Author Topic: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please  (Read 5091 times)

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Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2009, 02:26:27 PM »
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Lets say it costs $35 per board to make. Then lets say you make a tiny batch of 100. Thats already $3500. Tongue

not true if I make them to order.  I plan on buying a ton of pcbs, but only a few parts at a time.  This makes the total cost of a single board higher, but my potential financial loss is much smaller.  I'm soldering stuff by hand not sending it out.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 02:29:50 PM by sonictj »

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2009, 02:34:47 PM »
my strategy for building boards is to make as many that are needed.  Meaning I estimate the demand and have enough on hand to sell.  I don't want too much unsold capital sitting on the shelf because that costs money.  I thinking small time here.  I'm still a student, with no additional sources of income. 

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2009, 02:44:46 PM »
To Admin

I know it is possible to make the board cheaper even with the board design I have.  It just requires a high risk to me financially which I cannot justify.   I would have to pay huge upfront costs, that I cannot back.  I aslo doubt the design would catch on enough for me to profit much.  I see this as a huge learning experience, but I'd rather not risk breaking the bank.

I greatly appreciate your input.  I was hoping I would get a bit of criticism too.  Do you have any other suggestions?

Offline SmAsH

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design?
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2009, 03:19:24 PM »
Lets say it costs $35 per board to make. Then lets say you make a tiny batch of 100. Thats already $3500. :P

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My problem is I have to sell 14 boards just to break even.  If I can't sell that many there is no reason for me to sell any at all.
Experience. You'll learn a lot, even if it was a financial failure.
i would say a batch of 100 would be a bit much if you don't have the money, somewhere
around 20-50 boards would be better if you are tight on money.
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Lets say it costs $35 per board to make. Then lets say you make a tiny batch of 100. Thats already $3500. Tongue

not true if I make them to order.  I plan on buying a ton of pcbs, but only a few parts at a time.  This makes the total cost of a single board higher, but my potential financial loss is much smaller.  I'm soldering stuff by hand not sending it out.
that is a good plan because the pcbs will be cheaper the more you buy, so 100 will be dirt cheap, but try to go for price breaks on the parts for bulk buys, if you are only going to get 20 of a part that is ~$18 and there is a price break at 25 pieces that takes it down to ~$17 consider saving up a bit more to get the better deal.
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Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2009, 03:21:53 PM »
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but try to go for price breaks on the parts for bulk buys, if you are only going to get 20 of a part that is ~$18 and there is a price break at 25 pieces that takes it down to ~$17 consider saving up a bit more to get the better deal.

Thats the plan

Offline Admin

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2009, 04:27:13 PM »
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I greatly appreciate your input.  I was hoping I would get a bit of criticism too.  Do you have any other suggestions?
Well, if you don't have confidence in your own product, thats a bad sign already :P

My suggestion is the same as before - to design an original product thats very different from those on the market, and that you have confidence in. When you have zero competition, you get 100% of the market. With just one competitor, you only get 50%, etc. There are quite a few established microcontroller products out there already. :P

Also, if you do a plot of cost vs # of units made, you'll find that anything below 100 units won't be very profitable. When I did the math for the Axon, I calculated I'd still break even given worst case scenario. So I took the risk . . .

(disclaimer - I'm financially motivated to scare away potential competition  :P)

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2009, 04:37:59 PM »
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Well, if you don't have confidence in your own product, thats a bad sign already Tongue

I have a ton a confidence in my product, but I don't have a lot of confidence in the market  ;D.  I get your point.

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Also, if you do a plot of cost vs # of units made, you'll find that anything below 100 units won't be very profitable. When I did the math for the Axon, I calculated I'd still break even given worst case scenario. So I took the risk . . .

I'm not looking for money really I just don't want to lose any.  If I make a $100 whoo hoo, but I'm primarily doing this to say I have what it takes, and so I can put it on my resume.

I think of it as a design that I can sell cheaply to my friends, and the community, as a hobby not so much as a big money maker.  To me 20 units is a huge success.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 04:42:53 PM by sonictj »

Offline kpmcgurk

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2009, 05:25:30 PM »
do you know what you are going to be calling it yet?
some people are just Born smart, but some people have to work for it, and those are the people who succeed.

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Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2009, 05:40:25 PM »
I thought ATmecha, to play on the ATmega series and because of the mechtronics applications.

Offline kpmcgurk

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2009, 06:25:46 PM »
cool!

well... I am going to add this in just for a little motivation,

As of October 2008 over 50,000 arduino boards have been sold. if you could capture (at least) .5% of these sales, you could possibly (in theory) sell over 250 boards, this is just based on statistics so actual results may vary...

