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ndakotan
11-23-2012, 12:38 PM
OK, heres the situation.

I am a full time business partner, so the more hours I put in at work, the more money I make, and I like to make money.

On the other hand, I am not happy with my life if I can't spend time with the family and play competitive pool. So I do both.

My mind is also constantly racing about different ideas, jokes, stories, math questions, etc. and I have thought of a few product ideas only to find that they were already patented.

Now I have a product idea for pool. I am buying a 3-D printer so I can make the product for myself and my friends if they want one. I don't really want to invest time/money into a second business because it would be smarter to make the first business more successful. Although I don't really want to make a lot of money with this idea, I don't really want someone else make money I should be making, so I am in a bit of a pickle.

It would be a relatively simple product to make once the mold was prepared, and it would fit in one of the pockets of cue cases.

I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. I'm assuming it would cost the same (or up too twice the cost) to make as a plastic bridgehead, possibly with twice the plastic. If someone makes and sells bridgeheads, how much is the initial investment, cost to make, and selling price?

If someone makes and markets a cue rest that allows you to lean your cue against the table, do they have to pay q-claw or anyone else? Someone makes a bridgehead with tip shapers in the middle. Did they have to pay someone because they make a bridge head or a tip shaper in one? My product would be multifunctional, but it may incorporate elements of items already in use.

Is there anybody the buys ideas and takes them over? I would never know who to trust, how much to ask, etc. I think a lot of the invent-assist companies may be screwballs, but I don't know.

I do not want to get into selling or marketing these things and I would drop it if I didn't see value to myself and my friends near term, and maybe it will help the pool world long term. I think you could take this item out of your case and prove to someone why certain shots are fouls, and it would allow you to make shots that are otherwise a foul. If it can do that and it can perform the same tasks as a few $5-20 items, it seems like a good idea to me.

Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.

oldplayer
11-23-2012, 01:07 PM
my $0.02 worth of advice....don't even CONSIDER inventing anything wherein a patent would be necessary....unless you want to burn thru 10s of thousands of dollars on a "widget"....i went thru $250,000 to no avail....takes too much money for the return...time is money....be advised you are talking years to get the patent! :sorry:

mortuarymike-nv
11-23-2012, 01:12 PM
do you understand cad/cam ?
how are you with mach3.
are you thinking this is a press and play, buy the machine and ta duh you are in business.

can you write a file in g codes?
If you cannot you shouldnt buy a 3d printer yet.
what software is the 3 printer running.
what training is being offered with you 3d printer?

if you buy a 3 d printer there are other products that sale for more,
that are in hire demands then pool products .

why dont you design your product and have someone else with a 3d printer make it.
MMike

MMike

ndakotan
11-23-2012, 01:17 PM
my $0.02 worth of advice....don't even CONSIDER inventing anything wherein a patent would be necessary....unless you want to burn thru 10s of thousands of dollars on a "widget"....i went thru $250,000 to no avail....takes too much money for the return...time is money....be advised you are talking years to get the patent! :sorry:

I was afraid that would be the answer. It is frustrating to me that it takes that kind of resources to do something. The system is broken.

ndakotan
11-23-2012, 01:19 PM
do you understand cad/cam ?
how are you with mach3.
are you thinking this is a press and play, buy the machine and ta duh you are in business.

can you write a file in g codes?
If you cannot you shouldnt buy a 3d printer yet.
what software is the 3 printer running.
what training is being offered with you 3d printer?

if you buy a 3 d printer there are other products that sale for more,
that are in hire demands then pool products .

why dont you design your product and have someone else with a 3d printer make it.
MMike

MMike

I am proficient in cad, but haven't programmed anything in a long time. I was thinking I'd have to get help in that regard, but I've never been afraid to try.

Pidge
11-23-2012, 01:21 PM
If you aren't wanting to focus all of your attention on this the its not worth the patent. It would take years and stupids amounts of money.

If its an idea or invention that is going to make millions then by all means get a patent. Majority of the time, especially in billiards new patented products barely make enough profit to cover the cost of the patent. I'd take a long realistic look and do the math to see if it justifies going down the patent route.

As far as incorporating other products into yours...I'm not sure if that would be an infringement. I'd get legal advice or I'm sure there are some fellow AZers involved in the legal business that would be happy to answer any questions about this for nothing.

Good luck, and if this does make you millions...I'd like a diamond table please!

ndakotan
11-23-2012, 01:21 PM
do you understand cad/cam ?
how are you with mach3.
are you thinking this is a press and play, buy the machine and ta duh you are in business.

can you write a file in g codes?
If you cannot you shouldnt buy a 3d printer yet.
what software is the 3 printer running.
what training is being offered with you 3d printer?

if you buy a 3 d printer there are other products that sale for more,
that are in hire demands then pool products .

why dont you design your product and have someone else with a 3d printer make it.
MMike


MMike

know anyone with a 3d printer?

jschelin99
11-23-2012, 01:29 PM
All of your patent law questions would be best answered by a patent lawyer, not a bunch of pool people on an internet forum. No offense guys. ;)

For what it's worth, I, too, have a unique product that I wanted to patent, and looked into patenting my idea, but discovered it's just far too expensive for a single person and/or small company to move forward, in my opinion.

One possibility is to secure a Provisional Patent. It'll still probably cost you about $10,000+ in legal fees, etc. But, once secured, a Provisional Patent gives you one year to secure a full-blown Non-Provisional Patent. That way, you can shop your idea around to bigger companies for one year without the fear of them stealing your idea.

Again, don't take my information as completely accurate. Consult a patent attorney.

RBC
11-23-2012, 01:53 PM
OK, heres the situation.

I am a full time business partner, so the more hours I put in at work, the more money I make, and I like to make money.

On the other hand, I am not happy with my life if I can't spend time with the family and play competitive pool. So I do both.

My mind is also constantly racing about different ideas, jokes, stories, math questions, etc. and I have thought of a few product ideas only to find that they were already patented.

Now I have a product idea for pool. I am buying a 3-D printer so I can make the product for myself and my friends if they want one. I don't really want to invest time/money into a second business because it would be smarter to make the first business more successful. Although I don't really want to make a lot of money with this idea, I don't really want someone else make money I should be making, so I am in a bit of a pickle.

It would be a relatively simple product to make once the mold was prepared, and it would fit in one of the pockets of cue cases.

I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. I'm assuming it would cost the same (or up too twice the cost) to make as a plastic bridgehead, possibly with twice the plastic. If someone makes and sells bridgeheads, how much is the initial investment, cost to make, and selling price?

