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Stuck: hit a wall in developing my product

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4runner

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Apr 12, 2013
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Hi Fastlaners,

I'm developing a product and have spent a ton of time creating the prototype.

I've done as much as I can do myself, and need some outside guidance on how to finalize the prototype and guide me on how to get it mass-produced.

I believe I need a custom part designed (lightweight plastic) to make my product work.

Any ideas on how to find someone that could help me for a reasonable price? Ideally I'd like to sit down with someone and have them take a look at what I've already made and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then develop the part I need to make my product function properly. Most of the product consulting companies I've found online cost thousands of dollars, and I'm operating on a small budget...

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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broswoodwork

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Hi Fastlaners,

I'm developing a product and have spent a ton of time creating the prototype.

I've done as much as I can do myself, and need some outside guidance on how to finalize the prototype and guide me on how to get it mass-produced.

I believe I need a custom part designed (lightweight plastic) to make my product work.

Any ideas on how to find someone that could help me for a reasonable price? Ideally I'd like to sit down with someone and have them take a look at what I've already made and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then develop the part I need to make my product function properly. Most of the product consulting companies I've found online cost thousands of dollars, and I'm operating on a small budget...

Thanks so much for your help!
Have you looked for any freelance mechanical design engineers on LinkedIn or upwork? They should be fairly reasonable per hour, or at least not $$$$ upfront.
 
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4runner

4runner

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Have you looked for any freelance mechanical design engineers on LinkedIn or upwork? They should be fairly reasonable per hour, or at least not $$$$ upfront.
LinkedIn is a good idea, however I'd like to find someone who has a service specifically for product consulting rather than trying to hunt someone down who may or may not be interested / able to deliver. I haven't tried upwork yet because ideally I'd like someone local who can actually sit down with me and look at what I'm doing and advise.

I've reached out to the local entrepreneur center but they have not gotten back to me yet. One idea I just thought of is contacting the local maker space to see if they know of anybody local, so I'll do that now.

Another thing I'm struggling with is just general direction / figuring out the next steps to get my business up and running / lonliness / lack of support. I'm sure this is a very common problem in entrepreneurship. Any ideas of how to deal with that? Maybe hiring a business coach or something? Ideally a solution that can be found locally...
 
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4runner

4runner

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How about a local vocational school? They usually will do work for the public and may only charge the cost of materials.
That's a great idea - I can call around to schools and see if they have students that would be interested in a project...
 

Ismails

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Industry Based Networking Events: If you are somehow lucky to meet someone who understands you, your project, then you can start working together and split the profit later.

Personally I think team would be awesome and reduce the workload because its powerful. Doing alone will take a lot of time, energy & money prolly.
 

broswoodwork

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Maybe hiring a business coach or something?
Ahh... I wouldn't personally, but some people here seem to swear by them. At least wait until your business profits pay for the business coach, if you're going to go that way. 2cents

LinkedIn may be the answer. You can send them a message, get them on the phone, etc etc. They may be able to recommend a cheaper manufacturing solution for your part. (Possibly 3d print, or milled aluminum?) They may even hook you up with a, or run their own, prototyping shop.
 
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4runner

4runner

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I'm really wondering what solutions most entrepreneurs have found to help keep them on track with working on their business and help them get over roadblocks they face as a result of their lack of expertise. For example, I do not know how to design parts in CAD or even what kind of part I need - I need engineering expertise. Unfortunately when I hit this wall, my progress on the project stalled and I got frustrated because I feel like it's so hard to find someone who can help me. Maybe like ya'll are saying - I may have to hunt someone down on linkedin or at a tech school - I was just wondering what my options are.

I can only do so much on my own, and it's very lonely - I feel like everything is on me alone to get my project completed. Is this common? I feel like I need a team, but just starting out I can't justify the expense as I'm not even 100% sure this product is going to be a success. But I can't do it all myself because I'm not an expert in all the things I need done. I know I need to delegate, but I'm often in situations where I don't even know what tasks to delegate because I don't even know the next step to take. This is what makes me wonder how to solve this problem, eg business coach / something similar?

Sorry I'm rambling, I'm just a little frustrated with myself. I've had this idea for years, have taken massive action in the last few months to get a prototype, but feel like I can't make much more progress on my project alone. I'm definitely going to need some outside help. I'm just not used to delegating and struggle with even what to delegate like I mentioned above.

I really appreciate all of your comments / help and hope everyone is having a wonderful new years eve!!!
 

broswoodwork

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keep them on track with working on their business and help them get over roadblocks they face
For me, it's sales. Hearing the notification ding on an order still gets me as excited as it did five years ago.

I think a lot of people, over think their product or service, and spend forever creating it. They never put something out to market.

