That's an easy answer. We did it just because we could. And we couldn't stand seeing all those overpriced vaporizers being sold as if they are some obscure and high tech gizmo that came from mars. And because we love open hardware projects and had loads of fun making it.
Actually this is an attempt in the spirit of the reprap 3D printers. So our aim wasn't only to create a cheap vaporizer, but also to make it more accessible (the easiest possible) for the DIY people. No fancy parts, no fancy tools, no fancy electronics.
- Just easy to get, cheap and -most of the time- upcyclable stuff you can find on the garbage bin.
- Hole through electronics that even a first timer can solder.
- Materials that are the closest possible to natural stuff. Wool, cotton, wood, glass aluminum, things that are used (ok except for the aluminum) for thousends of years by humans. So yes its a "healthy" product no funny chemicals or production methods.
Did we mention how much we like upcycling? Taking all those things people consider garbage and making something nice and usefull out of them?
What's our dream about this vaporizer?
Well actually we would love to de-commodify the vaporizer as a product, the way reprap decommodified the 3d printing. What does that mean? Well it means to bring the price of the whole vaporizer market to a level so low, that most brands would have a hard time selling overpriced 300euro vaporizers without giving some obscure and posh excuse about it that has to do with status (or phallic) symbols.
Of course a product will never reach the zero price of an open source program for example, but getting as low a price as possible, and destroying the profit margins, making it accessible by every person that loves making stuff in their room, or backyard, thats -we believe- the closest you can get to de-commodification.
We would love if we reach the point were a volcano owner would feel embarrassed for spending so much money for essentially the same product she can make on her own with 30euros.
Exactly what happend with the 3d printer. Andrian Boyer and Co actually made it impossible for HP, Apple and the other big players to enter the 3d printer market. And now a DIY 3D printer is quite often cheaper to acquire than a fancy color laser printer.
Will we reach that goal?
Probably not but its not bad to have a dream in the vein of don quixote.
Yes, my beloved Sancho, these are windmills we are attacking and Dulcinea is just an old lady, but what would life be without them?
Even if nothing happens, we shared the journey of developing the vaporizer, had loads of fun making it and sharing it with others. Spreading a thing or two we learned about how to make things, just as all those things we have learned from others. Things about how to feel useful and purposeful. Its nothing much really, just a vaporizer. But all the same it means a world for us. A way of living and enjoying and being.
So please make one, and make one for the people you love and care about 🙂
Or mod it, hack it, improve it, share it 🙂
But please dont make a start-up project about it, dont use it to push some start-up money with tens of thousands of euros worth of venture capitalists. Thats NOT what this project is all about.
And actually thats more or less our license. Thats our meaning of non-commercial. Actually it means non-corporate. If you are some collective wanting to construct vaporizers and sell them to your shop, please contact us and we will give you our blessings and our help.
We could easily sound ungrateful, by not mentioning all the people and the ideas that helped us. So we start by stating that lion vaporizer doesn' t belong to us, in the same way that a nice sandwich doesn't belong to the earl of Sandwich who introduced it. All the knowledge we used making this device, is not ours to own.
Nevertheless there are some people and some ideas that we generously and shamelessly we stole.
Our first mention goes to the arduino community that gave us access to tools that otherwise would need way more specialized knowledge.
Our second mention goes to the reprap community that granted us both ideas and materials for this project. The heating element, the thermistors, the plastic parts would never be so accessible and cheap if not for the reprap project. Also part of the code is shamelessly copied from there. But reprap gave us far more in guidelines and principles. Trying to keep every material readily accessible all around the world, not using exotic parts, or tools (the most exotic tool "needed" is practically a drill press), trying to minimize the expert knowledge needed.
Trash art or Objet Trouvé. Time honored tradition that consumerist society gave a new form. We love using stuff that you can find in the garbage bin, and a great part of the Lion Vaporizer can also be constructed by searching in the garbage bin. All electronic components apart from the arduino nano, scrap wood, scrap leather, laptop batteries, old chargers. Even the heating element can take the form of an old multiwatt resistor. Things that people throw away as useless, can be used in the vaporizer. So in this essence, LionVaporizer is a no budget project. Just for the sake of doing it, the minimum cost we achieved for a desktop vaporizer was brought down to 4-5euros. Yes It doesnt look nice, yes it misses functionalities (like an on/off button). No its not so efficient. But it works.
All our testers and the idea of DIY. As lion is not a product, we don't care about leaving it permanently in a beta stage . What we describe here is a "frozen" version that helps as a working basis. Lazy Cat and Roaring Kitten are fully functional and mostly debugged, but not at all the end of the developing line. You can improvise, implement use different methods for similar results. And who knows maybe we will freeze another version in the future. Its all part of the fun of DIY.