If someone makes and markets a cue rest that allows you to lean your cue against the table, do they have to pay q-claw or anyone else? Someone makes a bridgehead with tip shapers in the middle. Did they have to pay someone because they make a bridge head or a tip shaper in one? My product would be multifunctional, but it may incorporate elements of items already in use.

Is there anybody the buys ideas and takes them over? I would never know who to trust, how much to ask, etc. I think a lot of the invent-assist companies may be screwballs, but I don't know.

I do not want to get into selling or marketing these things and I would drop it if I didn't see value to myself and my friends near term, and maybe it will help the pool world long term. I think you could take this item out of your case and prove to someone why certain shots are fouls, and it would allow you to make shots that are otherwise a foul. If it can do that and it can perform the same tasks as a few $5-20 items, it seems like a good idea to me.

Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.

Ndakotan

The decision to patent or not is a tough one. There are a few questions that will help though.

Is your idea patentable in the first place? You mentioned that it incorporated some things already in the public domain. Certainly those portions would not be protected by any patents you may get issued.

Is your idea something that would be obvious to anyone who sees the product? Patents aren't always the best way to protect your idea. Patents have a life span, after which the idea is public domain. If you can keep it a secret, then not getting a patent is best. Think of the formula for Coca Cola. It's not patented and has been the property of the Coca Cola company for over a hundred years. (I think it's been that long!)

Would the profit from the product bring you much more in profit than the cost of the patent? This really tells you the value of your idea. You'll need to do some research to see what the consumer acceptable price would be as well as the market volume. You'd also need to research a cost to make it too. By a large percentage, especially in the small industry of billiards, most ideas are not going to make enough money to warrant a patent.


But, don't let the whole patent thing discourage you. Even if it's not a good idea to get a patent, you can still make some good income and have some fun with it. Have a confidentiality agreement drawn up so you can show it to some industry people. Rory Meuller comes to mind as he has some manufacturing abilities already, and he certainly has a marketing system in place. Seyberts, Joe Nielsen, etc. would be candidates too.

To make your first prototype, I'd just have it made by machining and not worry about the 3D printer thing. They aren't production machines and there would certainly be a learning curve just to getting your first product made.

I hope I made it better for you, and not worse. But that's how I see it anyway.

Royce Bunnell

Chip Roberson
11-23-2012, 01:56 PM
On manufacturing--I have worked as a major supplier for some of the largest companies on the East Coast for the last 30 years. Concerning the cost for molds to say, Plastic Injection Molding--your cost could be anywhere for the mold from say 8 grand up to 25 grand, depending how many cavaties are in the mold. Meaning each time the injection takes place--are you going to have one part or maybe 10. Now if the part is bigger that say a bridge head the price goes higher. The molds are lined with Platinum so that after an injection and the two halfs of the mold is seperated the parts just fall out. Hence the cost for such molds. Once the molds are paid for, they last just about forever though. I still rep molding companies if interested.

mortuarymike-nv
11-23-2012, 01:59 PM
Do I know anyone with a 3 d printer? yes
from what I understand ink is spendy.

MMike

SkyscraperChris
11-23-2012, 01:59 PM
know anyone with a 3d printer?

There are tons of companies popping up everywhere offering 3D printing services. Most of the time, you need only upload your file to their site, and it can be printed in a day or two, depending on the size and amount of material needed. Something like a bridgehead, for example, can cost about $75-150, depending on what type of 3D printer it is (some use laser-solidifying techniques, some use additive spaghetti-like techniques).

In the next 5 years or so, 3D printers will be pretty readily available to the public, as user-friendly software is more developed, companies decide to offer their products to be downloaded and printed, and as the cost of these printers goes down in general.

I am currently working on about 5 different billiard products myself, all of which will be 3D printed prototypes, from which I will try and sell to manufacturers in the market already that can afford the molds and such.

Hope this helps. Anything to get more billiards products on the market!

The Renfro
11-23-2012, 01:59 PM
You can submit your own patent but you will have to do considerable research on what the requirements are for the legal verb-age and drawing requirements.

The biggest issue is making your patent defensible.. That's about the only value in using an attorney. They have already done the homework and know the ropes.

Inventors used to patent most of their ideas themselves but it only took a few clever companies armed with an army of attorneys stealing a few ideas and winning in court for inventors to start needing attorneys themselves.... Couple that with the opposite side of the coin and here we are....

The system is broken and has been for awhile.. http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/07/11/how-patent-trolling-taxes-innovation/

You may want to check out the resources on legal zoom to start... There is plenty of info on patents,copyrights, and trademarks.....

oldplayer
11-23-2012, 02:03 PM
attorneys are attorneys are attorneys....i paid more than $60,000 in attorney's fees for the first one then paid another $20,000 to another because the first one did it wrong! they were both specialiazing in patents......need i say more?:rolleyes: also, the patent office has a policy to rubber stamp "denied" on the first offering..meaning the patent atty gets to spend more time in doing it again!...:mad:

poolhustler
11-23-2012, 02:06 PM
I have used this company a few times. Very good product and great customer service........

http://www.redeyeondemand.com

Renegade_56
11-23-2012, 02:21 PM
do you understand cad/cam ?
how are you with mach3.
are you thinking this is a press and play, buy the machine and ta duh you are in business.

can you write a file in g codes?
If you cannot you shouldnt buy a 3d printer yet.
what software is the 3 printer running.
what training is being offered with you 3d printer?

if you buy a 3 d printer there are other products that sale for more,
that are in hire demands then pool products .

why dont you design your product and have someone else with a 3d printer make it.
MMike

MMike

3D Printers don't use G-Codes, or Ink,,,,,,,

Webbs Billiards
11-23-2012, 02:34 PM
The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (http://simt.com/)

3D Printing

td873
11-23-2012, 02:40 PM
Couple notes:
1) Patents don't allow you to make a product.
2) If you use an attorney it will cost money - as most things associated with attorneys do. But the cost really depends on the technology, the saturation in that field, the number of claims you pursue and the type of attorney you choose.
3) You [generally] don't need prototypes to apply for a patent.

-td

Ralph Kramden
11-23-2012, 02:43 PM
On manufacturing--I have worked as a major supplier for some of the largest companies on the East Coast for the last 30 years. Concerning the cost for molds to say, Plastic Injection Molding--your cost could be anywhere for the mold from say 8 grand up to 25 grand, depending how many cavaties are in the mold. Meaning each time the injection takes place--are you going to have one part or maybe 10. Now if the part is bigger that say a bridge head the price goes higher. The molds are lined with Platinum so that after an injection and the two halfs of the mold is seperated the parts just fall out. Hence the cost for such molds. Once the molds are paid for, they last just about forever though. I still rep molding companies if interested.

