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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob E View Post
    OK...seems I left out too many details.
    No inventions involved. My friend has decided to reproduce an obsolete engine manifold that is much desired for. He has the blessing of the original manufacturer to proceed. The vintage racing market is driving the interest. My involvement is providing 3D models, casting patterns and core molds, as well as designing the machining fixtures (which will be more involved than he thinks).
    All I want to own are the casting patterns. I would make my own machining fixtures to my standards.
    Only looking to not lose money here.
    ...and when your friend passes on, you will be sued by the estate.

    NO MATTER WHAT.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob E View Post
    OK...seems I left out too many details.
    No inventions involved. My friend has decided to reproduce an obsolete engine manifold that is much desired for. He has the blessing of the original manufacturer to proceed. The vintage racing market is driving the interest. My involvement is providing 3D models, casting patterns and core molds, as well as designing the machining fixtures (which will be more involved than he thinks).
    All I want to own are the casting patterns. I would make my own machining fixtures to my standards.
    Only looking to not lose money here.
    It's worth buying if, and only if, YOU possess the enthusiasm and drive to market the product and not just make it. We've been approached several times over the years to make the tooling and produce what used to be called speed equipment parts—heads, manifolds and so on. I've passed on it each time because, while I really dug that stuff in 1964 and could see myself eventually making it, the present-day marketplace has moved on. It remains only for resto-rodders, who, to put it politely, are a shrinking demographic. Unless you are personally obsessed with, say, dual-Stromberg manifolds for flatheads (I sort of assumed it was something like that) I'd just take his money for the work (again, assuming he can pay for it)...

  4. #23
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    It sounds like a very limited market. I mean, it's not like people will be beating down the doors to get obsolete manifolds.

    I speak from experience. I used to have a sideline making a better frame fixture for vintage Harley-Davidson sidecar frames. Eventually over a period of several years I sold over 100 of them. I had great feedback and all the customers were quite pleased.

    Then it stopped. I had fulfilled the entire world market! Like when was the last time you saw a Harley with a sidecar? Like Old Wrench said above, "it's a shrinking demographic".

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  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    We do, we get old and start neglecting our work and we forget to care, many of us would like to see someone with the talent and drive to pick up where we leave off.
    This will sound like a personal jab. It is not meant to be.

    I wish more older gents had the will to act on this sentiment. They say it, and like the idea in theory, but when it comes to executing, they all think they will live forever. Maybe it becomes too personal (past a certain age) to willingly relinquish control of anything, when so many things are being forcibly taken. Maybe they think the young generation isn't capable enough. IDK. Just had a thought, I bet if this gent says he will never willingly leave his house, he will never willingly relinquish anything that looks like ownership of any part of this manifold project.

    So to OP. You don't have to sell him the patterns. Its all how the PO (agreement) is. You can offer two prices BUT I wouldn't even bring it up. Once he sees you have an interest in his project beyond service, I don't think he will be as free with you. You would think he would eat up the idea of passing on the torch, I don't think he will. On the other hand you will have all the info anyway. Remaking some patterns won't be any big deal anyway after he exits.

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  8. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmagpie View Post
    Many years ago a wise person told me don't do any work for inventors. They never have any money and they always want to do things over and over again and almost never is there any ultimate payout. Over the decades this advice has stood true time after time. YMMV
    One of my first customers when I was manual only was an inventor. He actually had deep pockets and paid well, at one time he owned a car that held the record for fastest 1/4 mile for all electric vehicles. For the record his inventing was a hobby, he made his small fortune selling concrete coring and sawing supplies.

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    It is tantalizingly easy to set up machining production for aluminum manifolds. Using the venerable small block Chevy as an example, Edelbrock et al made an awful lot of them very efficiently, years before CNC. Really, all you need is a couple Bridgeports, one with a rocking fixture to face the head mating surfaces, one with a fixture to face the carb mounting flanges, and a line of multiple-head drill presses with drill-bushing fixtures. And tapping heads. Oh, and some reverse spotfacers. A few Burgmasters in the line, a regular magazine ad, and you'd own the speed equipment industry and have a yacht.

    The only other thing you need for this is a time machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    ...Eventually over a period of several years I sold over 100 of them. I had great feedback and all the customers were quite pleased. Then it stopped. I had fulfilled the entire world market!
    Bingo! Right-hand drive steering racks for the Australian dirt track market—ten years' worth of sales didn't pay for the tooling. Of course, if you look really, really far ahead you won't bother doing anything. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I get the impression the OP isn't passionate about the product, and I think you have to be in order to overcome the inevitable setbacks.