If you get going on something, it'll give you the confidence and experience to move forward with bigger things. It'll also finance the whole thing.

Idk... now I'm rambling. Sorry.
 

Empires

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I'm really wondering what solutions most entrepreneurs have found to help keep them on track with working on their business and help them get over roadblocks they face as a result of their lack of expertise. For example, I do not know how to design parts in CAD or even what kind of part I need - I need engineering expertise. Unfortunately when I hit this wall, my progress on the project stalled and I got frustrated because I feel like it's so hard to find someone who can help me. Maybe like ya'll are saying - I may have to hunt someone down on linkedin or at a tech school - I was just wondering what my options are.

I can only do so much on my own, and it's very lonely - I feel like everything is on me alone to get my project completed. Is this common? I feel like I need a team, but just starting out I can't justify the expense as I'm not even 100% sure this product is going to be a success. But I can't do it all myself because I'm not an expert in all the things I need done. I know I need to delegate, but I'm often in situations where I don't even know what tasks to delegate because I don't even know the next step to take. This is what makes me wonder how to solve this problem, eg business coach / something similar?

Sorry I'm rambling, I'm just a little frustrated with myself. I've had this idea for years, have taken massive action in the last few months to get a prototype, but feel like I can't make much more progress on my project alone. I'm definitely going to need some outside help. I'm just not used to delegating and struggle with even what to delegate like I mentioned above.

I really appreciate all of your comments / help and hope everyone is having a wonderful new years eve!!!
I think you are over complicating it a bit. There are always going to be hurdles in business, just keep moving forward.

I've had parts developed from freelance engineers on Upwork, depending on the complexity it can be pretty reasonable.

If you hit an obstacle that you don't know how to solve then you find someone who does know how to solve it.
 

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alexkuzmov

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Hi Fastlaners,

I'm developing a product and have spent a ton of time creating the prototype.

I've done as much as I can do myself, and need some outside guidance on how to finalize the prototype and guide me on how to get it mass-produced.

I believe I need a custom part designed (lightweight plastic) to make my product work.

Any ideas on how to find someone that could help me for a reasonable price? Ideally I'd like to sit down with someone and have them take a look at what I've already made and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then develop the part I need to make my product function properly. Most of the product consulting companies I've found online cost thousands of dollars, and I'm operating on a small budget...

Thanks so much for your help!
About the prototype, do you need just one part or guidence + unknown number of parts to finish it?
It would help if you explain what the product does and what is the part that is missing.
Do you need some kind of cogwheel, axis, a mount of some sort?
Is it a complex mechanical part?

I have a little experience with mechanical engineering, maybe I can help with a little guidance
 
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4runner

4runner

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Apr 12, 2013
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I think you are over complicating it a bit. There are always going to be hurdles in business, just keep moving forward.

I've had parts developed from freelance engineers on Upwork, depending on the complexity it can be pretty reasonable.

If you hit an obstacle that you don't know how to solve then you find someone who does know how to solve it.
I'm sure I am overcomplicating... You're right, sometimes I just don't even know who to reach out to help me but I guess that's just part of the process. I could find someone who may have some kind of knowledge on a task I'm having trouble with and then ask them to refer me to someone who could help with the task...
 
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4runner

4runner

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About the prototype, do you need just one part or guidence + unknown number of parts to finish it?
It would help if you explain what the product does and what is the part that is missing.
Do you need some kind of cogwheel, axis, a mount of some sort?
Is it a complex mechanical part?

I have a little experience with mechanical engineering, maybe I can help with a little guidance
It's one part. It's a coupling to connect a threaded rod to another component. It's not something complicated at all, I just need someone to determine the design that will work best to achieve my desired function and also has the expertise to design it in a way that is optimal for mass-production.

The plan I have in my head right now is:

1) Find someone who can sit down with me locally and evaluate my needs based on my physical prototype I've created (through linkedin outreach or local trade schools)
2) Have that someone produce the part I need
3) Assuming the part works as desired, approach manufacturing companies with the CAD file for price quotes on mass-manufacturing
 

alexkuzmov

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It's one part. It's a coupling to connect a threaded rod to another component. It's not something complicated at all, I just need someone to determine the design that will work best to achieve my desired function and also has the expertise to design it in a way that is optimal for mass-production.

The plan I have in my head right now is:

1) Find someone who can sit down with me locally and evaluate my needs based on my physical prototype I've created (through linkedin outreach or local trade schools)
2) Have that someone produce the part I need
3) Assuming the part works as desired, approach manufacturing companies with the CAD file for price quotes on mass-manufacturing
Do you mean this: threaded rod coupling - Google Search

but made out of some sort of plastic?
 
