Searching \ for '[EE] neat toy invention, from my workbench to smal' in subject line. ()
Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure! Help us get a faster server
FAQ page: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=neat+toy+invention
Search entire site for: 'neat toy invention, from my workbench to smal'.

Exact match. Not showing close matches.
PICList Thread
'[EE] neat toy invention, from my workbench to smal'
2008\06\09@042052 by Ben Hencke

picon face
Hi all,
I've got a small PIC based LED toy (think fancy keychain like), and I
wanted to ask the piclist's advice on a few things.

First about the toy, its small, has very few components, and
everything interesting about it is implemented in firmware. I designed
the PCBs and made them at home, they are about 0.5" x 2" (most of the
space used by the battery holder). Everyone I've showed it to has
encouraged me to get a patent, but these are expensive, and given the
market for small LED toys, I dont think any over seas would be ripoffs
would have any problems at all getting around it. If I'm going to
throw $10k at it of my own money I'd rather put it in to the other
aspects of getting it finished and built, marketed, etc. Worst comes
to worst I'd at least have 1000s of the things to show for my money.
Before you tell me I'm wasting my time trying to sell keychain lights,
ever time I've played with one of these things down a city street I
get stopped like every 5 minutes by someone asking me where I bought
it. I'm pretty sure if done right that it would take of and be at
least momentarily popular. I've read a few Inventor books but these
leave me asking more questions than they answer.

So then a few questions:

1. Patent something that might be easily ripped off? Are they
absolutely necessary?
2. Any ideas on how I could get plastics made for this thing? Maybe
something like a snap together case, or a rubberized soft shell or
something.
3. Someone once told me I'd need to get it safety tested and whatnot,
any pointers to laws regarding this sort of thing?
4. A lot of people told me to license the idea and/or firmware to
larger toy companies, and let them handle all the rest of the details,
but this road always seems to go down the path of requiring a patent.
IF this idea was patentable, I'm not sure any toy company would pick
it up.
5. I've seen a lot of posts about manufacturing, usually for up to
100s of boards, but does anyone know of a place that specializes in
making thousands of smaller boards?
6. I'm thinking that I could approach some of the smaller local toy
stores and talking them in to carrying them for a while to test out
the market, if it works out, then I'm sure there are toy conferences I
could schmooze with people and show them some sales data. I'm not a
sales/marketing guy, so maybe I'm totally missing something there?
7. Is there something I should know about but haven't asked? :-)

Thanks in advance,
 Ben

2008\06\09@043539 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 6/9/08, Ben Hencke <spam_OUTbrainstarTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:


> 7. Is there something I should know about but haven't asked? :-)

It was already made but you don't know ?

That's the biggest problem with large scale manufactured toys.
Chinese are selling RGB LED toys with rubber plastics with $2. I've
got one from JFK airport. Here in Romania is 1.1 euro/pcs. So, your
toys is much more spectacular than any chinese similar LED toy ?

greetings,
Vasile

2008\06\09@050215 by Mike Harrison

flavicon
face
On Mon, 9 Jun 2008 01:20:31 -0700, you wrote:

>Hi all,
>I've got a small PIC based LED toy (think fancy keychain like), and I
>wanted to ask the piclist's advice on a few things.
>
>Everyone I've showed it to has
>encouraged me to get a patent, but these are expensive, and given the
>market for small LED toys, I dont think any over seas would be ripoffs
>would have any problems at all getting around it. If I'm going to
>throw $10k at it of my own money I'd rather put it in to the other
>aspects of getting it finished and built, marketed, etc.

Absolutely.

>So then a few questions:
>
>1. Patent something that might be easily ripped off? Are they
>absolutely necessary?

Waste of time & money for something like this unless very unique - get in quick, sell while it's hot
& get out before the clones arrive. Remember Christmas is coming......

> 2. Any ideas on how I could get plastics made for this thing? Maybe
>something like a snap together case, or a rubberized soft shell or
>something.