(just thought it could boost your excitement a little) ;)
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Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2009, 06:46:06 PM »
That is a good point

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2009, 07:09:22 PM »
Level of difficulty:

1. getting a microcontroller to work
2. putting mcu on a PCB
3. getting people to buy your mcu
4. getting it cheap and easy to manufacture
5. mcu being a successful/profitable product


95% of all projects don't get past #1. I think you are aiming for #3? :P

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2009, 07:15:18 PM »
yep I have #4 covered too I have access to a reflow oven and I can also get cheap stencils. And #5 is a result of 3.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 07:18:20 PM by sonictj »

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2009, 07:36:52 PM »
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yep I have #4 covered too I have access to a reflow oven and I can also get cheap stencils
Hand doing those boards won't be easy. If it took you say 35 minutes to solder, pack, program the bootloader/fuses, test for failures, accept orders, and mail each item, and did 100 units, thats 58 hours of work (an average worker does 40 hours/week). How much do you value your time? :P

When you get your first prototype, time how long it takes to do all the above. Its no small number! Basically, #4 means 'designed for manufacture'. One advantage of the Axon II over the original is that it'll take me about ~5+ minutes less to manufacture each one. A huge amount of time considering my sales :P

And #5 is a result of 3.
Not really. You can give up profits to improve sales. :P

If you sold 1000 units but made only $50 in profit, you failed #5. ;D

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2009, 07:51:54 PM »
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Hand doing those boards won't be easy. If it took you say 35 minutes to solder, pack, program the bootloader/fuses, test for failures, accept orders, and mail each item, and did 100 units, thats 58 hours of work (an average worker does 40 hours/week). How much do you value your time? Tongue

When you get your first prototype, time how long it takes to do all the above. Its no small number! Basically, #4 means 'designed for manufacture'. One advantage of the Axon II over the original is that it'll take me about ~5+ minutes less to manufacture each one. A huge amount of time considering my sales Tongue

I agree, but I just don't foresee selling enough for me to get too aggravated.  I really love to solder I find it really relaxing.  This whole thing is for fun.  If the fun turns into hard resentful work I'd stop selling the product.  Also if I had an really high demand I would look into outsourcing.  You are definitely right though, its just something I'll have to feel out as I go.

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And #5 is a result of 3.
Not really. You can give up profits to improve sales. Tongue

If you sold 1000 units but made only $50 in profit, you failed #5. Grin

agreed I don't plan on doing that lol.

Offline SmAsH

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2009, 07:56:28 PM »
i agree soldering is very relaxing, maybe when you start up just do a few boards a day, everyday and by the end of the week you will have ~15-20 boards done... although, if the demand is great enough maybe get an assembly company to do the work for you... although, if you are using a reflow oven, the soldering time may decrease a bit...
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Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2009, 08:49:33 PM »
Try to market your product for the general public, not just robots/mech stuff. The Axon is pretty much only bought by robotics people because that's what it is advertised for. Axon may beat the Mega in some areas, but people who aren't very experienced may think "Oh thats for robotics, im not doing that so Ill get the other one"

Offline Joker94

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2009, 07:21:57 AM »
Razor Concepts has a good point, it may drum up more sales that way ;D

Offline mdmedlin

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2009, 11:57:45 PM »
I think you should still try to sell your board design because there are people out there who just can't solder.  I find the soldering relaxing because I will start singing songs while I am soldering.  I was singing the stupid armour hot dog theme the other day when I was soldering.  There are a lot of newbies on this site and I know that they will be looking for something that is better than the $50 dollar board, and I think you have it.  Some of us don't know how to design a board and may take a look at your board and think to themselves, "self, I made my $50 dollar board, but I don't know/want to make a better one from scratch, so I think I will spend the fitty and get this one."  In a nutshell I think you should go for it.  Like you said, your a student, so what else do you have to do besides drink beer and party???
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Offline Tesla

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2009, 12:08:17 AM »
I think you should still try to sell your board design because there are people out there who just can't solder.  I find the soldering relaxing because I will start singing songs while I am soldering.  I was singing the stupid armour hot dog theme the other day when I was soldering.  There are a lot of newbies on this site and I know that they will be looking for something that is better than the $50 dollar board, and I think you have it.  Some of us don't know how to design a board and may take a look at your board and think to themselves, "self, I made my $50 dollar board, but I don't know/want to make a better one from scratch, so I think I will spend the fitty and get this one."  In a nutshell I think you should go for it.  Like you said, your a student, so what else do you have to do besides drink beer and party???

Yes.  I agree.  I know basic electronics and can solder very good.. but I don't know much about mcus and I can't solder surface mount.  At least sell your design.. if you don't want to build yourself.  I think you did too much great work to just put on a shelf.

Tesla
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 12:15:04 AM by Tesla »

Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2009, 12:47:33 AM »
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 Like you said, your a student, so what else do you have to do besides drink beer and party???

I wish lol.  

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2009, 05:42:25 AM »
Never soldered a smd mcu before, but I have an idea. Someone mentioned the stencils. I never saw them in real life to determine if they are good enough for my idea as material, but perhaps someone can find the proper material for it. So, here it is: would it work to have a sheet of thin material (think high temp resistant plastic) shaped like the board, with holes so you can properly align them, with a square cut to fit the mcu, with the sides like a comb to fit the space between the pins of the mcu. So you lay this plastic over the board, fill up the comb like sides with solder paste, place the mcu and solder the pins. Then, if there are still solder bridges, use solder wick to remove them. This should work fine, but there is one problem I can think: the comb like teeth will be so thin it will make them easily bendable and breakable...
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Offline sonictjTopic starter

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Re: Should I still try to sell my board design? Opinions please
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2009, 11:09:06 AM »
you don't use a comb you us a squeegee.

 


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