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View Full Version : Has anyone ever had something they've designed manafactured?



HankMcSpank
10-11-2010, 05:02 PM
Just curious.

Most on here I guess are weekend dabblers...but maybe some may have an end product in mind (if for no other reason than to justify the time & expense of their pastime!) end- so just wondering if antone has ever got a product to market?

I think we're stuffed here in the UK - think about the amount of widgets & sub widget-ettes going into even the most simplest of products - a quote from a british company is inevitably going to be a little chunky (which would need to be passed on into the final selling price - pricing your product out the mkt) & my Cantonese (which is where things get produced at a better rate) isn't what it should be...so what's a guy to do?!!

It's be nice to hear some uplifiting stories of folks on here actually getting a product to market? (or even stories from those who are thinking about it)

Chas
10-11-2010, 11:44 PM
Tell me about it, I'm banging my head trying to go to market with my prototypes. I have proven designs for a proven & profitable market.

All I need is a helping hand to guide me through the remaining stages. I have the funding & I have the marketing but I DON'T have the knowledge of how to get the product manufactured & packaged.

At every stage of my project I have been quoted TOP $dollar for each service, I'm green but I'm not StOOpiD.

UK manufacturing Co's obviously don't need the work, I've been quoted 2x the market price for the raw material & up to 4x the going rate for CNC milling. A packaging Co' I approached wanted 7 per box (200of) for a simple 200mm X 100mm X 50mm carton.

If I can get a start, my business plan calls for a 500k turnover after 3yrs. If no one's prepared to manufacture my first qty' 200 at a price that will give me a 40% gross margin then it's not going to happen.

John S
11-11-2010, 12:00 AM
Trying to get anything done in the UK unless you can do it all yourself is a waste of time.
Nothing I have done can be done in the UK due to high costs or short sightedness.

I approached Crawford collets about one attachment, they quoted absolute telephone numbers, wanted a pre paid minimum order for 500 and quoted 6 month development and delivery for a part that consisted of two pieces.

The Chinese did it in 3 months, including shipping, minimum order of 50 and 1/8th of Crawfords price.

John S.

Robin Hewitt
11-11-2010, 10:53 AM
just wondering if antone has ever got a product to market?


When I got made redundant I did it, rather a big incentive being thrown on the scrap heap. I bought "Contents of the workshop and work in progress" from the liquidator for 800 and made enough money to pay for the injection tooling. I started making my "chronoscopes" at home, couldn't keep up, then China found me. I sell them for 34+tax and I have sold 26,426 to date. I also licenced the metric version which did very well in the toy shops of Tokyo :smile:

A new product requires a champion if it is to succeed. Someone who will throw money at it and keeps pushing. That's you. You have to fix every problem as it crops up because nobody else will do it for you, nobody cares if your brill' idea goes down the plug hole. It takes over your life.

After you do it once, people start emailing you because they have had a marvellous idea and want you to do all the spade work to make them rich. They can never understand why you seem totally uninterested.

"Produce a quality product then strive to improve it".

HankMcSpank
11-11-2010, 01:47 PM
The thing is, my little product calls for a couple of oddball things that I don't even know where to go knocking! for example a 3cm bit of spring stainless (or plated) steel, bent over on itself to about 110 degrees - with a small elongated slot on one of the legs for an M3 screw to go through (so it can be positioned/adjusted to suit) - now where do I go for one of those?!! (ok, I can probably fashion something that'll do - but do I really want to test my market with something 'that'll do"). Now in my naive little world, something like that ought to cost about 20p, but once i do eventually find someone to ask, you can bet you bottom dollar I'll get reamed!

Another example - a custom plastic case to hold a small pcb - it's got to look nice (we live in an Ipod generation which has set the bar impossibly high) - I wouldn't even dream of approaching a Uk manafacturer (or else there goes my profit)...so who to ask - and can you imagine the diffs with language barriers, timezones, samples etc ....dealing with Asia etc.

China is the obvious place but where the hell do you even go - I've not found a "So you want a widget X quote but don't know who to ask" website online.

What the chinese need is an agency/office here in the Uk, where I can turn up, desciibe what I need ......they phone a few trustworthy people their end & bingo...I've got my 'factory' lead! (or even better ....a quote)

But this is like swimming through treacle!

I find myself looking at the cheapest & nastiest of 99p toys & being amazed at the amount of seperate components involved (a chassis/case, an axle, a motor, switches, LEDS, battery compartment, a sound chip, speaker, wires etc - etc ...& on it goes) all the sheer number of parts, different 'disciplines' (& factories) needed to bring that whole thing together ...and still make make a profit selling it wholesale for probably near 10p!

And don't get me started on patents!!!!