Injection mould tooling is prossibly the biggest financial investment for something like this -
Take a long hard look for anything off-the-shelf that may be suitable - most case mfrs. will do
things like custom colours for moderate quantities. There are many keyfob-type cases already
available.

>3. Someone once told me I'd need to get it safety tested and whatnot,
>any pointers to laws regarding this sort of thing?

If it's classed as a toy  there are probably quite a few hoops to jump through. If you can  market
it as an adult-oriented gadget rather than kids' toy ("Not a Toy" on the label...) you may be able
to sidestep these.  Buy a few comparable products and look for approval marks & safety info in the
instructions - this will get you started.

>5. I've seen a lot of posts about manufacturing, usually for up to
>100s of boards, but does anyone know of a place that specializes in
>making thousands of smaller boards?

There are lots of assembly subcontractors - for a small PCB that is all SMD, the cost  benefit of
going Far-East may be low, however I'd suggest you find an assembly house in your area that has
Far-East contacts  - that way you can start small & if it takes off you should be able to move to
higher volumes relatively painlessly.

>6. I'm thinking that I could approach some of the smaller local toy
>stores and talking them in to carrying them for a while to test out
>the market, if it works out, then I'm sure there are toy conferences I
>could schmooze with people and show them some sales data. I'm not a
>sales/marketing guy, so maybe I'm totally missing something there?

Might it be suitable for places like http://www.thinkgeek.com, http://www.iwantoneofthose.com - I'm sure there are
many more like this - online places will have a low 'entry cost' for trialling a new product and so
may be more willing to risk an 'unknown' new supplier.

And of course you could also sell direct via ebay.




2008\06\09@062655 by Apptech

face
flavicon
face
>>5. I've seen a lot of posts about manufacturing, usually
>>for up to
>>100s of boards, but does anyone know of a place that
>>specializes in
>>making thousands of smaller boards?

Olins recommendation of Data Tehnik and Djula Djarmati (on
this list) bears repeating (so I have, below).

If Olin recommends them you can be sure they are top class
(no negative comment of ANY sort intended there :-) ).

I think I've got the quoting attribution correct - apologies
if not correct.



       Russell McMahon.


Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:21 AM
Subject: re: [EE] Inexpensive low-qty (100-250ish) assembly
sources


Olin
{Quote hidden}

Olin:

I just wanted to follow up on this old thread.  I have
meanwhile gone thru a
production run with Data Tehnik in Serbia and was very
pleased.  The
communication was way better than even the best
manufacturers in China that
I have dealt with.  This was a small (100 unit) run that was
full turnkey.
They subbed out the PC board fab to a place in Macedonia,
then put together
the kit, assembled the boards, and tested the built units.
I sent them
software, a jig, and instructions for testing.  The
resulting units are well
made and basically directly shippable to customers.

The per unit price was about 1/4 more than a year earlier
for the same
product from China.  However, this run included unit
testing, no fallouts,
and no screwups to fix afterwards.  In the end my total cost
per shippable
unit was actually a little less than the "cheap" run a year
earlier from
China.

My main contact at Data Tehnik is Djula Djarmati, who
sometimes also posts
to the PIClist.  He can be reached at djula021-sbb-co-yu
(replace first "-"
with @, others with ".").

2008\06\09@062944 by Robert Ammerman

picon face
I have strong connections with 'scientificsonline.com'. They are one of my
customers, sell all kinds of neat stuff like this, and have some history of
selling 'homebrew' things. If your product fits in with what they sell (and
it is 'cool' [or is that 'kewl']), I would be more than willing to push it
with them for you.

-- Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2008\06\09@093653 by Djula Djarmati

flavicon
face
> Olins recommendation of Data Tehnik and Djula Djarmati (on
> this list) bears repeating (so I have, below).

That's me, thank you Russell.

The electronic part seems quite simple - from your description the PCB
and assembly would be quite cheap (<$1). Can it fit on 1-layer board?

A bigger problem is the housing. The tooling is expensive but not
terribly so since it's a small part - I imagine it will look like USB
disk? What about the battery holder? How many LEDs? Any buttons/switches?

