Yep, the day has arrived,
when I can see the results of my first ‘remote’ job being completed. As an industrial pattern-maker, my main line is making ‘wooden’ patterns for castings (not always really wooden and these days I’m working hard on some CAD to get stuff CNC’d).
Due to a change in family circumstances, I find myself ‘elsewhere’ and away from the workshop, so my modus operandi has had to change in emphasis for the moment: Where I would have started with physical patterns made by hand for the first parts and then made (or rather had parts made) other parts to fill the gaps. Now my hand has been forced and I find myself doing drawings and letting others make the parts that I couldn’t possibly make in my workshop, so pressings and the like. This means paying (fairly heftily, I might add!) up front for press-tooling etc (where I would originally have supplied the ‘tooling’ in the form of patterns at my own ‘cost’) and continue my designing and drawing in the meantime.
Well, the wait is over! My first press-tool items are ready for appraisal and I’ll have them in a day or two. So far looking very good, judge for yourselves!
These have not yet been polished, they are as they were pressed.
From the inside:
These, I hope, will soon embellish the rear lamp of many a Velocette and Rudge, I suspect, whose needs have been hopelessly under-nourished over the last 50 years! At last affordable again, no-one will have to wait for months or years and then have to buy a complete bike (I wonder how many Velocette LEs there are out there without a rear lamp anymore!?) or pay even sillier prices (£300+ !) for an original Miller taillight on eBay or at their local swap-meet!!
The end is nigh (the rear-end, as it ‘appens) and all I’m waiting for now is for the packaging to turn up! As soon as the articles are actually here, I’ll post them with pictures of the actual items on my ‘Parts’ page and the fun can start!
They are priced at £15 each, as they have to be hand-polished and are of solid stainless-steel, so they’ll never rot like the old ones did, despite being right at the back and subject to exhaust gases, acids and road dirt and salt residues.
Where did I have them made, you may well ask?
I am a bit of a traditionalist and this means at least two things:
① I seek to find local suppliers wherever possible, to generate local jobs/cash/interest and for the satisfaction of national pride…
② I expect a decent quality for myself and even higher standards for anything that I am going to pass on to clients+ a decent lead time, followed by a sensible price.
Unfortunately, these two principles were, for this project at least, not to be united under one ‘roof’.
Local businesses (yes, plural) (I later found out) had given me horrendous lead times (because they were also going to get the tooling and parts from ‘elsewhere’ and just sell the product on to me at a profit!). Not only that, their pricing and warranties were uninteresting on volumes under 10.000 pieces (i.e. they didn’t want the work and priced accordingly to scare me off)
This left only one option open: Production overseas. To be honest, I was very wary of this and the ‘position’ it would place me in as a ‘local’ supplier, who wants largely to make as far as possible myself, and then finish-machine and supply (and have a reputation for) from high-quality local sources…
So, inevitably, my search took me to mainland China, with all the connotations associated with it.
I can only strongly and highly recommend the standard of service, equipment and understanding of the staff and their determination and willingness to do all that they can to satisfy me, the customer, and deliver a top-quality product, on time, at a reasonable cost (despite my paltry numbers). Of course my unit cost would have been less, if I ordered 5000 or more pieces (per month!!), BUT, they were willing to take on the job anyway and listen to my story and fulfil my requirements.
No-one here could even be bothered to make a quote here without a ridiculously high commitment of numbers. One potential supplier even actually said that he couldn’t be bothered ‘dicking about’ with my small stuff. Not encouraging.
So my star stampings (and some other parts that I cannot make in my workshop) are being made in China by a company called YC Mold & Plastic Manufacture LTD. Visit them on the internet!!!
These people have given me top service and are friendly, respectful, sensitive to my wishes, fast and efficient.
Keep an eye out for new products related to these lamps (and other parts) that will begin to appear soon, as my ‘operation’ starts to come to life.
© peter gouws 2013