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  • #31
    When I was working in estimating/bidding/sales for a general metal manufacture and fabricator I frequently had backyard inventors come in to discuss their new invention. They all thought that they had the greatest thing since sliced bread. 9 out of 10 times I could search the web for a minute or two and show them that their idea was already on the market. The other times they had a "vision" and wanted our company to do all the design work, drawings, proto-type, manufacturing, painting/finishing, packaging and shipping for them and they would just collect all the money as it rolled in! And they would tell me what they figured they were going to sell it for! They would get a blank look when I asked them how they came up with their price when they didn't know what it was going to cost to manufacture or build! Some of these ideas were complex machinery and they were shocked when I explained what the design costs could run. They would get pissed when I gave them an estimated cost for what for designing and building the first unit would run and I would try to explain that if their design was going to sell like they thought they were, then that upfront cost had to be spread over the entire number of units that they expected to sell during the first few years.

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    • #32
      I developed 2 pieces of tooling when I had my road boring business. I made a whole bunch of easy money off of them two items. One of them I demoed it to people from Iowa, California, and Minnesota. I had no takers on the idea. Part of the problem it was too simple and there wouldn’t be much profit margins building them. Any one could easily build one, but they worked sooo good.
      I done enough research to know that I would never come out trying to patent them.
      I guess I need to be thankful I made good easy money on them.

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      • #33
        My name is on something like 20-30 patents -
        all through my employer at the time (so they own it, not me. I was an employee)
        some I truly invented
        some I was “in the room when they talked about it”

        in all cases I got to participate in the salary continuation program (and maybe a cheesy plastic plaque) as a reward

        in all cases, the company paid for it all

        and in all cases they got pretty much nothing for it. As far as I know none went anyplace. The biggest chunk were done with a startup in the 1990s. Just days before we were to ship a product using them all we were bought by a competitor who cancelled that product (they bought us for a different product). Instead of ceremoniously pushing a big crate off a Loading dock and into a truck, we pushed it off the dock into a dumpster. Sigh.

        but I did get my name up in lights. Sort of

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        • #34
          Originally posted by fjk View Post
          My name is on something like 20-30 patents -
          all through my employer at the time (so they own it, not me. I was an employee)
          some I truly invented
          some I was “in the room when they talked about it”

          in all cases I got to participate in the salary continuation program (and maybe a cheesy plastic plaque) as a reward

          in all cases, the company paid for it all

          and in all cases they got pretty much nothing for it. As far as I know none went anyplace. The biggest chunk were done with a startup in the 1990s. Just days before we were to ship a product using them all we were bought by a competitor who cancelled that product (they bought us for a different product). Instead of ceremoniously pushing a big crate off a Loading dock and into a truck, we pushed it off the dock into a dumpster. Sigh.

          but I did get my name up in lights. Sort of
          I worked for one of the top 3 Aerospace company's. They like all the accolades with patents, but rarely used them. Most contracts were " time and material "
          My tool save about a thousand hours on one build.
          They about had a fit, billing 1k less on the contract ?

          Like you, lots of back slapping and a plaque while putting it out of site. Last big idea I had was pretty radical ! Had to tell them, your not ready for this....but your kids will love it.

          - barracudajoe ☆
          I owned a injection molding shop back in the 80's
          Had the same people stop by with a 99 cent Item to mold. At that time a simple 1 cavity steel mold was about $4000.00. To set the press and run 100 units was about $200. Didnt take long for them to leave and never come back.
          Last edited by Fasturn; 08-12-2022, 01:27 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by barracudajoe View Post
            When I was working in estimating/bidding/sales for a general metal manufacture and fabricator I frequently had backyard inventors come in to discuss their new invention. They all thought that they had the greatest thing since sliced bread. 9 out of 10 times I could search the web for a minute or two and show them that their idea was already on the market. The other times they had a "vision" and wanted our company to do all the design work, drawings, proto-type, manufacturing, painting/finishing, packaging and shipping for them and they would just collect all the money as it rolled in! And they would tell me what they figured they were going to sell it for! They would get a blank look when I asked them how they came up with their price when they didn't know what it was going to cost to manufacture or build! Some of these ideas were complex machinery and they were shocked when I explained what the design costs could run. They would get pissed when I gave them an estimated cost for what for designing and building the first unit would run and I would try to explain that if their design was going to sell like they thought they were, then that upfront cost had to be spread over the entire number of units that they expected to sell during the first few years.
            LOL. I had a doctor come to me who wanted me to do all the development on an idea he had. I was fairly busy at the time, and when I asked for points rather than a flat fee he walked. Also had someone come with a 'new idea' that a bit of googling revealed was already on the market.
            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Fasturn View Post
              I owned a injection molding shop back in the 80's
              Had the same people stop by with a 99 cent Item to mold. At that time a simple 1 cavity steel mold was about $4000.00. To set the press and run 100 units was about $200. Didnt take long for them to leave and never come back.
              I can't believe that they didn't know how to make up a per piece loss by selling in volume!

