Making for a Living!
I was recently given the opportunity to join the Xtaero Boats team to help them streamline production of their awesome sportfishing boats. These boats are made out of 1/4" aluminum (see photo below) and they're welded together by guys that also do welding for Boeing, so they're extremely well made. All of the aluminum parts are cut out on a CNC machine, so they fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces.
This opportunity comes with several benefits: I get to build boats for a living! I get to work in a real shop again! I'll get to do a lot of design and fabrication! I'll get to do Mechanical Engineering! There's a very real possibility that I'll get to order an X-Carve CNC router for making things like custom dashboards, boat name plaques, etc.
We're currently located down in Tacoma, so the commute's gonna suck (don't they all?), but I'll get to listen to a lot of StarTalk Radio. If we sell enough boats at the Seattle Boat Show in January, 2016, we can justify moving the shop up to the Seattle area, so wish us luck.
The boat you see being built above is the spec boat we're taking to the Seattle Boat Show, so it's gotta be finished and perfect by the end of January. No pressure.
What having a shop again means to me personally is that after the boat show, hopefully I'll get to move forward with some personal projects on my lunch break and after work or on my days off. These include, but aren't limited to building Chesapeake Light Craft's Take-Apart Passagemaker Dinghy. I've got just about everything I need, except for the wood (I know that sounds weird, but it's actually a big deal). MAS Epoxy has even sponsored me by donating all of the epoxy I'll need for the build. I'm expecting that to take over 120 man hours since that's about what it took to build my son's Eastport Pram (which was showcased earlier on this blog). Also on the self-inflicted to-do list are a bunch of projects with an X-Carve 1000mm x 1000mm 3D carver (CNC router). Inventables is sponsoring me to build a bunch of projects that showcase what their machine can do, so I'll be Making things like a custom balance bike for my son to 3 color Arts & Crafts style block prints (think oak leaves and acorns and "Welcome Home" in a cool font).
Obviously, I also have much longer-term goals for making this career move. The plan is for me to grow into the role of General Manager of the compay so that the Owner/Operator can focus more effectively on selling boats and building the business. My goal is to free him up from the day-to-day stuff of building the boats. It'll take us a few boats to streamline the process, but once we do, our competition better watch out! Okay, enough proselytising...
Anyway, just an update on my little MakerSpace in the universe. Stay tuned, because it's going to get interesting...