Robin Hewitt
11-11-2010, 04:09 PM
I don't think you have the right frame of mind for manufacturing yet. You have met obstacles and started complaining rather than deciding how you will overcome them. Stand back and look at it again. Start by redesigning your spring so it can be made from wire, you will get your target price at much lower quantities. You do have target prices, don't you?

HankMcSpank
11-11-2010, 04:22 PM
I don't think you have the right frame of mind for manufacturing yet. You have met obstacles and started complaining rather than deciding how you will overcome them. Stand back and look at it again. Start by redesigning your spring so it can be made from wire, you will get your target price at much lower quantities. You do have target prices, don't you?

At least allow me 5 mins to complain amongst those with similar frustrations!

Believe me - I spend every waking minute trying to overcome them (the spring steel is a minor one - and I'll circumvent it, but just happens to be the most current) - this is bordering on obsession!

Re redesigning the spring - I see your angle, but it needs to be robust & erhm springy-backy-ish (else the whole thing will not work properly soon after someone has bought one!)

Re target prices - well I know my target selling price, & I know what most of the parts to make it will cost me, & I know what margin I seek - with all those variables to hand, I therefore know how much I'm prepared to spend on the 'widgets' I've still to source ...but then there's the 'HankMCSpank is it worth that-o-meter' (patent pending)

For example, when youve busted a gut to source 95% of the parts for under a tenner - then one simple mini part costing 3.00 sticks in the throat!

Anyway, vent over - I look forward to similar stories coming - well done btw with your product - that's seriously good revenue! Off to research chronoscopes now (just kidding!)

Robin Hewitt
11-11-2010, 05:16 PM
- this is bordering on obsession!

That is a much better frame of mind :naughty:

NB70
12-11-2010, 09:51 AM
What the chinese need is an agency/office here in the Uk, where I can turn up, desciibe what I need ......they phone a few trustworthy people their end & bingo...I've got my 'factory' lead! (or even better ....a quote)

Have you ever tried mfg.com (http://www.mfg.com) for quotes? I haven't but it looks like one way to get quotes from China. I imagine that the initial setting up of the tooling etc accounts for a lot of the costs- so you need to order in big quantities to get a good price per part.

battwell
13-11-2010, 01:03 AM
use alibaba .com
use gold rated contacts only if your parting with big bucks!


The thing is, my little product calls for a couple of oddball things that I don't even know where to go knocking! for example a 3cm bit of spring stainless (or plated) steel, bent over on itself to about 110 degrees - with a small elongated slot on one of the legs for an M3 screw to go through (so it can be positioned/adjusted to suit) - now where do I go for one of those?!! (ok, I can probably fashion something that'll do - but do I really want to test my market with something 'that'll do"). Now in my naive little world, something like that ought to cost about 20p, but once i do eventually find someone to ask, you can bet you bottom dollar I'll get reamed!

Another example - a custom plastic case to hold a small pcb - it's got to look nice (we live in an Ipod generation which has set the bar impossibly high) - I wouldn't even dream of approaching a Uk manafacturer (or else there goes my profit)...so who to ask - and can you imagine the diffs with language barriers, timezones, samples etc ....dealing with Asia etc.

China is the obvious place but where the hell do you even go - I've not found a "So you want a widget X quote but don't know who to ask" website online.

What the chinese need is an agency/office here in the Uk, where I can turn up, desciibe what I need ......they phone a few trustworthy people their end & bingo...I've got my 'factory' lead! (or even better ....a quote)

But this is like swimming through treacle!

I find myself looking at the cheapest & nastiest of 99p toys & being amazed at the amount of seperate components involved (a chassis/case, an axle, a motor, switches, LEDS, battery compartment, a sound chip, speaker, wires etc - etc ...& on it goes) all the sheer number of parts, different 'disciplines' (& factories) needed to bring that whole thing together ...and still make make a profit selling it wholesale for probably near 10p!

And don't get me started on patents!!!!

Robin Hewitt
13-11-2010, 10:01 AM
Re redesigning the spring - I see your angle, but it needs to be robust & erhm springy-backy-ish (else the whole thing will not work properly soon after someone has bought one!)

I had to get a custom spring in tin plated steel so it was solderable. Had it made in the UK by Simpson Springs and Pressings. Quote was 12p at 2k pcs, 7.9p at 5k pcs. He used the wrong wire and the durned thing broke somewhere between 2 weeks and 5 years later. He held his hand up and made me another 5k pcs with the right wire ad gratis. The two big spring suppliers on line in the UK are Lee Spring and Flexo Springs, either will quote you if you design it.

HankMcSpank
13-11-2010, 03:47 PM
NB70 & battwell thanks for the URLS ....I wasn't aware of mfg.com - looks promising (I've registered & will have a sniff about). I was aware of Alibaba, but it struck me as being a little like the wild west!

