Cad · Manufacturing

How do I get my idea from Autocad design to production?

Brad Baker President & CEO - PowerUp Games, Inc.

May 6th, 2014

I have an idea for a device.  It will be sold really cheap.  It is for people who have no electricity or very limited electricity.

I can get it designed in AutoCAD.  It should be produced as cheap as possible so I was thinking of using plastic.

Any ideas on which plastics are cheapest?

Any wisdom on getting it done?

I would love to sell 100M of these all over the world. 

Rob G

May 6th, 2014

no shortcuts. you still need to validate product / market fit FIRST. don't pass go and do not collect $200 until you validate product/market fit.  that should not require a 'live' product, but if you think you must have a product in hand then 3D print a few prototypes.  i don't mean to sound like a broken record, but identify your IDEAL prospect first then go pitch them armed with a short slide deck - no product necessary. If fit is good, them print a few prototypes and test some more.  not knowing what your product is it's impossible to recommend how to produce it and certainly no way to recommend best materials.  cheapest production by volume for most plastics is injection molding (high up-front tooling costs).  styrene is likely the cheapest material, but again, no way to recommend materials or process without knowing what you are building. 

Logan Vickery Furniture Designer at Corn Upholstery

May 6th, 2014

There's always ABS... but one of the 6 recyclable plastics are a good choice since they are.... recyclable!   Really depends on the application though... an injection molder can help you make that decision once you are serious about producing a run (minimums are usually around 1,000).  Have you done prototyping?  3D printing is the way to go there.  Be prepared to make and test a few first.  You can always hire an industrial designer with experience in human factors *wink wink*.

Steve Owens

May 6th, 2014

Find a really good product development company to work with. I recommend Finish Line PDS.  I own the company, but in all seriousness, do not try to go it alone - find someone who has done it before.

Robert Tolmach Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur

May 6th, 2014

You need someone on your team with expertise.  I do not know Steve (above), but check them out.  You might also try Quirky.

Arnav Dalmia

May 6th, 2014

Brad, I think I've been in your shoes before. Product development companies are generally very expensive (I dont know about Steves)

My advice would be not to go for Quirky. It leaves you with no control over your product. You just share your idea, and if people like it, Quirky makes it for you. In return you get a small cut

Therefore, I think it really depends on your budget and extent of involvement

Kevin Burke Public Sector Management Consultant

May 6th, 2014

Depends on the size. If it's not complex (i.e. not a lot of moving parts, not exposed to harsh elements, etc), injection molding is probably the best manufacturing method if you're looking at that kind of scale of production. Pennies per part (or cheaper) if it's not too big or intricate to make, although most of your cost is up front making the mold. Hope that helps. Kevin

Lily Su Rhino CAD Modeler

May 6th, 2014

I second Rob, you need to prototype to make sure your device will work with the 3D printed plastics at their density and rigidity. Have your in real form first to make sure it is what you intended, then approach mass manufacturing. 

ABS is the standard injection molding material, but it depends on the relationships you develop with manufacturers. I have seen rubbery but rigid silicones about 2in x 2in x 1/5in come at around .30/each produced in China in a run of around 3000 units. As said before, there is always a start-up fee of getting a first run, minimum of about 1000 units, so be prepared for that with injection molding. 

Jim Lundberg Programmmer at Bosch North America

May 8th, 2014

I can help you with printing the prototypes on a 3D printer or I think there are some mail shipping stores that have them also now.

Jim Lundberg Programmmer at Bosch North America

May 8th, 2014

Also I made a product that required 6 plastic parts and worked with Lolo Company to produce a 3D five level tic-tac-toe game called 3D5.  It was produced by Erison  company in Guangzhou Province.  The total tooling cost was only about $11,500, which seems pretty reasonable.   Here is the rep

Rebecca Fu

erison@netvigator.com

Erison Industrial Limited

tel: 852 2344 0748

fax: 852 2304 0351

flat 8, 6/f., block a, mai hing ind. bldg.,

16-18 hing yip street, kwun tong, kln.,

hong kong

Lily Su Rhino CAD Modeler

May 8th, 2014

Cool. Do you have a link to what the game looked like? How many runs were done and what kind of plastic?