I'm a retired moldmaker and built plastic injection molds for many years.
I never saw one lined with platinum. Parts mainly fall out because of the way
the molds are cooled and/or by ejector pins after the hot plastic solidifies.

I agree with you on the cost, but have seen many for well over 25 grand,
not because of how many cavities, but because of slides, shapes and shutoffs.
Simple multiple cavity molds may cost less than an intricate mold with 2 cavities.

MitchAlsup
11-23-2012, 02:56 PM
[QUOTE=ndakotan;3875394I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. [/QUOTE]

It costs around $15K (absolute minmum) to obtain a patent. $5K to file it for consideration, and $5k to secure the patent should the USPTO decide to grant it. There will be at leas $5K of various stuff between filing and secruing the patent. The shortest time one of my patents has taken to get through USPTO was 22 months; the longest over 7 years.

And this is if there are no laywers involved. For no laywer to be involved, you will have to write the patent in patenteese, do all the drawings, do all the patentability research, make the claims,... If you have not done this for at least 10 patent, hire the lawyer! I have one patent that I wrote every single word, did all the drawings,... and I still paid a law firm to deal with all the USPTO stuff. I have 42 patents overall.

But $75K is on the high side, figure mid-to-low $30Ks for an average patent with minimal overlap with already patented stuff. Every time you have to adjust the claims, more money is involved, so you basically HAVE to do the patent research up front, or hire a law firm that has a database of this kind of stuff.

Patents started out as a way for the small guy to compete with the big boys and has morphed into a system where the big guys simply crush the peons in order to stiffle competition.

Chip Roberson
11-23-2012, 03:14 PM
I got the Platinum info from one of the companies I rep--Plastic Industries in Athens Tenn.--I rep the products, I don't manufacture--just going on what I was taught from the guys that do--

td873
11-23-2012, 03:19 PM
It costs around $15K (absolute minmum) to obtain a patent. $5K to file it for consideration, and $5k to secure the patent should the USPTO decide to grant it. There will be at leas $5K of various stuff between filing and secruing the patent. The shortest time one of my patents has taken to get through USPTO was 22 months; the longest over 7 years.

And this is if there are no laywers involved. For no laywer to be involved, you will have to write the patent in patenteese, do all the drawings, do all the patentability research, make the claims,... If you have not done this for at least 10 patent, hire the lawyer! I have one patent that I wrote every single word, did all the drawings,... and I still paid a law firm to deal with all the USPTO stuff. I have 42 patents overall.

But $75K is on the high side, figure mid-to-low $30Ks for an average patent with minimal overlap with already patented stuff. Every time you have to adjust the claims, more money is involved, so you basically HAVE to do the patent research up front, or hire a law firm that has a database of this kind of stuff.

Patents started out as a way for the small guy to compete with the big boys and has morphed into a system where the big guys simply crush the peons in order to stiffle competition.
It's much cheaper to file for a mechanical device than a computer chip. Filing fees are no where near $5K, especially for a small entity (solo inventor). I think the fees are like $100 for a provisional and $600 for non-provisional (just fees to the PTO, not any attorney/search/drawing fees).

Even if there are attorney fees, they don't need to push you into the 30K range for a mechanical device by any stretch. I think 30K might be true for CPU related patents, but not a pool/billiards device.

-td

JB Cases
11-23-2012, 06:49 PM
OK, heres the situation.

I am a full time business partner, so the more hours I put in at work, the more money I make, and I like to make money.

On the other hand, I am not happy with my life if I can't spend time with the family and play competitive pool. So I do both.

My mind is also constantly racing about different ideas, jokes, stories, math questions, etc. and I have thought of a few product ideas only to find that they were already patented.

Now I have a product idea for pool. I am buying a 3-D printer so I can make the product for myself and my friends if they want one. I don't really want to invest time/money into a second business because it would be smarter to make the first business more successful. Although I don't really want to make a lot of money with this idea, I don't really want someone else make money I should be making, so I am in a bit of a pickle.

It would be a relatively simple product to make once the mold was prepared, and it would fit in one of the pockets of cue cases.

I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. I'm assuming it would cost the same (or up too twice the cost) to make as a plastic bridgehead, possibly with twice the plastic. If someone makes and sells bridgeheads, how much is the initial investment, cost to make, and selling price?

If someone makes and markets a cue rest that allows you to lean your cue against the table, do they have to pay q-claw or anyone else? Someone makes a bridgehead with tip shapers in the middle. Did they have to pay someone because they make a bridge head or a tip shaper in one? My product would be multifunctional, but it may incorporate elements of items already in use.

Is there anybody the buys ideas and takes them over? I would never know who to trust, how much to ask, etc. I think a lot of the invent-assist companies may be screwballs, but I don't know.

I do not want to get into selling or marketing these things and I would drop it if I didn't see value to myself and my friends near term, and maybe it will help the pool world long term. I think you could take this item out of your case and prove to someone why certain shots are fouls, and it would allow you to make shots that are otherwise a foul. If it can do that and it can perform the same tasks as a few $5-20 items, it seems like a good idea to me.

Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.

You can apply for a patent yourself for the filling fee plus your own time to create the application. My friend patented a laser cue by himself and that led to a business doing millions a year, not all laser cue sales but the laser cue was the impetus. If you are going to use a 3d printer then you will already have the 3d drawings you will need for the application. This is a great place to start, www.uspto.gov http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee100512.htm

The more important question to ask yourself is would a patent be worth it. Because having a patent is fine except that you have to defend it when someone infringes. And that costs money, sometimes a lot of it. I know because I spent more than 40k defending a trademark.

For gadgety stuff you are looking at probably a year headstart before someone knocks it off if it turns out to be both useful and popular. When that happens you should be prepared to go against anyone who brings in knockoffs including your own customers. Not always a nice thing to face.

As for buying the idea, well that's unlikely as well but possible. I have been involved where we have paid someone for their idea and produced the item. I have been involved where we bought the remaining inventory of a finished product and assumed production of that product elsewhere. We have also done a few OEM production/distribution deals where we produce and sell and pay a percentage. Lots of ways to structure it.

But please don't use the SGMA's 30 million players as your intitial motivator. The thinking that if I just get 1% of 1% of 1% of them and I will be rich rich rich has led to a lot of money being wasted on making pool gadgets that found the actual market to be WAY smaller.

