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Guest csven

Crowdfunding Design: Finding Money To Pay For Design Projects

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Guest Buff

LOL, what a great thread this turned into. So it was about "crowdfunding" right?

 

Well I wish Sven well with that one. sometimes a pioneer gets shot at until the shooter realises what’s going on... then they usually try to portray themselves as pioneers whilst the real pioneer get shoved out in the cold.

 

Truth is, no one really pioneer anything... most stuff I'm aware of usually evolves from some earlier process.

 

As for sharing native files and designing products in their entirety well I'll offer to share my own thoughts on the mater.

 

I have designed several products in their entirety, a when I say "I" I mean me, self and I. Electronics, software, PCB Layout, algorithms, FEA, CFD, styling, mould tools, machining fixtures... OK I didn’t design the machines, though I have designed several machines... also in their entirety.

 

A bold claim some of you may think, but the reasons have been varied, mostly d to two things. Lack of money to pay someone else to do it for me and lack of an open mind in others to try something new.

 

I have worked on projects ranging from small aerospace jobs, automotive... including one those lovely supercars down to a family saloon, power tools, and special purpose machines.

 

Over the years I've worked on continuous improvement, purchasing, tooling manufacture and design, sales, marketing, production management, assembly, optical design and more lately even projects involving fabrics... that was fun stuff to learn about.

 

I guess I've been around... bit of a slut me :-))

 

mostly though my customers have some input, sort of like "Well I like the shape of that, but man that bit hanging off there is just pig ugly... can we round that off a bit?"

 

So there you go.... the customer is now fully locked into the design process and morally as well as legally owns the work ;-)

 

 

I make the word "morally" in bold as so often these "contracts" seem to fore go any moral guidance. As Sven said somewhere in the myriad of quotes (OK a few less than a myriad... perhaps three less) something like "Trust and respect" or something like that.

 

OK so I give my customers native files, they go off and modify them using something in house (this has actually happened to me) SO WHAT! As has been pointed out, I manage all the data I create and show 'DUE DILLIGENCE'. My system WILL NOT allow me to simply DELETE a revision. To pull that one off I'd have to wipe my discs clean and rebuild my database... F**K THAT!

 

In one of the most recent instances I had my data modified was because the company I did the work for used me to take on some extra work they didn’t have recourse in house to do, later made an amendment to a 'nuclear' radioactive sodium hydroxide containment cell I'd worked on that was necessary but not necessary for me to do as workload on their staff was less.

 

If I had got all hot and bothered about them farming MY WORK out to some 'cheap' in house labour.... well I wouldn’t expect any more work from them that's for sure.

 

I have had a client recently take a design overseas to have some work done cheaper than I could provide it for... mind you it wasn’t difficult for him to do it as I made the recommendation and he was happy with the result. This allowed him to get his product to market and on budget... if I had insisted I do the work the outcome would have been he would have had to say no thus I wouldn't have the work anyway and either the project would have stalled or he could have found the supplier himself and perhaps not have got a satisfactory job.

 

Yet another job I worked on (not so recent) for a mobile phone company ended up being taken elsewhere because I was too busy to meet the clients deadline, along with the 'native' files. The job worked out successfully as the new supplier to the customer implemented some of the 'design' suggestions I made into his 'CAD' model.... so I guess I designed it then... or was that the CAD jockey? I dunno!

 

 

Anyway said client worked on another job with me last year worth £250K. Now had I argued about not releasing native files because I wanted to protect a few grand’s worth of work... I wonder now if I would have gotten the £250K job? I dunno!

 

What was that word Sven used? ...Relationships.... yes that's it, relationships... counts for a whole lot more than a contract in this business... petty squabbling about petty ownership.

 

FWIW I haven’t had a written contract with any of my last dozen or so clients... just a handshake, and they tell me they are happy... well they keep coming back anyway... maybe I'm too cheap? Naaaahhh!

 

FFS... the client's paying you, so as far as I am concerned the client owns your ass... end of! Be happy you have some work to do... many don't!

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Guest csven

Well, Paul Arato posted what appears to be a final comment:

 

Just one last note Sven, since this debate has become a little more personal than academic. Do not think, that I have been worrying for forty years, not even for a minute. I've been practicing just like youthe idea that you first astablish a mutual trust prior to contractually engaging with a client. Over the 15 years of using CAD in our office, the request from clints for the native files for rougue purposes had only occurd twice, and both times we resolved the issue peacefully.

 

With this I am out of this discussion. Thanks guys.

 

And my response to it was:

 

Paul, your "last note" assertion seems to me to be at odds with what you've already agreed is an accurate reflection - as expressed by your young apprentice - of your business approach. Perhaps this debate would feel less personal had your apprentice spoken with a bit more tact. Even so, it seems to me that if someone truly trusted their client, sharing development files for a product they've commissioned would not even be an issue. Thus, I can't help but feel your words ring a bit hollow.

