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I have a prototype!

cowgirl8's Avatar

Finally decided to take one of my ideas and run with it. Got a hold of a plastics guy who designs. Met up with a rough made prototype i made out of clay just in case i couldnt explain it well enough for him to understand. In a few days, he had a 3D drawing of my thing. It looked good and i gave him the go ahead to make a prototype off his 3D printer. In a week, he had a prototype i could hold in my hand and use. The cost this far has been $950.
I did a patent search, and an internet search on my doohickey. Now that we had a prototype and a computer 3D drawing, i found a patent guy who in the next week is going to do further patent searches. He charges $400 for this search. If he finds nothing, we’ll go the next step of patent pending, or if he suggest something else.
I’m learning as we go. This is not for the faint of heart, waiting and worrying is not easy. The money part isnt easy either. Just got an estimate for a silicone mold that will make no more than 40 parts. Cost of the mold is over $1000 and each piece will cost $41 to make, In the end, each piece will cost over $80 after everything is said and done, the price i’ve estimated to sell them for is $10. But, its smart to go this way to make sure the doohickey actually works like i want it to before we invest in a injection mold..
Really considering getting into Kickstarter. If i jump in deeper and have the silicone mold made and get 40 pieces out of it, i can go on kickstarter to see what kind of interest i’ll get on this thing. Going to look deeper into Kickstart. Any personal experience on it would be greatly appreciated.

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brainstream's Avatargold

Sounds like an expensive way to go about things. Have you done any market research? Have you done a complete comparison of your product against others in the field? Why not submit it to Edison Nation for $25 and let them do some of the heavy lifting in the research and intellectual property searches? they are experts with contacts that you will never access on your own.

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shmidster's Avatar

You sound pretty passionate about your idea and that is great!
It is also great that you have a 3D drawing and a physical prototype

You can get a provisional patent pending status by yourself through uspto for $65 right now to at least get some patent pending status going
So what is the point of getting a silicone mold? Sounds like a lot if money for a few pieces of inventory for no purpose
You already have a 3D drawing and a prototype
Have you tried to license it yet?

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dxflyer's Avatargold

Welcome to Edison Nation, the helpful place.

Might I suggest reading as much as you can here. I’d recommend running a search for the “Lesson” Threads they’re packed full of useful information, like how to approach investors, how the process works and most importantly how to present your idea.

Good Luck to you Cowgirl, here we’ve all traveled down the same road you’re on, if you have questions simply ask.

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cowgirl8's Avatar

The plastics guy i stumbled on has helped many people get their things made, so i’m putting my trust in him.. Did the charge for his work seem reasonable? I’d like to stay with this guy, he seems nice and he’s near my mom’s house. We have to travel a couple hours to his place so being able to visit my mom is a plus. And he’s in my home town, i like supporting my old home town.
The reason to consider the silicone mold is what if we went ahead and made the injection molds and find out the threads arent quite right. The one selling point to this gadget is no gasket. It cant leak. The prototype is made with a printer and the plastic is rough. When i use it, it leaks some, but is it because the plastic is a printed layered rough plastic. The end product plastic will be a little flexible making a better seal, or will it.. I agree though, i’d like to omit that and go with just a regular mold.
Can you license it without knowing if there is a patent on it yet? I’ll look into the provisional patent pending, although i already have a patent guy looking. I have my husband handling all the technical things, but i’m observing along the way.
I know my product would have a limited base, but maybe not. I think that with the internet i could sell enough to make my money back easy. Beyond that i dont know. Not sure if its an edison type thing, by itself its pretty much nothing. It does nothing. It just helps you do something with something you already have….if that makes sense. Soon as i have it protected i’ll let yall in on what it is..I go from thinking i’m crazy stupid to i gotta hurry up and get it done before someone else does. The plastic guy had no idea what the heck it was. After i had my papers, prototype i let him in on it. Looking at it and seeing what it does without knowing the other thing it does, its seems like a weird useless idea. I told him and he was like, “Whhhaaaat” He then got excited and more energetic on getting us to the patent guy. The two work closely together…..i’m sure before he knew what it was he kind of felt sorry for me…lol

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shmidster's Avatar

It sounds like you want to make the mold to do some more testing. I would try 2 things first
There are many different types of plastics you can use in a 3d printer, some are hard and some are soft. Try nylon or “ninja flex” those material print very flexible and the ninja flex is pretty strong feels like a strong silicone

Also inventing costs way more than you might think and you should save money as much as possible. You might make a silicone mold and find out that you need to make another etc..
It is not hard to make a decent silicone mold and it is not expensive. Go online and watch a few how to videos and make your own out of the prototype that you have it should cost probably around $100 maybe less

Look into provisional patent, you can’t lose it is super cheap offers protection while you are waiting for the lawyer

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cowgirl8's Avatar

Glad i came here. You can learn anything on youtube. Being very crafty people, i see no reason why we cant make a silicone mold. I have the prototype that works….the mold does not look that difficult… I didnt even think i could manage a mold. Pretty excited!!! this will save me so much money…

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magurn's Avataren_staff_badge

Welcome Cowgirl 8!

Just a quick note on our process, we do not require a patent or patent-pending status to review your idea for potential licensing opportunities. Something you may want to consider is checking our our Insider program (www.edisonnation.com/insiders). If you upgrade your account to Insider membership, and then submit your idea (you must upgrade first), you can get feedback from the EN team on your idea.

Whichever path you chose we wish you the best of luck!

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cowgirl8's Avatar

Thank you Michelle…actually, i’ve been around for a long time. I’ve submitted ideas years ago. I’ll consider the upgrade….

