Stick with me. I’m going somewhere with this I promise.
Let me come right out and say that it has been a pleasure working with Jerry from Additive Pens. However it brought me back to doing something that I swore I would not do again which is large volume production turning. When he came to me with this proposal I had to do some serious contemplation about the commitment it would mean and decide if it would drop me back into the slump I had just come out of which kicked off at the Atlanta pen show last year and the absolute failure of my Elemental series pens.
I was in a difficult place. I had a dying piece of critical machinery, funds too tight to afford the machine I knew I needed and a GoFundMe campaign that despite a lot of verbal support did not gain any financial traction. At the end of the day, his timing was right and I was in a place that I felt I could use this as an opportunity to bootstrap myself back up into the ranks I had fallen out of in the custom pen world. Even if it meant long hours on nights and weekends to grind through 200 units.
Also I chose to do it because I believe in what he is doing. As an amateur maker and fan of new technologies I’m always looking for ways to integrate things like my laser, CNC and now his 3D SLA printing capabilities. Jerry was the right person to partner with and what he is doing fuels my drive to see this and future projects come to fruition.
So where am I going with this?
I turned this into a growth opportunity and an efficiency gain that ultimately I will be passing down to you, my partners and customers in this journey in several ways.
1st, it kept me in business by funding the new lathe that I desperately needed. The new one is bigger, safer, more powerful and most importantly more accurate than the rickety machine I had been working on.
2nd, when you are faced with turning out 200 identical units of something you start immediately searching for efficiency gains. “How can I do this operation faster and more accurately?” is on your mind the entire process Step one kicked my tail to spend more time with my CAD program to make some plans that we could collaborate on and give me a reference for faster setup times for each piece. Step two was to purchase some purpose built tools. Reamers with hard stops for repeatable hole diameter and depth, new taps and dies, etc… The payoff is that all of these gains can be carried over to my normal pen creation process saving time and improving accuracy at each step along the way.
3rd it also provided a bump in social media traffic. Interacting with another maker during his campaign on Instagram and Facebook has increased awareness for both of our brands. It makes the all-knowing social media AI start showing your posts to more people which creates more interactions which creates an exponential bump in traffic which continues the process again.
So in short, it has been a fun collaboration process and I thank Jerry for saving my ass by keeping me in business. I look forward to future projects.