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Topic: Looking for Project Sponsor  (Read 773 times) previous topic - next topic

DangerouslyExplosive

Mar 11, 2018, 08:36 pm Last Edit: Mar 11, 2018, 09:31 pm by DangerouslyExplosive
Hello All,

I've had some ideas for a few open source, Arduino-based projects floating around in my head for quite some time now, and I want to make prototypes so I can continue developing the ideas to the point where I can consider running a Kickstarter, selling the designs, selling kit versions, or all three.

Unfortunately, I have not the budget nor the proper tools to develop prototypes, and as such I am in need of a sponsor in order to move along in the development process. I have been reaching out to prospective businesses and companies with these ideas for about a year with no success whatsoever, and I have come no closer to being able to develop prototypes on my own in that time.

I'm currently looking at about $5,000 to get myself the proper tools and fully develop working prototypes of two of my best ideas. That includes all of the parts, hardware, software, and any expenses incurred by the build process.

Does anyone here have any ideas as to what I could do to get a decent sponsor or sponsors?

Thanks,
D.E.

cloxart

so, you can get an arduino board from china for about £3, a soldering iron £20, with £100 you can buy plenty of assorted sensors... since you wrote this message I assume you do have a computer... What exactly would you buy with $5000???? and you seriously think anyone would give you money on the basis that you "have an idea" of an unspecified nature? (especially when you yourself say "I have been reaching out to prospective businesses and companies with these ideas for about a year with no success whatsoever")? no offence meant, I am just trying to understand


larryd

So you are looking for $5,000 and your name is:

DangerouslyExplosive


No technical PMs.
The last thing you did is where you should start looking.

DangerouslyExplosive

The $5000 is probably overkill (as in by a few hundred dollars), but it is mainly for the tools required. That and some of the components I need are a bit pricey (e.g. stepper motors, brushless motors and ESCs).

Also, the $5000 includes the assumption that I will need to make multiple prototypes before I get to a working model, and that when I do get to the working model I can start making kit versions to sell or use on a trial basis for a Kickstarter.

If I was to get the bare minimum in tools and parts, assume my first prototype will work perfectly, and decide not to make multiples, my total estimate would go down to maybe $2500, if not $3000.

Here's a breakdown:

One of the largest expenses I am looking at is a new CPU. Sure, I've got a computer. Its an Intel MacBook 4.1 from 2007, running OS X 10.5.8. Its a decade old, it can barely run the older versions of the IDE, and I can guarantee it won't run any of the software I need to run the tools I need or the CAD programs I plan on using for design and analysis. And when I do get a new CPU, I need to get one that can do all of those things quickly and efficiently and for a good number of years (so I don't have to upgrade again anytime soon). For this reason I am looking at a more expensive, higher end laptop. So that chunks out about $1000 right there.

From there, I need a decent 3D printer and a laser cutter/engraver for fabrication, which cuts out another $1500 dollars, assuming I spend about $750 on each machine for a well-rated, reliable product.

Then, all of the parts for both prototypes will end up being around $500. If I end up making multiple for each to get a working version, that'll be about $750. If I continue to make multiple of the working versions as planned, let's say 4-5 of each, then that adds up to about $2500 right there.

Add it all up, and the sum is $5000. Who said development from scratch was cheap?

As for the ideas, I have them written out quite plainly in front of me, with full sketches and the whole shebang, almost every key aspect labelled and explained. I won't post that here, though, because ideas are exceptionally easy to steal on the Internet. I do specify the nature of the ideas to the companies I reach out to, but they don't seem interested.

And yeah, my alias is Dangerously Explosive. When I reach out to companies, I use my real name, which I won't divulge here.

Hope that answers some of your questions!

