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Selling products to the military.

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Cnc1

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In my estonian army days I noticed a need for a special product. After some research it was clear. The product has not been invented yet. Not even in China.

For several years I have been prototyping and testing my invention and the feedback from the local army has been positive. There is a lot of information how to sell and how to become a partner to the US military but has anyone of you guys actually sold products to the US military or another country?
 
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In my estonian army days I noticed a need for a special product. After some research it was clear. The product has not been invented yet. Not even in China.

For several years I have been prototyping and testing my invention and the feedback from the local army has been positive. There is a lot of information how to sell and how to become a partner to the US military but has anyone of you guys actually sold products to the US military or another country?

YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION!

Yes I have sold to the government. How far along on the development side are you?

I LOVE that it isn't something that exists and you aren't going to be responding to an RFP with a bunch of other goons.
 

RahKnee

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I haven't personally done this, but I recommend you look into the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program. You might be able to get a government grant to finish the prototype to R&D phase.

My thoughts as well. DoD just released their second batch of SBIR requests for this year. You can check and see if your product fits any of their advertised needs. You've got until mid June or so to submit a proposal.

I keep an eye on the DoD releases, as there's a great deal of money to be made. Unfortunately most of them are in areas that require expertise in things I know nothing about.
 

Cnc1

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How far along on the development side are you?

The product itself is ready, but the production process has to be simplified. I think plastic injection molding is the solution. In a long term it´s cheaper than CNC milling.

I haven't personally done this, but I recommend you look into the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program.

Thanks
 

Cnc1

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I sent an e-mail to my country's Defence Investment Centre. They actually liked my prototype and asked if I could make a demo day on the field. The only problem was that my prototype was made of metal. They told me that it had to be plastic. I needed a 3D printed prototype. I downloaded a CAD program and started learning how to draw. It has been a frustrating three weeks but managed to create my prototype in a CAD program. At the moment I'm waiting for the 3D printing guys.

A week ago a big military equipment seller called me and asked if I could meet with them. Someone from the Defence Investment Centre told them about my little prototype. It turned out that the United States military contacted them and asked for a product like my prototype.

Should I show them my 3D printed prototype and collaborate or do the whole thing on my own?
 

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I once got a large order from the US military. It was a PO and the goods were shipped to Afghanistan. That was the easy part. The hard part was getting paid. I needed the person who signed off of the PO to acknowledge that they got the shipment. Problem was that when he got deployed he would be off base for weeks. I would be calling Afghanistan for weeks at 3am to try to reach him. Eventually I got paid, but I'd never do it again. They need to pay upfront by credit card now.
 

masterneme

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I sent an e-mail to my country's Defence Investment Centre. They actually liked my prototype and asked if I could make a demo day on the field. The only problem was that my prototype was made of metal. They told me that it had to be plastic. I needed a 3D printed prototype. I downloaded a CAD program and started learning how to draw. It has been a frustrating three weeks but managed to create my prototype in a CAD program. At the moment I'm waiting for the 3D printing guys.
WOW, just like that, you took action and you got rewarded, just to show how "fortune rewards the brave".
 
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Late Bloomer

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Should I show them my 3D printed prototype and collaborate or do the whole thing on my own?

Ask them for information! Tell the General straight up, "Sir, I don't have enough information yet to choose my business plan to bring this design into production for you. Who can I talk with, to learn about my options to collaborate directly with you, or to first develop the business and then come back when I'm ready for mass production?" Any military leader should be able to respect that you want to discover some options, so you can make an informed plan!
 

Cnc1

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The 3D printed prototype was brittle but it kinda worked. I needed something stronger. After some research I found that a plastic called PA6 should work but it had to be milled from a solid block.
I contacted seven different milling companies and all of them said that they can't do it because the shape is too difficult. "Use a 3D printer" they said.
A week later I found a company that uses cnc machines in their production but does not offer milling services. I went straight to the owner told him about my problem. He agreed to help me. The company made 4 prototypes and the best thing is that they do actually work. Demoday for the military will be in a couple of weeks. Time to practice my sales pitch.
 
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Cnc1

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Demo day DONE. Lots of positive feedback even from high ranking military officers. There are some safety issues that need to be solved but overall the product works. The officers pre ordered 1000 pieces for the local army.
Right now I'm writing an application for defence industry development support to help me finance plastic injection molds. If the decision is positive, then the ministry of defence will finance the molds and help with marketing in NATO member countries.
To this day I remember my friends saying: "Dude, no one will buy your stupid invention. Do something that is actually worth something". I'm glad that I did not listen to them.
 
