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EXECUTION 3D Prototyping, pre-selling and developing a physical product.

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Fathazard

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Long story short:

My cousin has spent thousands of hours on one hobby over the past 20 years. So a week ago when she complained to me about a pain that most of the other hobbyists share, you bet I took her damn seriously.

Follow along in this thread as I explore this opportunity together with my cousin. All feedback is welcome!

The problem:
  • Has existed for as long as the hobby has.
  • Is more easily solved in other industries/hobbies. So none has targeted this niche yet. Solutions can be adapted, but with some difficulty (+entry! ;))
  • A few solutions exist - but all of them try to prevent the problem for ever happening and offer little support when it already has happened. Also, the prevention-measures are mediocre at best.
  • A solution is worth around 50-200$ (+some emotional value) for almost every single individual in this hobby...And the global market for this hobby is huge.
The solution:
  • Is a slightly technical, physical product and the hobbyist needs expert help get started (I've talked to the expert, and he'd charge ~40$ for this service per hobbyist).
  • Would cost me around 20$+1$ per month (rough estimate as I have had 0 discussions with suppliers/manufacturers). So I'd hope to sell it for around 50-60$.
  • The solution involves several technical parts that could be sourced from several manufacturers - but needs to be put together.
Distribution options:
  1. Sell the product through the expert who needs to help the hobbyists get started.
  2. Sell them wholesale to related manufacturers, as an extra USP for their customers. Going this route saves the 40$ the expert would charge. (-loss of control?)
  3. Sell them directly to hobbyists and let them contact the expert themselves.
Feedback on these options? I have experience with none of them.

Project Overview:

This is the journey to our first sale, as I see it. Please come with suggestions for how to improve it!

1. Market Research - Soft proof. [X] - DONE!
  • I 3D printed a prototype of the solution using TinkerCAD and a Prusa Mk2 3d printer.
  • Then my cousin and I went to an event related to the hobby. Talked to hobbyists - they like the solution and see the need. Price-point of 60$ seems good.
  • Met an expert in this field. He liked the prototype, and awaits another version of it to give further feedback. Got the +40$ setup cost estimate from this guy. Might have a future partner/investor here.
2. Develop a more detailed prototype [] - WORK IN PROGRESS
  • Get feedback on the new prototype from the expert + hobbyists.
  • Get detailed costs from a few real suppliers.
  • Validate the pricepoint (How? Survey, pre-sells, email gathering?)
3. Develop a WORKING prototype [] - NOT DONE YET
  • Show it to hobbyists, get more feedback. Develop more if needed.
  • Then Crowdfund / Meet with the manufacturers of the related products to see if they want to bundle them up.
4. Source the product in greater volume. [] - NOT DONE YET
  • Fulfill the orders from step 3! <--- Not before this step do I count the first sale as being complete.
  • Celebrate! :party:
Feedback?

I choose to keep the idea secret because I deeply respect the drive of some people on here... I know ideas are worthless without execution, but y'all are hustlers like me, so please - let's not hustle against each other. :clench:
 

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Last edited:

oldirty

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Nice! Looking forward to seeing more. Any plans on patenting? PPA?
 
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Fathazard

Fathazard

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Nice! Looking forward to seeing more. Any plans on patenting? PPA?
PPA? Pay Per Acquisition?

Patenting is an interesting option. It's been moving so fast I haven't had a chance to consider it. Can you patent something that's made up of parts that exist, but put together in a special configuration for a special purpose?
 

oldirty

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PPA? Pay Per Acquisition?

Patenting is an interesting option. It's been moving so fast I haven't had a chance to consider it. Can you patent something that's made up of parts that exist, but put together in a special configuration for a special purpose?
Sorry, provisional patent application.
See:
Provisional application - Wikipedia
Provisional application - Wikipedia

If it's a unique idea that is non obvious then yes you should be able to patent a system of existing non unique parts.
 

OldFaithful

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Distribution options:
  1. Sell the product through the expert who needs to help the hobbyists get started.
  2. Sell them wholesale to related manufacturers, as an extra USP for their customers. Going this route saves the 40$ the expert would charge. (-loss of control?)
  3. Sell them directly to hobbyists and let them contact the expert themselves.
4. Sell them directly to hobbyists and become an expert (or hire one) that can instruct them on setup/installation.

Glad to see the progress on this project! I'd prefer distribution method #4, especially since you are planning to make/assemble the product or have it made for you.

BTW, If you can explain it verbally, you can make an instructional video!!!
 
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Fathazard

Fathazard

Patience, Speed & Gratitude
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Jul 31, 2015
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Sorry, provisional patent application.
See:
Provisional application - Wikipedia

If it's a unique idea that is non obvious then yes you should be able to patent a system of existing non unique parts.
Thanks! I'll make sure to submit one of those when I've ironed out all the details (and made a functional prototype!)

4. Sell them directly to hobbyists and become an expert (or hire one) that can instruct them on setup/installation.

Glad to see the progress on this project! I'd prefer distribution method #4, especially since you are planning to make/assemble the product or have it made for you.

BTW, If you can explain it verbally, you can make an instructional video!!!
Good input! I'll have to see if it's something hobbyists would be comfortable doing themselves, even with detailed instructions. Worth investigating as it could really increase my margins. Eliminating the 40$ installation fee would be huge.

Updates:

  • Further soft proof obtained. I've found old+new hobby forum threads discussing this problem, but none has any satisfactory solutions yet. I'm going to join these forums and talk to them further - hopefully the people there can provide further insights and maybe even become future customers
  • Price investigation survey is being designed by my cousin, to see what the hobbyists are probably willing to pay.
  • An updated prototype is being made by me, but I'm stuck choosing between components. Perhaps I should make the new 3D printed prototype a bit less detailed to begin with. Would be great however to have it quite exactly the way it's going to be made.
  • I'm considering ordering some components from Alibaba and putting them together into a reasonably complete working prototype that I could complete with some manual electrical work. That should be way more convincing than the 3D printed things... Plus I'd get a better idea of the cost it will take to make.
 
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Fathazard

Fathazard

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Update
  • $55 90% functional prototype on the way! I'm soliciting some feedback from my electrical engineering friends before ordering though - I'm not 100% sure I've got everything I need. Parts come from Alibaba and Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits
  • Next up to design the 3D model prototype using the dimensions of the working prototype - So that I can show something to the expert quicker.
 
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Fathazard

Fathazard

Patience, Speed & Gratitude
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Update

  • Detailed 3D prototype complete. Now to talk installation costs/procedures with the expert. I hope he has time this week/weekend.

...I can't seem to update the first post. Hm. Thought I'd check the milestones off one by one. Guess I'll have to just make a more comprehensive update post soon :)
 
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Fathazard

Fathazard

Patience, Speed & Gratitude
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jul 31, 2015
34
138
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Sweden
  • Expert was positive!
  • Waiting for parts to arrive for the actual working prototype... Maybe I can actually sell it like this. Would almost turn a profit, despite ordering parts for retail prices - that's gotta be a good sign.
 

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