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Author Topic: Almost out of business.  (Read 1080 times)
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Art356A
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« on: March 14, 2018, 11:03:06 AM »

I wore out the bandsaw blade that I used for cutting out the shoes for the winders. Only Vermont American made them and they discontinued them, although they're still on their website. After two days of phone calls, e-mails and personal visits to various possible sources for alternates, MSC is welding one up custom for me of a superior blade stock. $60 instead of the 12 or 14 that I used to pay for the V/A, but this one should last a lifetime, which for me might be another 8 or 10 years if I take care of myself.

art.
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My arms are so weak, it's like that pushup I did last year was a total waste.
skycafe
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 02:00:37 PM »

Art, I am curious how many winders you have made, and if demand has changed over time.
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Art356A
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 05:04:31 PM »

Not being an engineer, I don't keep real good records. Trumeter, my counter supplier, does, and they tell me I've bought 119 counters from them of two different types. There might have been 10 or 12 early units that had other brands, or no counters at all. Also some older units were retrofitted with the new counter modules, which would bring the count down a little. So figure about 115-120 including 5 kits sold, of which 2 were completed.

art.
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My arms are so weak, it's like that pushup I did last year was a total waste.
skycafe
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 10:37:45 PM »

Thanks.   Good on you for doing this.  It is more hobby then cottage industry it seems.
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Art356A
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 10:23:51 AM »

Yeah, one client called it a "public service".

One of the earlier ones sat on Tim Goldstein's desk for several months while he tried to figure out how the design could be modified so it could be assembled by semi-skilled (I supposed) workers and still make a profit. Didn't work out. I've modified the design over the years, partly to make it work better, but mostly to simplify the fabrication (but never at the cost of function). I've build a lot of fabrication and assembly jigs and fixtures that wouldn't be practical for a homebuilder who'd be only making one or two winders.

The whole project was originally intended mostly to prove the concept of chains instead of gears, and I thought that if I could draw up plans, they might get published in a free flight or indoor mag and any interested party could build one. Tim suggested that a kit would make them more affordable. For instance, why would the builder have to buy 12 inches of a square brass tube that he'd only need 0.3 inches of and never use the rest when I could buy the 12 inch stick and make 40 kits with it? The same goes for materials and components that come from different sources and rack up big postage bills. I could divide them up over 10 or 20 kits and save the builders money. But for various good reasons, the kits didn't work out.

Meanwhile, my son the accountant has been after me to sit down with him and figure out how much these things actually cost me to make. I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.

art.
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My arms are so weak, it's like that pushup I did last year was a total waste.
MKelly
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 11:28:27 AM »

Art, I'm not familiar with your winder - can you post a picture of one or a link?

Thanks,

Mike
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flyinryans
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 12:25:11 PM »

Love the winder Art. Works perfect.

If I understand correctly the problem you had recently is cutting out the clear side pieces? Could that be done with a Laser cutter. I know my dad used one to cut some 1/8 clear plastic that I used for baffling on an RC plane. It made a real nice cut and very precise too.
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flyinryans
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 12:27:48 PM »

We'll never mind. I re read your post and it is the metal shoe that was the problem not the sides.
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Art356A
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 12:42:07 PM »

Even a dead blade will cut Lexan, but a laser cutter won't, because of poisonous fumes. I made up a drill jig, which has been working okay for me.

M, this pic is about 5 years old, and things have evolved since then, but it's more-or-less still the same.

Art.
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My arms are so weak, it's like that pushup I did last year was a total waste.
MKelly
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 12:51:44 PM »

Thanks Art - nice looking machine!  Does the display have the ability to show torque, or is it only turn count?

Mike
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skycafe
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 01:12:07 PM »

Yeah, one client called it a "public service".


"Public service" is an accurate statement.   I would guess that if you factored your R&D with a realistic rate of paying yourself that the product cost would be well above what you are offering.

Part of the reason I was curious about the market was the discussion recently (that I can not find now) about rubber strippers.  Based on the photographs it looks like a hobbyist machinist could duplicate, but again the R & D would be a large factor in end cost, and start to push the unit's selling price up, thus pushing it out of the hands of most buyers.

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Crabby
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 01:48:50 PM »

Well, its always some good soul taking the hit. I have a few Wilders and he is out of business. Rees is now in the harp making business. (RIP)
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Art356A
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 06:07:23 PM »

During the early development period, I worked with several consultants who were real engineers. Orville Olm told me that I'd NEVER see the R&D costs again...that was gone. The Gizmo Geezer props and front ends will not be likely to break even during his lifetime (which could get shorter if he doesn't stop playing with those motorcycles). His day job is gummint work; that pays for the toys.

When I first set up the pricing, I figured out the cost of everything closely, then added $5/hour for the 10 hours it took to make one. I've held  that price ever since. I was buying of 10 packs of Panasonic coin cells from the electronics supplier that sells the switches and cell holders, then found the cells were low on voltage as I got down to the last few. Now I buy 2 packs of Duracells from the supermarket next door. They ain't 50ยข like the Panasonics were, but the customer is getting nice fresh top quality cells. The current counter module is a ton more labor intensive than the old one, but that's somewhat offset by finding more favorable parts and material sourcing over the years, and building a big stack of drill jigs, special tools, and assembly fixtures that cut the original build time way back.

My day job is gummint work, too, in a way; I collect social security. That and collecting rent on a couple of commercial buildings in NYC makes ends meet.

art.
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My arms are so weak, it's like that pushup I did last year was a total waste.
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