Early on when I started the blog I had mentioned that there was a story behind the laser. So, for those of you that remember Paul Harvey, here's the rest of the story.
Some of you may recall that back in January I had ordered a new laser because my old laser was hit or miss at best, plus it wasn't powerful enough to engrave ebony. From a pricing standpoint, consider the cost of a new laser the equivalent of a new mid sized vehicle, they're not cheap.
Fast forward to March, the big day came, packaged in a box the size of a smart car (literally, I know this because Erin drives a smart car and it replaced her car in the garage, and it weighed in at about 200 pounds). The rep and I spent 2 days setting it up and training and life was good, finally.
Now, fast forward 3 whole days, and the new laser has stopped working. Clearly a case of operator error, right? Well, of course the rep had a schedule, and he couldn't get back to KC for additional training for 2 weeks, so now we're into April.
The rep visited again, and to his surprise he couldn't get it to work either, so he assumed we had a bad mother board, and ordered a new one. Don't worry he said, it's a simple installation, and he was off again.
Well, most things should be simple for someone that's been doing it for 20 years... not someone who has owned it now, inoperably for 3 weeks. So another 2 weeks go by and he comes back to install the mother board, something that I couldn't have figured out how to do in a lifetime.
He finally get's the new mother board installed, and you guessed it... it still didn't work. OK, OK, I've got it figured out now he said, we need a new rotary attachment, that'll fix the problem, so they sent me a new rotary. Yep, you guessed it again, except now, it's not their problem... it's mine. Clearly my computer isn't strong enough to run this powerful machine, so you need to buy a new computer and here are the spec's. GULP, hey... what's another thousand dollars, I need this machine. So now I've got the computer... and once again you guessed it. Now HQ's technical support team determined that my new computer wasn't set up correctly, so I needed to send it to them for them for it to be configured correctly. Of course they determined once they had it in hand that it had a bad port, so they replaced it... thus voiding the warranty and any chance of a return.
OK, so now we're into June. Keep in mind that in order for all of this gloriousness to happen I had to pony up a $1,200 deposit in January, and my lease payments are $450 per month that I had to begin paying in February. So, I'm not real happy about the situation, and trust me, I have a colorful vocabulary, and everyone learned that in short order.
I get the computer back, spend hours re-setting everything up... and it still didn't work, and now I don't even understand all the stuff they've done to the new computer, it's worthless to me at this point. So now it's time bring in the experts, 2 tech support people fly to KC from Phoenix along with their trunkful of tools and diagnostic stuff, and spend 2 days taking the machine apart. By 3:00 in the afternoon the 2nd day, I finally broke... pardon my French, but as the machine was sitting there in hundreds of parts, I told them to pack their shit up and get out of my house, I want my money back.
Apparently it wasn't a concept they were accustomed to, so I had to go to the top, and after a month of deliberation on their part, I received my refund check last week, 7 months after it all started. So this is my new laser story.
During all of this time however, I still had the old laser and just kept limping along. Bear in mind, the old laser ruins at least 1/3rd of the sticks I make for one reason or another, up until 2 days ago when it died entirely.
So here I sit, out thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours wasted and laser-less. I can drive it to Denver to get it fixed, it's roughly a 10 hour drive. However at $200 per hour, with an estimated 3-4 days repair time, along with me sitting in a hotel for the duration, doesn't hold much appeal. So what do I do?
I've begun initial research into a new laser company, but it's a long drawn out and expensive process, and sadly we're not independently wealthy, I have to earn a living now... like everyone else, we've got bills to pay. I could just take the sticks to my old engraver as we did in the very beginning. The problem there is that now I'm making sticks for free, as his engraving charges would eat up whatever profit there is on any given stick. That's the reason we bought the 1st laser to begin with.
So here's what I'm going to do, as my options are quite limited at this point. We're going back to the good old days of banded sticks. The only other alternative is for me to brush up my resume, and that is absolutely the last thing I want to do. That said however, by the same token I'm not going to ask Erin to live under a bridge with me.
So there you have it... "The rest of the story".
Later today I'll be announcing another "custom time". Banded sticks are the only options. If I get a request for an engraved stick, I'm simply going to provide a link to this posting. Please don't think I'm trying to be a jerk by doing so, I just simply don't want to write this over and over again through ETSY conversations. The simple truth is that I have a full platter right now in front of me, and lengthy conversations are not a priority.
For those that don't know what a "banded stick" looks like, here's one I did yesterday - https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1052409599
We truly apologize for the inconvenience but I hope you understand the pickle we're in.