I once submitted am RFQ for some magnets to some far eastern part (IC) sourcing website - OMG ...about 50 emails, 95% wanted telegraphic transfer ....now that just strikes me as away of handing someone free money. So I guess trust is a big thing when dealing on such sites & it's heartening to see there's a rating system.

Robin, I will take a look at those 'leads' you've given me - many thanks. (how's the pick & place coming together?)

Robin Hewitt
13-11-2010, 08:03 PM
(how's the pick & place coming together?)

Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces :smile:

Jonathan
13-11-2010, 09:11 PM
Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces :smile:

I've got the same mug as you...filled with the same liquid too!

I didn't know that you're making a pick&place machine, have you documented it on the forum anywhere?

HankMcSpank
13-11-2010, 09:22 PM
Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces :smile:


Got to say I'm in awe....as the constructer of a woefully inadequate homemade CNC that goes asthmatic when I ask it cut 5mm acrylic (slowly), I just shake my head in disbelief that folks mill such chunky lumps of ali in their home workshops!

To recap...

You've designed stuff, had it manafactured & raked in a lot of dosh from it.
You mill chunky lumps of metal effortlessly!
You have an industrial strength injection moudling machine "somewehere out the back"
You have a pick in place machine in the offing

I'm a teenage girl & you are my Robbie Williams! :smile:

PS can there be a better feeling than a good cup of 'rosie lee' in hand, & heading into a workshop to make 'proper stuff'?! (I say that as someone who works in a wishy, washy, namby pamby IT enviroment)

Robin Hewitt
14-11-2010, 12:47 PM
I've got the same mug as you...filled with the same liquid too!

I didn't know that you're making a pick&place machine, have you documented it on the forum anywhere?

I'm hoping Lee will add a Pick and Place build section if I mention it enough. holding out for that :naughty:

irving2008
14-11-2010, 03:21 PM
I'm hoping Lee will add a Pick and Place build section if I mention it enough. holding out for that :naughty:

here you go Robin, Other CNC Machines (http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/forumdisplay.php/190-Other-CNC-Machines) so get posting :)

AdieR
18-11-2010, 04:00 AM
Design and manufacture:

As far as design and manufacture goes, there is a load of pitfalls for the un-initiated - here is a rough guide to what you're up against:

1) "Knowing" your product and its intended purpose; sounds simple, but many people get this wrong.

You have to ABSOLUTELY know what your product is, and its intended purpose, and why it is a better product than your rival's. THEN, you have to be able to put this to your manufacturer's representative, in clear, straightforward terms - he may not have come across a similar product or know the function of it; so you need to put your point across in clear language and avoid technical terms / jargon. If you can't sell your idea to the manufacturer's rep, s/he won't be able to sell the idea up the ladder.
You can have the best product in the world, but if you can't translate that to a manufacturer, it won't get off the ground.

2) Market Research: who will buy your product? Why will they buy your product and not your competitors? How do you plan to promote your product? Local paper? Trade press? Internet? Where / how do you plan to sell it? In a shop? Through a particular trade / industry? Much today is driven by price, but price is not a be-all-and-end-all; if you can't compete on price, you have to compete on some other factor (quality, delivery times {if that applies}, can it be customised for a customer etc). One idea, depending on the product, may be to hand out samples of your product, and gauge the feedback you get and find out any improvements that can be made. Are there likely implications for an item that fails? For example, if you're trying to sell a product to the food industry, and an item fails, that product may become contaminated, and potentially lose your customer, his/her customers if you see what I mean, therefore potentially putting you out of business as well. Does your product require ongoing technical or other support?

Again, you can have the best product ever; but if no one knows about it, you'll sell zero.

3) Costing: another point where many fail to do their homework, or don't think about ALL the implications.

What is your likely material cost per item? What's your labour costs (this will be the most expensive over time). How long does it take to manufacture? How long would it take once in production? How many individual components are involved? Does it require complicated assembly?
Remember that your tooling costs may well be astronomical (if an item is pressed, or injection moulded for example, you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of pounds, plus the machines running costs {energy/labour/maintenance}), how long 'til its negated the initial expense? How many items do you need to sell before you negate your initial expense? What materials are you using? Can you feasibly use other, cheaper materials for some parts? What's your likely / anticipated profit margin? When will you actually start to turn a profit?

For example, a job I do from time to time on a freelance basis is to install air cleaning plant for the printing industry:
A new plant with a price tag of 250,000, and installation cost of 30,000 (site preparation, dismantling of old plant, mechanical and electrical installation of the new plant, ducting, testing and commisioning) total cost 280,000.

The "old" plant, over a weeks production, uses 20,000 of gas, and 300 electric. The "new" plant uses 1/5th-1/4th of the energy approx ie gas 4000 and 70 electric.
So 20,300 - 4070 = 16,230 saved per week.
So then, 280,000 / 16,230 = 17.25 weeks: so the new plant has paid for itself in little over 4 months.

A few ideas to think about.