Tinysaur Factory

Big things have been afoot in Tinysaurland. I’m putting together a huuuge wholesale order for a well-known retailer. I’m not sure if I can say who yet. I’m also preparing for Crafty Bastards, a huge awesome craft show in Washington DC. The past few weeks have been spent scaling up my production. It’s something I knew I might have to do, and am more or less prepared for, but still intimidating. 

Trex Trex Trex

I spent the majority of today laser cutting T-rex "bones," tomorrow will be more T-Rex, Triceratops, and the labels to go on the top of the tins. Which reminds me, if anyone has a favorite place for custom die cut stickers, please let me know! I definitely plan on having someone else make the labels next time. 

I cut the bones in batches of ~100, and in each batch there are always a few that fail quality control. This happens when the paper is curled on the edge, or I forget to take the inventory sticker off first, or I otherwise screw up the cut. These rejects (shown scattered above) get turned into pre-made models, as I combine parts from various sheets.

Mammoth in Progress

My paper supplier switched to an ever-so-slightly thicker paper, which is good and bad. The good is that it’s got a nicer finish, and lases better with less charring. No more brown edges! The bad is that the tiny bit extra thickness means I had to re-tool all of my designs. But overall I think it’s a positive change. The photo above is a test model, to make sure the adjusted pattern was correct.

Foam on a RollLased Foam Foam Inserts

I also switched the foam used in inserts that go in the tins. I’m looking into having these custom die cut, but for the time being it’s actually not to painful to laser cut them (yes, the foam is laser-safe). 

I have another 8 hours or so of laser cutting to do, and then on Friday my lovely assistant (oh yes, I have an assistant!) is coming in to help assemble everything. With luck I’ll have my big wholesale order AND my Tinysaur inventory for Crafty Bastards done by Monday.

That gives me what, four whole days to come up with a booth design?

Busy week!

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6 thoughts on “Tinysaur Factory

  1. Mary says:

    So psyched for you, fascinating peek into your world! Can’t wait to hear who the retailer is!


  2. Yay on the huuuuuuuuge wholesale order!!!

  3. Martin says:

    I really love to see how you work with my dinosaur file. We need more of them, everywhere! Happy laser-cutting and greetings from Berlin.

  4. What exactly is “laser-safe foam”? Is that an industry term or one from a manufacturer, or does it just mean it works in the laser cutter?

    I’m curious because we have foam cut for the cases for our products and it’s currently done with water-jet services — the problem is the foam soaks up some of the water, and if the tank isn’t perfectly clean, the foam collects all sorts of crud from splash-back. So I’m looking into a laser-cutting service nearby but they don’t list foam-cutting, so I’d like a way to reassure them so they’ll try it.

    —Jason Olshefsky

    1. Kellbot says:

      I just mean that it is foam which happens to be safe for laser cutting. Meaning it does not contain Chlorine, and doesn’t melt into a giant gooey mess when cut. I use a 2# LDPE. I’d be hesitant to use anything much thicker than 1/4″ though. But I’ve heard of people successfully cutting thicker.
      I also recently looked into having the foam inserts cut elsewhere, and it was surprisingly affordable.

      1. Thanks for the info. I’ll have to check with Reilly Foam to see what the stuff we use is really made of — specifically about chlorine/release of chlorides. If that pans out, I’ll bring a sample to the company I’m just starting to work with ( http://www.customlaserinc.com/ ) and see if it can be cut cleanly.

        I’ll also look into C.H. Ellis you mentioned: our only problem is that our quantities are really low (<100 per year) so set-up costs might make it expensive … not that cleaning, drying, and gluing our own foam brings any sort of joy.

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