I have no idea where to get the chain itself.

You may also want to check the archives - someone wrote about good
connections with manufacturers in China/Taiwan, IIRC this person was
looking for a job.

Djula

2008\06\09@115203 by Dr Skip

picon face
Here is what I would do (FWIW):

Play like you're serious and willing to talk big...

Make some calls, etc, and get big vol pricing on making millions. This way, you
know the data the other side of the table will use in any negotiation.

Get a Provisional Patent. They're $200 and last a year or two, and get you some
protection - while you're theoretically working on the real one...

Find a model maker, woodworker, whatever, to build a handful of hand-made
prototype cases to your spec. Don't hand them out, show them, and if anyone is
offended by not giving them some (like some low level rep at some toy company),
 give the idea that you don't think it would be right, since you're currently
in deep negotiations with a competitor, BUT, if they are serious, they should
get serious quickly - you're still taking offers... You get to keep your
prototypes AND it will make them more hungry to deal with you, since they're
competitor might be seeing something they aren't. Just like consulting -
everyone wants to hire a busy consultant, no one wants a consultant with
nothing else to do... ;)

Go the way of licensing to a big company. No hassles or liabilities. The final
patent can be finished by them. You can also just sell it outright. If there
are follow-on type toys from it, you could negotiate around that too, and maybe
have a ready buyer for permutations you come up with. Have an experienced agent
or lawyer in that area be with you. If they're experienced and good, they'll
more than get their fee covered in increased $$ negotiated.

While that's going on, casually look at the make it yourself angle - it adds
leverage to your negotiations. You'll have until the provisional runs out to
get it sold or go for the real patent or decide to make it yourself, etc.


Ben Hencke wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\06\09@121614 by Walter Banks

picon face


Dr Skip wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Get tuned into the annual buying cycle a bit late for this year. New York Toy
Fair in February, Comdex late fall and CES early January. These shows are
important in that decision makers are there. The early shows set the
products for the following Christmas.

There are two approaches to attending the shows either as a 10 by 10 or
just get a pass and walk the show. There are good reasons for doing this.
I once had a series of contracts to just walk the 10 by 10's of some of
these shows looking for innovative ideas that had market potential. The
follow-up was several individuals looking at the details of how the good
idea could be produced and marketed all before the idea holder was
approached. Once they understood the potential they would then start
some serious negation for rights and licensing.

One of the first surprises is, there are only a few really new ideas a year
and most ideas although new are part of a well defined category. This is
a good news bad news statement. Well defined categories also have
well defined distribution channels already making distribution inroads
much easier. Truly new ideas require very expensive promotion
partly offset by potentially some free editorial publicity

w..


