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Where is the Wine Shiner, already!?
16 November 2017
"Too Complicated"...we were told
Well, we decided to try having the Wine Shiner made by injection molding, rather than 3D printing. This would provide a smoother surface, which is more conducive to sanitization and cleaning. We solicited several companies that offer injection molding services. Each time we submitted our design, we were told it could not be done, because the model is TOO COMPLICATED. In order to have the Wine Shiner injection molded we need a mold machined from steel. Essentially a negative. Unfortunately, the design has "cavities and overhangs" that cannot be made in a way that would allow the Wine Shiner to release from the mold. So, months of work and prototyping and testing down the drain. But I don't give up that easily.
Back to the drawing board.
So, I returned to my computer and with new knowledge on injection molding manufacturing methods. I broke the Wine Shiner down to its bare bones. In a couple weeks, and with new vision, I re designed the Wine Shiner from the ground up. I was able to come up with a design that is simple enough to be either 3D printed OR injection molded! Now, we have contacted a mold maker that is willing to machine a mold for us, but this can be expensive.
Re visiting FDM (Fused Diposition Modeling) manufacturing.
So, the question becomes, "Do we pursue the mold and contract with someone to manufacture the Wine Shiner?", or do we "Reconsider 3D printing?". Injection molding is quite expensive. Some quotes were in the $30,000.00 range for only 100 kits!
Fused Diposition Modeling, or 3D Printing, is becoming more and more appealing. Also, with newer printers, we can manufacture a Wine Shiner in half the time as before. We can even print the Wine Shiner in multiple materials. This means we can make it in away that will ensure no separate gaskets are needed to seal the Wine Shiner. These can be integrated into the design at the time of manufacture.
I have completed the redesign phase. All we need is your help to bring this great little gem to the public, and every Home brewer household.
The cost of getting this off the ground has changed...a little...
The Work Space
The first phase of my plan is to create a workspace outside our home. This will be done at a cost of approximately $6800.00. The space is approximately 500 square feet. I will upgrade the electrical, heating and cooling and moisture mitigation. The manufacturing method requires a clean, dry environment with a regulated temperature. The unit will be retrofitted to house the manufacturing machinery, a desk space and possibly a small retail space. We have a large enough parking pad outside to serve as a parking lot, should we develop into a retail space.
The Manufacturing Method and Raw Materials
In Phase 2, I plan to purchase 8 Original Prusa MK3 printers with Multi Material Upgrades at a total cost of approximately $10,784.00. This allows the flexibility to update the design of the Wine Shiner on the fly and produce any updated product immediately without the added cost of retooling and changing production methods found in traditional manufacturing. We will be able to produce a minimum of 16 complete kits per day with this method and 8 machines running nearly 24 hours per day. We anticipate producing up to 30 units per day.
Also part of Phase 2 is the purchase of raw materials for production of the Wine Shiner. I have projected to start with a production run of 500 complete kits with a projected 6 week production time. I will need approximately 250 pounds of raw PLA material at a cost of approximately $2200. 85 pounds of Flexible TPU material for the fused gasket materials will be approximately $990. Glass Mason Jars will add $760 to the total material cost. Filter medium for 500 units will add $2100. This will bring the raw material cost to approximately $6050.00
The plastic material I will use to manufacture the Wine Shiner is a plant based plastic produced from corn. It is PLA, or Poly-Lactic-Acid. This is considered a Food Safe plastic that is safe for the environment as well. It is completely biodegradable, yet durable if used and cared for as any other plastic tool you would use. The TPU gasket material is used in the medical industry and is also considered Food Safe. The outer shell of the filter is glass.
I have elected to use the US Postal Service as my shipping method. I have successfully used this service in the past for mailing products around the world with very little problems. My chosen location is a USPS pickup location, so this will keep us from having to run back and forth to ship products. I will mail all domestic USA products via USPS Priority, which can deliver anywhere in the Domestic USA in about 3 days. I will mail all international shipments via USPS Parcel Post which is reliable, and will save on shipping costs.