Good luck with it though, I am jealous that you are getting a 3d printer, I haven't pulled the trigger yet as I haven't found a thing in the shop we could use it for on a regular basis. But I have been drooling over them for years and will probably break down and build a RepRap just because.

mortuarymike-nv
11-23-2012, 09:19 PM
3D Printers don't use G-Codes, or Ink,,,,,,,


No problem so educate me

I understand 3d printer is laying down different material and resins.

After a little research I had no idea that 3d printing has evolved to where it is now. The thought of designing things that is already assembled from the printer is beyond my understanding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4DL2njmVE

The only 3d printer I have been around doesnt look like anything is on the web. He had spools of what looked like round soft silicone or rubber hanging from the ceiling.


all of my software is mach3, cambam , vetrix. I havent worked with autocad or cadcam.

MMike

JB Cases
11-23-2012, 10:27 PM
Well the field of 3d printing is rapidly evolving in the hobby space. I know when I lost a complicated part from my headphones I took a cue from the 3d printing field and drew out the part on CorelDraw and then laser cut it in layers of plastic which I then glued together and made into a workable replacement.

With 3d printing in the hobby space you are essentially laying down layers of plastic slice by slice until the piece is built up. The resulting piece can be an actual working part depending on what material you used and how good your design is.

There is a huge community that is sharing designs and helping each other to build a vase library of useful designs as well as useful information on best practices.

http://www.thingiverse.com/

Magnetic chalk holder
http://thingiverse-production.s3.amazonaws.com/renders/f8/86/5f/38/99/SideBSide_preview_medium.jpg

http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

This is a RepRap which is baiscally a do-it-yourself type of 3d printer. It has the main feature that once one is built it can then make almost all the parts needed to make another one.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS4bpLktScxdUAk2Cg60qbAzOHn5LH0_ uAFGko3sa9k5WqPdVq09w

Makerbot builds commercial 3d printers that are ready to go, www.makerbot.com

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT7f3Om1Czm-F6oEG5T_0BZ7z9Q76OzmmqYOpivxh-gGPX2AeQN

I don't know that I would call these production machines but there are certainly people out there now using them to make things in a production manner for sale. With the RepRap I think you could conceivably build it as large as you wanted to or simply build as many as you need. I haven't researched it enough to know if anyone has created a little factory with their printers busy churning out gadgets.

ndakotan
11-23-2012, 10:42 PM
No problem so educate me

I understand 3d printer is laying down different material and resins.

After a little research I had no idea that 3d printing has evolved to where it is now. The thought of designing things that is already assembled from the printer is beyond my understanding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4DL2njmVE

The only 3d printer I have been around doesnt look like anything is on the web. He had spools of what looked like round soft silicone or rubber hanging from the ceiling.


all of my software is mach3, cambam , vetrix. I havent worked with autocad or cadcam.

MMike

I'm guessing 3d printers are not difficult with my cad background, everything appears to be heading towards user friendly devices. And they are likely the road to the future. I think it would help me as a builder and a pool player, a two-fer. A 1 KG spool costs $40, can't be too bad. Not close to production costs, but for 1-off's like building models and product testers it is probably a great tool Will show you what I can build when I figure out how to put the darn printer together.

iusedtoberich
11-23-2012, 11:26 PM
I work with all kinds of rapid prototype (RP) technologies in my work (mechanical engineering). I don't know anything about the "hobby space" of RP, but do know in the commercial space that I deal with the RP printers are generally in the range of 100k to 500k. Again, I have no idea what the hobby space is like, but I'd imagine a part off a machine a hobbyist can afford would be substantially worst than a commercial machine.

Here is what to do for your prototype needs:
Go to solidconcepts.com. They are a commercial RP house in CA. They have dozens of the commercial RP machines.

There is an ftp section on the site to send for a quote. You will send them either an iges or stp format 3d part from your CAD program.

The cost depends on the volume (size) of your parts, and the RP technology you choose. Different RP materials produce different strengths, accuracies, details, etc.

For reference, something the size of a bridge head would be about $100 to $200.

This sure beats buying a hobbiest printer, IMO.

As far as patents, my personal engineering opinion of them is they are mostly worthless, and the only people who make out are the lawyers, in the vast majority of cases.

JB Cases
11-24-2012, 12:14 AM
I work with all kinds of rapid prototype (RP) technologies in my work (mechanical engineering). I don't know anything about the "hobby space" of RP, but do know in the commercial space that I deal with the RP printers are generally in the range of 100k to 500k. Again, I have no idea what the hobby space is like, but I'd imagine a part off a machine a hobbyist can afford would be substantially worst than a commercial machine.

Here is what to do for your prototype needs:
Go to solidconcepts.com. They are a commercial RP house in CA. They have dozens of the commercial RP machines.

There is an ftp section on the site to send for a quote. You will send them either an iges or stp format 3d part from your CAD program.

The cost depends on the volume (size) of your parts, and the RP technology you choose. Different RP materials produce different strengths, accuracies, details, etc.

For reference, something the size of a bridge head would be about $100 to $200.

This sure beats buying a hobbiest printer, IMO.

As far as patents, my personal engineering opinion of them is they are mostly worthless, and the only people who make out are the lawyers, in the vast majority of cases.

The thing about buying prototypes is that if you are spending $100-$200 a pop then you can easily end up spending what you would spend on a desktop 3d printer. And you have to wait for each version for days deal with the postage and can't tweak on the fly.

With a desktop printer you can literally make your own bridge heads in as many configurations as you want as many times as you want without waiting for or dealing with anyone else.

I own a laser engraver/cutter, for me this thing has paid for itself a dozen times over just with the ability to make parts and jigs not to mention the pattern making and decoration.

I make stamps on the laser engraver until I am sure that they are what I want then I send them off to be made in metal. Same thing with rubber parts, I mock them up with the laser cutter using layers of wood or eva foam rubber until I am sure of the right size and shape and then when it's done I give that to the mold maker.

These days I am constantly amazed at what is available to any person for making things. I have seen someone convert their 3d printer into being both a 3d printer AND a laser cutter. The plans are online. Any grade of resin is available for those who want to do their own casting. Low cost cnc milling machines - really these days it's entirely possible to have a shop capable of making a vast array of top quality things in a garage.

About the only thing I haven't seen yet is 3d printing in metal at the individual scale but I bet someone has either done it or is working on it. I think you would be surprised at the quality and complexity of the stuff people are putting out now.

Renegade_56
11-24-2012, 12:44 AM
No problem so educate me

I understand 3d printer is laying down different material and resins.

