"One Perfect Part at a Time"


The Siren’s Song

I have to admit to myself that I have run amok and spun off into the rocks along the shore of the barren hobby/craft islands for a while. Of course, that is figurative. I think I am still pretty much sane.

I am referring of course to my workshop interests and making tangible and valuable art and crafts. It was the song of the mythological siren creature that lured me off course. Maybe put me asleep. Its name is “3D Printer”. Ha!

Yep, I fell victim under its spell. I love design and making things and doing that with a 3D printer is very enticing. Continue reading

What Will It Cost Me?

I receive such requests from designers or just people with ideas, asking if I can make something complicated for them. Most of the time I say no, because I have enough projects of my own on which I would like to be working. There are also some designs that are beyond my means, usually because it is too large or requires special tooling and materials. (I wish I could charge the designer for the new tools!!)  Some of the designs also suffer from knowledge of how things are made on machine tools. The sketches and drawings show holes where they can’t be drilled or unnecessary and difficult areas requiring multiple setups.

These requests show that there is a demand for prototyping services. These inventors and idea people have problems turning their ideas into one off products because they do not have their own shop and skills.

But prototyping is not as simple as sending out a proven design for bids.  I am talking about solicitations from hobbyist and small time inventors who have never worked with a prototype or even in a machine shop. A good design is one that can also be made as inexpensively as possible on standard machines and tooling. That seldom happens on the version #1 prototype from a newbie designer.

What I am saying is the folks who approach me don’t realize their design may require a lot of cooperation (face time) between the designer and the maker. Of course I am not talking about a bar of aluminum with two holes drilled into it. The designer can do that himself. I see the hard stuff, like machining threads on a very thin tube and the tube is thinner than required for the thread depth. (Yes, I have seen this.)

Outsourcing any prototyping… Continue reading

NOTE: Log in is for admin and members only, not required to post comments.