Why You Might Want To Contribute To i3Detroit's Laser Cutter
And here's why maybe you should chip in a few bucks. I will laser-cut a project of your choice from Thingiverse (laser-cutter projects only-- wood or chipboard will be substituted for acrylic), and ship the parts to you, with your name engraved in it if you want. A TARDIS, unique booklet cover, Settlers of Catan board that locks in place, adorable chibi Cthulhu, flyer rack, and many more.
Just make a contribution of at least $15. Add $25 per square foot if your project has to be cut from acrylic.
Donate $20, send me an image, and I will design and make a custom jigsaw puzzle of your choice, in which the shapes of the pieces conform to bits of the drawing, and ship it to you. Or, a box of literally any size and shape up to 3 feet, with an image of your choice engraved on it.
Donate at least $50, and you can dream up any laser-cutter project that could fit in a breadbox, and I will design brand-new schematics for you. Then I'll cut it, glue it together, and ship or deliver it to you.
Donate at least $80, and you get the $50 reward level, plus custom art engraved on it, drawn by me, based on your own description.
Let me know if you would like a larger reward level than that, and I'll see what I can work out.
We're more than a third of the way to our goal. Can you help us break the halfway point on the first day? Pledge here!
Q. Why a laser cutter?
A. This is an overwhelmingly useful tool for basic fabrication of components for a wide variety of projects, as well as complete projects using nothing but this tool. A laser cutter serves as the flagship of the best hacker spaces.
Q. Doesn't i3Detroit already have one?
A. Not any more. The member who owned the laser cutter sold it.
Q. Then what was that laser cutter you were using recently?
A. The one at TechShop. They gave me a free six month membership because I make cool stuff. Once that runs out, their membership fee too expensive to continue.
Q. How much are you getting for $6,000?
A. It's amazing. 150 Watts is more than double what we had before. That's powerful enough that eventually, we might be able to modify it to blow oxygen and cut through paper-thin sheet steel. The bed is just short of 3 feet by 4 feet. The gantry also travels faster, to get the job done quicker. This model is able to run on powerful software, not the poorly-translated Chinese workaround we had to use with the previous machine.
Q. Who owns it?
A. It will be the property of i3Detroit hacker space, a nonprofit membership group. i3Detroit has a facility near 9 Mile and I-75 in Ferndale, Michigan, open to guests most days of the week, with membership available to anyone for $39 a month.
Q. Is my donation tax-deductable?
A. Yes. Your donation is to i3Detroit, a 501c3 educational and public service nonprofit.
Q. When do you need the money?
A. When our pledge drive passes the $6,000 goal, which I predict to happen in about a week. If you need longer, just let me know and we can work something out.
Q. What if it breaks?
A. Our system of charging members an affordable hourly rate to use the laser cutter has always generated more than enough income to replace the bulb or power supply when they wear out. As for the rest of the machine, it is straightforward CNC motion as used in plotters, vinyl cutters, plasma cutters, CNC routers, and so forth. Many members of our group are exceptionally skilled, and experienced, in maintaining this form of technology, and have demonstrated a willingness to do so for the group. There is a massive amount of tech support from the CNC community online through such sites as chineselasersupportforum, cnczone, and Sam's laser FAQ.
Q. Are you taking into account the cost of shipping the machine?
A. Yes. One of our members found a way to ship it to the port of Detroit and save about $4,000 in shipping costs alone. Our funding goal includes all stages of shipping.