HOW TO #3: Build an online business in two days for free 🚀

Last weekend, with my girlfriend we spent some time thinking about the Christmas gift we will offer to our relatives, which ended up in a small online business. Because it is Christmas, in this article I detail each steps and give you all the source code for free 😇.

Screenshot of the website

If you just want to buy a toothbrush : https://bimboo.now.sh

#1- Brainstorming

Why a toothbrush ? We were looking for a eco-friendly, useful and personalised gift. The toothbrush idea came up because it’s a consumer good used everyday by everyone on a recurring short lifetime. The idea was to upgrade this product as a premium’s one, while customising it with caricatures or name.

Link

#2- Production

Once the idea fixed we had to make the toothbrush ! I had a CNC 2418 with a 500mW laser (~100e) but you can go a free fablab, they all have a laser machine.

Step 1.

The first thing to do was to fix the tooth brush on the machine, I just used simple scotch in order to avoid the toothbrush to move during the engraving because of motors vibrations.

Step 2.

After a lot of research on google, I didn’t find a proper tool to transform text into gcode, so I decided to develop one myself based on a text2svg converter of hershey script font I extracted from schmarty’s website.

https://schmarty.net/hershey_js_demo/

I made some modifications to add french ponctuation to the lib.

I then upgraded the lib with an home made svg2gcode converter. Actually, I didn’t need to do it as I could directly convert decoded chars in gcode… but thanks to it I learned Regex :)

=> Source code: https://github.com/maxencedouet/bimboo-printer

Step 3.

I had to find the right parameter regarding my wood, laserpower, font rendering I wanted. Some advices:

  • Play with translateZ in order to adjust the laser width (try to find the best position to get the smaller width)
  • Smaller toolingSpeed will make a more constant path (//acceleration delta on curves)
  • Don’t put power to much otherwise it will drool
const params of svg2gcode.js file

Step 4.

Simply type “yarn start” on bimboo printer root. Type your text on the electron window, it will realtime update tmp/output.gcode that you can import on grbl controller to transfer it to the CNC. I didn’t have the time to do it, but I would have love to implement the feature allowing the app to directly send the gcode to the machine by serial :)

#3- Selling

I wanted to be able to sell it online for free (shopify is about 30€/month …) so I decided to develop a simple page with a launchpage and order page in vue.js thanks to the stripe secured paiement solution (website).

Source code => https://github.com/maxencedouet/bimboo-website

You can personalise it and launch it with your domain for free in only one command line thanks to the free IaaS https://zeit.co/now.

More informations

I am software engineer @Cubyn , always eager to crack things.

Don’t forget to follow me on medium or linkedin if you want to be pinged on the next article release :)

Maxence

Engineering Manager @Cubyn | Hiring 30+ Software Engineers 🚀