-D.E.




robtillaart

#4
Mar 12, 2018, 12:01 pm Last Edit: Mar 12, 2018, 12:02 pm by robtillaart
Here's a breakdown:

One of the largest expenses I am looking at is a new CPU. Sure, I've got a computer. Its an Intel MacBook 4.1 from 2007, running OS X 10.5.8. Its a decade old, it can barely run the older versions of the IDE, and I can guarantee it won't run any of the software I need to run the tools I need or the CAD programs I plan on using for design and analysis. And when I do get a new CPU, I need to get one that can do all of those things quickly and efficiently and for a good number of years (so I don't have to upgrade again anytime soon). For this reason I am looking at a more expensive, higher end laptop. So that chunks out about $1000 right there.
Buy a raspberry PI 3 for < $100, connect a 2nd hand screen, keyboard & mouse and you have a 4 core development machine for less than $150. You can run 1.8.5. For $1000 you have a house full of these.

CAD is indeed pricey, but there are possibly cloud solutions that may adequate.

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From there, I need a decent 3D printer and a laser cutter/engraver for fabrication, which cuts out another $1500 dollars, assuming I spend about $750 on each machine for a well-rated, reliable product.
Search for a FABLAB in your neighbour hood, you definitely do not need to own all these tools yourself - unless you are in a remote area - find local partners for these kind of tools.

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Then, all of the parts for both prototypes will end up being around $500. If I end up making multiple for each to get a working version, that'll be about $750. If I continue to make multiple of the working versions as planned, let's say 4-5 of each, then that adds up to about $2500 right there.
I read that you need multiple things to redo your prototyping.
Reuse is mandatory when you're a startup imho.
And do not start developing before you have (0) defined your market and proofed the market needs  (1) your requirements 100% clear and (2) your design as perfect as possible. The second means that how hard you think you cannot think of any scenario that will either break or improve your design.
Then it is time to start prototyping, mainly to proof your design works.

So:

Did you identify the market, and have you done market research to verify the need is real?

Do you have your requirements for the project 100% clear?
* this include what the system should do, do not, legal aspects, safety etc.
* 80++ % is the triggerto start designing
* Note: If you need prototyping to get your requirements clear you have a substantial different kind of project.


Is your design fool proof (to the best of your skills)? 
* did you identify development risks? if not, look again.
* if you cannot improve your design anymore it is time to start prototyping


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Add it all up, and the sum is $5000. Who said development from scratch was cheap?
It is never cheap but one can make it as expensive as one likes. No offence, but I safe quite some money by reusing old materials for prototyping. 2nd hand stores are a great source of all kind of materials e.g. old toys with motors gears etc are perfect to proof a concept. Disicting these give you also insight about their design too.


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As for the ideas, I have them written out quite plainly in front of me, with full sketches and the whole shebang, almost every key aspect labelled and explained. I won't post that here, though, because ideas are exceptionally easy to steal on the Internet. I do specify the nature of the ideas to the companies I reach out to, but they don't seem interested.
Fair enough, so you have requirements and design clear apparently. Did you do your marketing?

Do you ask why the companies are not interested?
There are many reasons and your project should be able to improve from those reasons.

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And yeah, my alias is Dangerously Explosive. When I reach out to companies, I use my real name, which I won't divulge here.

Hope that answers some of your questions!

-D.E.
Fair enough
My real name is Rob Tillaart but to hide myself I removed the space in the middle so nobody recognizes me ;)
Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)

DangerouslyExplosive

I considered a Pi, but it doesn't fit the specs. I need to be able to make it portable and fast while running heavy programs like AutoCAD to do complex functions and rendering. A Pi is not as easily portable as I would like, especially with all of the wires and keyboards and such. That and the processor just doesn't match the performance of a newer generation Intel i6 or i7.

As for the machines, there are no FABLABs nearby, and I hate outsourcing my manufacturing for any reason anyway. So getting my own is the best choice, especially if I want to be making multiple of things or prototyping with the possibility of an I-need-this-part-ASAP situation.

The only reason the price to remake a prototype goes up is because I am looking at some very large components that will take a lot of filament to manufacture. That, and if a certain electrical component doesn't work like I expect or there is an alternative that I find will fit the bill better, I need to be able to go out and get that alternative without compromising the rest of the project.

As for a market, these are not large-scale things I plan on building, nor am I particularly interested in starting a business of any meaningful size, therefore the interest of the larger market is meaningless to me.  I intend my ideas to act more as proof-of-concepts so that I can continue to develop them in conjunction with other makers and maybe even companies to the point where they do become more useful and popular among larger communities. I have scouted about, and I do feel that my ideas are genuinely new in a large number of ways, so there is no real way of telling who will and won't be interested once I have a working product anyway.