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4runner

4runner

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Do you mean this: threaded rod coupling - Google Search

but made out of some sort of plastic?
Yes that would be just one element of the part I need created. one side of the coupling would screw into the rod, and the other side of the coupling will have to be a custom bracket that attaches the rod to the component. So this part connects a rod to a component - one side screws into the rod, the other side will connect a component. There is no part that exists (that I can find) that connects the way I want it to, so it's going to have to be custom.
 

alexkuzmov

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Yes that would be just one element of the part I need created. one side of the coupling would screw into the rod, and the other side of the coupling will have to be a custom bracket that attaches the rod to the component. So this part connects a rod to a component - one side screws into the rod, the other side will connect a component. There is no part that exists (that I can find) that connects the way I want it to, so it's going to have to be custom.
How big is the part? Need some rough dimensions
How strong must the bracket be? Will it have dynamic or static load on it? Are you expecting a big load on it?
 
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4runner

4runner

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How big is the part? Need some rough dimensions
How strong must the bracket be? Will it have dynamic or static load on it? Are you expecting a big load on it?
Will be small - could fit in your hand. Static load that holds less than 2lbs. Part needs to be very lightweight (plastic). I know this doesn't tell you much, but that's what I need. I really am hoping I can find someone local to sit down with me. I assume anyone with decent cad skills should be able to make this part. I've reached out to a lot of people this week and I assume the lack of responses I've received has to do with the holiday week. I'm just being impatient - ready to get this stuff done, product launched, and move on. I've been sitting too long on this (3+ years) and have committed to building it and it either flying or dying before moving on to other projects.
 

Conscripted

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Its great that you are working on your project. I've got some experience with CAD. It really isn't difficult once you get used to it. You can learn the basics in a few hours. It sounds like a 3d printed part would be strong enough for your prototype. With a few hours work and a few videos you can probably work out the design yourself. Once you accomplished that you could take it to a local makerspace for printing. Alternatively you could purchase your own printer for a few hundred dollars.
 

karakoram

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@4runner Why don't you contact me, and I will give you some advice on which direction to go. At the very least, this will require a skype call with video so you can show me your prototype. Alternatively, you can send me photos of it and we can talk by phone. I can give you some guidance on which direction to go from here. I can give you some idea of the costs to go into production on an injection molded product.

I'm a 12 year+ experienced mechanical design engineer with several hundred projects (new product development) under my belt. I have extensive experience with molded plastic product design, machined parts & assemblies, sheet metal, and castings. I have designed products for aerospace, automotive, firearms, hydraulics, pnuematics, manufacturing equipment and consumer products. Additionally, I have well over 16K hours 3D CAD and 2D detail drawing experience mostly on Solidworks (I'm describing my slowlane job as an M.E.).
If you would like more background, I would be happy to PM you my LinkedIn and email my resume & sample portfolio.
 

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alexkuzmov

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Will be small - could fit in your hand. Static load that holds less than 2lbs. Part needs to be very lightweight (plastic). I know this doesn't tell you much, but that's what I need. I really am hoping I can find someone local to sit down with me. I assume anyone with decent cad skills should be able to make this part. I've reached out to a lot of people this week and I assume the lack of responses I've received has to do with the holiday week. I'm just being impatient - ready to get this stuff done, product launched, and move on. I've been sitting too long on this (3+ years) and have committed to building it and it either flying or dying before moving on to other projects.
It sounds to me that you can manufacture the coupling on a small lathe: Mini Lathe Machine: Amazon.com
or if you dont have experience with a lathe then you can find someone who works on a lathe.
As for the bracket, can you get away with making it by hand from a plastic block or wood?
If its a prototype, you dont need to go all fancy, it just needs to work, right?
 

AppMan

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May 25, 2019
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Hi Fastlaners,

I'm developing a product and have spent a ton of time creating the prototype.

I've done as much as I can do myself, and need some outside guidance on how to finalize the prototype and guide me on how to get it mass-produced.

I believe I need a custom part designed (lightweight plastic) to make my product work.

Any ideas on how to find someone that could help me for a reasonable price? Ideally I'd like to sit down with someone and have them take a look at what I've already made and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then develop the part I need to make my product function properly. Most of the product consulting companies I've found online cost thousands of dollars, and I'm operating on a small budget...

Thanks so much for your help!
Plastic and small parts ? buy a personal 3D printer they are not expensive, and create your parts until it fit your product, then send the 3D design file to specialist company to product in mass .
I dont know what kind of product you have , you can PM me your spesific question about design and will try to answer them if your product is Electrical or Mechanical for free. however this is not expert advise , just a friend trying to help .
 