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magurn's Avataren_staff_badge

My apologies! You certainly have! Well, welcome back to the forums! And wish you luck!

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williamj's Avatargold

Hi Cowgirl 8 and like Michelle said… Welcome back to the forums !

I’ve not done any of what you propose myself. So, I am talking of the top of my head and speaking out of turn but, that’s generally what old goats like me do any way.

It seems like going the “least painful to pocket book” route would be the way to go. As stated there are a lot of things, like Akiva B suggested, that you can do for yourself. Try them, try them all, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what “you” can accomplish.

As far as the little leak from a printed prototype… 3D printed objects, for the most part, aren’t meant to be a “final” product. They are first and foremost, like your application, test prototypes. Most take their printed prototype and modify and tweak and “make” it work to their specifications. As far as “fixing” the leak, just apply a little (appropriate) adhesive and then sand, polish and/or buff back into specs.

That’s the trade of with working with a limited budget… you spend more time and effort than money.

Best of luck

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cowgirl8's Avatar

I’m always coming up with goofy ideas.. My husband has always listened, but this is the first one he’s willing to fork out time and money on. Not that i couldnt do it on my own, but its good when you have someone who stands next to you who believes..i hope i dont disappoint him.

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kabuj's Avataree_badge

Cowgirl… If I read correctly, you have been quoted $1000 for a silicone mold – right? My question is if you have the prototype why not make the mold yourself for less than $100 (depending on size) and then you can cast as many parts as you want for a few dollars each (depending on the size of the product). You can buy various kinds of casting liquids which simulate most all types of plastic, urethane or rubber.

If you want a source to purchase silicone and various casting liquids let me know and I will post my source.

My two cents.

Good Luck

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cowgirl8's Avatar

Yes, i plan to experiment with making my own mold….please post your source…thanks!

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dxflyer's Avatargold

Best place I’ve used for mold making is Smooth-On, they make every type of mold making or cast materials you can imagine!

Check em out:
smooth-on.com

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wendybialek's Avatargold

Hi Cowgirl B, I had my prototype made from plastic for $400. I went to freelancer.com and had a bid from England. He was the cheapest so I went with him.
I wanted just to see how it may look and work in person. I also had CAD drawings done too Inexpensively. I have a provisional right now on it.

I do have another product I licensed and I made an easy prototype and the company that took it on finalized dimensions etc with me. So, it’s on the market and I did not spend a ton. It is patent pending…applied for not a provisional. It’s been over a year and not sure where it’s at in the process. I hired a company online to file for a couple grand…
Good luck and if you believe in it and did some homework…go for it!

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cowgirl8's Avatar

Got up early to watch youtubes…our internet is free before 5am..lol..Anywho, i can make my own silicone mold fro sho..Pretty excited. This will allow me to test the market before we jump into the cost of a metal cast mold. Heck, if the silicone is easy and dependable for enough cast, i may just go that route. Who knows…hoping though i’m able to sell many to make having someone manufacture them and all i have to do is ship them out.
Cindy sounds like i’m on the same cost schedule as you. What is your product?

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cowgirl8's Avatar

OOPs, Windy, not cindy…i get up too early sometimes
I’m pretty confident i’ll be able to make a mold out of my prototype. I didnt know just how simple doing it was. SO, when i have my mold made, my doohickey will need to be a firm plastic, but not hard. Its gotta hold its shape, but give a tad. It will screw onto another object, so it needs to be stiff enough for that function without stripping past the threads. I’ve been searching around and not really finding a mix of pour plastic, food safe anywhere or if i am, i’m not realizing its what i’m looking for.. Alumilite has a good molding kit, and 30 bucks is sure a lot better than 1000…..and i’ll have fun doing it.
Any hints on where i can come up with a plastic i can use in a silicone mold will be welcome..

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kabuj's Avataree_badge

Cowgirl…I use a company called Silpak in Burbank, CA. They ship all over the country and serve the movie/special-effects industry so they have a lot of options at economical cost.

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cowgirl8's Avatar

I’ll look into them.. thanks..

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whoayea's Avatarg8_badge

Hey Cowgirl!

You may want to revisit the 3D printer route. Like you already realized, the layers of most printing technologies will not be watertight. BUT, it’s very common for people to take their FDM printed parts, sand them down, paint them and apply a clear coat to it. It will get the look and relative functionality of the final part without having to make a new mold with every little change you make to the design. If you go with a Polyjet or Resin 3D printer you can get a super smooth finish right out of the printer. Depending on the size of the part, a resin printer could actually be cheaper to print.

If you feel like the mold is the way to go, I agree with everyone else below. They’re pretty easy to learn on your own. Just pay attention to whether or not you need a vacuum chamber to help eliminate any bubbles in your mold.

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cowgirl8's Avatar

We’ve been researching options. We’ve ordered all the molding stuff, this doohickey is going to be easy to make a mold of. I had no idea how doable it is. We plan to make a mold and make more prototypes to have people try out and test. My husband is going to make an injection molder. He recently bought a industrial drill press he doesnt plan to use as a drill press. He got a good deal on it and figured he’d either resell or repurose….Looks like we found it a job. We plan to make a mold out of a high temp plastic and see how many we can produce out of this injection machine. If for some reason this doohickey sells faster than we can make, i’ll look at factory options. But, i’m guessing i can make them here and sell. Pretty excited that we can maybe do it this way, spending thousands for someone else to make them and not knowing if i’ll sell enough to justify was just too scary…
Waiting on the patent guy, we’ll know something by middle next week…

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