I am currently involved in running a Kickstarter campaign offering low cost and easy to assemble CNC router kits. You can find the project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/434459617/cambot. In this article I hope to give you more insight into our story, why we decided to even do the project and about the campaign itself.
It was during my engineering degree that I got my first exposure to the world of CNC. At my university they had some really powerful and expensive CNC machines like the kind used in heavy industry – I was instantly hooked!
My partner and I were interested in designing and making products that we could sell online and at local markets, such as customised phone cases etc. We considered 3D printing but at the personal desktop level you are pretty restricted to what materials that you can use. This is what initially made us go down the CNC router path.
After research we found that all the kits and machines available were just too expensive for us. Also they seemed to be aimed at people with a garage etc. We were just two students staying in a small cramped apartment. CAMbot is specifically focused on being low cost and very easy to construct. From first hand experience we know how frustrating it is when you need special tools, extra bits of equipment on top of what you get in the kit or a dedicated space to work. Seen as we found it tough to get going we have decided to offer kits for people facing similar challenges.
From a design point of view, CAMbot is completely made from pre-cut sizes of wood. By using these standard lengths we reduce the amount of cutting. What cutting and drilling there is can be done on our CNC router. The remaining parts are all standard components that we can buy in bulk; this is how we can offer the kits at such a competitive price.
A lot of work has gone into simplifying the design as much as possible. This means that it is really intuitive to assemble CAMbot, you just have to screw a few things together. You still get the satisfaction of assembling something, however it is fun and not stressful – we have done the stressing for you. The electronics comes in a state where you can just plug and play. Literally anyone can assemble CAMbot.
This is our first crowdfunding campaign and it is proving to be an excellent learning experience. In hindsight it would have been wiser to establish a following beforehand. We chose Kickstarter just because it is a more recognizable name, the major drawback being that we don’t get anything if we don’t reach our target. Our marketing strategy has been to employ social media, contact relevant blogs and websites and also to release interesting content on our YouTube channel. We are giving it our best shot. We strongly feel that we are offering something of excellent value so we remain confident that our efforts will pay off eventually.
Any support you could offer would be a big help.