GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/21/15 10:50 a.m.

I've been thinking I could sell some of the bits & pieces I've had to make for my own cars...I have CAD files (or CAD prototypes, where C is cardboard ) for all of them. I'd maybe keep 1 of each in stock and otherwise make them on demand. A couple of them would just be cheaper versions of parts that other small shops already make (MUCH cheaper in one case).

Just as I'm typing this, I've thought this might be a perfect use for Etsy. Anyone have any tips? The only unusual catch here is that shipping from me would be more expensive than usual.

Here's what I've got ready to go so far:

  • 4AGE 16v CoP deck for use with 1NZ or 1ZZ CoPs (could easily undercut SQ Engineering's hefty price)
  • Samurai 6-LED foglight mounts
  • Samurai piano-hinged glovebox door (I'd just be fixing up broken ones and selling them)

Here's stuff I could add easily:

  • 4AGE 16v CoP deck for use with 2ZZ CoPs (slight mod to above design)
  • G13A fuel pump blockoff plate (I could undercut LRO)
  • 4AGE 16v IACV blockoff plate (I know another small shop sells these for way too much)
  • AE92 replacement rear deck board with shock tower access flaps
  • Samurai springloaded tailgate strap
  • Samurai 4th pedal kit for RHD
  • Samurai stock-length beefy shackles (Would you believe nobody makes these?)

Here's stuff that I'd like to make for myself and could sell later, but aren't so quick & easy. A lot of the AE92 stuff is very specific for an already unpopular vehicle though.

  • 4AGE 16v crank scraper (I-J sells a fancy one for mad money, mine would be more basic but far cheaper)
  • 4AGE 16v throttle-upwards 2-piece compact blacktop ITB adapter
  • 4AGE blacktop variable trumpet kit
  • AE92 drop spindles
  • AE92 tubular front LCAs with caster increase & sway bar mount adjustment
  • AE92 coupe rear strut tower brace kit
  • Samurai power block DIN plate (extra cig sockets)
  • Samurai B-pillar LED rock/trail lights
  • Samurai front "bushbreaker"/splash guard plate
  • Samurai hard plastic corner indicators (replacing the stock rubber ones that turn to goo with 3D printed ones - nobody makes these!)
  • Samurai SU HIF44 carb adapter (these are already available, but I could make a better design)
  • Samurai focused LED dome light
  • AE92 coupe lexan rear quarter windows
  • AE92 coupe CF hood for popup light models (stock hood is super-heavy and all two dozen or so AE92 racers on the planet would love to have one)
  • 4AGE 16v lightweight stamped aluminum valve covers
yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
4/21/15 11:21 a.m.

Quick question, do you actually know how much machining limited runs of parts costs?

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls UltraDork
4/21/15 11:41 a.m.

I have attempted to do limited runs of custom and reproduction stuff.

The first time I contacted user groups and gauged interest in an alternator bracket to mount the mini Denso to rear engine fiats. I had at least 40 people saying they were waiting with money in hand. I designed it, tested it and showed detailed pictures and everyone was delighted. I asked what they would like to pay and then priced it under that. I had twenty brackets water jet cut and welded them together. I announced they were ready for shipping and was greeted with a resounding silence. Everyone who was cheering me on and said they were ready to pay suddenly decided that they were afraid of disturbing the originality of their cars. I think I sold 2 over a few years and the rest were given away or modified to work on other motors.

In the course of the GTE build I couldn't find a source for the sill plates I needed so I made some. It was just as easy to make six as it was the two I needed so the boss put them on ebay

 photo IMG_0041_zpsec91330c.jpg

They were up for six months until they sold, but they went for good money. That one was a success but I credit that to the car they were for.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/21/15 11:42 a.m.
yamaha wrote: Quick question, do you actually know how much machining limited runs of parts costs?

Yes I do, but most of these don't require any serious machining work, just some cutting & drilling and maybe some welding.

Edit: On that note though, the stamped aluminum valve covers are probably not a good idea...better stick to CF for those.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/21/15 11:43 a.m.

I know all about the big drop in post-production demand as well which is one of the reasons I'm going to avoid stocking parts and try to keep it mostly on-demand.

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
4/21/15 12:13 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH:

"On demand" drives up the cost per part substantially. Its why my customers won't bother machining anything small/simple in runs of under 10-20k units.

Some of the stuff on your list probably has a 90% fit from a universal item....so those would be pointless. Both of these markets are a shrinking demographic, so expect $$$$ involved.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/21/15 12:20 p.m.

