Mother’s Day Planter Design Project

A mother’s day project: Cedar Planter

Planter Design Project Links

See Project on GrabCAD (download model files)


Decided to have the 3 year old help me build a planter on the back porch for him and mom. Having a 3 year old “help” is always interesting, but it turned into a great couple of days. Step one was to rough out a concept in 3D because that’s just how I do things.  I wanted something roughly 2’x8′, and would let stock lumber lengths drive the actual dimensions. I also wanted something that required nothing more than a chop saw and drill. In the end, I came up with the following design:

Mother's Day Planter
Mother’s Day Planter


I used the design to come up with a material list. From there, Owen and I took off to Lowe’s to get our lumber. Since we’re going to be growing herbs and veggetables, pressure treated products are not a good choice due to the chemicals used during the treating process. Instead, an untreated wood that holds up better to the elements is preferred. In this case, we went with an all cedar construction. So here’s our story in some pictures. After filling up our cart, Owen was enjoying the sunshine on the way back out to the car.

Follow the rest of the story through the pictures below.

Haulin' Lumber
Owen probably singing “Bob the Builder” theme some in his head.
Owen helping get the supplies into the backyard.
Owen helping get the supplies into the backyard.
Owen was my designated screw inserter...
Owen was my designated screw inserter…
Reese even got in on the action.
Reese even got in on the action.
And here's what we ended up with.
And here’s what we ended up with.
And here's Owen showing off his crop to his buddy Jameson.
And here’s Owen showing off his crop to his buddy Jameson.


Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 2

StaX Sections

This is a daily status with behind-the-scenes data from the StaX Kickstarter campaign. This is our effort to be completely transparent to our backers, and provide valuable information to other project creators.

StaX Kickstarter Summary – Day 2

Day 2 of the StaX campaign is in the books. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve had about $1,000 in additional pledges. Over the first 30 hours or so, we had about $2,500. Slow downs in campaigns are typical, but we have to figure out ways to drive more traffic to the campaign page.  One telling stat is that we’ve had so few video views off Kickstarter. This means our efforts to spread awareness have not been very successful.  I suspect the weekend to be slow, but we’ll have to figure out how to crank things up on Monday.

One interesting note from yesterday. We briefly appeared at the very top of the Staff Picks on Kickstarter’s Discover page. I’m guessing we were there for no more than 5 minutes. I don’t know how many views it created, but we had a run of 3 or 4 pledges during that brief period. That’s the kind of visibility that can really help drive the campaign.

Statistics Summary for Last 24 Hours

    • New Backers:  14
    • Total Pledged: $874
    • Video Views: 249
    • Sources of Pledges
      • Kickstarter: $737
      • Elsewhere: $137
Kickstarter Stats for StaX - Day 2
Kickstarter Stats for StaX – Day 2
Kickstarter Stats for StaX - Day 2
Kickstarter Stats for StaX – Day 2


Kickstarter Data – StaX Campaign – Day 1

StaX Kickstarter Staff Picked

This is a daily status with behind-the-scenes data from the StaX Kickstarter campaign. This is our effort to be completely transparent to our backers, and provide valuable information to other project creators.

StaX Kickstarter Summary – Day 1

StaX Kickstarter Staff Picked
StaX Kickstarter Staff Picked

We launched the Kickstarter project yesterday morning from the comfort of a Panera Bread here in Orlando. After a brief panic (the Kickstarter “Launch” button had been greyed out on the project page – fixed with a log out / log in), the project was live somewhere around 9:15am EST.

We had (obnoxiously?) emailed a large batch of our contacts the day before launch, and then again shortly thereafter. These were friends, family, past colleagues, and pretty much anyone we had connected with on LinkedIn (they make it very easy to export your email address – FYI).  We had some good success in the morning, nearing $1,000 in pledges by lunchtime. The pace slowed but new pledges kept rolling in for the rest of the day. Our day 1 total per Kickstarter was $2,028. We made it onto the first page of Popular under the Product Design category (as of this writing, we’re still there). We also showed up as a Staff Pick in the Product Design Category.

So overall, this was an OK start to the campaign. If we can average $2k in pledges per day, we’ll make our goal, but we have a long way to go. It was awesome that we made the “Popular” list, and awesome that we got picked up as a “Staff Pick.” Now we have to figure out how to ramp up the momentum and get more people involved with the project.  So far, day 2 is only on pace to 50% of what we did on day one.

So that’s today’s notes. Now on to the data. Kickstarter doesn’t provide all that much data. The only thing you can see on a day-over-day basis is the number of backers and the amount pledged. The other stats they give you, like number of video views, is just a rolling tally. They do show you where you pledges originated (from Kickstarter, from Facebook, from Twitter, etc), but not how much traffic each source created.

StaX Kickstarter Data – Day 1

Data as of 12:45pm EST on Thursday February 22nd.