Rabby

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Sounds like something that can be done in CAD, even Blender, pretty quickly. If you don't find any other options, you can probably do this yourself with some work and a few tutorials. For prototype and feedback, at least. 3D print it, or order it printed from Shapeways or some other 3D printing source.

Just as an example, I did this in a few minutes in Blender:
29483

The threads won't fit whatever rod you're using, but most likely the threads will be cut using a tap and die anyway. Your manufacturer can add that (they can probably make the whole model for you too, but that's another story). Large enough threads can even be 3D printed in plastic. Screw the rod in the hole (whatever size it is) and attach the mystery thing to the mystery widget. If you're inventing products, a little CAD / 3D modeling isn't a bad skill to have. Probably not essential, but worth learning a bit about it while you look for a pro.

See if you have a local makerspace / hackerspace. They usually have helpful enthusiastic people. They might model it for you, teach you to model it, or provide some other help.
 
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4runner

4runner

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Thank you all so much for your help. I've reflected the past few days about what you all have said and on my project.

I think as you mentioned that it would be a great thing to learn CAD myself to do some quick prototyping of ideas that I have, and I may decide to invest the time in learning that skillset in the future. At this point, I'm realizing that I've tried to do everything on my own, and that has resulted in a project that should have only taken a few months to complete to take a few years, and I'm still on the runway...

I believe my main problem has been in my lack of delegation, which I realize is a very important skill to have as an entrepreneur. It seems to me that in running a company, one of the most important skillsets for the leader is being able to delegate tasks to those with specialized skillsets - to be the visionary and "direct the orchestra" in the "production of the symphony."

Because the specialized skillsets I need to run my company may be hard to find locally, especially if I have to hunt them down with great efforts, it's much easier to hire freelancers online who already "have their hands raised" to do specific types of work.

I've decided to hire a freelancer on Fiverr for this job. He was easy to find, has the exact skillset I need to create my component, and was very reasonably priced. I created a written document for the freelancer describing my needs in detail as well as a short youtube video I filmed on my phone that helped him further be able to visualize what I need.

I realize starting a business from scratch can truly be a rollercoaster, and it can't all happen in a day. Persistence, patience, and consistency is key. I'm learning as I'm doing and trying not to get frustrated with hangups, as they are inevitable. With this business, as it is my first built according to fastlane principles, my main goal is to learn the PROCESS. With the skills I learn in this little business, I'll be able to transfer them to an even bigger venture.

I appreciate so much the community here and will definitely post again once this business is flying. Still coasting down the runway and hope to be in the air within the next 3 months. Happy new year to all! Peace and love.
 

Erick Rodgers

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LinkedIn is a good idea, however I'd like to find someone who has a service specifically for product consulting rather than trying to hunt someone down who may or may not be interested / able to deliver. I haven't tried upwork yet because ideally I'd like someone local who can actually sit down with me and look at what I'm doing and advise.

I've reached out to the local entrepreneur center but they have not gotten back to me yet. One idea I just thought of is contacting the local maker space to see if they know of anybody local, so I'll do that now.

Another thing I'm struggling with is just general direction / figuring out the next steps to get my business up and running / lonliness / lack of support. I'm sure this is a very common problem in entrepreneurship. Any ideas of how to deal with that? Maybe hiring a business coach or something? Ideally a solution that can be found locally...
_----------------
When I was in the process of developing my product, I went through upwork as well. You can set distance requirements within upwork.

The engineer that I found was within 1/2 hour of my location, in my opinion totally convenient.
 

Vadim26

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@4runner congrats on the progress!

Solidworks has a cool feature "Photoview 360" that let's you generate realistic looking images of your 3D model. You can ask your freelancer to get you some pics for your website or whatever.

_----------------
When I was in the process of developing my product, I went through upwork as well. You can set distance requirements within upwork.

The engineer that I found was within 1/2 hour of my location, in my opinion totally convenient.
I have never seen this feature. Where did you find it?
 
Last edited:

ruzara5

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Hi Fastlaners,

I'm developing a product and have spent a ton of time creating the prototype.

I've done as much as I can do myself, and need some outside guidance on how to finalize the prototype and guide me on how to get it mass-produced.

I believe I need a custom part designed (lightweight plastic) to make my product work.

Any ideas on how to find someone that could help me for a reasonable price? Ideally I'd like to sit down with someone and have them take a look at what I've already made and what I'm trying to accomplish, and then develop the part I need to make my product function properly. Most of the product consulting companies I've found online cost thousands of dollars, and I'm operating on a small budget...

Thanks so much for your help!
Prototype plastics or material in general. Try 'makers' in fb or g or another. Also youtube videos of people with 3d printers and these people like to make prototypes at market rates.
 

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