After a little research I had no idea that 3d printing has evolved to where it is now. The thought of designing things that is already assembled from the printer is beyond my understanding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4DL2njmVE

The only 3d printer I have been around doesnt look like anything is on the web. He had spools of what looked like round soft silicone or rubber hanging from the ceiling.


all of my software is mach3, cambam , vetrix. I havent worked with autocad or cadcam.

MMike

I don't think you need educating, they do use files used frequently in Cad/Cam, but just a different format that doesn't require machine (G) code. The ones we have use .STL files.

As far as printing assembled parts, just create the solid models with clearance between them. The printer see it as a file, not parts, so anything that is not solid is printed with a dissolvable filler material. So one the printing is done, soak in a solution (called something I don't recall off hand) and the filler disolves, leaving only the solid, and even interlocking and moveable parts if designed as such.

A very useful way of prototyping and reverse engineering.

mortuarymike-nv
11-24-2012, 12:51 AM
I'm guessing 3d printers are not difficult with my cad background, everything appears to be heading towards user friendly devices. And they are likely the road to the future. I think it would help me as a builder and a pool player, a two-fer. A 1 KG spool costs $40, can't be too bad. Not close to production costs, but for 1-off's like building models and product testers it is probably a great tool Will show you what I can build when I figure out how to put the darn printer together.
==============================================

I assemble my cnc and made my own control panel . That was the easy part the cad cam software and basic computer skills is one of my major struggles. I am on the blue coller side :D

The research I just did on 3d printers is very impressive.
but I would like to see how they design assembled componets on the 3D printer software.

best of luck in your venture I am not sure that billiard products is your best market.
MMike

mortuarymike-nv
11-24-2012, 01:55 AM
I don't think you need educating, they do use files used frequently in Cad/Cam, but just a different format that doesn't require machine (G) code. The ones we have use .STL files.

As far as printing assembled parts, just create the solid models with clearance between them. The printer see it as a file, not parts, so anything that is not solid is printed with a dissolvable filler material. So one the printing is done, soak in a solution (called something I don't recall off hand) and the filler disolves, leaving only the solid, and even interlocking and moveable parts if designed as such.

A very useful way of prototyping and reverse engineering.


=============================================

I watch a video on you Tube were they made a bicycle with a 3 d printer,
they also made the wheel bearings. when they took the bearing out of the printer it looked like it was covered in sand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmxjLpu2BvY

I also read a little on the powdered material used .


thank you for explaining

MMike

Gsitz89
11-24-2012, 09:39 AM
OK, heres the situation.

I am a full time business partner, so the more hours I put in at work, the more money I make, and I like to make money.

On the other hand, I am not happy with my life if I can't spend time with the family and play competitive pool. So I do both.

My mind is also constantly racing about different ideas, jokes, stories, math questions, etc. and I have thought of a few product ideas only to find that they were already patented.

Now I have a product idea for pool. I am buying a 3-D printer so I can make the product for myself and my friends if they want one. I don't really want to invest time/money into a second business because it would be smarter to make the first business more successful. Although I don't really want to make a lot of money with this idea, I don't really want someone else make money I should be making, so I am in a bit of a pickle.

It would be a relatively simple product to make once the mold was prepared, and it would fit in one of the pockets of cue cases.

I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. I'm assuming it would cost the same (or up too twice the cost) to make as a plastic bridgehead, possibly with twice the plastic. If someone makes and sells bridgeheads, how much is the initial investment, cost to make, and selling price?

If someone makes and markets a cue rest that allows you to lean your cue against the table, do they have to pay q-claw or anyone else? Someone makes a bridgehead with tip shapers in the middle. Did they have to pay someone because they make a bridge head or a tip shaper in one? My product would be multifunctional, but it may incorporate elements of items already in use.

Is there anybody the buys ideas and takes them over? I would never know who to trust, how much to ask, etc. I think a lot of the invent-assist companies may be screwballs, but I don't know.

I do not want to get into selling or marketing these things and I would drop it if I didn't see value to myself and my friends near term, and maybe it will help the pool world long term. I think you could take this item out of your case and prove to someone why certain shots are fouls, and it would allow you to make shots that are otherwise a foul. If it can do that and it can perform the same tasks as a few $5-20 items, it seems like a good idea to me.

Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.

My brother recently patented something about a year or so ago now and if I remember right it was around twenty g's after lawyer fees and everything. But I do also remember him doing a lot of research to make sure he wasn't copyrighting something somebody already had a patent for. All I can say is it is a lot of work.Also i am pretty sure that even a small mold will run you around sixty g's or so. Good luck...

JB Cases
11-24-2012, 09:50 AM
=============================================

I watch a video on you Tube were they made a bicycle with a 3 d printer,
they also made the wheel bearings. when they took the bearing out of the printer it looked like it was covered in sand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmxjLpu2BvY

I also read a little on the powdered material used .


thank you for explaining

MMike

From what I understand 3d printing or I suppose the correct term is additive manufacturing is already used in some production settings. I have seen videos where they use resin powder (I think) and also if I remember correctly even molten metal. I believe that I read that Boeing 3d prints some parts for their aircraft.

Webbs Billiards
11-24-2012, 10:28 AM
Since necessity is the mother of invention. I'd suggest you talk to alot of players and get an idea of what they want, need, or think would be cool. Then try to find those things. If then they don't exist or aren't configured the way that suits most people, you should either invent or reinvent. Most things made just need tweaking, so your best bet is to just talk to folks.

Dudley
11-24-2012, 11:20 AM
3D printing is a tool to make a quick prototype but it has it's limitations. The most important thing to work on when designing an injection molded part is the actual geometry of the parts. You can 3d print almost anything but it doesn't mean that it is practical to mold or machine.

It's important to understand the limitations of molding to keep the cost of the mold down and the quality of the molded part consistent. You need to have similar wall thicknesses and features that will shrink at the same rate when cooling.

I run a cnc machine shop/mechanical design service and make prototypes all the time. My advice for someone thinking to design a new product is to lean on someone with the skills and experience to bring a concept to a completed design. The documentation you submit to your vendors is very important also. If you don't tolerance your drawings you might get crap and not have any way to reject the parts. Making a complete drawing package with correct tolerances is the only way to protect yourself. If you ask for tolerances that are too tight this will also be a problem as the cost will go way up.

More often than not when someone has an idea for their own product and talks with me about it they think it is simple but when I get into the details there are some major issues to work through.
It's very frustrating making something that has unneeded complicated features or looks cool but is completely impractical from a manufacturing standpoint. Anything can be made but at what cost. Time spent at the cad station saves money later.

