The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

I'd like to announce the opening of my website  www.ThePrototypeDept.com  specializing in steamy home decor items. We've got custom, finished design accents and most of the items are also available as unfinished kits....you can paint them to suit yourself! We also sell found parts for makers to use in their own projects. And how about machining and related services for makers...Who else is doing that? Nobody I can find.

Please check out the site and tell me what you think. I've been developing these products for months with no input from anybody else who is actually into steampunk. After a while, one starts to wonder if their vision is compatible with what others are looking for. Would you buy any of my goods? Is there anything else you would like to see offered?

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Generally I think a grand idea. Nothing that holds my interest as of yet, but I will be keeping tabs.

Greetings,

Can you make an evil high back chair?!

Very excited to see your creations and such :)

Cheer,

Zeon

Thanks, an evil high back chair has been all I can think of for the last couple of hours. I certainly could build one, but  making one custom item like that is just so expensive. And shipping would have to be done by truck, also expensive. It seems the only way to make things affordable is through the economy of tooling up and making versions of the same thing over and over.

Unless you're very wealthy. Then forget everything I just said. Sure I can build it.

Wow! That was quite a dissertation Sir, and you bring up many good points. I imagine that some of your feelings have been simmering for some time because I too have peeves with some of the creations I see posted on Steampunk sites. Thank you for amping up the depth and intensity of this discussion.

First of all, I have to correct you on the $125 item you chose to critique from my website. That is actually a kit of the pair of rockets intended to use for building a jet pack, or whatever the maker would intend them for.  You’ll be shocked to learn that my lamps (available finished only) are even more expensive. Your assertion that the selling price should be determined by material costs plus 15% is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Fifteen percent barely covers the cost of taxes and shipping to procure those materials. To continue to use that kit as an example, what I am selling is: my design, my time, four molds I have invested in making, the use of specialized tools to produce those parts, and materials. All of which combined give the end maker a huge headstart in building their particular project, especially if they don’t have access to certain equipment.

Is my asking price cheap? Certainly not. But I’m not in the business of giving away my efforts. If anyone doesn’t think the price is worth what is offered, they simply don’t buy it. There is no price gouging involved. I am not stocking my shelves in hopes that I can sell everything, I build on an as-ordered basis. It is through sales and discussions like this that I will learn what the market truly is.

I’ve looked at your lamp and I agree with you, a lot of people could easily make that so it shouldn’t be expensive. You can give away the design and instructions and I applaud you. It is a very honest and helpful thing to do. I realize that a huge part of the Steampunk culture is making things for yourself, and of course that’s a wonderful aspect.  I happen to be a professional modelmaker with a fully equipped shop who also enjoys building steamy projects. Does that mean I should only sell my services for $2 an hour because other people are working at their kitchen table with a dremel tool or are re-painting Nerf guns?       

I pride myself on making projects unlike anything I can find elsewhere, and to the best of my ability. My website offers to other steampunkers home décor items (yes, at a price!), customizable kits for intermediate makers (also not free), and cool harder -to-find parts for hardcore makers. I’d call that something for everyone.

I thank you Mr. Helfrich for a rousing discussion. I hope that others can add to this too, in any direction.

Bruce

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