Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Carbon Fiber and the Indy Dealer Expo

So I've been given the opportunity to once again attend the Indy Dealer Expo. If that doesn't sound familiar, don't feel bad. It's a convention for the manufacturers, dealers and retailers of all things scooter,motorcycle and "power sports" related. Last year I went to help my friend Steve scout products for his blog The Scooter Scoop. I'll be going again for the same reason this year but I've decided it's an excellent opportunity to put some of my product ideas in front of the heavy-hitters in the scooter industry. So to that end, I've chosen to focus on carbon fiber parts for Vespa P-series scooters, initially a light weight replacement for the shifter box cover. My task entails ordering the materials, making a mold and producing a small number of samples before the show which is in(gulp) FIVE WEEKS!.. Fine if you have a full time gig making these kinds of parts but I don't have that luxury, I'll really have to bust my but to get some made and I'll have to do it at night after work but I'm committed to this so here we go...
The engineering on these parts is non-existent since it's just a cover and a non-critical component. Making a mold should be fairly straight forward and I already have the tools for vacuum bagging parts. Now all I need is to order the carbon, s-glass and the resins, start making the mold while waiting for the materials and start thinking about flight and hotels. If anything, the critical feature of these parts is that they look really good.
I sat down the other day and did a cost analysis on a small run of parts and even at 40 pcs. I'll be doing well so that's a nice little bonus there..If I happen to sell them of course! And there is already a company in Germany selling the same thing so there is an established demand for such things. My main advantage in this market is that I can make a much better quality part, cheaper and the customer won't have to order them from Germany.
I'm excited about this, It will be my first attempt at conquering the whole enchilada on my own, concept, prototype, production and marketing..

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