If you don't have machining/mechanical design experience you will not understand what makes things difficult/expensive to make. Be prepared to hire someone to finish your design.

A mold will run in the 20,000 range in the us market. (roughly) It really depends how complicated it is.

A patent is at least 10,000 just to file. Hiring a patent attorney will help greatly as it is a lot to learn to do it on your own.



There are sites out there that focus on inventing and they might be a good resource if you don't already have the connections to help.

This is an example that I found on a 1 minute google search. (I have no idea if this is a good link)
http://www.inventioncity.com/manufacturing.html



Dudley

OnTheMF
11-24-2012, 01:12 PM
Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.

I actually do this for a living. From conceptualization to monetization, I invent, refine and patent different products.

3D printing is not user friendly enough to plug and play. I would highly suggest outsourcing your prototyping needs. A place I use frequently is QuickParts (http://www.quickparts.com). If you decide to purchase a hobby/prosumer 3D printer, keep in mind you will spend a lot of time tweaking the settings. There is quite a bit of a learning curve involved. I have an Ultimaker (http://www.ultimaker.com) and love it, but also hate it some days too. Also you have to consider the limitations of the hobby style printers, which have difficulties with retractions and bridging. Here's some videos showing what I'm talking about: Bridging (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXY4DxBDSJA) Retractions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MQYh26oSBA?t=2m0s)

If you outsource the prototyping then you'll probably end up using an SLA process which doesn't have any of those downsides. You can literally just print whatever you can make.

On the patent side of things you have to be really honest with yourself and estimate the worth of your invention. Unless you have the equivalent of the first low deflection shaft, then there's no way you can justify hiring patent lawyer. Costs typically range from $25K for just a US patent, if you want to file in multiple countries under the PCT then the prices go up from there. You can file yourself, (and I have done this for smaller projects,) which costs around $1500 in fees in the US.

3D Printers don't use G-Codes, or Ink,,,,,,,

That's completely false. Lots of 3D printers use gcode and ink. Virtually all RepRap and hobby 3D printers use gcode, and the Objet polyjet printers use ink.

JB Cases
11-24-2012, 01:15 PM
I am really amazed at the amount of technical brainpower and experience on here. I know now who to come to with my technical questions!

Renegade_56
11-24-2012, 05:19 PM
I actually do this for a living. From conceptualization to monetization, I invent, refine and patent different products.

3D printing is not user friendly enough to plug and play. I would highly suggest outsourcing your prototyping needs. A place I use frequently is QuickParts (http://www.quickparts.com). If you decide to purchase a hobby/prosumer 3D printer, keep in mind you will spend a lot of time tweaking the settings. There is quite a bit of a learning curve involved. I have an Ultimaker (http://www.ultimaker.com) and love it, but also hate it some days too. Also you have to consider the limitations of the hobby style printers, which have difficulties with retractions and bridging. Here's some videos showing what I'm talking about: Bridging (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXY4DxBDSJA) Retractions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MQYh26oSBA?t=2m0s)

If you outsource the prototyping then you'll probably end up using an SLA process which doesn't have any of those downsides. You can literally just print whatever you can make.

On the patent side of things you have to be really honest with yourself and estimate the worth of your invention. Unless you have the equivalent of the first low deflection shaft, then there's no way you can justify hiring patent lawyer. Costs typically range from $25K for just a US patent, if you want to file in multiple countries under the PCT then the prices go up from there. You can file yourself, (and I have done this for smaller projects,) which costs around $1500 in fees in the US.



That's completely false. Lots of 3D printers use gcode and ink. Virtually all RepRap and hobby 3D printers use gcode, and the Objet polyjet printers use ink.

That's quite amazing since G Code is used to turn on and off machine tool functions and to drive servo's, none of which are needed to print a 3 dimensional digital file, but if the hobbyists find it usefull, then more power to them. We've been doing it in Aerospace for years without G Code.

mortuarymike-nv
11-24-2012, 06:23 PM
From what I understand 3d printing or I suppose the correct term is additive manufacturing is already used in some production settings. I have seen videos where they use resin powder (I think) and also if I remember correctly even molten metal. I believe that I read that Boeing 3d prints some parts for their aircraft.

Hey John
how is your wife doing,

I have a cnc , and I am just learning, Robotics is a different world, a different way of thinking and communicating.

I enjoy working with my cnc . But I struggle with cad cam
CAD computer aided design<
CAM computer aided machining .

I have been playing with http://www.vectric.com/WebSite/Vectric/pvc/pvc_features.htm
just think if you could have customers e mail you pictures and you could burn the image on to leather with a laser cnc .

Anyway I just do it for fun if I did it for a living I think i would fail.:grin:
MMike

mortuarymike-nv
11-24-2012, 06:34 PM
[QUOTE

oops
MMike

jay helfert
11-24-2012, 07:07 PM
I admit this conversation is way over my head. I can read the words but i don't know what they're talking about. Too much time in the poolrooms I guess :wink:.

I do agree that there is a limited market in the pool world for almost any product. I've seen a lot of guys come up with some really cool stuff (bridges, extensions, cue holders etc.) and never really make any money when it was all said and done. Sure, they made a lot of pieces and sold them everywhere they went, but it never caught on to where they were taking orders all over the place (and in quantity too).

Joe Porper (Creative Inventions) is probably the best innovator of new pool gadgets that we've had in this business. Did you know he also created and manufactured many tricks that are popular with magicians? Several of his products are still available today. Did he get rich off any of them? Doubtful. Did he make a nice living? Yes, for years!

I'm guessing the single most successful pool product/gadget ever invented in the last forty years was the Tip Tapper, a little piece of steel that was indestructable (sic). For many years, every serious pool player had to have one and they sold for $10 retail ($5 wholesale). The guy who invented them was a machinist friend of Lou Butera (I forget his name) and he did make some serious money off his little gift to the pool world. They continued to sell for well over 20 years!

The invention of the Predator shaft made Allen McCarty a rich man and he sold his company years ago for a princely sum. These are two of the rare success stories in the pool world. There are a lot more failures. Both of these products eventually got copied and then copied some more. Patent or not, there was no stopping the imitators.

I'm no lawyer either but I see what I see and hopefully learn from it. There is a shelf life to new billiard products and if you have a good one you can sell if for a certain period of time before you get copied. Even high dollar pool tables get knocked off overseas! I would suggest that your best bet is to just go ahead and create whatever product you think is good enough to sell. Make a prototype, create the packaging and give it a name. Then make them and sell them, with or without a patent (I don't think the Tip Tapper every had a patent. It said Patent Pending on them). Being the first one to the marketplace is your best bet for success if you truly have something that pool players want. You will garner name recognition and be identified with that product. Retailers will want to buy from you, at least initially.