When I say I have my ideas written out I mean literally. On paper. With a pencil/pen. Same with the sketches, and materials lists, and possible functions and uses, and everything else related to the project. The perfection of the current ideas are questionable, because I really need to upgrade my CPU and start CAD-ing them so I can stress test virtually and hammer out any problems I find before I begin to build. Which is part of why I need funding in the first place. When it comes to design requirements, I do actually need to do some prototyping to set these in concrete, but I have a very good idea as to what they are and will be, and CAD will only solidify that idea.

Risks? What risks? Ohhhhh, THOSE risks. I don't think anything will be liable to explode, despite my alias, and the designs, while mostly new, are based on real objects and principles that are know to function well, and thereby can be almost guaranteed to work as advertised. The designs are meant to be at least somewhat robust and durable for their purpose, and will fit the standard for other designs in the same class and price range. Fools aren't really the ones I'm worried about, it's the folks with more money than sense who could be a problem. But that is what a warranty, user guide, and good liability clause are for. Besides, nothing is foolproof, and the galaxy would already be broken if all the fools in it weren't confined to our wet little dust ball of a planet.

It is a good idea to ask why companies aren't interested, though, and I'm glad you mentioned it because until now I haven't actually thought about asking. I'll work on that.

Any more questions?

-D.E.

GrooveFlotilla

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I considered a Pi, but it doesn't fit the specs. I need to be able to make it portable and fast while running heavy programs like AutoCAD to do complex functions and rendering.
So you thought you'd ask on a forum dedicated to eight bit microcontrollers?

Did I summarise correctly?
Some people are like Slinkies.

Not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

robtillaart

...
As for a market, these are not large-scale things I plan on building, nor am I particularly interested in starting a business of any meaningful size, therefore the interest of the larger market is meaningless to me.  I intend my ideas to act more as proof-of-concepts so that I can continue to develop them in conjunction with other makers and maybe even companies to the point where they do become more useful and popular among larger communities. I have scouted about, and I do feel that my ideas are genuinely new in a large number of ways, so there is no real way of telling who will and won't be interested once I have a working product anyway.
So its real innovation you're talking about. It is often hard to define the market if the market doesn't even know it need your product (been there in a previous job). Recall it is only 25-30 yrs ago people laughed at you when you had a mobile phone.


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When I say I have my ideas written out I mean literally. On paper. With a pencil/pen. Same with the sketches, and materials lists, and possible functions and uses, and everything else related to the project. The perfection of the current ideas are questionable, because I really need to upgrade my CPU and start CAD-ing them so I can stress test virtually and hammer out any problems I find before I begin to build. Which is part of why I need funding in the first place. When it comes to design requirements, I do actually need to do some prototyping to set these in concrete, but I have a very good idea as to what they are and will be, and CAD will only solidify that idea.
So my guess was (partly) right, you need prototyping to get your requirements clear. But you probably did more than many in elaborating what you want.


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Risks? What risks? Ohhhhh, THOSE risks. I don't think anything will be liable to explode, despite my alias, and the designs, while mostly new, are based on real objects and principles that are know to function well, and thereby can be almost guaranteed to work as advertised. The designs are meant to be at least somewhat robust and durable for their purpose, and will fit the standard for other designs in the same class and price range. Fools aren't really the ones I'm worried about, it's the folks with more money than sense who could be a problem. But that is what a warranty, user guide, and good liability clause are for. Besides, nothing is foolproof, and the galaxy would already be broken if all the fools in it weren't confined to our wet little dust ball of a planet.
Reading between the lines, it sounds you are allready quite far in foolproofing the design ( I like the phrase about the galaxy and the fools,  :)

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It is a good idea to ask why companies aren't interested, though, and I'm glad you mentioned it because until now I haven't actually thought about asking. I'll work on that.
It is one of the key questions I learned to ask when I was unemployed, and rejected...
"I assume you had a good reason not to hire me, please share it so I can learn, improve and grow."
After a few rounds, my interviews got way better and got hired again :)

I think you still can approach those companies to ask the question. Do not discuss the quality of their judgement or the outcome (from their point of view it was a good descision at that time) but ask for the arguments, their rationale behind it, "what was reason".