 

A shame you seem to be the only one taking this approach willing to speak out on it. I don't doubt there are others who share your views and practices.

 

The original questions still stand.

 

Maybe Robert - who has everything figured out - can now take over for Paul on LinkedIn. No doubt Paul would appreciate the assist. ;)

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Guest csven
LOL, what a great thread this turned into. So it was about "crowdfunding" right?

Yeah. Somewhere back there. And while this got well off-topic, I'd venture Robert and his mentor Paul Arrato are representative of a larger unwillingness to evolve with the times.

 

I was reading the latest comments on Jon Kolko's "The End of an Era" entry and this one seemed to me relevant to this thread:

What Robert and probably many more don't realize is that my little Kickstarter experiment may represent a way forward for some in the profession; an opportunity to remain a designer; independent or otherwise.

 

It's not intended to be a great product development effort because - just as the military doesn't take pot shots at new equipment for target practice - I'm unwilling to put my best ideas into play. Not yet, anyway. Not for an experiment.

 

Additionally, the funding target isn't so much driven by my income needs as it is the needs of other designers who have failed to reduce their overhead to the degree I have. If the funding target isn't in line with their expectations, they won't even give crowdfunding a chance.

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Guest Buff

Nice article in Develop3D magazine by Al Dean on Sven's kickstarter project.

 

I've been thinking on sort of similar lines for a while. A kind of discount service for those 'mad inventors' who can’t get a break, in exchange for a 'small percentage of sales'

 

they need ideas developing but perhaps don’t have the tools/skills to do it alone. Also they lack credibility and 'teaming up' with an industrial designer/firm can bring about some credibility and get business angels/venture capitalist/grant funders talking.

 

OK this isn’t new (is anything really new?) but I think the industrial design community could be onto something.

 

Why not keep an idea like this to myself and 'keep the IP' and my 'native files ;-) why doesn’t Sven keep his ideas to himself?

 

I suspect Sven sees the bigger picture... for the wider audience. I mean really could Sven handle ALL the work that is out there?

 

I know some of us are finding it hard right now to get work from 'traditional' client base... so as Sven suggests... move with the times. Trouble is some companies are still doing rather well... they think 'I have the Midas touch...I'm such a great businessman" but really... are they?

 

I'm sure GM thought they were top drawer, I'm sure Northern Rock thought their lending policies where just brilliant, I'm sure Royal Bank of Scotland's Sir Fred Goodwin though he was genius... well he paid himself £17M before he left so perhaps he is :-D

 

Point is nothing stays static... everything is constantly shifting like a glacier... move with it or fall into the abyss.

 

The good reason to share our ideas, rather than cling to them for dear life believing we will maintain that all important competitive advantage is well... quite frankly; selfish, stupid, morally defunct and short sighted.

 

By sharing we help each other GOOD. We help those outside our inner circle GOOD and we help ourselves too. We gain more by sharing.

 

I'll explain with a real life examples. First my girlfriend worked for a high street photographer... to them clients who were on a tight budget where.... and I quote "scum". They beloved their competitors to be idiots and took steps to ensure nothing was leaked to a competitor so they would retain the business.

 

My girlfriend got pregnant somehow, not sure how it happened, I think she must have eaten something? Anyways she was 'sacked due to financial constraints' a week after telling her employer about the pending bump.

 

She went to a tribunal and a settlement was made out of court... she used her compensation to buy her own lighting (she already had a camera) I built her a website and she now earns more money offering low cost portraits to those who have been affected by the credit crunch.

 

Her old employer does her many favours by being her competitor; first their customers are unhappy and are relieved to find a more human approach. Their prices are so high all but the most effluent have to take out credit to be able to afford the pictures... so by having competition who stand in the street canvassing for new clients, putting the idea of portraiture into the minds of Joe public, she indirectly benefits.

 

She also helps promote other photographers not only outside her own geographic catchment area, but also within... this often is reciprocated where a client is looking for a different style/budget

 

So by sharing our ideas for developing our individual businesses we develop our industry and thus the 'movement' become more easily and firmly embedded into the consciousness of they paying client.

 

By keeping hold we only limit the potential to ourselves, as it's inevitable others will catch on sooner or later and the greedy and selfish will ultimately perish.

 

Course I'm just talking a load of B0llock$

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Guest csven

Glad you liked the article. I am, however, a little disappointed that crowdfunding product design doesn't seem of interest to the majority of industrial designers, especially new grads unable to find work.

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Guest Buff

Well it gets my vote Sven. I wish Kickstarter would operate over here as I would be pushing the idea forward.

 

Perhaps something can be done? I dunno.