Kickstarter Stats for StaX - Day 1
Kickstarter Stats for StaX – Day 1
Kickstarter Stats for StaX - Day 1
Kickstarter Stats for StaX – Day 1

Orlando Mini Maker Faire Crowdfunding panel

Orlando Mini Maker Faire 2013

DeltaMaker made an appearance at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire this past Saturday. The folks at the Orlando Science Center did a great job hosting the event and hopefully it returns to the same location next year.

Craig Rettew and I were invited to sit on a panel to discuss crowdfunding as a tool for “Makers Making Money” (the title of the panel). It was a great experience and the audience had some really good questions. We were joined on the panel by Harold Timmis ($9 Arduino) and Gabriel Anzziani (Oscilliscope Watch and two other campaigns).

Crowdfunding is evolving quickly and many support tools are popping up to aid project creators with the long tail of the project – fulfillment. Craig put a great post yesterday that I recommend anyone considering a crowdfunding campaign to take a quick read through.

Me (left) and Craig Rettew (Center) and Harold Timmis (smARtMAKER)
Me (left) and Craig Rettew (Center) and Harold Timmis (smARtMAKER)

3D Rendered Business Cards Have Arrived!

3D rendered business card

Last week I posted some images I rendered in SolidWorks to create some unique business cards. The idea was pretty simple. let’s you have as many different images for the backs of your card as you like. I thought it would be fun to generate up some 3D text describing the type of work I do here at Zalaco, and render that image with different colors/materials to add some variety to my stack of business cards.

This first order was a bit of an experiment to see how the screen images translated to print (I’m not a graphic artist by any stretch, so my knowledge is thin here).  I also decided to go ahead and create a rendered image for the front text of the card, but wasn’t really expecting much from that.

3D Rendered Business Card Backs

Overall, the images came out really well. Here’s a bunch of the cards scattered about showing all five different rear designs:

3D rendered business card
3D Rendered Business Cards

Here’s how I rank the color combos seeing them in person:

  1. Black Background, Matte Gold Logo: My personal favorite is in the center. This one suits my taste best and has a very clean and professional look in person.
  2. Reflective Metal Backgroun, Low Gloss/Satin Yellow Plastic Logo: This one has a good 3D pop to it with the reflection on the metal background. Good overall look.
  3. Gold Background, Glossy Black Plastic Letters: Ok so this one didn’t turn out that great. The glossy black plastic is too filled with shadows. But I do like how the gold background looks. Had the logo been a matte silver/metal color, I think these would have been much better.
  4. Powdercoated Background, Yellow Plastic Logo: The powder coat is a cool effect, but I think it’s too busy for the cards. The shadow/reflection does look nice.
  5. Red Background, Blue Letters: I wanted to do one card that was brighter with some primary colors. This one looks good, just not to my taste.

3D Rendered Business Card Front

The front of the cards came out “OK”. I think a lighter background would have helped the Zalaco watermark show up better. The shadowing just blends in with the dark color. In direct light, the logo shows up nicely. Otherwise, you almost don’t see it at all. The text came out good enough.

Business Card Front
Business Card Front

Below are pics of what the original rendered image looked like, as well as an iso shot of the model it came from.


The backs of the cards came out really well. Next time, I’ll probably get rid of overly textured backgrounds (like the powder coat), but maybe look for a little bit more reflection in the floors.

If you’d like some similar images for you business cards, feel free to get in touch.

3D Rendered Business Cards

mechanical engineering services

I needed some business cards for Zalaco, so I decided to create some rendered images in SolidWorks. I wanted something that showed some original, unique images that also conveyed some of my capabilities.

Rendered Front

The front of the cards is pretty simple. A dark powdercoated surface with embossed white letters for the name, and engraved silver letters for all of the other text. I threw some icons in for the contact information, as I thought those would have a nice effect with the engraving. The logo in the center is intentionally left the same color as the primary surface to give a bit of a watermark effect.  A wide angle camera was used to capture more of the 3D look. I went through several iterations before I settled on this:

Rendered card front – dark powdercoated surface with engravede/embossed text.


Here’s an ISO view of the model in Solidworks. Phantom lines show the design limits of the card.

 Rendered Back

For the back of the cards, I wanted something that popped out a bit more. The logo text is standing up while the descriptive text is laid flat on the background material, then everything is rendered from an isometric view. Nothing fancy, but I think this will help people have a better idea what I do (and remember when they dig up the card a year later). Since Moo let’s you have as many different images for the back as you want, I settled on 5 different color and texture combinations.


3D rendering does provide some unique approaches to generating unique imagery for  business cards. I have a few ideas for some 3D effects for the text side of the card I may try out in the future. When the cards show up from, we’ll see how well this transfers to print.

Alternative Front Images

I tried a bunch of material and color combinations on the front just for fun.