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Any more questions?

-D.E.
No, sorry that I can not help you further
Rob Tillaart

Nederlandse sectie - http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/board,77.0.html -
(Please do not PM for private consultancy)

DangerouslyExplosive

So you thought you'd ask on a forum dedicated to eight bit microcontrollers?

Did I summarise correctly?
Ahhhh... No. I was describing why a Pi is not suitable for developing the design for my project, which is based around Arduino but will require heavy CAD programs, 3D printing, and laser engraving.

Please read the rest of the forum topic before posting what can be interpreted as a derisive or condescending comment.

-D.E.

cedarlakeinstruments

If your designs are to be open sourced and shared with the community, then why are you being so secretive? Just share them here. There are many OSH developers with good 3D printers and laser cutters, etc., not to mention those services are readily available so you don' t need your own machine.

If your ideas have "legs" people will be happy to jump onboard and help out.

If you are really proposing open-source, then you can get all the help you need online and the need for sponsorship declines dramatically, as does the need to get companies involved. Businesses join things that can make them money or save  money. Show them that your plans can do that and you'll find interest.
Electronics and firmware/software design and assistance. No project too small

DangerouslyExplosive

Secretive? I'm just being cautious. Unlike some, I make people earn my trust before I let them have it. Also, I'm waiting for the right moment to unveil the ideas. (I will be sharing the base designs as part of the Hackaday Prize 2018.) Part of my rationale behind not sharing them openly just yet is that I'm a bit selfish, and I want to finish my own work before I let others have a go at it.

Which is also part of why I want my own machines: so I can keep creating my own designs in my own way at my own pace without anybody else telling me what to do, how to do it, and how long to take doing it. You say "Jump" and I'll say "When I'm good and ready".

Not that I don't want or appreciate the support of the online community, but I'd rather govern myself and pick and choose what I like and don't like, and then paraphrase the input, so to speak, to fit my own standards and conditions.

Also, once I get a 3D printer and laser engraver, then I have them, and I don't have to pay every time I use them. And I plan to use them quite a lot once I have them. That large one-time fee will pay itself off very quickly when projects start to come off of the print bed. Especially when you consider that I don't have to pay shipping for bringing items between my garage and my workbench.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "legs", and since my designs are innovations, I'm not sure how people will take to them anyway.

And no, the designs are not truly open-source as of yet. They are based on open-source hardware, but until I start development and get a working model, certain aspects will remain veiled. That is simply how I work, and one of my personal rules: If you want to see what I'm working on, you will have to wait until I decide it's ready. This is one area I'm not flexible on, so don't bother pushing it.

At this point, the only "help" I need is financial, so I can begin the development and prototyping phase of my ideas. If I get stuck, then I'll ask, but right now I'm not stuck in that particular fashion.

As much as I enjoy responding to criticisms (constructive or otherwise), I am a bit weary of people telling me what is wrong with my current plans without offering a helpful solution that I am able to act upon.

So please, if you have genuinely good, well-meant advice, or know something that might be helpful, please share. Otherwise, I've probably already heard it, so there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

-D.E.

P.S. @ cedarlakeinstruments, this is not particularly aimed at you. I understand what you are trying to tell me, and I respect your opinion in this matter. Your answer has merit; I particularly liked the last line. However, I felt the above points needed to be made based on the kind of input I seem to be getting.

J-M-L

Steve Jobs reportedly sold his VW van in the 1970s to buy a circuit board in order to build a computer that helped launched his fruit company...

if you can't find people willing to invest in your project, and you are convinced it's good - and want to do it all yourself  then sell something you have to get there...

if you don't have a car to sell, sell you programming and design skills for a a few months - make money and invest in the future you...

Money never comes cheap...
 
Please do not PM me for help,  others will benefit as well if you post your question publicly on the forums
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