Icosa-World Laser Engraved Globe

After 2 years of creating truly amazing rubber band guns, Burnt Toys is running another kickstarter campaign. This time it is for the Icosa-World Laser Engraved Globe:

Icosa-World Laser Engraved Globe

 Icosa-World Laser Engraved Globe


Merry Christmas From Our New Etsy Shop

It is Christmas!

Burnt Weapons are now available for preorder from our brand new Etsy shop, Burnt Toys.

Merry Christmas!


Laser Usage For Kickstarter Rewards

After delivering nearly all of my Kickstarter rewards, I decided to take a look at the usage on my laser cutter for this project.

I produced 144 Enforcer pistols, 74 Destroyer machine pistols, and 36 Annihilator sub machine rifles. According to the log kept by the laser cutter, here are the usage details to date:

Machine On Time (hrs) 80
Job Time (hrs) 38
Laser Time (hrs) 31
X Travel (m) 6196
Y Travel (m) 2096

Apparently I am only running a job for about half the time that the machine is on. The rest of the time, I am allowing the fumes to clear out, loading material, and removing finished parts. The laser tube has a rated life of 8000 hours, so I have only burned through 0.4% of its life on this project. The lens head has traveled 3.85 miles horizontally and 1.3 miles vertically.

Nobody else probably cares, but I find this to be interesting data. Then again, I am a numbers nerd.


Fixing International Shipping Labels And Printing Automatically

Shortly after finding a way to print ZPL files to a Zebra printer, I discovered that First Class International USPS labels were not printing very well. The barcode on them is quite small, 2/3 the size of the Priority International label.

First Class International label with small barcode that will not scan.

I could not scan the code after printing, so I doubt that the Post Office would be able to. I tried to improve my printer settings, but it was still a no go. It might have been my cheap thermal labels off Amazon, but I still wanted them to work. Since I have a number of packages to send to Canada, I wanted this fixed. Since the Priority labels are acceptable to the USPS with the larger barcode, why not just use a larger barcode on First Class? There is enough room.

So that is what I did. Now, you can too.

Getting A Zebra Printer Working On Linux (And OSX?)

Since I got a thermal shipping label printer and have been getting shipping labels from Shippo, I figured out how to print from ZPL (Zebra's printer language). I found that printing from ZPL was more reliable than printing from a PDF since PDF prints are fraught with dithering and aliasing issues. To print, I simply drag and drop the file(s) I want to print on a printer launcher. You cannot get much simpler. Here is how I did it:

For Reference, I am using Linux Mint 17.1. This same idea should work for other Ubuntu derivatives as well as OSX (I have not tested anything on OSX).

First, plug in your printer via USB and power it on. Open up your printer settings (windows key > type "printers" > press Enter). Click on "+ Add" to add a new printer.


The Zebra printer should appear on a USB port. Select it and click "Forward."


Shipping Tools

After reading a lot of Kickstarter creator blogs, I was dreading the task of shipping rewards. Many people recommended a dedicated shipping service or at least using a subscription service like Endicia. Even though shipping is still a ways off, I wanted to tackle how I could get it done early.

The most consistent advice was to purchase a thermal label printer. They are fast, easy, and the labels are much cheaper than wasting toner in a laser printer. I got a lightly used Zebra ZP450 off ebay. Even though it was designed for UPS, it readily prints labels for USPS or FedEx. The 4x6 labels have enough room for customs declarations on international shipments. I even got it working on my Linux computer!

Here was the real find though, Shippo. Shippo is a shipping API for organizing, buying, and printing shipping labels. They have a straightforward web-based interface or you can work the API into your website using a variety of scripting languages. 

Unlike Endicia, you pay per shipment rather than a monthly subscription. You also get to take advantage of heavy commercial shipping discounts. Even after the nominal 5 cent Shippo fee, it is still going to be much cheaper than the post office, upwards of 50% cheaper in many cases. If you have a Kickstarter campaign or if you just have a package to send to your grandkids, check out Shippo.


Kickstarter Sponsors Posted

The Sponsors page has been updated to include the Kickstarter backers. Thanks again for the support.