 

I think perhaps folk are missing the real and deeper meaning of "one thousand garages"... funny really, it's massage isn't exactly below the surface.

 

As my granddad used to say "there are none so blind as those that refuse to see"

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Do you have any plan on how you would distribute the CNC files to those that want them? I was just thinking about it from a customer perspective again - what if I want the product? It would be interesting to have a list of manufacturers that have downloaded the product, and select a local producer to make it for you on demand. Perhaps that could be an idea for a future Internet marketplace, not only for browsing products, but where you get to pick the producers as well. Perhaps this exists?

 

I wouldn't be discouraged too much if it seems that IDers don't care about this stuff. What I've come to know as the ID community - it's not specifically outspoken unless it's criticism. For all you know, 1000 grads could be sitting and thinking up projects that could utilize this model right now. With so many "omg! love it! where can i buy it?!"-comments, perhaps sites like Yanko and Coroflot should incorporate the fundraising features that would encourage designers to develop concepts into products.

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Guest csven
Do you have any plan on how you would distribute the CNC files to those that want them? I was just thinking about it from a customer perspective again - what if I want the product? It would be interesting to have a list of manufacturers that have downloaded the product, and select a local producer to make it for you on demand. Perhaps that could be an idea for a future Internet marketplace, not only for browsing products, but where you get to pick the producers as well. Perhaps this exists?

I've been asking around - directly asking some CNC hubs and vendors - about this issue, but so far I've not located a centralized CNC file repository. There are, of course, 3D model files on Google Warehouse and the like, but apparently not something similar for CNC-ready files. Having a hard time believing it, but so far it seems to be true. Right now, if a project goes through, I'll host them myself until a repository surfaces or is created. Personally, I'd think ShopBot would want to create a centralized download considering it would be a great way to sell their tools. I've asked them as well but the answer I received also indicated they weren't aggregating anything. My suspicion is that Ponoko will set one up.

 

I wouldn't be discouraged too much if it seems that IDers don't care about this stuff. What I've come to know as the ID community - it's not specifically outspoken unless it's criticism. For all you know, 1000 grads could be sitting and thinking up projects that could utilize this model right now. With so many "omg! love it! where can i buy it?!"-comments, perhaps sites like Yanko and Coroflot should incorporate the fundraising features that would encourage designers to develop concepts into products.

Not discouraged; I'll be doing more of this without a doubt. But certainly a little disappointed. I continue to question the assumption industrial designers are inherently out-of-the-box thinkers as I'm continually amazed at how reluctant so many IDers are to experiment with new things. Meanwhile, I've got people from other creative professions begging for Kickstarter invites.

 

The Yanko/Core77 thought is a good one; it would seem a good fit. I did alert Core but they've apparently not taken an interest either. We'll see.

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Guest csven

By CNC-ready, I mean a file in a variety of standard formats (.iges, .stl, etc) in which the product has been prepared for cutting; forms have been split as necessary into multiple pieces and laid out on a plane for cutting and subsequent assembly. Basically the same procedure I'm guessing most designers go through when they prep a model for their shop to cut out of Renshape.

 

I just took another look at 3D Content Central and I'm not seeing files prepared in this way. Like pretty much all 3D content sites, the 3D models would require additional CAD work. I'm assuming a growing percentage of CNC owners won't be adept CAD users and will just want a file they can plug into the software which came with their machine to generate a tool path.

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By CNC-ready, I mean a file in a variety of standard formats (.iges, .stl, etc) in which the product has been prepared for cutting; forms have been split as necessary into multiple pieces and laid out on a plane for cutting and subsequent assembly. Basically the same procedure I'm guessing most designers go through when they prep a model for their shop to cut out of Renshape.

 

I just took another look at 3D Content Central and I'm not seeing files prepared in this way. Like pretty much all 3D content sites, the 3D models would require additional CAD work. I'm assuming a growing percentage of CNC owners won't be adept CAD users and will just want a file they can plug into the software which came with their machine to generate a tool path.

 

I'm not sure about the comment about CNC owners. In my experience most buyers of CNC equipment these days also buy into a decent CAM system as well. Even the lower cost desktop mills have basic (through very usable) CAM systems that can open a STEP or STL file say, isolate a part and orientate it in a block for cutting. In this environment all you need do is supply a STEP or native file. If you are talking about splitting a model into a core and cavity then that is different - but - no two toolmakers are the same at this.

 

Even prepping for a 3D printer is dependent on the printer. If the part had fine details say, I'd tend to turn them off for a Zcorp print say, and turn them on for a Viper output if they were not function critical (in the same way that doing a FEA analysis I'd turn off all fillets etc).

 

Ideally what is needed is a software app (online?) that you can select the file, and prep it for a specific CAM system or even machine. This must be doable as sites like McMaster, 3D CC and others let you output to a range of native and generic formats already. Problem is for the suppliers using it (certainly in the case of 3D CC) the set up for this costs a fortune....we need an open source system!