2008\06\09@123211 by alan smith

picon face
Very cool...I think we all hope that you can do something great with this. Its always nice when someone can, from a 'garage shop' approach.&nbsp; You've been given some good advice.&nbsp; Think who you want to market this to, what your costs are, and how much you really want to make.&nbsp; It could very well be a flash in the pan....make a bunch of money and get out before the thing gets cloned.&nbsp; But depending on how big your market is, could be room for more than one supplier.
&nbsp;
I think your biggest cost will be if you go custom with injection molding.&nbsp; Can't say how many times a client has backed off from a project due to the costs involved...essentially they had no clue that tooling can be thousands of dollars.&nbsp; There are dozens of vendors making blank keyfob type cases...some can do a little customization on them for not alot of cost but if it was me, I would get samples of several and see if your device can be designed to fit inside it. If you can, your costs have just come down dramatically.&nbsp; If not, you really need to think about the packaging.&nbsp; Short of doing a steel tool, you can do rubber but then your limited to maybe 10 shots, but the cost is less.&nbsp; Aluminum molds are cheaper than steel, but again your shots are limited.&nbsp; Doing a steel mold really commits you.
&nbsp;
For getting boards built, there really are alot of smaller overhead shops stateside if your doing a few hundred a month, that are competive with overseas, especially if your doing full surface mount.&nbsp; Might also think about having the PIC's pre-programmed not only to save time on the build, but also space on the board for a programming header or pads.&nbsp; Again, there are alot of places that will mass program the chips, including microchip.&nbsp; Arrow used to provide this, but since they dropped them...no longer an option.
&nbsp;
So manufacturing is half the issue...including the regulatory stuff.&nbsp; Of course as mentioned if this is marketed as a teen/adult gag item, I think you could get away with warnings on the labels, etc.&nbsp; I have several customers that do not even do UL or others, and do not have an issue with it.&nbsp; Typically, getting something approved just means in court, you have something to back you up with.&nbsp; So create an LLC corp, not that it protects you but limits the liablity and make sure you seperate your personal assets with the LLC...but thats another discussion all together.
&nbsp;
Marketing is your issue.&nbsp; You really need to hook up with someone in the business, and thats not easy to do of course.&nbsp; But if you can get just one contact, that is sometimes all you need.
&nbsp;
Sell on ebay as well....that might get it noticed.&nbsp;You might even give some away to toy sellers.
&nbsp;
Oh..patent it?&nbsp; I wouldnt, unless its so unique and new, why bother?&nbsp; Honestly with something like this, you ought to consider it a springboard to bigger and better and more things.&nbsp; IF by chance, this really goes BIG, you might make some serious coin for a year or so, and then it either wears off or the maket gets flooded with knock offs.&nbsp; But what it does for you, is perhaps opens doors to some of the novelty and toy companies to have you begin developing things for them.&nbsp; You just never know where things can go.
&nbsp;
Good luck, and I hope it brings you great and wonderful sucess.


     

2008\06\09@123620 by alan smith

picon face
Provisionals are good for one year from date of filing.&nbsp; If you don't file for the actual patent, it goes back to 'public domain'.&nbsp; Find a patent AGENT (not attorney), they are typically cheaper and can do everything that an attorney can do, short of litigation in the courtroom.

--- On Mon, 6/9/08, Dr Skip &lt;.....drskipKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com&gt; wrote:

Get a Provisional Patent. They're $200 and last a year or two, and get you
some
protection - while you're theoretically working on the real one...



     

2008\06\09@131629 by Djula Djarmati

flavicon
face
> 2. Any ideas on how I could get plastics made for this thing? Maybe
> something like a snap together case, or a rubberized soft shell or
> something.

I asked our plastic manufacturer for a rough price. He says a 5x2cm
USB-disk type enclosure tooling cost is $2500-$3500 and the
manufacturing of 1000 pieces would be $350-$700. This is in Serbia.

Please let us know about the outcome.

Djula

2008\06\09@133739 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
You might consider looking at
http://www.protomold.com
for short run injection molding and
http://www.firstcut.com/
for short run plastic machining (ie, setup cost is significantly less
than injection molding, but per part cost is higher)

-Adam

On 6/9/08, Djula Djarmati <piclistspamKILLspamsbb.co.yu> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\06\09@234004 by Ben Hencke

picon face
Hi all,
Thank you all for a flood of very useful information and advise. I was
not expecting this much and am very grateful for everyones input.

I'm going to follow up with some of the questions and comments
individually to spare the list of a barrage of replies, but wanted to
thank everyone for their time!

Thanks!
- Ben

2008\06\11@073608 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Might it be suitable for places like http://www.thinkgeek.com,
>http://www.iwantoneofthose.com
> - I'm sure there are many more like this - online places will
>have a low 'entry cost' for trialling a new product and so
>may be more willing to risk an 'unknown' new supplier.

One trick to getting it to sell fast might be to get it shown on a show like
The Gadget Show that is on Channel 5 in the UK. Each week they give away a
prize pool worth around GBP60k, and it could be an item in that after they
have a play with it on screen. I know they have shown bits from
iwantoneofthose.com before, and they always like bits such as you describe.

http://gadgetshow.five.tv/index.htm

2008\06\11@080813 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I think your biggest cost will be if you go custom with injection molding.
>Can't say how many times a client has backed off from a project due to
>the costs involved...essentially they had no clue that tooling can be
>thousands of dollars.
>There are dozens of vendors making blank keyfob type cases...some can do
>a little customization on them for not alot of cost but if it was me, I
>would get samples of several and see if your device can be designed to
>fit inside it. If you can, your costs have just come down dramatically.
>If not, you really need to think about the packaging.
>Short of doing a steel tool, you can do rubber but then your limited to
>maybe 10 shots, but the cost is less.
>Aluminum molds are cheaper than steel, but again your shots are limited.
>Doing a steel mold really commits you.

