Transforming hobby into innovation
Local machinist creates innovative tools for animated lighting
In a little more than three years, Matthew Ross developed a passion for animated Christmas light displays. So much so that hes taken it upon himself to create tools for fellow hobbyists, allowing for bigger, better and more intricate displays. One such tool is the Rainey Pixel Clip.
What were using in the Christmas lighting hobby now are jumbotron lights. You take lights designed for those and repurpose into hobby use, said Ross, a machinist at A-dec Inc. Up until this point weve been using zip ties and electrical tape (to attach lights to the tree frames).
The Pixel Clip is a simple plastic clip, specially designed to hold the individual bulbs and attach to either a packing strip or aluminum bars both options for constructing animated Christmas trees.
I designed these trees first and wanted to get into commercial production of the trees, but the problem of going to a commercial (outlet) and saying, Hey, buy my trees held together with tape and zip ties, its just not professional looking, he said. My father is also building a tree with pallet strapping, but hes in early 70s and with arthritic hands its difficult to apply those, so thats when I (started designing the clip).
But he said its surprisingly expensive to get a mold designed for the clips, so he turned to Kickstarter for help.
Some things you need to use (Kickstarter) for when theyre a little more than you would expect to get a project rolling, Ross said.
Hes asking for $25,000, but as of Monday had only raised $1,111.
The reaction to it and the interest I had ahead of time was more than when the Kickstarter actually launched, he said. One of the problems is the DIY guys; theyre slow to adopt certain new things until they can see its tried, true, tested and proven. Theres been a lot of epic failures released to the hobby. If someones planned their display around that item, and planned it for a year, if it fails thats pretty detrimental to the display.
Ross said he continues to get emails expressing interest in purchasing the clips, but only if the project is successful.
Ive got a lot of people who want to see how the Kickstarter (effort) goes before they donate, he said. So its trying to communicate that Kickstarter doesnt work that way, its all or nothing. If were a dollar short we dont get it.
Hes been working on a contingency plan just in case funding doesnt come through.
Ive actually been in contact with some companies that cater directly to the Christmas light hobbyist, Ross said. With one there is a possibility theyll pick the clip up if Kickstarter doesnt come through, but theyre also watching the Kickstarter to gauge the interest in the clip.
Its kind of like a Catch-22: People dont want to commit to the project unless its succeeding, but it wont succeed unless people commit.
In reality because theyre not contributing, others dont contribute because they dont see the balance going up, he said.
To learn more about Rosss project, or to donate, visit his Kickstarter at http://kck.st/N8Fuew.Add a comment