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Postby esucharski » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:27 pm

Hello!

I'm work for a company that distributes promotional merch for various brands, and one of our clients is looking to do a custom-shaped case for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. They would like the case to look like a 12-pack of beer, with their branding.

Is this something anyone would be able to produce in larger quantities? We're looking to do 250-1,500 units. Please let me know if this is possible and if so, connect me with someone that I can discuss this with in more detail!

Thank you in advance for your help!

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Postby BMS Doug » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:15 am

Pretty much anything is possible, it all comes down to cost.

First step is to produce a 3D computer model of the design.

Get client feedback, redesign in 3D until client happy.

3D print a sample to double check that the client really likes it.

then take the sample and 3d files to production.

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Postby Jake » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:20 am

To carry on from Doug's post.

If you're planning to go injection moulding, then the physical mould build costs will usually set you back anywhere between £15k - £30k, depending on complexity.

Injection moulding is a high volume manufacturing technique as the mould costs need to be offset against that volume.

For example if you're doing a run of 1000 units, and the mould cost you £30k then the mould cost alone is £30/unit. This ignores physical moulding costs (usually £1 - £4 again depending on part size and complexity)

Anything is possible, but cost is always a factor :) IM gives your the most flexibility with design, but is the most expensive set up for design and production, but lower end costs for manufacture.

There are smaller volume techniques, for example we use laser cutting for some of our smaller volume products - https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/ca ... nt-b-plus/ - however, there is a limit to design complexity given your building products out of 2d planar objects. I can't envisage creating 12-pack of beer from this! The material/manufacturing costs are also much higher than IM.

Or 3D printing enables more flexibility with design for smaller runs. But it's usually devoted to prototyping due to high per part cost. There's also longevity issues with the the materials used in high end printing (SLS for example), and quality issues with low end production which use layered plastic.

There's no real middle ground unfortunately - the 250 - 1500 range is bang in the middle of protoyping >> full product range.

-- Jake

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Postby BMS Doug » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:49 pm

I've googled a local (to me) 3d printer one of their example prices is a PCB enclosure (40x40x10). they charge £2.50/unit for this size. As your Raspberry PI case will need to be bigger you can expect an increased unit cost (for the sake of argument lets double the cost to £5/unit).
Given a 250 unit production run this would cost £1250 For a 1500 unit run this would cost £7250.
These costs don't include adding Branding, I doubt that it could be included in the manufacturing process if 3D printing.
This company are also willing to do the 3d modelling for your product, presumably at an extra cost.

I have no experience with this company and offer no recommendation, they were simply the first non-advert result that came up when I googled "3d printing services".

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Postby Jake » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:13 pm

Just as an FYI, I would not recommend SLS for production parts - they're great for prototyping for fit and function by the material itself does not have good longevity characteristics.

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Postby esucharski » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:30 pm

Thanks so much for the input guys. It sounds like injection molding might be the more viable option. Cost isn't so much an issue right now, as I just need to give them a quote and see if they could realistically commit to the project.

Do any of you know of a particular manufacturer that has experience with Raspberry Pi that I could get in contact with?
My client and I are also based in the United States, so we would ideally need something domestic.

Thanks!

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Postby Jake » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:13 am

Hi,

If you're looking for domestic there will be hundreds of manufacturers to choose from, just search your state followed by "injection moulding" in Google :)

Preferably, if the moulding company can do the design work as well it will save you a headache. Designing for IM is a bit of skill, as it's not always a case of taking a design straight to manufacture. There are a number of edits that need to be made, e.g. draft angles, designing around side-pulls etc. The moulding company will be best placed to design an economical & ready for production mould.

-- Jake

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