From prototype to mass production

I need some experts' opinion on this.

So I have my arduino, build my prototype of an application or an arduino shield, it works great, designed a custom pcb, then what is the next step to small or large production? What is the process followed? How could you hire a company or a factory to build this for you? Is there a minimum of prototypes a factory would manufacture for you?

I see many people on the arduino community, having a store and selling the stuff they made, how does all this work? If someone has a personal experience I would be glad to hear it!

I would say more often than not it takes risking a sizeable sum of money (acquired by various means) on an idea that may not pan out. I'm not posting this to be "flip" or anything, its just if you don't have this portion of the plan detailed, you likely won't get very far very fast. Sometimes, having a fully functional prototype is key, though - something you can show and demostrate to potential investors and other partners who have the experience and connections (that you may lack) to move the project forward; you may want to speak to a lawyer, though, on how to proceed once you get to that point (and be prepared to lay out money for that consultation). NDAs and business plans will be a must, I would imagine...

I had a small product on the market in the 90s, I had a few working protoypes that won "inventer of the year" and that attracted a backer.

I was never really interested in the finances, but I'd say whatever you've spent now is about 10% of what will be required to make it a real product. And probably 20% of the total effort depending on the nature of the product.

How could you hire a company or a factory to build this for you?

Yes you can but it ain't cheap for small qtys.

See this thread,53975.0.html

Maybe Udo will be willing to share his experience.


Thank you for the answers guys. I don't have a finished product yet, just an idea which is still far away from being a marketable product. I used to work in a law office so getting legal advice will be the easy part, but I'm more interested in learning about the practical aspects of it, like what you said about the initial capital, or the first prototype units.

So If I got this right this is the workflow: idea -> testing -> prototype -> testing -> small quantity sample -> more testing & find retailers -> mass production.

Also can you tell me about manufacturers, preferably in Europe?

Honestly, I'd try to sell a few handmade models first, if the PCB is in a box no one will know the difference (other than size)

Unless you know for a fact that it'd be easy to sell a couple thousand units...

Nice to know that not only being an explorer, you proceed for production. In case of india, number of hobbyists try Arduino and just sit back on output. If they intend to proceed just like you. We are the ones in Tenet Technetronics looking forward. Similar to you anyone in India, who desires to move to mass production can contact us mail:

Cheers, Bala

@Valalvax You have a point that's what I'll probably do.. And I could probably sell them for more as they are "handcrafted" :D

@balajitenetchat Sorry I didn't get it, you guys build boards?

Also does anyone knows how much it would cost to build a custom PCB? About the size of the arduino uno board.