Piers' KickTips & other good stuff
So, for the skimmers amongst us - here is what is in the update today:
- Free stuff: Awesome icon packs
- USA distributor: Dr Bott
- The Distributor Hunt: Open season
- Notes from Manufactureland: After the Choosing
We'd like to give a shout out to a couple of backers who have made some awesome little icon packs for you to use with your MiniDrive. You can swap out the little SD card icon on your desktop for one of these bad boys:
David Saunders: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Nifty-MiniDrive-Icon-Pack/7558759
Thank you very much guys! If you're not sure how to swap out the old icon for a new one, here is a great little tutorial for ya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdZg74NrP_8
Although neither me or Steve made the video, it was made by a guy called Dan Allen who really enjoyably uses the word "boom" at 1:10. Excellent.
After some great brain storming sessions and conversations with the guys over at Dr Bott we are really happy to announce that Dr Bott has been appointed as a distributor of the Nifty MiniDrive for the USA & Canada.
If you are interested in re-selling or retailing the Nifty MiniDrive in the USA or Canada, please drop them a line to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choosing a distributor is a really involved process all on its own, and I will be doing a KickTips blog entry on that in a few weeks time. However, if you are a distributor, and you would be interested in distributing the MiniDrive, or know someone who might be, we would love to talk with you. Drop us an email to: email@example.com.
Notes from Manufactureland: After the Choosing
So you have chosen your manufacturers and got quotes for all the bits you need. You are now ready right? If only. Actually, there is quite a bit you still need to do before you can pull the trigger. While going through the quoting process, the manufacturer will have only look at your plans/drawings/technical specifications from a cost evaluation perspective. This is not the same as what is called "Design for Manufacturability" evaluation or DFM for short.
Generally a manufacturer will only do a DFM if they are almost certain they have the order (or sometimes only when they have a PO in hand). Some manufacturers will even charge you for this service and then take the money you paid for it off what you owe them if/when they get the order. This is because a DFM is a much more in depth process than a quoting process, and thus expensive in terms of resource allocation. However, do not underestimate how long this process will take.
Here is a quick example of what I mean, illustrated with the manufacture of an injection mould plastic part:
- How large is the part (volume)
- How heavy is the part (mass)
- How complex is the part (a factor of how many parts the tool used will need, and therefore how long it take per injection)
= a price based on some basic factors of all three
- Are any of the walls too thin?
- Does the ratio between the thickest and thinnest wall work (if it doesn't the part will non-uniform manner an warp after it comes out the tool)?
- Is the wall thickness uniform?
- Does the size, height and angle of the ultrasonic energy directors work if planning to ultrasonically weld a piece
- How will the plastic flow through the mould and then cool? Should any corners be removed?
The quoted cost won't change, but often you will be told that a number of things need adjusting on your design before it is 100% ready to go to tooling. A lot of this can seem frustrating, especially as they can be very small points, but it is SO important: you really only have one shot to get it right with the tooling. Scrapping a tool can be PAINFULLY expensive and set your project back months and months. This process can be helped along by getting your design verified by an manufacturing engineer, but that won't necessarily get everything.
Also, make sure you factor in plenty of time. Getting feedback for the DFM can take forever, and your manufacturers won't necessarily feedback everything that needs changing at the same time. Never assume if you hear nothing that all is fine and the tooling is ready to start. This process alone set our project back around two months (in total) as feedback came in dribs and drabs and often took two or more rounds to reach something all parties were happy with.
If you can, try to get all of this sorted, including DFM, for all parts, before your Kickstarter campaign starts - this means that, on successful completion of the campaign you just have to say "go" and the tooling manufacture commences. It sounds so obvious to me now, but when we were first starting out, it just felt like once we had a price for something, all they had to do was get started once we gave the green light! It's not. Don't let it bite you in the ass.
Twitter: @PiersRidyard @niftyminidrive