Kickstarting a life-sized, cardboard fighter-jet cockpit


I don’t know why people feel the need to kickstart everything. Why don’t they just DO it?

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His simple sincerity is refreshing after seeing too many over-produced kickstarter campaigns by people who probably already have backing.

I like the idea of a cardboard cockpit a lot - I’ve always wanted to mod or make one of those cockpit arcade cabinets, but those are heavy and still pretty expensive. This seems like it would be pretty easy to assemble and disassemble as needed. And the $500 price isn’t too bad, though I think half that would make it significantly more popular.

@awjt: in a word; China. If you go to produce something like this locally, it’s very expensive. Fine for proof of concept and creating a demo model, but when you get it done in China it’s 1/10 the price which means means you can make it much more affordable and still make a profit. But Chinese production requires a lot of logistics, and usually involves producing thousands of units to get a good price. You can’t do that without money, and kickstarter is a great way of raising money and proving there’s a market.

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I had the same initial thought (“hey, nobody kickstarted MY playtime with the kids!”) but then I realized they intend to mass-produce the things.

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Too bad the desktop pc/flight sim market is crashing. Someone needs to kickstart a robust flight sim that can run on a tablet.


As I understand, armored vehicle simulation sales have similarly tanked.







“danger zone”


I know, but why? Why does engineering something super fun and niche have to come with a capitalist backside?

If he only did it for himself you would never hear about it. In fact people have probably done this countless times already. The only time you hear about it is when they’re trying to drum up support/investors, which is why it seems like people are always trying to sell stuff.


Engineering something super fun, no.

Mass producing and selling something super fun, yes.

You want cardboard fighter jets? I’m sure there are still bunches of them available for dirt cheap in the former Soviet states.


Do you honestly believe these are going to be “mass produced”?

This is not a mass consumer product - it is a niche prop for enthusiasts. There is no demand for actual mass produciton. No, this guy is going to spend 5% of the funds he raises on filling a few dozen or hundred orders for other enthusiasts, and the remaining 95% goes straight into his pocket.

Kickstarter - where people give you money, and you have zero obligation to do anything in return. Just like those “Solar Roadway” guys, who came up with a nonsense concept that sounded good to people with zero concept of engineering, and got millions of dollars for doing absolutely nothing. It turns out that when you make it easy for the clueless masses to invest money, they’re really bad about investing it wisely.


I am inclined to agree, but only part-way. Let me deconstruct this a bit. Let’s say I have an idea for a water-saving device for Californians. It’s an electronically controlled water tank that diverts cleaner gray water to this 1000 gallon tank that waters the yard but “passes” dirty shit water to the sewer. (I’m just making this up.) ((But yeah, it’s a great idea, no?))

So I go, Hey!!! There are 40 million Californians! This could save beep boop beep 400 quadrillion gallons of water, equating to 600 sextillion dollars! All I would need to beep boop boop beep realize this dream would be beep boop beep $150,000 to develop and mass-market this freakin idea to the masses! So, kickstarter or indiegogo?

So I spend a month with my friends developing a video about this WATER THINGY, which takes a MASSIVE effort, and everyone is so fuggin tired that we forgot that we needed to actually engineer the actual THINGY and all the legwork to finding the production facilities and the systems processes that need to be in place to prototype and then produce 10,000 of these things and meanwhile I am getting bored and want to develop a new kind of jet-powered surfboard instead and kickstart that thing.

Let’s say I don’t line my pockets with the kickstarter cash; it all gets burned up in this cycle of ill-thought process. And I’m back where I started with my electronic water saver.

Some things are perfect for kickstarter. Some things beg mass production and there have been wonderful examples of this. Hell, I LOVE my Captain Crepe Pan. I use it all the time. Big freakin piece of cast iron.

Can you REALLY say the same about the awesome cardboard cockpit?

If you like his idea and you want one, then yea, dump some cash his way. But as a commercial endeavor? No way. That money will be burned up and CHINA will get it and walk away happy to have taken yet another KickSucker’s Crowd Funds.

my $.02. Caveat Emptor. Semper Fidelis. Expecto Patronum. Tintenpatronen. R’amen.

Here are some other people’s attempts - some look pretty fun:

I guess we just have different ideas of what “mass produced” means. I think making hundreds of copies of a product like this counts as “mass production” and likely would incur some thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses, which is more than many people can comfortably raise on their own. Thus, Kickstarter.

If you don’t like the product, don’t have faith in the capabilities of the people pitching it or just don’t care for the Kickstarter model then I’d just advise against sending them your money.

This is a shame, as there’s only one actual definition for the term.

Mass production is bulk production - it is the production of vast quantities of standardized goods, with an emphasis on maximum production efficiency and massive economies of scale. Mass production does not produce goods on the scale of a few hundred items, as would be the likely case with the product in question here.

Mass production is concerned with scales more akin to hundreds of thousands, or even millions for large durable goods such as vehicles or home appliances. And for small, disposeable items? The scale jumps to hundreds of millions, or even billions.

But a picture is worth a thousand words, so allow me to illustrate the concept properly with the following images.

Tanks, too. Some even with built-in heaters to confuse FLIR. (Though they are actually usually inflatable rubber.) Decoys are a big thing in the military.

Such things are a big reason why NATO had so many “successes” in Yugoslavia.

I appreciate your illustrations, in part because they reflect your outmoded thinking about mass production. Mass production doesn’t require dedicated factories churning out one thing anymore - Chinese factories-for-hire can achieve efficiencies of scale with much smaller volumes than you suggest. And as for the market, I think you under-estimate the potential - with tens of millions of gamers worldwide, even a niche market could be significant. But of course that’s why his is on kickstarter - to test the market’s interest.


True that. Even at relatively very small series you can see some of the mass production benefits. Making fifty wire harnesses is not fifty times more work than making one; you get the wires measured all at once (one trick is rolling a number of turns around a coil of a desired circumference, then cutting through), strip the ends several at a time, and then watch something on TV with feet on the table and crimping tool in your hand when you populate them with connectors.

Same for epoxying displays into frames, soldering cables to subassemblies…

And for some tasks even at these relatively smaller series it becomes economic to make yourself jigs that save further work.

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This is a perfect example of my “just do it” ethos as an alternative to Kickstarterizing an idea. Part of the fun is figuring out how to mass-produce something in your own garage. With a CNC and assembly parties, with custom jigs like you mentioned, he could cut and assemble 10,000 of these over a few months once he’s worked out his design. He could cut and mostly assemble them, then sell them flat-packed and the end-user needs to perform the final construction. Or any one of hundreds of permutations on the theme.

There are a thousand alternatives to kickstarting something like this. Mostly, though, he just needs to DO it.