Friday, December 11, 2009

Prototype #1 Retrospective

Rough Estimates of material costs in Prototype #1
  • $22.00 - 1x4 10ft Oak Board
  • $ 6.00 - 1x1 6ft Pine Board (Good for 2 projects)
  • $48.00 - Plexiglass sheet (Good for 1.5 projects)
  • $ 5.00 - 1/4" 30x48 Plywood Panel
  • $ 5.00 - Hardware (screws)
  • $ 3.00 - Switch
  • $ 5.00 - Unwired Socket
  • $ 5.00 - 6' Lamp Cord w/plug
  • $10.00 - 2 x 30 cnt LED String
  • $ 3.00 - Wood Filler
  • $ 7.50 - Stain
  • $ 1.00 - Spray Paint
  • $ 3.00 - Picture Frame Wire (good for 2-3 projects)
Total - $123.50 Wayyyy too much money for a frame! Taking out a few dollars since the plexi is big enough for 3 cuts, and the other bits that will share to the next project..that drops the price to $101.50. But still way too much. Obviously the biggest savings is to find a better source for the plexi, way to use less plexi, and reduce some of the component costs. The costs that bothered me the most was on the simple electric socket and cord - those are too expensive and hoping a true electronics supply may be cheaper. The Red Oak was overkill and a cost sink, so prototype #2 will be pine to make it easier and cheaper. Even after all the practicing, it probably took 7-10 evening to get it done.

Lessons learned..
  • 1. Oak is more trouble then its worth. Took many more router passes, and had lots of control issues with the router due to the oak.
  • 2. Mitred corners just required too much precision to get really good
  • 3. Don't stain after assembly. I had fit the top together to see how the overall thing fit, and it was so hard to get right, I didn't want to take it back apart to stain, so I taped off the plexi area - but some stain still got on the plexi :(
  • 4. Brass screws SUCK. I had two snap in predrilled holes!!! Total disaster that required much destructive drilling to get the sheared screws out :(
  • 5. Support your work - no matter how small the piece. Had at least one minor disaster cutting the plexi where the unsupported scrap side snapped the good piece :(
  • 6. The LED strings worked really well.
So how does Prototype #2 look?

Prototype #2 tries to
  • - avoid the miter corners by moving to lap joints or alternative
  • - switch to pine for easier routing and cheaper costs
The actual design for Prototype #2 is 1x4 pine with pocket groove joints for the corners, and tries out a new 60 LED light string because it has different light control modes. More on prototype #2 soon..

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