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 Post subject: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:21 am 
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Location: Bay Area, CA
How much work should a DIY require? On one hand you have the standard 3x3x3 DIY which requires basically a just screwdriver and a small amount of time. On the other we have the 24 puzzle where you print, prepare and build the entire thing from .stl files.

I have been wanting to offer DIY kit for my Neon for some time now.

Unfortunately the cost of supplies and cutting time for the body of my standard puzzle alone is more than most would want to pay for a DIY. That doesn't include the pieces, screws, and separation layers, or even include my time and gas money to get to the shop. So that is a bit of a dead end.

A few months back I attempted to have a production laser company cut parts for 50 puzzles and it failed, leaving me with 2000 parts that are cut wrong: Parts too small, holes too big, burrs on each piece. Luckily for me I was able to get my $1300 back so I only lost my time. But I kept wanting to try to use these parts in some way. I hate to waste them.

With work, I was able to build a Neon from them:
Image
The back plate is a re-used front plate, so it is clear, but I have etched the outline of the text and image I normally etch on my finished puzzle. The outline is faster, saving me time for the lost cost DIY kit:
Image
The terrible inconsistency of thickness of the parts means lots of extra spacer layers to even everything out, and the oversized holes meant oversized screws, which can't be countersunk (too big) so I had to cut the top and bottom layers to accommodate the screw heads:
Image
Image
Not as pretty as the ones I cut and build myself (and a bit "looser"), but certainly nice and playable. Given that is is more work for a less attractive end product, I won't be using these parts to build puzzles to sell.

But...

The body parts are basically free at this point given that I had my money refunded. So the cost of a DIY based on these parts is just the cost of some screws, pins and my efforts to cut spacers, pieces and a few adjustments on the top and bottom plates. This is quite a bit less than on anything I have to cut myself.

So the question (sorry to take so long to get to the point) is how much work are people willing to put in to a Neon DIY? Here are the steps needed to get to the point of assembly:
1.) All micro-tabs have to be filed off. These are small, but there are about 30 of them. They look like this:
Image
2.) *All* the holes are pretty much wrong. I bought larger sized screws and pins, but the holes need to be drilled to fit them. This is a lot of little holes.
3.) The anchor pieces need to be tapped to accept the screws. Like drilling, but with a more expensive piece of hardware.

If I have to do all of this the cost of the DIY starts to become too high to be reasonable. But there is some middle ground between doing nothing and doing everything. For instance, I could:
a.) Tap the anchor pieces. The tap is about $10 and most people won't ever need one beyond this project so it might be silly for a DIY to require people to buy them
b.) I could perhaps include the proper sized drill bits (two different sizes) as then I can buy them in bulk for about $1 instead of $3-$4 it would cost at the hardware store.

So my choice somewhat depends on who has interest in a DIY and how much much effort they are willing to expend.

The minimum price for a Neon DIY (given I still have to provide the screws, pins and cut the spacers and pieces) is $20, but as I start to do more of the prep, the cost goes up.

So let me know your thoughts on what you might want in a DIY. How much are you willing to do on your own, and how much is it worth to you if you would like me to do it?

Dave

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Last edited by DLitwin on Wed Nov 19, 2008 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:04 am 
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$20 is way too cheap for something like this, Dave. I would hate to see a bunch of bad looking elementals out there. Maybe just offer the DIYs in one or two color sets? just a thought.
I still have hopes in getting one custom made by you. I just have to start making some money with my puzzles first. :)


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:40 am 
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I think we should leave these in the hands of a profesional(DLitwin). :D

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:01 am 
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flambore wrote:
$20 is way too cheap for something like this, Dave. I would hate to see a bunch of bad looking elementals out there. Maybe just offer the DIYs in one or two color sets? just a thought.
I still have hopes in getting one custom made by you. I just have to start making some money with my puzzles first. :)

Oh, I should have mentioned: This would be a limited set: Just the 50 puzzles (in black) that came from the botched laser job. Believe me, I don't intend to waste months on another failed job just to make some DIYs cheaper :) In fact, since I built one there are a maximum of 49, and I may want to keep one around for spare parts in case people mess up and need extras. So maybe 48.

As for a bunch of cheap looking Neons, I think it looks OK. All the precision work has been done so the chance of sloppy building is lower than with a mod like a half truncated, or even stickering (and I have seen some scary stickering). It clearly is not a production Neon, and won't easily be confused for one given the clear back plate (no numbering or image), larger screws and top and bottom cutouts.

But people have been interested in a cheaper Neon (and I am not ready to try a full production version yet) and I have these parts sitting in my garage so I will be offering a DIY. It's just a matter of what price and how much work is done by me, and by the buyer.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:49 am 
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Way to make a crappy situation (all the bad parts) and turn it into an opportunity for poor people to have a cool puzzle! :)

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: California USA
after owning a custom made Neon Deluxe, I will sure get 1 or 2 DIY's in fact, reserve 2 more for me.


