This portion of the site is devoted to woodworking and will contain project ideas, shop tips, project pictures,
and finished items available for sale.
A Laser Cutter Named Lazi
To help diversify my business with an income that allows me a bit more creative interaction with the physical world, I purchased a laser cutter. Writing custom software and consulting for clients is fun, but its very much confined to the digital realm.
I’m a fan of Kickstarter and when the opportunity for an affordable, professional quality laser cutter presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity. I backed “Full Spectrum’s Affortable 20"x12" Laser cutter” Kickstarter project. My sister has owned the previous version of their hobby laser and has overall been happy with it, so I felt like this was a safe bet.
I have two main ideas on how to integrate the laser cutter in to my business. The first involves acting as a printer for others. For a small set up fee and a fixed per minute rate of laser time, I will cut and engrave a customers design. As an example, my first customer was a local woodworker that needed to make forms for steam bending wood. From a CAD export, I created a plywood template that he can use on his router table to make all the necessary pieces for the bending form.
The other plan for the business is for me to create items for sale. Unlike my bottle stoppers, these items will not be one of a kind. Using my own abilities and working with graphic designers, I will create a collection of decorative things that will be available for purchase online and at local craft fairs. Most of the designs can be personalized.
The first in what will be a collection of holiday decorations is the HAPPYKHAN-UKAH Ornament available for $8. This 4” circular ornament is made of 1/8” baltic birch plywood with the design engraved on one side. The back can be personalized with a name, year, or short message. This is a great gift for any Star Trek fan, regardless of religious believes.
All order processing is handled by Google Checkout, so you can be confident that your credit card information is safe and never seen by me.
North Carolina Woodworker Forum Helper Script
Categories: Code, Wood
I’ve written a Scriptish script that makes a few UI improvements to the NC Woodworker Forum. The script is tested with the Firefox extension, but may also work with other browsers that have a Scriptish or GreaseMonkey plugin/extension.
Convert location text to a Google Maps link. It will detect links in user profiles, classified listings, classified posts, and the thread poster’s location.
Auto-collapse maps embedded in a post and provide a link to the map and the ability to expand the embedded map.
Remove the “Place Holder” navigation item.
If you’d like the map links to include directions, you can configure the script so that it knows the starting location to use. This location can be any location that Google Maps recognizes; long/lat, intersection, address, city, etc. See the below image on how to find the settings. The green icon at the bottom right of the FireFox window belongs to Scriptish. Clicking it will popup the menu.
This script is not supported by NCWW. Please don’t contact the NCWW admins or mods with support questions.
My First Bottle Stopper On Etsy
Categories: Code, Wood
I’m testing the waters with selling my bottle stoppers on Etsy. The site has the benefit of an existing user base, but my small collection of items (currently only one) is most likely lost among the vast quantities of items. I posted a cherry bottle stopper with a stainless steel base as my first test. There has been almost negligible traffic to the item listing with almost every page hit being sourced from the bit.ly link that I’ve posted in a few places. I plan on posting a few more bottle stoppers up there to site for a while. From what I’ve learned so far, popular stores are somewhat self sustaining, but newer, smaller sellers are all but lost in the void. The $0.20 posting fee is trivial and spending a few dollars to force myself to think about how I can market my woodworking crafts is a worthwhile expense.
An alternative to selling on Etsy is to host my own store. OpenCart is currently in the lead of the free apps. Magento was quickly eliminated as being too large/complicated for a site that would only have a few dozen items for sale. I also couldn’t image being able to turn a client loose on its admin interface to manage their business.
Related to the self hosting, I still have a few shared accounts with Joyent. The uptime has been great and my only complaint is that I didn’t upgrade my lifetime shared hosting when they started offering accelerators. That would have given me more options and capabilities with the hosting. In search of a cheap VPS hosting option, I found LowEndBox.com, a blog that posts sub $7/mo hosting deals. If you set your expectations appropriately and do a little bit of research about the companies providing the offer, then you can find a good deal. I managed to get a dedicated 2gb OpenVZ from ChicagoVPS for $7/mo. For the price, it is exceeding my expectations and I plan on hosting a few personal sites and services that can tolerate some downtime. There hasn’t been any provider caused downtime yet, but my expectations are not set to a level I would need for a production site. My expectations may change with time.