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From 3D prototype to mass production in China

Posted by fsamir 
From 3D prototype to mass production in China
June 29, 2013 09:55PM
Hi all,

like me, I believe some of you got into 3D printing to help designing and prototyping products. After several prints and mistakes, I am now happy with my designs and I would like to send it to mass production, probably in China. However, I have no expertise on the subject and I would appreciate if you could share some advice. Anything is valid, links, success and fail stories, average costs, etc

My product is an electronics project, thus if you have particular experience in dealing with electronics manufactures, that would be a plus.


Franklin Dattein
Re: From 3D prototype to mass production in China
July 02, 2013 04:36AM
How big is mass production to you? Even some of the small shops won't take order of only a few thousand. Figure out if there really is a cost advantage to making it over there. Depending on what it is and how many you want int he first run it might make more sense to make it closer to home. It's one thing to buy components and have them shipped over but another thing to have production runs made there. You're likely going to need boots and the ground. Yours or someone you trust.

It can be done a few ways one being going over to Shenzhen, hiring a guide and getting the lay of the land and having the guide introduce you to the various manufacturers and suppliers. It's also common for someone to stay during the production runs in case something comes up.

As for tales, here's a guy that went over a year or so ago to prototype and have his product built. It didn't go so well for him, I think primarily because he didn't have an idea of what it was going to be like. It's a classic fish out of water story. [engineerinshenzhen.com] He just did launch [portablescores.com] though I understand he came back and finished it over here.

Mitch Davis at Hackvana has some insights from a couple of years or so ago... [hackvana.blogspot.com]

Ping the guys at Dangerous Prototypes and Seeed Studio. They might may be able to point you in the right direction. They are right in the middle of it.


Re: From 3D prototype to mass production in China
August 30, 2013 01:44AM
Thanks for the tips, mate. I will get in touch with them.

Franklin Dattein
Re: From 3D prototype to mass production in China
August 30, 2013 04:44AM
Bunnies's blog series "The factory floor" might be insteresting for you to read : [www.bunniestudios.com]

Most of my technical comments should be correct, but is THIS one ?
Anyway, as a rule of thumb, always double check what people write.
Re: From 3D prototype to mass production in China
August 30, 2013 02:44PM
It is a hard thing to do for the first time. I have had some items made in hundreds in China and the cost really depends on the quantity. One item I wanted made I was a box about 7"x4"x2" with 6 holes and a transformer inside. I was quoted $6k for a mold for the box alone. On that project I stopped right there as the mold fee was more than we were willing to pay.

On other products that were chemical etchings (also known as chemical machining) they sent 4 samples all wrong (I paid for and shipping) before we got it through to them what they were doing wrong. There can be a major communications barrier, they all have people working that speak English but many just barely and it can be hard to convey ideas or issues when this is the case.

Right now, I am having some custom transformers made, these people understand English much better so it's not as hard as other times.

The place I always go to find factories in China is Alibaba.com
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