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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
Craftsmengineer   4/18/2013 9:34:24 PM
Really? A carburator from a "3D printer?"

Not in this decade.

A carb requires roughly 20x to 100x the accuracy of the best metal "printers."

And a POROUS carb sounds like a bad idea.  Well, it might let the water out too...


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Re: What we learn from this
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/18/2013 6:43:04 PM
I learned about storage of engines when I tried to store a small generator for 5 months between hurricane seasons. Gas and carburetors just don't like to sit – they like to run.  Lesson learned was ANYTHING that runs on carbureted gas needs to be run for 10 minutes once/month, or will require a re-built carburetor due to rapidly forming varnish.  (Life in high humidity in South Florida). 

After empathizing with all of the trials you've undergone, I was most surprised by the comment, "$8,000 mower".  Must be the "Bentley" of Zero-Turn Riders ,,,,

William K.
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What we learn from this
William K.   4/18/2013 4:13:02 PM
All of us can learn from this unfortunate tale of misfortune. Storing an engine requires a lot more than just putting a cover over it. And we also learn to avoid purchasing products from some makers, and to avoid products that use those brands. There is, or was, an American engine manufacturer that made engines that could use the same parts for many many years. The parts did get newer, but a 1980 carb would fit and work on a 1962 engine. Some changes might be needed, but the parts could be changed out over many years worth of production. And being an American company the replacement parts were always available. 

One more lesson in why to avoid "riceburners".

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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
3drob   4/18/2013 11:16:39 AM
Making extra's is a good idea, but you wind up paying taxes on inventory, so it's a triple cost (manufacturing cost, rental cost for storage, tax cost for inventory).

Seems like a perfect fit for a 3D printer (a manufacturer would only need to keep the files on hand) to produce as needed.

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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
GTOlover   4/18/2013 10:56:25 AM
Having once supplied plastic parts to the automotive, recreational, and lawncare industry I have to concur with tekochip. The molds that make the plastic parts ussually have several problems:

1) The production life of the tool is complete. That means the tooling has produced millions of parts and is worn out. No one wants to pay to rebuild or remake a tool for service parts. At first, we try to make what we can, but the parts are not optimally made. Eventually the tool is incapable of running parts.

2) Low volume adds price to the part. Service parts are usually run in very small volumes and the above condition may require additional labor and time to produce the parts. And if there is any automation (for say inserts of glueing) that is long gone or in disrepair as well.

3) Tool storage is valuable floor space that OEM's need for current production needs! If the tool is not run in a year, it is usually stored off-site (further adding to #1 and #2 above), returned to the OEM (almost never), or discarded (per the OEM).

As a plastics guy, I think running a bunch of "extra parts" is the way to go. But the financial guys say no as this is inventory on the books. But then the inevitable question is how many extras do we make and store? And I know the OEM's want to be helpful up to a point and then they want you to purchase a new product! Sort of a catch 22 for them, keep you satisfied, but want you to also get rid of the old and into the new.

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Replacement Carburetor
Jim_E   4/18/2013 10:45:58 AM
It looks like this carb works with thirteen different Kawi motors:


I'm much rather spend $318 for a replacement carb, instead of having my $8k tractor just sit there!

Or, turn this into an opportunity to do a DIY fuel injection project....



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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
tekochip   4/18/2013 10:01:32 AM
I'm not defending the practice, I'm just saying it's about cost. It' very expensive for manufacturers to provide spare parts. They have to be cataloged, packaged, an SKU has to be generated, the parts need to be stored somewhere and of course they have to be shipped from whatever far-flung land manufactured them. That's why parts sometimes cost as much as the end product because so much of the product cost is not the material or the labor it's the overhead in delivering the product to the consumer. When the manufacturing was local you could sometimes be lucky enough to call the factory and have a guy walk out on the floor and shove a couple of the sub-penny springs in an envelope for you, but not now.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
Elizabeth M   4/18/2013 8:30:30 AM
I am with you, Chuck. I hate throwing things away quickly if they break. I like to repair things and use them until they are absolutely falling apart. But it's getting so much harder to do with the way products are built and designed today. I blame the predominance of plastic, mostly--plastic parts being cheaper and easier to use but not very durable--but it's not the only reason, of course.

Charles Murray
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Re: Parts costs more than product cost.
Charles Murray   4/17/2013 6:47:41 PM
I have to admit, Liz, I agree with you. I don't like to be a throw-away consumer, but big ticket itms tend to have big ticket repairs. The carburetor parts for this mower cost more than my entire mower.

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Disposable design
NadineJ   4/17/2013 5:42:41 PM
Unfortunately, most items aren't meant to sit unused for a couple of years.  The mouse didn't help the situation.

Design trends are changing to make items more "repairable" even years after the initial purchase.  It will take some time but it's coming!

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