If you cannot find a suitable key fob then vacuum moulding something around
a wood block may serve fro getting a volume manufacturer interested. There
is plenty of info out on the web on how to do this e.g.
http://www.alstevens.com/ventriloquism/vacuum.html , or maybe try someone
like this  http://www.rtptrading.com.au/


{Quote hidden}

http://www.kirkhouse.co.uk/compact/poly/poly.html The guy that designed
these chairs has been getting a penny a chair since the late 1960's ...
These things are ubiquitous around the world. There was a program recently
on TV where they interviewed the guy that designed them, and he told of
seeing some of the plastic pieces bolted into a canoe in Africa somewhere,
and the locals didn't believe he designed it until he got them to turn one
over and showed them his name as the licensor of the design ...

So you never know where your fob will go ...

2008\06\11@081536 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Thank you all for a flood of very useful information and advise. I was
>not expecting this much and am very grateful for everyones input.

You are welcome. Oh, and in my previous post I meant to mention, you said
that much of the size of the thing was due to an AA cell? It may be worth
looking at changing it to a Cr2032 or similar button cell to get the size
down, before going too far down the marketing path. Having some method of
changing the battery would be good too ...

2008\06\11@091702 by Peter Todd

flavicon
face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 01:07:40PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
{Quote hidden}

More generally, find a local art college that offers design courses. At
least at my old school, OCAD in Toronto, there were tonnes of design
students that had lots of experiece mocking up prototypes. You could
probably hire one for a reasonable amount of money.

- --
http://petertodd.org 'peter'[:-1]@petertodd.org
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFIT9AZ3bMhDbI9xWQRArzGAJ9Ci++6Kcb41M6Qth/KgWCdzsUkOgCfTDki
ldNnnu2tBIcj4FLgidvxd88=
=DOVx
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

2008\06\11@174530 by Gacrowell

flavicon
face
This sounds like the way to go.  FWIW there's a toy inventor named Brian
Walker who made a bundle starting with a trivial LED whirligig, that he
got Disney to pick up.  I don't think he ever did any development on it
himself other than proto fabrication and promotion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Walker_(toy_inventor)  But he also
had a launch-myself-in-a-rocket publicity scam that got him and his toys
a lot of attention.  Maybe you should give that a shot too. ;)

GC



> {Original Message removed}

2008\06\12@050520 by Peter

picon face
Dr Skip <drskip <at> gmail.com> writes:
> Here is what I would do (FWIW):

Thanks for posting that. Does anyone know if 'provisional patents' work on the
other side of the pond, inc the EU ? And if so, where (everywhere, or ...). Also
has anyone had a 'provisional patent' tested in court ? Is a provisional patent
a full disclosure patent or is it the 'Patent Pending' type ? What is its proper
name (for Internet and other search purposes).

thanks,
Peter


2008\06\13@082938 by Marc Nicholas

picon face
AFAIK, most Patents are enforced at a country-by-country level or at the EU
level. I do recall there being provision for some ease of "porting" a Patent
between the US and Canada (and vice versa) though.

There's some good reading on Provisional Patents (normally people are
referring to the US instrument when they mention this, although there's a
Canadian version) at:

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/provapp.htm

Here's some interesting background on the whole Patent process too:

http://www.benwiens.com/patents.html#patents.15

Hope that helps somebody! :)

-marc

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 5:05 AM, Peter <.....plpeter2006KILLspamspam.....yahoo.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

More... (looser matching)
- Last day of these posts
- In 2008 , 2009 only
- Today
- New search...