Document the complete order process for one of the three recommended laser materials suppliers

Here’s a great military axiom: causing problems for your adversary will contribute to success. Causing dilemmas for your adversary will ensure victory. Your goal here is to turn a novice maker’s multi-dilemma “what thing should I make, what stuff should I make it out of, and how do I get it” into the mere problem of recalling how to set the Z-height.

We’ve prepared a list of seven recommended materials (see page on wiki) from three suppliers that, in the absence of other factors, best set them up for success. The simple process of acquiring those materials is, for some, very intimidating. The task:

Choose one of the three suppliers for the reduced list: Lowe’s, Austin Fine Lumber, or a single one of the plastics suppliers that you will choose.

Write down the exact steps for ordering the materials like I’m an unfrozen caveman maker, baffled by this modern world (or more likely, a novice maker intimidated by hardware stores because I grew up being told that my kind aren’t welcome there)
if you haven’t edited the wiki before and don’t want to learn, email the photos and writeup to the stewards who will take that part off your plate. Here’s more about what to write:

For Lowe’s, give the URL for the exact ordering page and search terms; screen shots of the web pages leading to checkout; a photograph of the door to go in for pickup; a photo of the panel saw; and the magic words “I’m here to pick up my order, while you grab it would you please call an associate back to the panel saw? Actually could I ask you to help me wheel it back there – this place baffles me and it would mean a lot”.

For the plastics place, first choose exactly one of the many suppliers listed on the wiki. Best if it is a place that has a drop bin, but the main requirement is that they will sell a walk-in customer a sheet of 3mm acrylic with minimum grief. Give the phone number; the exact ¿part number? or exact magic phrase to use; the exact words for asking them to cut it to size (choose dimensions that will work for Blue and also name dimensions for Dorian); the exact phrasing for “may I look through the drops bin”, and so on. This is actually somewhat written up on the suppliers page, it just needs to be expanded and script-doctored.

Austin Fine Lumber is pretty friendly, but it’s still really nice to have it scripted out. Take a photo of the place, and describe the whole process – waiting at the front, asking for the materials, driving the car around, and naming the exact dimension cuts to reduce a 5x5 sheet for (a) blue’s laser bed, and (b) Dorian’s laser bed.

I cannot emphasize enough how much confidence you can grant an early user feel by empathetically explaining all of the easy parts of a simple process. For many people, at least one of those ‘easy’ parts is very very difficult in a way that’s difficult to explain and emotionally complicated.

Through this all, take every opportunity to eliminate choices or decision points. As far as the reader will know, that giant hulking edifice sells a single product and has odd taste in wall art.

We also have a program that supplies .25in amd .125in import birch plywood in pre cut oueces at Asmbly, for purchase. I have slacked this week, with home projects, and havent refilled the materials.
These pieces come from Dakota, are better quality than the big box stores, and for a better price.

Oh that’s great. We’re missing from the suppliers page and materials page – here’s the results for searching “Plywood” on the wiki. Would you be able to add a blurb and maybe a photo to the Laser Materials page and suppliers page?

Is the supply steady and buffered enough to make ASMBLY the go-to supplier for those piece, given that the goal is to remove all decision points from the process, or should AFL/Lowe’s stay the front-line source?

@EricP or @Stephen-L-M do you have a preferred acrylic vendor along a joint optimum friendliness/has a drops bin/sells 3mm sheets at reasonable cost/close-ish to the space? Suppliers list would be greatly improved by promoting one single vendor out of the list

Believe it or not, I’ve gotten all of my acrylic from the Asmbly scrap bin over the years. :slight_smile: However, my husband buys from Allied Plastic on Dessau Rd. They are a wholesaler so you have to make arrangements in advance. More expensive but more convenient is Regal Plastics.