None of those are close to a universal part, I wish they were...some do only require a little assembly though. And having built some of these already, I can tell you they're not expensive even when building one at a time and on-demand. The only expensive bits would be the 3D printed or CNC'd parts.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
4/21/15 12:56 p.m.

My late uncle used to make Magnetos for brass era cars with modern ignition components. They were built to customers spec. He had the castings made from a foundry. Did all the mill work himself. They were either aluminum or brass and could be rough or polished.

They cost anywhere between $200 and $600. He sold about 4 separate units and 2 sets every year.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
4/21/15 10:50 p.m.

I have a similar gig going rebuilding the u joints in the intermediate steering shaft for 924s 944 and 968. All I can say is expect to sell 1/10 the number you think you will and start there. My business has now been around for a number of years and has become rather constant. To the point where I can order parts in advance of each season and be with in a unit of two of demand. It is decent money that pays for a family vacation each year and keeps some cash in my pocket. Start small offer a couple on eBay and see what happens. Ohya and set up a web page. This I found to be key. If you don't have a on line store then you don't exist.

Another option is to find a established seller of parts for the car your parts are for and approach them about reselling your product.

I was actually approached by a reseller of Porsche parts about selling my steering shafts. I still may do it but then it gets complicated and I was going to have to frount a fair sum of labor and parts untill they sell. There was also the issue of dealing with cores. Like I said it got complicated. The good side of it is they are doing all the advertizing for you and you also have a captive audience that I specific to your car type.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/22/15 6:19 a.m.

How about selling the plans online, with an option for making the part with pre-paid orders?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/22/15 7:57 a.m.
SVreX wrote: How about selling the plans online, with an option for making the part with pre-paid orders?

I thought about doing that, it would make it a lot easier to create knockoffs but my third-world prices would be hard to undercut. I've also thought about making the parts OSHW...that would undercut the "pirates."

Toebra
Toebra New Reader
4/22/15 10:38 a.m.

I know a guy who makes a bunch of rubber parts for 914s. One thing you can count on, anyone with a 914, a miata or an air cooled Fiat 500 is guaranteed to be a flaky, cheap SOB. I can't speak for AE 86 owners.

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
4/22/15 10:44 a.m.

In reply to Toebra:

Probably worse, its a corolla.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/22/15 5:28 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH:

Are you seriously concerned about someone making knockoffs??

You have already shared that any jack leg with a saw and a drill could make them. You have ZERO barrier to entry, and lack the financial resources to defend against knockoff if there were any.

Make money where you can, by making it easy for anyone else if they want to. Sell plans. Some people will buy the plans and never even build the parts.

You would have ZERO materials cost, ZERO manufacturing cost, ZERO inventory costs, ZERO shipping costs, ZERO returns, ZERO dissatisfied customers, and ZERO liability.

Smaller revenues, but 100% profit. That's hard to beat.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/23/15 8:32 a.m.

Fair point...I could do that for the simpler stuff, but a few of the parts are so heavy on design work (like the 4AGE crank scraper and worst of all, the ITB adapter) and have a big enough potential customer base that selling the designs on a silver platter might not be a smart idea.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
4/23/15 8:58 a.m.

I sell a big brake kit for e30s using Volkswagen Corrado rotors and Mazda RX7 turbo calipers.

I have a local machine shop do the brackets for me in batches of 100. Smaller quantities just are not economical.

The rotors need to have the center bore opened to fit the e30 hub. I haul them down to a different machine shop (all manual machines) 10 at a time.

Here's how I market/sell them if you're curious: e30 Brake Solutions

It is definitely not a big money maker, but it pays for a portion of my hobbies and it's fun to see my parts being used on cars all over the world!

Toebra
Toebra New Reader
4/23/15 10:54 a.m.

I bet those brakes would work on a 914 too, 2002, but you have to cut down the outside diameter I think.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/23/15 4:00 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: Fair point...I could do that for the simpler stuff, but a few of the parts are so heavy on design work (like the 4AGE crank scraper and worst of all, the ITB adapter) and have a big enough potential customer base that selling the designs on a silver platter might not be a smart idea.

If the designs are that good with a serious market, sell the design to an after market supplier with the marketing prowess and the manufacturing prowess to pull it off, and the legal team to protect it.

The only thing that tells me is that the design might be worth a single sale of $20K, instead of individual sales of $9.99.

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

The bottom line on ANY small part is that the idea CAN and WILL be stolen if the market is there, and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

You might as well accept it and make a little while you can.

Apis_Mellifera
Apis_Mellifera Reader
4/23/15 4:55 p.m.

I've been thinking about selling Porsche 906, 907/8 and 910 body parts.

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