Like someone else said on here, you may have about a one year head start on the competition. And that can be enough to secure your product the edge in the marketplace for a long time (like Predator enjoyed). In conclusion I say make it and sell it....fast! Don't even bother with a patent. It will eat up too much of your cash that is better spent on actual manufacturing of your widget. And don't reveal what you have until you actually have product ready to sell! Maybe not so many at first, but enough to take orders and deliver them. Nothing will hurt you more than to have a prototype and no widgets ready to sell. People want what they want NOW!

Good luck to you. I hope you can come up with the next great thing for the billiard world. It's been done before! Ask Allen McCarty. :smile:

chefjeff
11-25-2012, 09:04 AM
Patent Attorney Stephan Kinsella Presents On Why We Need To Rethink Intellectual Property
from the good-for-him dept

If you've got a spare 40 minutes to an hour, it's worth watching patent attorney Stephan Kinsella's presentation: Rethinking Intellectual Property Completely, as given in March. The video is embedded below, and it fits in nicely with my ongoing (yes, there's still plenty more) series of posts on intellectual property. It's pretty rare to see a patent attorney explain so lucidly the problems with patents (and copyrights):

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080504/2229041029.shtml

Jeff Livingston

iusedtoberich
11-25-2012, 10:34 AM
That's quite amazing since G Code is used to turn on and off machine tool functions and to drive servo's, none of which are needed to print a 3 dimensional digital file, but if the hobbyists find it usefull, then more power to them. We've been doing it in Aerospace for years without G Code.

I just talked to the head of our RP lab at work. He said the RP machines we have (about 15, which is quite large for an in-house facility), do have code that is similar to G-code. Its hidden from the user by the software, but it is there if you really wanted to see it. Remember, at their core, RP machines are still motion control machines that move in the x,y,z space, using servo or stepper motors. So after the software slices up the 3D files into hundreds of layers, it still has to direct the motors where and how to move to build the actual part.

I have no idea what happens on the hobby side of these machines, but perhaps they use Mach 3 as their motion control, which of course means G-Code. That would make a lot of sense, as Mach 3 only costs $100.

iusedtoberich
11-25-2012, 10:54 AM
3D printing is a tool to make a quick prototype but it has it's limitations. The most important thing to work on when designing an injection molded part is the actual geometry of the parts. You can 3d print almost anything but it doesn't mean that it is practical to mold or machine.

It's important to understand the limitations of molding to keep the cost of the mold down and the quality of the molded part consistent. You need to have similar wall thicknesses and features that will shrink at the same rate when cooling.

I run a cnc machine shop/mechanical design service and make prototypes all the time. My advice for someone thinking to design a new product is to lean on someone with the skills and experience to bring a concept to a completed design. The documentation you submit to your vendors is very important also. If you don't tolerance your drawings you might get crap and not have any way to reject the parts. Making a complete drawing package with correct tolerances is the only way to protect yourself. If you ask for tolerances that are too tight this will also be a problem as the cost will go way up.

More often than not when someone has an idea for their own product and talks with me about it they think it is simple but when I get into the details there are some major issues to work through.
It's very frustrating making something that has unneeded complicated features or looks cool but is completely impractical from a manufacturing standpoint. Anything can be made but at what cost. Time spent at the cad station saves money later.

If you don't have machining/mechanical design experience you will not understand what makes things difficult/expensive to make. Be prepared to hire someone to finish your design.

A mold will run in the 20,000 range in the us market. (roughly) It really depends how complicated it is.

A patent is at least 10,000 just to file. Hiring a patent attorney will help greatly as it is a lot to learn to do it on your own.



There are sites out there that focus on inventing and they might be a good resource if you don't already have the connections to help.

This is an example that I found on a 1 minute google search. (I have no idea if this is a good link)
http://www.inventioncity.com/manufacturing.html



Dudley

Lots of good info in this post.

cleary
11-25-2012, 10:57 AM
don't invent another bridge or cueball with mumbo jumbo on it...

iusedtoberich
11-25-2012, 11:21 AM
The thing about buying prototypes is that if you are spending $100-$200 a pop then you can easily end up spending what you would spend on a desktop 3d printer. And you have to wait for each version for days deal with the postage and can't tweak on the fly.

With a desktop printer you can literally make your own bridge heads in as many configurations as you want as many times as you want without waiting for or dealing with anyone else.

I own a laser engraver/cutter, for me this thing has paid for itself a dozen times over just with the ability to make parts and jigs not to mention the pattern making and decoration.

I make stamps on the laser engraver until I am sure that they are what I want then I send them off to be made in metal. Same thing with rubber parts, I mock them up with the laser cutter using layers of wood or eva foam rubber until I am sure of the right size and shape and then when it's done I give that to the mold maker.

These days I am constantly amazed at what is available to any person for making things. I have seen someone convert their 3d printer into being both a 3d printer AND a laser cutter. The plans are online. Any grade of resin is available for those who want to do their own casting. Low cost cnc milling machines - really these days it's entirely possible to have a shop capable of making a vast array of top quality things in a garage.

About the only thing I haven't seen yet is 3d printing in metal at the individual scale but I bet someone has either done it or is working on it. I think you would be surprised at the quality and complexity of the stuff people are putting out now.

I think in the hobby space, if someone wanted to futz around with 3D printing technologies, then more power to them. It would be a lot of fun. I'd personally probably go after a CNC machine first to futz around with.

But one thing to keep in mind, is the material these printers use (including the commercial ones), is not like the real thing. That's where your laser cutter is much different. You can cut "real" material on it, such as your leather, and get real parts. Once happy, you can send the files to a toolmaker to make you a die and make them by the thousands.

The RP machines produce many different types of materials. We have about 15 of them in-house at my workplace. Depending on where I am in a project, will determine which one I will choose.

Some materials print very quickly and cheaply, but are very coarse (low detail), and brittle.
Some are very detailed, but extremely brittle.
Some are truly as strong as real nylon parts (SLS), but are very costly, rough, and low detail.
If you need multiple strong parts, one way is to use the detailed but brittle type, print it, sand it and prime it to a glass finish, and then use that to build a silicon mold. You can then get about 10 parts from that silicon mold before the mold deteriorates.

If you need hundreds of parts, you can even build an aluminum tool.

Lots of ways to go, depending on the qty, strength, and detail, and cost you are after.