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:12 pm 
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If the cost is low, and I have money to spare I'll go for one of the kits. (There's about a 50-50 chance of me having any money to spare.)

Since the cost of buying tools I would need but I don't have is part of the cost I'd be in favor of proposed cost saving measures even if they resulted in a higher price for the kit.

-

Hopefully I'll be able to spare enough money for a kit before you sell them out.


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:59 pm 
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Location: bay area, california
count me in for one... heavy on the Y for me...
:) Derek


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:40 pm
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I think i will get 1

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Reserving 1 right now. I would absolutely love to own a Neon, but I'm unemployed (currently) so it's hard for me to spend $100, regardless of the amazingness of the puzzle.


Thanks for the option for a DIY!

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:39 pm 
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I'm confused. Were you asking for people to place orders, or for people to say what it was they would prefer you put up for sale?


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:46 pm
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id take one


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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:18 am 
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chris the cynic wrote:
I'm confused. Were you asking for people to place orders, or for people to say what it was they would prefer you put up for sale?

I really was just hoping to get feedback on what to offer. I intend to create another thread when I have weighed the feedback and decided the final product. But it seems most are focusing on getting one more than what it will be.
I was hoping for just one offering, but perhaps it is better as a menu:
$XX base kit
$ X anchor piece tapping
$ X drill bits
(I don't intend to offer piece drilling or microtab burr removal)

What I need to know is whether or not to place an order for a bunch of drill bits. It is more work for me, but I am guessing a win for most people.

Thoughts? Is a menu more confusing than just a single price and single offering? Does anyone even care? I find that I have presented too many options for my non-DIY Neon and was wondering if I can reduce that for the DIY. Now here I go again, giving people too many options for what the DIY *might* be ;)

I'll probably post up the actual order thread (and update my site) in the next day or so. If you have feedback, now is the best time for it.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:27 am 
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Well, this low-cost deal is appealing, as long as I can get a functioning, reasonably enjoyable puzzle out of it somehow.

Anyhow, my perfect level of DIY is enough supplies to be able to finish with common tools: I should be able to do almost everything in my room. Things like sanding and self-assembly are no problem, but it's not straightforward to, say, find a drill. (Anyhow, my parents wouldn't let me drill at home...)

How much "less work" (on the 50 puzzles each) is this than creating a full puzzle?

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:36 am 
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Lucas Garron wrote:
but it's not straightforward to, say, find a drill. (Anyhow, my parents wouldn't let me drill at home...)

This was my concern. For you it is simple: Next time we have a meet up you can borrow my pin vise (basically a screwdriver handle that grabs the drill bit) and just drill the holes on the spot ;) But I can't expect every one without access to a drill to show up a at a Berkeley Meet up.

If this is a problem for you (that is, anyone interested in a DIY, I already know about Lucas) let me know and I'll see what we might be able to arrange. I'm hoping it is not that many, and most will have some access to a drill.

Lucas Garon wrote:
How much "less work" (on the 50 puzzles each) is this than creating a full puzzle?

For me?
The lasering time for a DIY, given I start with the body pieces already done, is just a few minutes. I need to laser the cut outs for the screws and cut a set of pieces.

For the pieces I have experimented with lasering a continuous concentric low power line instead of the normal rastering. The result is not quite as smooth, but still produces a nice image in far less time. This is another distinguishing feature of the DIY. Back last year when the laser cutter was not rastering well I used this method for a few non-DIY Neons (io's red and gold, for instance), but in general they have all been raster etched.

The spacer layers are actually more work as I have to cut lots of extras so people can account for the mismatched sizing of the body pieces. But not much time there as I cut lots at a time.

So instead of spending 30-45 minutes to cut and etch a finished puzzle I can spend perhaps 3-5 minutes on a DIY.

Assembly of a DIY kit is more time than a ones I cut because of the extra prep and aligning of the layers with spacers. But that is the fun you get to do, so no problem for me :)

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:08 pm 
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Will these be numbered or will these be separate than the ones made by you? I'm personally proud to have #35 (I believe that's the number I have. I'll check when I'm back at my apartment). I'd really hate to see the mediocre ones take up some low numbers that collectors like me appreciate and the quality that comes with them.

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 Post subject: Re: How much 'Y' in the Elemental:Neon DIY Kit?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:13 am 
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Noah wrote:
Will these be numbered or will these be separate than the ones made by you? I'm personally proud to have #35 (I believe that's the number I have. I'll check when I'm back at my apartment). I'd really hate to see the mediocre ones take up some low numbers that collectors like me appreciate and the quality that comes with them.

I will not number these.

That would mean etching each backplate uniquely, which is far more work than I want for this product. I haven't decided if I will even etch "www.LitwinPuzzles.com 2008" in them yet, or have the BioHazard image, or "DIY". All that etching is time, which means more cost. I might do a low power cut of the outline of the text. On the transparent back plate this will be readable and probably fairly quick. I'd like some sort of identification on the puzzle, but am not sure the time required to do all 50.

Dave
P.S. Yours is indeed #035 :)

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