 

EDIT - just had a thought. Acrobat is as generic a format as you can get. Many mainstream and lesser known CAD systems already output 3D PDF already. I know (as I use it) that in Acrobat Extended you can open a native CAD file, and save it as a 3D PDF and send it to a supplier who can save it as a Parasolid file, say. Maybe Adobe should get in on this and develop a version of Acrobat linked to their Live Cycle server system that gives you file level controls over distribution, viewing and handling of the pdf.

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Guest csven
I'm not sure about the comment about CNC owners. In my experience most buyers of CNC equipment these days also buy into a decent CAM system as well.

That's why I qualified my comment with: "I'm assuming a growing percentage of CNC owners". While the current wave will probably be more capable with the CAM systems they're acquiring, I'm assuming future waves of owners will want a "point-n-shoot" device... and no-hassle 3D files.

 

If you are talking about splitting a model into a core and cavity then that is different - but - no two toolmakers are the same at this. Even prepping for a 3D printer is dependent on the printer. If the part had fine details say, I'd tend to turn them off for a Zcorp print say, and turn them on for a Viper output if they were not function critical (in the same way that doing a FEA analysis I'd turn off all fillets etc).

Not exactly core and cavity. Just splitting a part so the pieces are prepped for cutting; no undercuts and easy assembly. The issue of details is, however, something I'd need to work out. I have to assume not every CNC-owner will have a huge variety of cutters.

 

Ideally what is needed is a software app (online?) that you can select the file, and prep it for a specific CAM system or even machine. This must be doable as sites like McMaster, 3D CC and others let you output to a range of native and generic formats already. Problem is for the suppliers using it (certainly in the case of 3D CC) the set up for this costs a fortune....we need an open source system!

Until then, my intent is/was to keep things simple. If something were to come up that helped solve this problem, if possible, I'd incorporate it.

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Guest Bowl of Soup

Hmm, interesting how a large part of this thread is about IP ownership.

 

This seems to be the topic 'du jour'...

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Sven what happened? You were so eager for me to join your little conversation over on linked in and not you or the "thousand other designers you are batting with" have any kind of compelling answer to my last post?

 

I think we may be looking at two different approaches here to native CAD files and hence the disagreement. One whereby your original intention is to outsource the CAD work or to hand it off at some point to others to do the modeling, and the other whereby it is made clear that the designer or design office will be responsible for most if not all of the design and CAD development work. Either way this would be outlined in your original proposal.

 

If you work with trustworthy clients and their intentions are made clear as to what they would be doing with the files then I can envision a scenario whereby it may be more efficient to give them native files to allow them to make small changes for manufacturing. Yes Sven, I am agreeing with you here.

 

However as many designers often include a series of manufacturing revisions in their original proposal one would have to question the need for the client to require native files.

 

In many cases a design office may have royalty agreements in place with their client(s) and because of this if the client were to outsource the design work to someone else not only could they be losing out on future revenue, but now the design office could have invested a substantial amount of time into a design with drastically reduced design fees to which they would take a huge hit if they took it somewhere else. And we should now be obligated to give the new design firm our native files?

 

Even if we make the comparison to 2D work in which this topic originally sprung from, if you think of work done in sketchbook pro for example, for the purpose of creating simple conceptual work, is the client entitled to my native file consisting of the many layers composing the design concept? Or when I create a rendering in photoshop, should they be entitled to the native photoshop file composed of the many layers illustrating how I rendered it? I don't think anyone would agree that they should be entitled to these files. Typically you would give them a JPG, TIFF, or PDF which are standard export formats for which the client could use for a variety of purposes. I think the same applies to CAD files and hence why my exports are typically STEP, IGES, and STL. (Lets not get into graphic logo design shall we as we know the deliverables are often native files containing vector files for scaling, but even with these they are typically cleaned up versions of the original only containing the necessary files)

 

I think there are many valid reasons why both ACIDO and IDSA make clear in their contracts as to why the process that designers employ to develop a design remains the property of the author, and it has to do with protecting the rights of Industrial Designers. These contracts weren't just slapped together with standardized off the shelf legal contracts, they were tailor made by a professional organization with many legal advisers with the intent of protecting the interests of the Industrial Designers.

 

I think the question becomes if clients are entitled to native files in every case where do we draw the line?

 

Perhaps you guys are right though, maybe we should all evolve with the times. In the not to distant future when programs like Ilovesketch and other 3d sketching applications go mainstream allowing designers to translate their sketches directly into 3D models we should give our clients those files as well, I'm sure you shouldn't have a problem letting them rework your sketches either. Perhaps you and the client can co-sign your pieces together, that would be cute.

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