RP machines are a compromise. Yes, they can build any shape imaginable. But that is also a liability. As Dudly pointed out, if you don't know "how" do design a part for manufacturability, making a one off prototype in a 3D printer won't be of much use, if that would later be impossible or very expensive to manufacture by mass production methods, such as injection molding.

You can't learn that in school either. I took a semester class on injection molding as part of my mechanical engineering curriculum. Then, I got a job making consumer goods, where the materials of choice are plastic and metal. That class in school covered only the most basic concepts. I'd say it took me a good 3 to 4 years of working side by side every day with other more experienced engineers, toolmakers, and manufactures, to really be able to say I know how to design a plastic product. Ten years later, I still seek the advice of toolmakers to help design a part.

Best to all, designing and building things is a lot of fun:)

But screw the patents! lol. Even at the corporate level, I believe patents are worthless. I have 10 or so on my wall, and they are not even worth protecting becaues it costs more to defend them in a court of law, than the competitors make by possibly infringing on them. Patents are like a poker game. 8 guys play 40 hours straight of poker. 2 broke even, 6 went bust, and the house got the rake. Lawyers and patents are like the rake. No one wins but the rake. That's my patent opinion and I'm sticking to it:)

OnTheMF
11-25-2012, 02:57 PM
That's quite amazing since G Code is used to turn on and off machine tool functions and to drive servo's, none of which are needed to print a 3 dimensional digital file, but if the hobbyists find it usefull, then more power to them. We've been doing it in Aerospace for years without G Code.

That's exactly what it's needed for in 3D printers... you take your 3d model, usually an stl file, feed it to a slicer which breaks it down into layers, and then translates the layers into a tool path. The tool path is then converted to g-code which controls the x,y,z axis motors, the feed motor, and the nozzle heat element.

An actual 3D printer is rather simple, it simply moves the head and platform to various positions while extruding a preset amount of material (usually PLA or ABS).

cardit
11-25-2012, 09:23 PM
Having been through the product development cycle on my own: from idea to patent to trademark to having tooling developed to prototyping to actually getting orders, I can share that it's a challenge at times and certainly a learning experience. In my opinion the further you are along bringing a product to market the greater your potential is for reward. Ideas, in general are not worth much, a working prototype might get some attention, a developed product from temporary tooling together with packaging and actual sales bring more value to the inventor. Jay's reply has some good thoughts, too.

Refining the product is important but defining the market is critical. It all starts with an order. No matter how neat the investor thinks his idea/product is if the market doesn't embrace it there'll be no revenue. The actual design of the product may need to take a back seat at the onset of
the process to understanding the market for it.

At the very least develop a working prototype and armed with some non-disclosure agreements visit some large retailers and/or merchandise managers at the major distributors to gauge interest. If the reception is good then you can approach a known manufacturer in the billiard space for a licensing deal or decide to manufacture through another source or on your own.

You must also learn how the billiard industry buys products. Does the retailer buy only through distribution or also manufacturer direct. What discounts off MSRP are standard? Are there quantity /price /volume schedules? If you intend to sell through distributors what discount structure is standard? Are the key distributors accepting new vendors or will you have to sell to them through one of their current vendors? Do distributors/retailers have allowances or charge backs? What margins do you need for profitability? Will you compete with your reseller channel by your own web presence?

A bit wordy, sorry. Lots of work to do before the cash register rings! Enjoy the journey!

Mike
Cardit

Frii
11-28-2012, 04:59 AM
Email the Patent and trademark Office and ask them is there any way to protect an idea without a patent so you can talk secretly with colleges or machine shops with out them stealing your idea while your trying to develop it. What are the fee for that.

OnTheMF
11-29-2012, 03:00 PM
Email the Patent and trademark Office and ask them is there any way to protect an idea without a patent so you can talk secretly with colleges or machine shops with out them stealing your idea while your trying to develop it. What are the fee for that.

The patent office will not help you with that. He will need an NDA between him and any third parties, which is a common thing for people in that line of work.

MFB
11-29-2012, 03:22 PM
Email the Patent and trademark Office and ask them is there any way to protect an idea without a patent so you can talk secretly with colleges or machine shops with out them stealing your idea while your trying to develop it. What are the fee for that.


You protect your idea by documenting it in a written format. Signing and dating every page and having it 'witnessed'.

If anyone steals your idea, you now have 'prior art'.


If you happen to produce your product, and it's not a money maker, no one will copy it. However, keep in mind, if it is copied, and you now have competition, it can help your sales by 'growing' the market.

the kidd
11-29-2012, 04:00 PM
Back then they cost about 3m each now about 25000. They were mechanical patents not just design patents. The best think you can do is make your product and label them" Patent Pending" to see if you can make a profit. You will be knocked off by all those countries that disregard US patents anyway. OK, heres the situation.

I am a full time business partner, so the more hours I put in at work, the more money I make, and I like to make money.

On the other hand, I am not happy with my life if I can't spend time with the family and play competitive pool. So I do both.

My mind is also constantly racing about different ideas, jokes, stories, math questions, etc. and I have thought of a few product ideas only to find that they were already patented.

Now I have a product idea for pool. I am buying a 3-D printer so I can make the product for myself and my friends if they want one. I don't really want to invest time/money into a second business because it would be smarter to make the first business more successful. Although I don't really want to make a lot of money with this idea, I don't really want someone else make money I should be making, so I am in a bit of a pickle.

It would be a relatively simple product to make once the mold was prepared, and it would fit in one of the pockets of cue cases.

I've heard it costs $75,000 (is that correct?) to patent something, so I need help with the economics. I'm assuming it would cost the same (or up too twice the cost) to make as a plastic bridgehead, possibly with twice the plastic. If someone makes and sells bridgeheads, how much is the initial investment, cost to make, and selling price?

If someone makes and markets a cue rest that allows you to lean your cue against the table, do they have to pay q-claw or anyone else? Someone makes a bridgehead with tip shapers in the middle. Did they have to pay someone because they make a bridge head or a tip shaper in one? My product would be multifunctional, but it may incorporate elements of items already in use.

Is there anybody the buys ideas and takes them over? I would never know who to trust, how much to ask, etc. I think a lot of the invent-assist companies may be screwballs, but I don't know.

I do not want to get into selling or marketing these things and I would drop it if I didn't see value to myself and my friends near term, and maybe it will help the pool world long term. I think you could take this item out of your case and prove to someone why certain shots are fouls, and it would allow you to make shots that are otherwise a foul. If it can do that and it can perform the same tasks as a few $5-20 items, it seems like a good idea to me.

Any help is appreciated. This is not intended to be a commercial post, just need advice. If it is inappropriately posted, I am sorry.