Welcome all new people! This will be a long post but will help you understand how this group works and some history behind it.
I am part owner in a family business called J Stadler Machine. My brother Dave, my sister Lindsey and I own it. We have about 30 employees and 18 newer mazak CNC machines. My Dad started the place back in 1986 and we took over in 2012.
I bought a lot of tools on ebay and one day in early 2015 I saw a set of dice that were CNC made and were bid up to $73. I was floored. I tracked them back to Kickstarter and have heard of Kickstarter because I watched Shark Tank a lot. I did more digging and started to understand the whole crowdfunding thing. So I designed some dice and launched a Kickstarter project called Billet Dice. As it was running I saw a top called a Forever Spin on KS. I was floored as it brought in over $400k. I started digging but could not find out much about these precision tops. I knew I could make some cool tops so I scoured the internet and finally found Pocket Top Talk.
Once I was finally approved I analyzed the group. I was so shocked that grown men were into these but it did not take long to understand. I saw the works of Joshua Dawson, Chris Dean, Mitch Lum and the Fiddle Foundary. I was blown away. I just appreciated the work that went into it. I wanted to be a part of this but I did not want to step on anyone’s toes. I wanted to try to make something different from everyone else.
Milling was my answer. I want to mill the crap out of my tops. I like modern so this was a good fit. I started designing my Kickstarter tops. As I was on the internet I saw an image of a eagle holding a globe in its talons. The light came on and I thought I would use that type of setting to hold the bearing ball on my kickstarter top. Well it was too weak so I had to beef it up. It turned out to look more like a jewelry setting that eagle talons lol.
Once BilletSPIN was up on Kickstarter I had a free weekend so I thought I would try making something else. I wanted to blend two materials seamlessly but not make them round. That would be different I thought! I started machining. I made about 6 of two similar designs and posted them on Pocket Top Talk. WOW, I was not ready for what happened next. Sold out pretty much immediately. I was hooked.
I LOVE designing and I LOVE machining. I just hit the jackpot. The job of my dreams. The wheels started turning and my wife and kids got soooooo tired of hearing me talk about tops and all my ideas.
I will be honest, the thing that amazed me the most were the people of this community. Mind blowing how generous, kind, honest and caring the people of Pocket Top Talk were. I was touched deeply by a few peoples generosity I started doing some GAW’s. Man I love those.
Anyways, the Kickstarted ended. I continued to make new designs. I had tons of requests (still do) to make customs. I thought hard about that. The problem is I make other peoples stuff for my day job. They send us drawings and we make it. I did not want this to turn into that. I love designing too much. So I came up with a plan. Make a new design every few weeks. My design. Make like 15 and post them to PTT. That keeps it fun for me and I will continue doing that until people get sick of my designs.
Well it worked. Each design sold out faster than the previous until one amazing thing happened. I sold out a design before I even made it! I had no pictures or anything. I just posted an order thread and was going to make 30 tops. Well all 30 were sold before work (day job) ended that day! I knew I had to do something. I was posting way to much on PTT and felt bad.
It was around August I started the BilletSPIN group. The group just took off. It was amazing to watch and be part of it. I got to know the other makers better. I also learned that Gavin Sexton has an incredible design sense that fits perfect with mine so when I would hit a block, he would help me out. Then there was Jim Skelton lol. WOW was that a game changer. Incredible man I am honored to have as part of the group.
So there you have it. If you got this far, congrats! Next thing I would recommend is reading the pinned post on the very top of the group. I am glad you found the group! You, yes YOU! Welcome and I look forward to getting to know you more in 2016 🙂 Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!