Thursday, 28 February 2008

Mini Playhouses

It's a playhouse for your pet Gerbil!

Okay, so not really. It's just a really small model of our playhouses. Apparently, the Ghostbusters live there. I did it just to see if it could be done. It can be done, but it was a real pain to make! Definitely not something I would ever mass produce.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Almost Ready For Sale

Well, it's an exciting time for us. Our first commercial model of our basic playhouse is almost ready for sale to the public. This first unit was a real trial and error experience and one or two units before this one in the photo will still be made for sale at a discount price. But we have to agree that we both really enjoyed this first project from start to finish.

All the bugs have been ironed out and our test subjects have given the thumbs up (okay, our test panel is our children). And we have a few more sitting in the workshop waiting for their paint. There are also a few more cosmetic additions to be added yet before this one is available and we will wait until it is finished to reveal the publicly ready model.

Hold onto your seats! It'll be worth it!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Thank Google for Supporting Sick Children

I have to give Google a tip of my hat. Thanks to their 'We'll pay you to put ads on your blog site', we have a good way to support a local Children's Hospital. The funny part is, Google isn't actually aware of our plans. Here's how it works:

Everytime you click on the Google ad in the bottom right corner of our site, Google will pay us for that click. In turn, for every $100 we raise, we will pass that on to the Stollery Children's Hospital ( in the hope that our money will make a difference to a sick child. We'll also keep you posted in the bottom right corner as to how much money we currently sit at. Every click earns us 0.15 cents. It doesn't seem like much but it will certainly add up.

Unrelated to fund raising, we have also put a feature in that same area on our site with photos of missing children. Right now, the links are only for children in the United States (being that this site is in Canada). Maybe one day they will make something for Canada as well or something for all of North America.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Apartment-Sized Playhouses

There are future plans in the works for a smaller version of our portable playhouses for apartments and bedroom applications. More on this as it unfolds (no pun intended).

Retro Computer Cabinets

(published by Rob)

I've been tossing around the idea of building a computer cabinet in the style of the old days when electronics were still considered furniture. I showed my plans to Chris and he was definitely intrigued by the idea although I did agree with him when he suggested that I keep my main focus on the playhouses. So I plan to keep this design as a side project in the hopes that it may still catch on.

My reason for deciding to do this is because I have always had a love for old Jukeboxes. Unfortunately, I don't have the kind of money it takes to just go out and buy some old antique and shove my record 45's in it. Besides, it really isn't so much about the function as it is about the style of the cabinet. I currently have a media computer in my livingroom that is hooked to my home receiver and the tv. I can do all the usual stuff with it such as record and pause live tv, watch my DVDs and play my MP3's, all at the touch of a remote. The problem I have is that the case is typical and my current television cabinet can't accomodate the PC case without it overheating. I tried installing fans into the media cabinet, but the PC has an LCD display and a lighted fan and you can't see any of it locked in a cupboard. The case also still overheats when it's in there.

I found an old jukebox photo on the internet made by a company called Gabel. The unit sold for over $25,000 at auction. I really like the design and wondered if there was a chance I could build something for myself in the same basic Art Deco design that could not only house my PC, but would have plenty of room for DVD/CD storage underneath.

I wondered how I could take this old design and turn it into a new home for my media computer. On the left, you can see the cabinet that I really liked. But since I don't want to steal someone else's idea, I will design something with a similar look. This may be the thing that takes the way we look at computers and turns it completely upside down.

The question is: Am I the only one that would want something like this in my rec room?

Stay tuned as this saga continues to unfold.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Location, Location, Location

Starting a business is definitely a daunting task. Coming up with an idea of what service you want to offer can suck if you have no place to call home yet. In this case, a workshop. I have a garage that is more than big enough to accomodate all of our needs. But, the temperatures this winter have been more than annoying with lows reaching -40c with windchill. The problem is, the garage isn't insulated or heated.

The good part is, Chris has a heated garage that's just big enough to cut out the playhouses, but not really to assemble them or paint them. So, right now, painting and final assembly is done in my basement where I can keep paint fumes from annoying my wife and kids. And Chris and I live about 40 minutes from each other. The part that sucks is that we can not always both work on our projects together as it costs too much in gas to always drive back and forth. The only thing my two car garage is good for is safely storing the playhouse units when they are finished.

Spring can't come soon enough.

Pilot Playhouse

Here's a pic of our "pilot playhouse", another project destined to go into the RC Wood Creations history book. Future models may not look exactly like this one and we have allready implemented some small revisions, and really, since they are hand crafted no two are alike. That's something that in our minds makes these little houses so special. We put alot of time and effort into designing these playhouses so that they are safe, easy to use and fun for kids.
Since it's completion several weeks ago, we have had this playhouse set up for the kids to play with. In that time and with the way the kids (or should I say animals) play in and around the playhouse, it has suffered virtually no damage. We are also planning to add options like curtains and a fabric roof that can be rolled up and stored on one side, to further enclose the house and make it more fort like. We are always thinking of different things that we can add to the playhouses to make them fun and unique for kids.

We have a great time building these, and our kids love the idea of having their own little house. We hope that your kids will love them too.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Stow Away Playhouses

After Chris and I watched our kids and many others building forts out of chairs and blankets (which is how we used to do it in our day), we saw the need to eliminate the chairs and give the kids a solid, and storeable playhouse design to make both parents and kids happy. And this is what we came up with.
This 3 panelled playhouse is lightweight, sturdy, easily moveable and stores away with ease. The units are sturdy enough that they will not fall over easily and are light enough that they will not trap children if they do fall. The units will come in many different varieties of colours and stand about 4 feet tall, 4 feet wide and about 4 feet deep (approx) and weigh about 50 lbs. We have already built a few different coloured models that are almost complete and ready to be sold. We are still tossing around the idea of a cloth roof and curtains for the front windows.
The one in the picture is not assembled yet. There will be more pictures made available as soon as we finish one. Stay tuned because there is more to come.

We are excited about these and hope to make them available to the Edmonton area this year. Eventually, we will figure out how to make them available outside of our immediate area. There are currently a few models already available including a pink version (not pictured yet). We hope to sell them at an introductory price of $275.00 to start.

The First Wooden case Mod (Rest in Pieces)

Here was our first wooden case mod. We slapped this together without any real sort of plan. Unfortunately, not planning ahead made the unit extremely difficult to service later and pieces were literally falling off as we went along. You can see many similarities to the Retro Case. At least this unit did not die in vain. We learned a whole wackload of lessons just from this one. A good concept and will be reworked in future designs with the same basic style in mind.
This unit can go down in the history books as RC Wood Creations' very first computer design project. Stay tuned to see if this case makes a comeback with a new and improved design.
Incidentally, this unit ran at about 32C case temperature. Not bad considering my basic metal box unit runs at 43C with 3 fans.

Retro Computer Case

Here is a computer case we built for my mom, and incidentally, also our first customer. What you can see is that the components are stacked on top of one another and we had not yet added simulated knobs to the front of the case in this photo. The fan on the side is blue LED and the display above the DVD drive is an LCD display that shows Hard Drive activity, the time and all temperatures eliminating the need for LED status lamps. The case temperature actually runs at only 35C at idle and about 42C under heavy work load. There was actually a prototype built before this one but it's been put out of commission due to assembly issues. However, you could literally stand on this case and it will stay together.

And yes, it's sitting on Rob's dryer. The laundry room served as our work room for the first little while. This somewhat custom unit sells for $300. Of course, Rob's mom got it at cost for having faith in our abilities and giving up her computer for a week while we experimented and created the design around it. Future modifications and improvements are already in the works.