I've got the idea, now how do I get it made?!?!?!

Hi all,
I’ve got several projects that I’ve been working on at home and I’ve taken them as far as I can tool/material wise, and budget-wise. They’re both furniture related and quite easy to fabricate, I just don’t have any shop connections. Every time a guest comes by, they ask where I bought said items and immediately ask me to make them one too. I don’t like the idea of building people “working models” and presenting it as my not-quite-finished-how-I’d-like-product…

The short of it is, how does one get simple projects built in a finished version in order to be showed as a product? I am in the San Francisco bay area but have no fabrication contacts. any ideas?


You are somehow in a situation similar with mine (see posted project Ellipse SF-X bicycle concept), but you may have that something that I don’t – money to invest in making “finished” models. I am not sure because you didn’t specify something about this aspect. Here is what I am thinking:

  1. It is very simple to get “finished versions” built if you have the drawings and 3D CAD files that can be converted to machine tools programs. You just have to find a company that provides engineering and manufacturing services for rapid prototyping – there are a lot of them on the net, search for “rapid prototyping services providers” on Internet. Usually they said in their portfolio that they can build everything, but you may check a bit their knowledge regarding your projects. It can be a site near to you or somewhere else if you don’t want to meet them face to face. They also provide good services on-line if you are a “good customer”.

The important thing of this business is that you need the cash to pay for their services, and they are not cheap at all – they live from that.

To conclude, if you have the necessary amount of money, project details and the know-how to build your parts and also you know from where to procure the standardized components that you may use for your projects, then you get the “finished versions” of your projects/ideas by order to a company that provides rapid prototype services.

  1. Other idea is to buy for yourself the necessary tools to build your models by yourself if you are enough versed how to use those tools. I don’t know exactly what kind of machine tools are required to build furniture related models as yours, but if you were capable to build something by yourself you may know what is needed to improve your models. Again your financial capabilities are involved here.

Though I need more details about the differences between your home built models and your vision about how they need to be in a “finished version” to come up with some other ideas – some pictures will help.

There is another thing here that need to be surfaced: if you said that people like your home build models and they request to have a duplicate like yours, then if I were you, I will not bother at all to build those models and make money by selling them as they are. The business can have a start like this if you don’t have enough money to invest in making “finished models”. The bad part of this approach is that you have to pay attention to the customer protection regulation – safety. If you don’t you may be sued by one of your clients if something get wrong because of your sold models.

What intrigued me in your statement is that you want to build “finished version models in order to be showed as a product”. That’s all what you want - to showcase the models? Where? And then what? Why you don’t show what you have if you said people like your models?

Go to a local fabricator who can make your design and get some rough prices for a small batch. Get a few orders in and then make a few then sell them…simple.