...
I've been trying for years now to make things work. There was a time when I could pool my resources with my father, who has similar if not identical goals, but every time we'd get close to being able to do something, some emergency would blow away all our savings. Now he's retired and living on an equally-inadequate fixed income. (In fact, we can only afford to live together.) I even tried talking to a business plan counselor from a local micro-business development program. It took months to work up the nerve to do it. In our email conversations she showed great enthusiasm for my ideas, but upon meeting face to face, she simply told me to "Get a job." She didn't even want to see my business plan. This, and similar experiences, are why I don't hold out hope for conventional funding sources.
A Business, For $5,000?
Okay, so you know I'm trying to raise money for tools, but $5,000 seems pretty light even for Micro-Business loans, what gives? How does this form a business?
Well, it's about reaching a tipping point. It's about a game-changer. With a set of machine tools, I can manually make the parts needed to convert both the mill and the lathe to Computer-Numeric-Control (CNC), and with the tools converted to CNC, they can machine anything I can design on the computer.
With the use of a CNC mill and lathe, I can quickly manufacture any additional tools I may need. For instance, I can make the parts for an extrusion-based 3D printer, like a RepRap or Makerbot, as well as the moving parts assemblies needed to make something like a laser cutter/engraver. And just like that, my fabrication capabilities have expanded exponentially.
That's when things get really fun. There's a point at which the hard part becomes designing and planning. And never having been able to actually move on to the fabrication and execution stage, the designing and planning stage is something I have had the time and opportunities to become very good at. Not to mention the fact that I have a huge backlog of ideas and designs that have amazing potential.
So, basically, we're talking about $5,000 to put me in a position where I can pursue my own ideas, as well as offer services for rapid prototyping, fabrication, and machining of very nearly anything. It will also allow me to share my learning experiences along the way with others and help grow the DIY/Maker community in my own way.
You can read the mission statement for my business here on my blog.
What's in it for you?
Well, besides the satisfaction you might get from drastically changing someone's life for the better and helping them become productive, I have devised a couple ways to show my appreciation to those who contribute.
Among which is an exceptionally pragmatic idea I had: If I want to get a handle on my new tools I'm going to have to practice making things-- simple things --over and over again, until I've got it all down, right? So maybe, instead of concentrating on things -I- want or need to make, not all of which are going to make for good practice, I could hone my skills by making various small doodads, thingamajobbers, odds, ends, bits, bobs, and whoziwhatzits...maybe even a widget or two.
I'm thinking things like paperweights, little containers with screw-on lids, small hand-tools, flashlight bodies, maybe even things like pencils/leadholders or pen bodies for use with ink refills. All machined from materials like billet aluminium and stainless steel. Who can say no to that? Honestly, if you have something specific in mind, ask me and I'll see how feasible it is!
Come one, come all! Bring the whole family! Tell your friends!
It's been said that word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy. So, by all means; tweet, blog, facebook, scream from the rooftops! If you feel this is a worthy cause, and you find me engaging and entertaining, tell everyone you know! Heck, tell total strangers! Write the URL on the walls of bathroom stalls if you want! (Okay, maybe not that last one...) But please, get the word out, so I can make things!