Hi, I’m Cole Jones. I’m a software engineer with a laser hobby. I enjoy making stuff, gaming, programming, and tinkering in general. This is my site devoted to my creations forged with my lasercutter - a Glowforge. This site consists of my blog, which catalogs my creations and the process of making them, and my shop, which hosts downloads of my projects that I have the rights to share. I provide my designs free of charge and rely on community support via my patreon page and some referral credits from links such as the glowforge link above.
Why give your designs away for free?
Ultimately, my reason is so the most people possible can find joy in my work. For a longer answer, read on. When I first started my website to share my designs, I charged what I felt like were fair prices for the time and monetary costs to creating my designs ($0-$8). My idea was that if it would cost say $20 to make a project (in material costs), people would be willing to pay a small portion of that towards the creator of the design. Eventually I’d perhaps even be able to grow my small side project into a business that could see me allocating more and more of my time to it. And indeed, a number of people purchased from my site and to them I have the upmost thanks for showing your support for my work in its earliest stages. But it also came with its own set of problems.
I underestimated the barrier a few dollars can be, and only a small portion of the potential audience for my designs were getting any use out of them. It also made me very wary to release my designs. I wanted everything to be exactly perfect about them before I would release them since I would be taking peoples’ money in exchange. But this lead to my outright not releasing several designs because I could never get them to a place where I was ok with charging for them.
In the end, I made a few dollars to help cover the hosting cost of this site (which was my starting goal), but I wanted more people to have the opportunity to cut my designs for themselves. I decided Patreon would be a wonderful way to let people to continue to support me if they so choose but that would then allow my designs to be downloaded by many more people.
How can I support you?
Well obviously my Patreon page (linked above and below so I won’t link it here). But even simpler than that, click on an Amazon link from a blog post and make a purchase (I’m an Amazon Associate and get a small amount of money when someone uses my links to make a purchase). Or if you’re interested and really want to help out (as well as get some freebies yourself) use my glowforge link to purchase your own laser cutter. Or share a post with a friend who enjoys laser cutting as well. Or just download my designs and enjoy them.