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  13. #28
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    Generally speaking most that have such a project or passion hold a much higher value to it than any realistic ROI.
    They tend to be very insulted if offered a reasonable business deal. I've learned to tread lightly on someone's dreams.
    That said at one point I had a dream with theses new microprocessor chip things, over and over I was told that "Nobody can hope to compete with IBM or DEC, NCR, this is silly".
    Most that did try are now long gone but a few survived so odds are that I'd have failed too but do wish I had tried.
    Bob

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  15. #29
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    Generally speaking most that have such a project or passion hold a much higher value to it than any realistic ROI.
    They tend to be very insulted if offered a reasonable business deal.
    Like that stupid show "shark tank". I've only watched it a few times, but the people
    seem completely married to their one idea, AND want to control it.

    There was one I was watching and one of the Yahoos wanted to give the guy a sizable
    chunk of change for 60% or something (majority owner), but the guy wanted control
    and wanted to run it. Made no sense to me, it was a stupid product that would
    have probably done well for a bit with a "Seen on TV" sticker on it.

    Take the money, still get a big chunk of profits and have to do NOTHING!!!! But they
    can't, they are literally married to it.

    --------------------

    An "inventor" I did some work for, really good guy, really cool product. I made 2 different
    sizes, 2 different versions. Can't say I made money on it, but I didn't lose money either,
    and it was fun.

    Anyways, he wanted to mass produce these things and sell them for cheap.. Sell millions,
    but it wasn't that kind of product. It was a high end product, his target would barely
    cover the materials, even in qty. I tried to explain to him that it was a niche product,
    and he could charge really good money for it in limited qty's. It was for a hobby that
    rich guys like to do in their basement, and spend stupid money on stupid tools for..

    One of those things that people wouldn't buy for $25 or $50, but would buy for $200
    just so they could brag to their friends how much they paid. And it would have been
    worth it, it was a beautiful tool, if it was anodized and engraved it would have been
    coffee table worthy. And the thing actually worked.

    But... He was married to the idea that it should be a cheap mass market product, and it just
    wasn't. I have no idea where he went with it. I hope he kept going, it was a cool product.

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  17. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    Like that stupid show "shark tank". I've only watched it a few times, but the people
    seem completely married to their one idea, AND want to control it.
    The sharks annoy me just as much as the inventors and then some. They would be perfectly happy if everything non food had a made in China label on it, especially Mark Cuban.

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  19. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    One of my first customers when I was manual only was an inventor. He actually had deep pockets and paid well, at one time he owned a car that held the record for fastest 1/4 mile for all electric vehicles. For the record his inventing was a hobby, he made his small fortune selling concrete coring and sawing supplies.
    Yup. Rented a VERY "full panel" PA-28 at first through the FBO, later one-to-one as the owner was happy I took REALLY good care of it when they had not.

    From a wealthy guy as never had the time to fly it himself but a few times a YEAR!

    He had developed improved early-day carpark control systems that logged cars in and out and adjusted for error faster - so as to be able to display open spaces, keep the lots filling more slots - fee OR "free" - with fewer pissed-off arrivals as couldn't find a spot, went and shopped somewhere else.

    Then EVERYBODY wanted the same features and it got COMPETITIVE. So he had no time to fly his airplane!


    Advice from a different "serial" builder of several fortunes:

    'Don't seek a niche where there is no competition."
    "That's because there is no MARKET!"

    "Go where there is PLENTY of competition in a large market."
    "Then beat SOME of them by ENOUGH to do well with only a SHARE of it."

    To which I would add;

    "And NEVER by "the American disease" AKA "We are cheaper than.."

    Because that.. is a suicidal "race to the bottom" that only ever ends but one way.

    Too damned broke to be able to re-tool and adapt for any chance at a future.

    Price your goods or services always at at least a "slight" premium.

    Then earn it by proving the value. First day, next day, all day, every day 'til END of days.

    And customers keep coming back to yah.

    ELSE NOT!

    Get it "right"? Wuddn' yah know it? The lazy sods even bring "helper" purchasers.

    Go figure the gloating braggarts can't keep their good fortune a secret!


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    A friend of mine reproduced all sorts of vintage speed equipment as well as created stuff he thought should have been made. Top notch quality, insanely skilled individual. He got burned out working for free. Market's not big enough to support the development costs and infrastructure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    A friend of mine reproduced all sorts of vintage speed equipment as well as created stuff he thought should have been made. Top notch quality, insanely skilled individual. He got burned out working for free. Market's not big enough to support the development costs and infrastructure.
    Can't see a lumber bizness by being a broader tree. Sawdust is still sawdust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Generally speaking most that have such a project or passion hold a much higher value to it than any realistic ROI.
    They tend to be very insulted if offered a reasonable business deal. I've learned to tread lightly on someone's dreams.
    The important exception is the guy whose passion is such that he will endure years of penury in order to acquire the means to produce the product. That guy laughs at offers to invest, and laughs at banks.

