• The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success
  1. Join 40,000+ entrepreneurs
    who are kicking butt and
    winning their dream life.

    Unscripted™ Entrepreneurship:
    A Business That Pays More Than Money, It Pays Time.

    "Fastlane" is an entrepreneur discussion forum based on The Unscripted Entrepreneurial Framework (TUNEF) outlined in the two best-selling books by MJ DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane and UNSCRIPTED™). From multimillionaires to digital nomads, the forum features real entrepreneurs creating real businesses.

    Download (Unscripted) Download (Millionaire Fastlane)  Register
    Registering for the forum removes this block!

How should I do the design process?

Discussion in 'Product Creation, Inventing, Importing, Sourcing' started by Will-v-the-World, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    I recently came up with an idea for a product that fills a need.

    However, I’m confused about how I should actually design the product, since I’m not sure how it will be made (yet); I only know the problem it will be solving.

    So, how do I design the product? Also, how do I know if the product’s design will work when it is used if I only have a drawing?
     
    harp1600 likes this.
  2. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    There are design engineers who have years of training and experience, that make them able to answer these questions. Some of them are used to building prototypes, and then transferring the design into production. Some of them are available to consult. If you have no idea at all where to start, you could be their client. You should be able to get a free short conversation that will help you understand steps, timeline, and pricing. Repeat this with a few different design consultants if you want to get a feel for the going rate.
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  3. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    Where do I find them? Upwork? So they will be able to get the whole thing ready to be manufactured?
     
  4. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    I'm in an area that has a lot of light manufacturing and custom design engineering, because of a history of high tech medical entrepreneurship in the area.

    Last year, I had a client who had an idea for a product that he wanted to mass product. The client hand built his prototype. He then found a design engineer who has a day job at a company that builds complex small medical devices, and who does some moonlighting. The engineer took the design, put it into the CAD/CAM system, and ran simulations showing how it could be successfully manufactured.

    The key component is a plastic piece a few millimeters across. The engineer figured how it could be injection molded flat, then folded to snap together.

    The delicate part was the hinge design. The software simulation is very precise. It shows how the hot molten plastic cools and shrinks over the milliseconds it takes to spread the plastic across the mold. This is the kind of thing an experienced manufacturing engineer will know needs to be accounted for in the design, but you and I don't know to even ask the question.

    The engineer's bill was a few thousand dollars. Through his connections at work, he could get the molds made and some small batches of parts manufactured for another few thousand dollars. He also had connections for how to offshore the production to China so that for a few tens of thousands of dollars up front, the cost per unit would drop way down. He recommended doing the small batch locally for quick turnaround, same language and time zone, and expertise. Once the design was proven, then outsource it.

    The client was working on a Kickstarter campaign to get funds for the next steps. At that point he flaked out on paying me or even talking about tasks and budget for my part of the project, so I gave up on him and don't know what happened next.

    I hope this provides some useful context for you. I don't see where you're located?
     
  5. 404profound
    Online

    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    1,530
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Desert of Desertion
    Rep Bank:
    $2,288
    Not sure if LB mentioned this, but be sure to have anyone you consult with sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to protect your idea.
     
  6. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    Yes NDA's and there was a provisional patent in place, too. The Kickstarter would have raised enough to convert that to a regular full patent.

    I believe the client found the engineer through local referrals, but this is the kind of town where that can happen.
     
    Will-v-the-World and 404profound like this.
  7. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    Thank you, so should design it myself first and then get the engineer to check the design? I’m completely new to all of this, sorry if these are bad questions.

    I live in a town in northeast Alabama. It’s a very small town with very little fastlane opportunity. I plan to move out if I can execute well on this product.
    Thanks for mentioning that, I was just wondering about how I would protect my idea from freelancers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
    Late Bloomer likes this.
  8. 404profound
    Online

    404profound Gold Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    1,530
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Desert of Desertion
    Rep Bank:
    $2,288
    No protection is 100% guaranteed. For example, there are people out there who would ignore NDAs and do it anyway, assuming you wouldn't follow through legally. So ultimately, bringing in outside expertise early on is never risk-free. But you have to evaluate if the risk of outside help is offset by the efficiency gained from their help. I get the sense in your case that it is, but certainly not my place to make that assessment. Could be useful to network with people who have done similar product launches as you're planning and ask them for reputable design engineer support.
     
  9. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    That's what a free conversation would be for. A freelancer should be willing to talk with you briefly and let you know if it's worth your while to even do a sketch, or just to leave it up to the engineer. The situation was different with the client I had, because he had previously made inventions. He knew how to do a lot of custom math and trial and error engineering to build his prototype design. For the new product, the patent is actually about a new application of math to manufacturing engineering. That's why I really wanted to work with him, despite some flakiness about how he does business.

