Making $$$

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ftdesigns
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Making $$$

Post by ftdesigns » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:17 pm

In case you haven't realized it yet, 3D printing is so reliable and inexpensive that one can make a plastic toy/part of sufficient quality to be considered a final product and not just a prototype. This allows someone with a 3D printer to literally manufacture finished goods and make profit. Unfortunately, orders for units can number in the tens of thousands, which is quite a challenge for 3D printing since lead times for parts are very long. The solution to the lead time problem is to have many 3D printers; so instead of making, say, 1 part per hour with 1 printer, you can make 15 parts per hour with 15 printers.

But why should one person/company run all of the 3D printers? Why not have several other people making the parts with their own printers? (these are rhetorical questions)

My question to you guys is this: if I had a large number of units to be 3D printed, would any of you be able to help produce units? Obviously there would be monetary compensation per piece that you produce.

mb20music
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Re: Making $$$

Post by mb20music » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:18 pm

I might be interested if there is enough profit in it for me.

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DrewPetitclerc
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Re: Making $$$

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:35 pm

I have a couple of "Up Plus Pro" sitting idle most of the day and I have joined several of the online businesses that claim to distribute the manufacturing but not a single order has appeared yet.
So yes I'm interested, but still waiting for the orders to quote on.
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

ftdesigns
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Re: Making $$$

Post by ftdesigns » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:07 pm

Thanks for your posts guys. I have nothing concrete yet, but I'm trying to be ready for when a good opportunity comes along. I spoke with a potential client a couple days ago about a very large order and getting help from a network of people seemed like the best method to get a fast lead time.

Also, people can PM me about this as well if you prefer.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Making $$$

Post by JuliaDee » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:46 am

If you're making "tens of thousands" of something, I'd strongly suggest looking into an injection mold... unless of course it's something that gets personalized, or cannot be molded.

ftdesigns
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Re: Making $$$

Post by ftdesigns » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:37 pm

JuliaDee wrote:If you're making "tens of thousands" of something, I'd strongly suggest looking into an injection mold...
I know what you're saying. But think about it: if we had a network of hundreds of 3D printers, one large order can be made rather quickly.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Making $$$

Post by JuliaDee » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:41 pm


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DrewPetitclerc
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Re: Making $$$

Post by DrewPetitclerc » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:08 am

I already belong to 3D Hubs.
No jobs, just a lot of lip service.
Drew Petitclerc
Petitclerc Designs
Owner/Senior Principal Designer, prototype, tooling and test equipment design and 3D printing
http://flash-graphics.deviantart.com/
http://www.thingiverse.com/DrewPetitclerc

Gustav
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Re: Making $$$

Post by Gustav » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:37 am

OK, I can help you with a fel items.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Making $$$

Post by JuliaDee » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:23 pm

DrewPetitclerc wrote:I already belong to 3D Hubs.
No jobs, just a lot of lip service.
Same here, Drew, I was just pointing out to ftdesigns that what he's proposing (I think) has been and is being done. Coincidentally, though, it looks like I may get my first paying print job next week. It's not something I sought out and I'm under no illusions of being able to make a living from it, but if it happens it'll pay for a couple of nice dinners :)

Fred
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Re: Making $$$

Post by Fred » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:32 am

There's a real gap when it comes to making a couple of hundred of something. 3D printing or CNC milling is sensible when it's just a few items. For tens of thousands, injection moulding in China is the way. The rather large middle ground is a real problem.

I recently did a little project making custom records for an old 70s Fisher Price record player. Those over 40 will probably know what I'm talking about; the youngsters won't have a clue. (In fact that was how I won my Up in a contest on Instuctables.) I had some requests to produce about 100 for a record company, and I struggled to find a way to do this for a reasonable price. I ended up just doing a few on a CNC mill.

The best option - not that I pursued it - seemed to be making a silicon mould from a 3D printed original and hand casting. There's also lost PLA for sturdier sand casting. Perhaps one of these would suit your particular requirement. Perhaps not.


