it sometimes blurs
John Conrad KleinbauerIn 1994 I was paid for my first magazine article. Since then I have continued to invent new things and write about them. Before 1994 I hung out on BBS systems creating FREE add ons for PCBoard BBS software as well as Radio Fax projects. I ran a BBS and Email system for three years. I spent $8,000 running a FREE BBS for my local area. Then the Internet came along and people abandoned the FREE BBS systems. I put thousands of FREE hours in so people could download Shareware, Play online games and pass Email messages around the world.
I designed a simple crankorgan that uses harmonic reedplates instead of hard to make pipes. I produced two booklets and sold them through several people who had established Internet websites. My dealers get a part of every crankorgan booklet they sell for me. It comes out to half the profit!
My next project was to produce a simple CNC machine. The first model was very easy to make but it was only for learning. People would drop in on my website and leave me rude messages telling me my machine was a piece of junk. I have never forgotten those Emails to this day!
At a glass company where I would hang out, the owner offered me some scrap pieces of aluminum because I had given them a grinder and I burned the guys some CD music. In their pile of aluminum scrap, there was several pieces of store front aluminum channel. I looked at the channel but saw no use for it. That night I had the first of my visions. I went back the next day and had them cut one 12" piece for me. I spent Thanksgiving day designing a stepper driven axis using the aluminum channel. It took three models before I got the design the way I wanted it. The model is now called the Brute.
People started asking me for a controller board to run the motors. I tried milling the boards myself using the early Brute model. It worked and the Brute became the first cheap pcbmilling and drilling machine. No vision just dumb luck! Since the board was so cheap milling it myself, I named the board Piker. I decided to sell a bare board rather than sit hour upon hour soldering the parts onto boards. The board is now made for me by a PCB house in Texas.
After taking a long walk I read a person's Email asking for a big machine. I took a short nap were I drifted in and out while thinking about a large machine. Vision number two involved roller blade wheels. When I looked on the internet for roller blade wheels I saw roller blade bearings. The next day I walked many miles and returned with a package of roller blade bearings. I was in the workshop rolling the bearing on my fingers when I spotted a piece of gas pipe used on the Brute. The bearing rode smother on the pipe than I expected. Next to the scrap piece of pipe was a short piece of aluminum angle. Vision number three! Adding elements of the Brute and the new roller blade bearing formed the Pipe Dream machine.
A few months later I was walking over to my friends computer store. I was the perfect sunny day. I was just going to hang out and relax. As I got close to the corner of the street I got vision four. Not just a part or solution a whole machine. I started telling my friend I had a vision of a machine that was an upsidedown version of the Pipe Dream. He kept saying if it is upsidedown, won't the parts fall off. As I sat there my brain designed the whole machine right down to the way the wires are run. I only hung out for awhile. I called my friend and he picked up some MDF from Home Depot and brought it to my house. The forth vision became the 7th Sojourn project and it took less than a month.
Vision five was the scariest. It was the Pant O Plot a simple plotter that used a pantograph. The complete design hit me at 2 am. (Blurry Vision) Only a few sold.
Vision six - Morph, Vision seven - centering blocks, Vision eight - roller blade end bearing. Vision nine-through the axis cutting. If this seems scarry to you! Try being me for awhile. If I quite my mind and take it easy for a few days another idea pops up!
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