    If somebody wants to own this company more than I do, they'll write the check. If not, I can cheerfully remain Chairman until I die, because I like it so much.

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  26. #35
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    One other direction to look at:

    Many look at a product and think how to build a single company out of that single product. I think that habit itself often kills ventures because the market comes and goes. The companies that survive often have one or more product lines. One might do well then take a back burner as another kicks up, but both are still available. That diversity is most often the "magic" that keeps good new products afloat because you don't have to rely on the one thing to pay all the bills, but it can still bring in enough to pay it's percentage.

    So given that there isn't a huge market for obsolete manifolds. IMO, they would be best serviced by a company that has several other related products to pad the accounts. It could be a company that makes vintage car parts, engine rebuilding supplies, etc. If you look at other old car parts companies, most have a few products that you can only get through them, but then they have a whole catalog of things you find everywhere. That's not greedy capitalism, it's necessary diversity. The hard part is that now that internet sales through eBay and Amazon have taken over. People will often buy just the one exclusive item from you, then get everything else from the lowest bidder (because shipping was free!). Luckily there is still a lot of customer loyalty out there if you run your business right. If they know they're getting top notch service and quality control, people will often pay a little extra.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    One other direction to look at:

    Many look at a product and think how to build a single company out of that single product. I think that habit itself often kills ventures because the market comes and goes. The companies that survive often have one or more product lines. One might do well then take a back burner as another kicks up, but both are still available. That diversity is most often the "magic" that keeps good new products afloat because you don't have to rely on the one thing to pay all the bills, but it can still bring in enough to pay it's percentage.

    So given that there isn't a huge market for obsolete manifolds. IMO, they would be best serviced by a company that has several other related products to pad the accounts. It could be a company that makes vintage car parts, engine rebuilding supplies, etc. If you look at other old car parts companies, most have a few products that you can only get through them, but then they have a whole catalog of things you find everywhere. That's not greedy capitalism, it's necessary diversity. The hard part is that now that internet sales through eBay and Amazon have taken over. People will often buy just the one exclusive item from you, then get everything else from the lowest bidder (because shipping was free!). Luckily there is still a lot of customer loyalty out there if you run your business right. If they know they're getting top notch service and quality control, people will often pay a little extra.
    The internet has completely changed the business model. People who used to have 300 dealers nationwide now have none because they can reach customers (who can reach them) without the price having to be stepped on several times ("List," "Jobber," Dealer," "Warehouse Distributor," "OEM," etc). As to broadening your product line, there are two ways: make a bunch of fluff to fill up open machine time, or offer an array of variations of your flagship product. Weather Tech makes floor mats and their strength lies in the variety. They don't make one model of floor mat and a range of gearshift knobs to fill up the catalog (or, today, fill up the bandwidth on their website).

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  30. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    One other direction to look at:

    Many look at a product and think how to build a single company out of that single product. I think that habit itself often kills ventures because the market comes and goes. The companies that survive often have one or more product lines. One might do well then take a back burner as another kicks up, but both are still available. That diversity is most often the "magic" that keeps good new products afloat because you don't have to rely on the one thing to pay all the bills, but it can still bring in enough to pay it's percentage.
    That's healthy in a lot of ways. When one income stream became slow or the customers became a PITA I could say "I don't need this shit, I also have XXX and XXX, and not stress about it.

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    About the manifold - There's a one man operation who makes Model A and B blocks and heads and manifolds etc here in the US. He makes the patterns, machines the castings, and sells through distributors and direct. Most are HP variations, like 5 main blocks and HP heads, others are stock replacements. Demand is greater than he can fill, he doesn't have time for new items he wants to make. He has done other items, he previously made a HP 351C block, etc. Who would think the market for Model A parts is that big?

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    One option would be for you to own the pattern. He buys the machined castings from you. You can recoup pattern costs over time same as if you had his business. He takes care of all the "customer fulfillment" that's worth a lot. Talking with single order customers can burn up a lot of time. If you're not really set up for regular shipping, packaging and shipping can burn up a lot of time.
    His markup will probably be less than you can pay someone to do the fulfillment etc. No hurt feelings etc. Only thing I would maybe do is write up something that he has to maintain a certain level of sales to maintain exclusivity of you selling him castings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Unless you are personally obsessed with, say, dual-Stromberg manifolds for flatheads (I sort of assumed it was something like that)
    No...this is fuel injection stuff. I would think a document saying I own the patterns and the finished product is sufficient.


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