              SE MI, USA

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              • #37
                I've done a fair amount of work in the last few years for a local father/son set of "entrepreneurs." The father has a 40-year old engineering degree and within the first 30 seconds of meeting him you'll learn that he has over 40 patents and has sold over 10 million products in his career. His successful career has been spent inventing some sort of widget (his first was a remote control for a ceiling fan), setting up manufacturing in Asia, making and distributing the stuff for 1-2 years, then selling the company and starting on the next big thing. The kid is a IT salesman, wants to invent things full time. Their typical mode is to come up with an amazing, must-have, world-changing product (that no one on earth would ever pay for) and the first (and only) decisions after the concept are the manufacturing price, the retail cost and their profit.

                Fifteen minutes into the first discussion I had with them I let them know I'd work only for a flat (outrageous) hourly wage and any out-of-pocket expenses, and if they didn't pay an invoice within 7 days I'd stop working until it was paid, a pretty simple and clean arrangement. They pouted over not getting me to work for "equity," but agreed. So I started work and they were off to find investors. I touch base with them a couple of times each week, and without any current engineering or manufacturing experience they always declare that what I have done is too complicated for them to understand and/or expensive to make in China or India (there is never any thought to making anything in the US, they "know" they couldn't hit their predetermined goals). So I go back to the drawing board (well. CAD) and some easy prototype work/repair... and keep track of my hours.

                Dad/son are always pushing for production, there is never any time for testing anything other than perhaps simple 3D printed models. Eventually they are so anxious to start production and making millions that they send off unfinished and incomplete CAD models and 2D drawings (and electronics from another local schmuck) to small shops in China and India for quotes, which have always with (to me) reasonable quotes that are always too high for dad/son. So they order 3-5 insanely expensive prototypes of designs that already need to be changed while I'm cutting corners to get to their pre-determined cost. In most cases, so many changes are made in this prototype-change-prototype circle that the Indian and Chinese shops end up losing money and sever ties with dad/son. Eventually dad/son figure out that their amazing, expensive and impractical idea can't be made for their pre-determined cost, so they pay back their investors the money left over (after expenses for prototypes, my hours and dad/son salaries) and the project ends. Two or three weeks later they are on the phone again with another useless but world-changing idea, and the whole circus starts anew.

                If you are keeping track, you'll see the only people who actually make any money on this merry-go-round are dad/son and me. But hey, it keeps me out of the bars.
                SE MI, USA

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Fasturn View Post
                  .............................
                  I owned a injection molding shop back in the 80's
                  Had the same people stop by with a 99 cent Item to mold. At that time a simple 1 cavity steel mold was about $4000.00. To set the press and run 100 units was about $200. Didnt take long for them to leave and never come back.
                  They apparently did not understand how development works, and had no clue about production volume vs costs.

                  We (company I worked for) would have thought those costs were extremely acceptable for any product that had a chance of being successful. We paid more than that for a freaking KNOB to put on a product. That was for the prototype quantities.

                  Of course, we probably bought 2,000,000 of those knobs annually, since there were between 56 and 112 knobs per product unit. Quantity does matter.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions.

                  Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                  Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                  Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                  I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                  Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

                    They apparently did not understand how development works, and had no clue about production volume vs costs.

                    We (company I worked for) would have thought those costs were extremely acceptable for any product that had a chance of being successful. We paid more than that for a freaking KNOB to put on a product. That was for the prototype quantities.

                    Of course, we probably bought 2,000,000 of those knobs annually, since there were between 56 and 112 knobs per product unit. Quantity does matter.
                    True.. but you have to twix the inflation cost. It was 1980 -81. A Bridgeport mill was $ 4300. Wages about $ 12.00. Both you and Mike are correct, most dont understand manufacturing cost. Now a small shop start up capital would be about a million dollars with some cash flow. You quote $80.00 shop rate and hope you get the work. Auto garage BMW, can do it for under $200,000 and charge $100.00 shop rate.

                    At a trade show in Chicago, I asked the salesman why I should buy this cnc mill. He said , so I can charge less and be more competitive? My Dentist got a new X- ray machine and charges me double.

                    Interesting to watch other business operating cost, skill sets and profits. .. But we get to play on those toys ! ! Here in Los Angeles, income property IS a much better investment. 👍

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Guido View Post

                      Have wondered often was not there a fellow on here who had arrived at a kit for rebuilding rollers for golf course mowers which was the ‘cat’s meow’? I hope he got rich and recognized.
                      Hi Guido, that was me. It's true what they say- the first million is the hardest. Now if you'll excuse me, my Bentley has just returned from being detailed. I must go try to find a spec of dust on it and give em hell.
                      -Roland
                      Golf Course Mechanic

                      Bedminster NJ

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                      • #41
                        I like Hookers and Blow.

                        A combination of the 2 would be an excellent product.

                        A hooker made entirely of cocaine would be ideal.

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