Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DIYing Fun

I decided to handle the manufacturing myself. There just don't seem to be any companies willing to do relatively small runs at a decent price. The very best price I could find for a single run was still more than it would cost me to set up my own small manufacturing plant.

I decided to go with a die press. Up till now, I've been cutting pieces by hand with an X-Acto knife. It took several hours to make a standard set, and there was the risk of cutting myself, which thankfully has not happened yet. I considered a guillotine cutter, which Will recommended, and which could cut huge piles of pieces very quickly. But it wouldn't produce highly accurate pieces, in fact they'd be less accurate than my hand-cut sets.

I settled on the Tippmann Clicker 1500. It's relatively inexpensive, it has a nifty safety feature requiring both hands to be outside of the press during operation, and it runs on compressed air, which is just fun as well as being environmentally friendly.

The 1500 weighs about 560 lbs, and the table for it is pretty heavy too. Right now they're both sitting on the floor of my living room, an immoveable eyesore until I hire movers to set it up for me.

I'm also ordering dies for the press, from Steel Rule Die. The dies are turning out to be expensive, because of the number of different sized crumble pieces, and the small size of some of the pieces. Below a certain size I need a punch instead of a die, and punches are much more expensive than dies. The folks I've been working with have also not been the absolute best at explaining my options to me, which is a little annoying. But this company was recommended by the Tippmann people, so I'm going with them.

And that's the update. If everything goes according to schedule, I'll be making crumble sets within 3 or 4 weeks. That's when the dies get here. Wish me luck that all my research has not led me astray!