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D

Deleted50669

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Demo day DONE. Lots of positive feedback even from high ranking military officers. There are some safety issues that need to be solved but overall the product works. The officers pre ordered 1000 pieces for the local army.
Right now I'm writing an application for defence industry development support to help me finance plastic injection molds. If the decision is positive, then the ministry of defence will finance the molds and help with marketing in NATO member countries.
To this day I remember my friends saying: "Dude, no one will buy your stupid invention. Do something that is actually worth something". I'm glad that I did not listen to them.

This is awesome and inspiring. Congrats on the first batch order.
 

YoungPadawan

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I sent an e-mail to my country's Defence Investment Centre. They actually liked my prototype and asked if I could make a demo day on the field. The only problem was that my prototype was made of metal. They told me that it had to be plastic. I needed a 3D printed prototype. I downloaded a CAD program and started learning how to draw. It has been a frustrating three weeks but managed to create my prototype in a CAD program. At the moment I'm waiting for the 3D printing guys.

A week ago a big military equipment seller called me and asked if I could meet with them. Someone from the Defence Investment Centre told them about my little prototype. It turned out that the United States military contacted them and asked for a product like my prototype.

Should I show them my 3D printed prototype and collaborate or do the whole thing on my own?
That is crazy awesome! Rep+++

As for your question, I'm not totally sure as I've never sold to the government or worked with them before. Best of luck!
 

throttleforward

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I've worked directly for the person in charge of acquisition as well as defense exports for the US Army. If the OP or anyone else needs a contact or advice in how to navigate US DoD acquisition or exporting defense articles from the US abroad feel free to reach out.
 
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The Abundant Man

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Is this you?

815g85eEOBL.jpg



View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rwh9c_E3dJk
 

GoGetter24

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Demo day DONE. Lots of positive feedback even from high ranking military officers. There are some safety issues that need to be solved but overall the product works. The officers pre ordered 1000 pieces for the local army.
Right now I'm writing an application for defence industry development support to help me finance plastic injection molds. If the decision is positive, then the ministry of defence will finance the molds and help with marketing in NATO member countries.
To this day I remember my friends saying: "Dude, no one will buy your stupid invention. Do something that is actually worth something". I'm glad that I did not listen to them.
We have a legit fastlaner, ladies and gentlemen.
 
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Cnc1

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The ministry of defence approved my application!

Unbelievable.

The defence committee approves only ideas or prototypes that have a high export potential and my prototype is one of them. Compared to others applicants I'm basically a nobody. But finally I'm getting a chance to be in the game. The defence industries entry barrier is high but for me it just got like a kilometer lower. Next month I will sign a contract with the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Force.

One step closer again.
 
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Jeff Noel

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Compared to others applicants I'm basically a nobody
The only difference between a nobody and them is action or inaction. Keep executing, you're a part of "them" now !
 

Johnny Bravo

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How inspiring! Kudos!!

I had never heard of the SBIR before and I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread because I'm now in the process of applying for a DoD contract. Thanks for sharing this with us so we can all benefit!
 
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Cnc1

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The only difference between a nobody and them is action or inaction. Keep executing, you're a part of "them" now !

I will. Thanks!

How inspiring! Kudos!!

I had never heard of the SBIR before and I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread because I'm now in the process of applying for a DoD contract. Thanks for sharing this with us so we can all benefit!

I will keep you updated.
 

CareCPA

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@MJ DeMarco or @Vigilante shouldn't this be notable by now?
Created a new product based on a need he saw, proved the need, got market feedback and a 1,000 piece pre-order
 

Vigilante

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Required

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Very inspiring indeed! Love this thread and will be keeping an eye on it for sure.
Glad you took action despite what everyone else said..

Mis pataljonis teenisid? Palju jõudu ja jaksu!
 

Johnny Bravo

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Kudos to Mile for starting this thread. I just submitted a proposal to the Air Force today because I was inspired by your story. Just goes to show how helpful this place is!

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
 

rockit11

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I was wondering if I'd ever see my job show up on here. I'm a government (military in my case) Contracting Officer. I lurk here often. I can answer some basic questions. The government buys almost everything you can think of and a lot of things you couldn't.
 
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