    Are you at all close to Huntsville? I would bet that with all the NASA work there, they would have some people or companies with the same skill set I described of the engineer here.

    Check if there is a local Small Business Administration office that includes the Service Corps of Retired Executives. A SCORE consultation is totally free, the retired executives are volunteers scheduled by the SBA. That should give you some good advice on how to figure out what's next.

    The other thing I'd do is to check with the closest university that has a business or manufacturing department, to find out if they have any kind of free workshops or classes about how to start a business and work with product designs. If they don't, the business librarian at the university could still probably find out if there's some kind of state program out of Huntsville to help new businesses with manufacturing setup.

    If there are potential military or science applications, ask the SCORE adviser about Small Business Innovation Research grant funding.

    My suggestions might not be the right people. But they'll get you closer to the right people you should talk to.
     
  10. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    Oh okay, that makes since. Ill try and contact some engineers asap. First I’ll do what @404profound said and make sure I only work with trustable people.

    Huntsville is about and hour and a half away. Do you recommend looking for an engineer online or in the real world?

    The SCORE thing sounds interesting, I’ll check and see if there are any near me.

    Thank you guys for all of the advice, trying to sort it all out into actionable steps.
     
    Late Bloomer likes this.
  11. Arun Siva
    Offline

    Arun Siva aspiring 大君 of the bourgeoisie Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    1,781
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Location:
    NORD-TRONDELAG
    Rep Bank:
    $12,060
    You will not find a useful Design Engineer on upwork; if this is truly an idea that you are backing and believe in strongly, its best to do all design work and prototyping communication face-to-face with an engineer or else you will waste time and money going back and forth if done online.
    best to go out and network with engineers around your area. Huntsville is a manufacturing hub and there are a lot of engineers there. You can try SCORE chapter and see if they know of anyone; Feel free to PM me as I am a manufacturing and production quality consultant and specialize in dealing with various engineering professions.
     
  12. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    I think you get to remove the "dumb question?" tag now :smile2:

    You recognized that there's something you don't know about. You found a place where people are likely to know about it. You asked concisely. You followed up with relevant information. You participated in an intelligent dialogue. You're building a realistic plan before you commit a lot of time and money. That ain't dumb at all!
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  13. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    Maybe the most important part I haven't mentioned yet is that working with a designer, you need to be specify WHAT needs to happen but not exactly HOW it should be done. The WHAT is your job to provide as client. The HOW is their job to provide as the expert.

    To make up an example, suppose we need to remove two inches of water every hour, the material has to be made of plastic for light weight, and the project might get cold enough to freeze water but not hot enough to boil water. Don't assume this has to mean gutters, or a pump, or an umbrella... let the designer guide you to get specific one step at a time.

    There may be a whole other way to handle water that you don't even know about. Maybe bamboo is just as lightweight, and recyclable. Maybe they'll put in a heater that boils the water away. Maybe they'll add a turbine so the water actually powers the site instead of having to get rid of it. Let them add their knowledge and creativity!

    Or at least a video chat. If you can't gesture and point, it's hard to communicate a design idea when there aren't full drawings yet.

    Thanks a lot for joining the discussion, Arun. Is there anything important to add to the overview I provided? I think this thread might turn into a useful reference for other forum members who need to work with a design engineer.
     
    Walter Hay and Will-v-the-World like this.
  14. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    This is very helpful advice. However, I still have a few questions.

    Do you think I should just tell the engineer what my end product will be and let him figure out how to do it (For example, “cover for a paint brush”)? Or will this cost me way too much since he has to basically do the whole design process? If it does cost a ton, would this be a situation in which I should offer the engineer ownership of the company?
    Haha, thank you. I didn’t know if I was asking something that was common knowledge or whatever.
    My dad told me that he knows a mechanical engineer that I might be able to work with. He said he’ll get me a meeting with him soon, do you think I should give him ownership or see how much he charges?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    Late Bloomer likes this.
  15. sparechange
    Offline

    sparechange Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    1,156
    Likes Received:
    1,277
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2016
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada (Vancouver/Calgary)
    Rep Bank:
    $3,760
    try to build a prototype yourself?
     
  16. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    That's what the meeting is to find out, so you don't have to guess.

    Just like a house or a car, you should find out the paid-in-full cash price first, before you talk about financing at all.

    "Suppose I was able to write you one big check. This would be work for hire, I get all rights. I can patent the design, I can use the design however I like, there are no royalties involved. Is that the typical kind of freelance deal for you? What would that price be? .... Oh I see, now what if we did some kind of installment payments, what kind of deposit would you need to get started and what kind of payment plan would be comfortable for you? .... And if you get royalties instead of as much money up front, is that a way you'd be open to work with me? .... Would you like to see the business plan once I'm done it, and consider some kind of equity deal? Or would you rather know up front how much this is worth?"