[By the way, I'm the the UK - that's how we spell mould/mold. ;) ]

ftdesigns
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Re: Making $$$

Post by ftdesigns » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:08 pm

Fred wrote:There's a real gap when it comes to making a couple of hundred of something. 3D printing or CNC milling is sensible when it's just a few items. For tens of thousands, injection moulding in China is the way. The rather large middle ground is a real problem.
I, and pretty much everyone else in the world, agree with you. Catering to ten thousand units is quite a challenge for this technology and may not even be feasible right now. But frankly it's not impossible and will require a paradigm shift in the way business is conducted.

Some of the advantages mass production with 3D printing offers:

1. mass customization - offer different colors and designs without actually making them. that way, for example, when nobody buys your green heart design pen holder and you are sold out of the pink star design, you didn't waste money on mass manufacturing your green heart design - which leads me into the next benefit.....
2. minimal inventory - only produce units when you have an order for them. this allows you to have a lean pull system, rather than pushing out products people may not buy. this is especially good for offering lots of designs in lots of colors.
3. low lead times for initial units - even if you have an order of 10k units, you won't see that for at least a couple months - you need mold production, actual production/packaging, freight (in the USA the product goes across the ocean, then meets customs agents). 3D printing could at least supplement a large order and get it to market faster, with say 1000 or 2000 units.
4. made in your perspective country - Some organizations put a premium on being made domestically, e.g. Made in the USA. This is a huge marketing advantage.
5. almost no setup - this is important because you can easily manufacture an infinite variety of designs with one machine. So, instead of catering to one product, you can have a diverse product portfolio in many different markets/marketplaces. Also, in that 10k piece order, if they decided they wanted a hole in the product, you can easily switch out the STL file and begin producing the new version that day.

R-A
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Re: Making $$$

Post by R-A » Tue May 13, 2014 8:17 pm

I got some printing jobs recently, from people who designed some stuff and needed "once-off" prototypes. 3D printing in this case was far cheaper than molding processes.

Chris botha
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Re: Making $$$

Post by Chris botha » Tue May 13, 2014 9:53 pm

a few general tip..

I run a mass production factory in Thailand that produces 1.7million pieces a year.. average labour per "high end" piece is $1.20 and for low end piece its $0.26. And that is for complex jewellery containing labour and gem setting etc.. for my stainless suppliers in China those labour prices are charged per gram and start at 0.005c for leather and steel, through to 0.05c for steel. my mate that does car part injection in Shenzen offered to inject all the plastic parts for a new idea I sketched up to be used on clients existing CNC.. he will do it for US$1.40 for all 11 injected plastic parts (thats about 1/5th the price of the same weight in ABS raw material from UP).. but the mould fees will be 11K.. If you think you can compete on large scale with injection, you are dreaming..

the problem with the mass customization model is that it requires zero to low cost input on the original model.. if i take what I earn to draw CAD and assume that I may only sell 10 pieces... I have to take my labour and divide by ten, then my running costs, machine times etc etc.. for example my helmet clip would then cost $50 each... to be greeted by "the official helmet clip from supplier is only $15".. because the supplier has had them mass manufactured.. so you have to compete on ALL NEW product only...

Or you put it on RegETSY and try milk the saps that shop on that platform..

About manufacturing in Asia in general..

if you have an idea, proof it yourself.. copyright it, and personally go to China to have it manufactured. All our new developments I oversee myself.. Price it so that you can make all your profit in one year and expect clones after 6 months. Dont expect copyright to hold water in China, it will only limit sales in your own market. have a "improvement" plan that will include new models to quickly to stay one step ahead.. dont start on your best foot..

ming
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Re: Making $$$

Post by ming » Wed May 14, 2014 2:55 am

Depending on the DFM of the part i would quote you an injection molded part so you can compare. Nothing wrong with having a combo part (partially printed partially injection molded)

if you are talking bout thousands or more parts i would ask is printing cost effective especially if several people will pick it up and the next major question is - How do you control quality ? What about shipping costs ?

I can get a molded part from design to finished molded part (first shot) in 3-4 weeks (depending on complexity of the part of course)
Dream@night / Holdit@sameday

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