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Thread: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

  1. #1
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    Default How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    I'm curious what people do with building elements. It seems the vendors have lots of great options, from prebuilt ready to apply to your house, to buy the pieces and assembly and on the other spectrum head to your local home improvement store and figure out how to replicate the pieces.

    As I tally up the costs associated, I question if it's more cost effective to create the elements myself or if I should go with vendor suggested routes.

    For example, a pixel matrix, there's the obvious answer of the pre-built solution, I've seen others use plant trellis or inventive options. Those that have done it, whats your take. Is there a collection of interesting builds for someone to look? I've been perusing over YouTube for way to long.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    For some things I have found it is easier to use pre-driled coroplast (siging trees, candy canes and snowflakes). I purchased a tree topper and made everyting else from stuff found round he house or purchased from a big box home improvement store.


    2018 - Moving and going to visit my Daughter in New Zealand. Most likely I will be dark or nearly dark, Some static stuff that is simple to put up.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    That's exactly what you have to do.... tally up the costs and see which is cheaper. Don’t forget to factor in the look of the final product, the TIME and effort it’ll take you to build the prop, the storability of the design…. Etc.

    For me personally, I’ve bought coro cutouts and tree toppers, but this year I’ll be building pixel arches and the price on those kits is more per arch than I can justify spending, so I’ll be building those myself.
    2012 - 12 Channels and an Arduino

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    Here is how i figure it out.. I take a look at the items price, then double the cost and add a month to the shipping time. That would be how much it would cost me to make and how long until its completed.

    for example.. take a look at a Boscoyo 24" snowflake for $10. It would cost me $20 for the material and take about 2 months for me to complete. (6 weeks to procrastinate, 2 weeks to clean the shop and finish other projects i haven't got around to.. and about 15 minutes to cut it out on my CNC).

    The deciding factor for me is: How much fun would I have building it. I never think about the cost (cuz then I'd have to explain the above formula to my wife).

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    For me the price doesn't come into play. It will almost always be more expensive to do it yourself when you actually add everything up. Especially if you have to buy everything for the project and don't already have it on hand.

    Where the decision comes in for me is whether or not i can actually get it premade the way i want it to be. I find that to rarely be the case. I'm always making things, or modifying things because the off the shelf, or even DIY parts stuff doesn't fit the bill quite right for my application. The farther along i get into the hobby (about 7 years now) the more i farm out certain parts of the build. There's tools i don't own and can't produce the same results myself as can be done with the right machine. So for coro and other plastic shapes, i have them done by someone else with proper CNC equipment. Usually Boscoyo, but i have a local guy now too. I don't really like just picking coro cutouts from a catalog. Even that is getting to be too cookie cutter for my style. I prefer to design my own stuff and then have it cut by someone who owns the machine and knows how to use it.
    For electronics, I'm a bit tired of PCB assembly. I love designing stuff, but I now prefer to leave the tedious assembly processes to those who can do it better, faster and cheaper. I have a fair amount built from my drawings and designs for me in China.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    Try using plastic hardware netting zip tied to a pvc pipe frame. You can plug bullet pixels in, to make shapes, characters, etc. Think of it as a big "light brite" canvas. If you don't like the way it looks, just move the pixels around. A 3' x 5' prop would cost less than $10 (without the pixels). Be a kid again!

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: How far to DIY elements? Interesting builds?

    Quote Originally Posted by RogerH View Post
    Try using plastic hardware netting zip tied to a pvc pipe frame. You can plug bullet pixels in, to make shapes, characters, etc. Think of it as a big "light brite" canvas. If you don't like the way it looks, just move the pixels around. A 3' x 5' prop would cost less than $10 (without the pixels). Be a kid again!
    Live, Laugh, Love.

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