    The meeting your Dad can set up sounds great. Your purpose should be to learn about the process and about how much it would cost. Go home and think about it, even if you know right then you'd like the person as your business partner. Follow up a few days later. Give the other person a chance to think it over too.
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  17. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    If he can, but we don't have any idea what kind of product it is or what kind of prototyping ability Will might have.
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  18. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    Ok, I’ll go into the meeting with the goal of learning the process and figuring out the price. Is there anything I should have prepared before I meet him?
    That was originally my plan, but I think it would cost a ridiculous amount of time and possibly money to make it myself. It’s gonna be big and made of plastic, with a lot of different little pieces. Also, I will need an engineer for help with the design whether I make a prototype myself or not.
     
    Late Bloomer likes this.
  19. sparechange
    Offline

    sparechange Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    1,156
    Likes Received:
    1,277
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2016
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada (Vancouver/Calgary)
    Rep Bank:
    $3,760
    get some broke college/uni student to help u for a few bucks then
     
  20. Late Bloomer
    Offline

    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    1,256
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $7,648
    No, the expert should be able to guide you through their process and to let you know if something else is needed from you.
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  21. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    You mean get them to help with the prototype or the design? If the engineer isn’t involved with making the prototype, I’ll try this. However, If the engineer makes a 3d model with physics will I even need a physical prototype?
     
  22. sparechange
    Offline

    sparechange Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    1,156
    Likes Received:
    1,277
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2016
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada (Vancouver/Calgary)
    Rep Bank:
    $3,760
    just for the prototype, so at least you have something to work with when you get a legitimate design going.

    if you are just getting an engineer from the get go and spending lots of cash upfront then sure skip the first part

    check out Lori Greniers book (shark tank investor)
     
    Will-v-the-World likes this.
  23. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    Will do, hopefully that book combined with conversations with engineers will help me understand how things are efficiently taken from idea to market.
     
    sparechange likes this.
  24. Arun Siva
    Offline

    Arun Siva aspiring 大君 of the bourgeoisie Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

    Messages:
    1,129
    Likes Received:
    1,781
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Location:
    NORD-TRONDELAG
    Rep Bank:
    $12,060
    Thank you @Late Bloomer for addressing this on the other user's question of what to do with new inventions; I will reiterate what i wrote to that user as well below;

    You need to have a comprehensive plan to get a reputable manufacturer to take your product seriously. It is just pure economics. You need to be able to sell a good/ well sourced, well supplied factory with a set of detailed drawings and markups, CAD images (may or may not be mandated depending on the type of your product), and maybe you want to have an effective sales pitch if you want it to be manufactured in the USA. (if overseas then a different ballgame) there are a few similarities between getting products made initially domestically or internationally, however after these initial discussions have occurred it takes a big turn in different directions from there. Again this is all just broad generic stuff I am stating.

    Do you have models, prototype(s) and a stable (revisions already addressed and kinked out design issues) print of your idea? Do you have that patented? Do you know what components it entails and whether or not you will be able to change if necessary? Do you have the necessary niche market identified? Before these are fully addressed then you can consider the costing aspect of it, and what a manufacturer or supplier will need in terms of quantification to take your product seriously into consideration for their planning and scheduling. Also your print or model markup needs to be as fully detailed as possible this way a potential supplier can tell you UPFRONT whether or not tier 2 or sub-suppliers need to be utilized for certain acquisition of raw material components or processes (for exmaple, machining, welding, heat treatment, brazing, soldering, plastic injection molding, packaging even, etc etc) there are a myriad of factors that need to be taken into consideration before you embark on this journey.

    Feel free to pm if needed.
     
  25. Will-v-the-World
    Offline

    Will-v-the-World Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    May 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $1,257
    I was planning to have it made overseas because it's kind of a simple product, it's just made of plastic and a little metal. It is sort of large though.

    When you say I need a comprehensive plan, do you mean a "business plan", like an official one?

    I don't have any prototypes, patents, or anything like that yet. I do have the niche market identified. My meeting with the design engineer was delayed until Monday/Tuesday, so still looking forward to that.
    I'll let you guys know how it goes.
     
    Late Bloomer likes this.

Join 1000s of entrepreneurs who are rewriting life's script and winning financial freedom.

---- ----

You must be a member to join the conversation.

Create Account

Join the community fast and easy!

REGISTER

Log In

Already have an account? Login here.

LOG IN

Share This Page