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This Invention: A Family Content Network

A journal, information and resources for establishing a Family Content Network, as I am doing - essentially a framework for managing all your Family's online assets and inventions for maximum exposure and revenue. This blog began as an inventor's journal, and retains the overall parent inventor's context and mindset.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

(31) Tip of the week - parts and pieces

Simply the best online service for parts and pieces to create your invention - McMaster-Carr, at www. mcmaster.com. They've got all your bushings, bearings, shaft sleeves and axle hubs (which incidentally, all sort of solve the same problems, I've now learned), and 500,000 other hard-to-find (read: not in Lowe's) products. Quick shipments, too.

(30) New Blog

I've been dealing with Internet Safety for a while - check out the new blog at http://DADministrator.blogspot.com.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

(29) American Inventors

Just caught the new American Inventors show... on the one hand, it's pretty humbling to see how many people are working hard and long on their projects, and spending a bunch of money, with just an idea and dream to work with. On the other hand, people don't get out much, or do enough Googling. Look through product magazines, industry websites. Walk through Target, Walmart. Check out Hammacher Schlemmer, Lowes, places and catalogues with wide distribution. Things that sell (1) work, (2) have some aesthetic design input, (3) don't assault your common sense or moral compass, and (4) can't be simply recreated with stuff lying around the house. The show itself? Mildly entertaining, focused too much on the people vs. the inventions, and the bald judge was the only one who came up with relevant explanations for his decisions. I'd simply like to see a show that spent 5 minutes on each and every invention, and let us vote on them real time. There also were very few actual, original 'inventions', but a lot of existing products, ideas or designs modified in some manner for new use.

Regarding this invention, here's a hint regarding the target market - (like that commercial on TV); I don't make strollers or carts, but I make them better! I am, in fact, now a self-proclaimed expert in all things quinny, inglesina, chicco, valco, mbud and zooper! (If you don't recognize this language, check out planet StrollerSWAP, at Yahoo groups).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

(28) First Prototype Run

That's why they call it Rapid Prototyping - I sent the CAD files to the prototyping outfit, and I think they literally created a first run the day the files arrived, and overnighted to me! It's pretty damn cool to see the whole thing come together, and I took a lot of pictures with it in a semi-assembled state - my "customers" are really going to dig this! (If it doesn't hurt them, and then they sue me - need to start lining up some third-party safety testing, and product liability advice).

The manufacturers did have a very good idea - it was suggested that they first do one of each part, and send those to me, in case I needed to tweak the files a bit, after which they'd complete the run. My product has four parts, I ordered 1 each to check them out. Good thing I did; each part had something slightly wrong with it, and a couple of them didn't quite line up right. Don't know whether the errors were in the original design, the transfer to CAD files, or execution of the prototype; but it's good to catch them before the whole run was done ($3K!). The parts would have been nearly useless as prototypes, and I intend to conduct some serious testing with them.

Two of the parts require a connector, some kind of rivet. Until yesterday, I really didn't actually know how a rivet worked - got schooled online real quick. Turns out there are all kinds of nifty connectors, pins, hinges, in plastic or metal - but it's very difficult to find the right kind (especially if what you need is very small) if you don't know the variety of types and terms out there. Curious, every help desk person I end up emailing says something like "having built robotic assemblies before".... I ended up at www.plasticfasteners.com, after trolling through thomasnet. They'll be able to send a package of samples of "adjustable mini-rivets".

Made a reservation at the upcoming JPMA expo in Orlando, to become more familiar with the baby products industry, possible competitive manufacturers, and additional or expanded target markets for my product, or products that may end up as accessories. Should be fun! Also made a reservation on my Tivo to catch "American Inventor" this week - can't wait to see how all the inventions and inventors stack up to my story. I blogged earlier about possibly entering a contest, but with a lot of follow-up advice and research, it turns out that there's very few reasons for a serious inventor with a serious product to do that.

Other activities that might be worth commenting on - our "Bay House" is coming together, architecture plans are nearly complete, got the last good, low mortgage around, now I'm spending time trolling "freecycle.com" and rummaging leftovers from my stepmom's real estate transactions for used furniture. This vacation house will end up looking like a Fraternity house, if we're not careful! The whizkidsllc.com business is getting noticed; we held a PTA meeting with the Sherriff's department on Internet Safety, and will be doing a lot more in that area soon.