Thursday, August 6, 2015

TT Update

Good Morning,

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 -

We truly apologize for the inconvenience but I hope you understand the pickle we're in.



  1. So sorry to hear about this fiasco. What a mess. Just sendingots of good vibes for a quick resolution.

  2. Such frustration. I'm so sorry!! With laser work on the back burner for now, perhaps other creative ideas will present themselves. Like the inlaid spiral of wood that you incorporated into a resin and pinecone stick, just for the fun of it. You are an unstoppabe artist - computers be damned!! (Sending hugs...)

  3. Wow, that sucks! But I would love to have one like the one linked. Hope you get it worked out soon!

  4. Hang in there Doug, it'll work out. You're so good at this it is clearly meant to be!

  5. Wow. How frustrating :(. Hopefully everything works itself out quickly so you can get back to doing what you enjoy. There is beauty in the classic combination of wood and stone TT I'm sure you'll find inspiration and ideas as you go for your creative outlet and build on your basics. Looking forward to seeing new pretties and sending good vibes that the things fall into place quickly.

  6. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time and that the new laser didn't work out. I can totally understand your frustration with that as part of my work is with a marking laser that was replaced with a new model at the end of last year and it still doesn't work as it should. What's up with these stupid machines?
    Anyway, I hope your situation will get better soon.

  7. Thanks everyone, I appreciate your empathy. I just now finished my 1st stick for the day... I'll tell you, I have to resolve this laser issue, I forgot how hard these banded sticks are... I'm whipped!

  8. Wow, that deserves all the colorful vocabulary in the book. How unbelievably frustrating.

    Willowyn and sagon69 said it well. You are still an artist at the end of the day, laser or not. The banded designs are beautiful and well-loved.

    Just thought I’d mention this, in case it was a viable alternative to purchasing another laser in the future: Have you heard of the Hammerspace Community Workshop in Kansas City ( They might have a laser you could use (for a membership fee, like a gym).

    All the best, Doug, we are rooting for you.

  9. I'm pretty sure I can find a room for you in Denver, no hotel required...just saying.

  10. Thanks Erica, no I haven't heard of it, but you can bet I'll know about it by tomorrow morning.

  11. I'm so sorry... I am praying for you! Have faith that the best for you is yet to come! This ( rotten) laser clearly was not meant to be, the right opportunity will appear and work for your best!

  12. I hope it doesn't come to it, as I don't have the time, money or patience to make the trip. However, my options are limited... thank goodness for good credit, today I bought a $1000+ mother board for the old laser, it's suppose to be here tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed, otherwise... Quasi... I may take you up on your offer.

  13. Don't worry Doug, things will turn out even better than you ever imagined ! You are a true artist:) this is just a little bump in the road you will get over just fine. I am a firm believer that you will find a way to spend less, and make your creations even more beautiful, sending good karma your way!

  14. So so sorry to hear about this, it must be such an energy drain.

    But I must say that I love your banded sticks :)