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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by HankMcSpank View Post
    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.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Robin Hewitt For This Useful Post:


  3. #12
    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?)

  4. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by HankMcSpank View Post
    (how's the pick & place coming together?)
    Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces
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  5. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Hewitt View Post
    Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces
    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?

  6. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Hewitt View Post
    Funny you should ask, I went up my workshop today and cut the first half dozen pieces

    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!

    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)
    Last edited by HankMcSpank; 13-11-2010 at 09:27 PM.

  7. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    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:
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  8. Quote Originally Posted by Robin Hewitt View Post
    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 so get posting :)

  9. #18
    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.

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