What features do you want in a kit?

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wyldbill

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Mods, please move this if you see fit...

So. I'm thinking about kitting one of my designs, maybe a couple of dozen copies. It's got TTW fins and is multi-stage. In thinking about kitting it, it occured to me that a buyer might not want to do all the stuff I did when I made it. So the general gist is, would you rather buy kits that have a lot of the work done for you (cutting tubes, couplers, fins, fin slots) or would you rather save some $ and do it yourself? Things to consider:

1) Do you want to cut your own fin slots, or are you willing to pay extra for pre-cut?
2) Do you want to cut your own fins, or are you willing to pay extra for laser cut?
3) Would you mind cutting your own couplers?
4) What about cutting tubes?
5) Rings? Would you cut 'em yourself? Would you mind modifying generic ones supplied?

How much extra are you willing to pay for these items?

Assume that you'll get a usable NC :)

Some folks have the "give me the tree and an sketch and I'll give you a finished rocket in thirty minutes" mentality/capability. Some want E2X. What do you want?
 

GlennW

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Well, I like a little more challenge than an E2X, but at the same time, I'm not into cutting tubes or rings. Fins I don't mind cutting for some reason. Are any of your potential kits scale models? Because that's really what I'm into. There's too many generic looking 3FNC designs out there already (and even I have a few).

Glenn
 

wyldbill

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Thanks for the response.

To be clear, it's <b>one</b> design, that I happen to like and think others might as well. I have no intention of going into business, I just don't have the time or huge backlog of very cool proven designs that some other vendors have. For the record it's not a scale kit.

But this thread isn't for dicussing the design, it's about how you, as builders, prefer a kit to be structured.
 

rocketkid88

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Personally i would rather have it a bit cheaper and just do all that stuff myself. i don't mind cutting tubes, fins, CRs, etc. Besides, in the end if you've put more work into it you *value* it more!:D
So, as far as i'm concerned, i think that if you have a sheet of balsa (or what ever you use) and just draw the fin outlines on it, thats fine. same thing for the CRs.

Good luck with your plans... i'm interested in seeing how this turns out b/c i've thought of doing something similar myself;)
and one more thing.. do you have a pic of the rocket?:D :D
 

flying_silverad

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I like some of the ideas. I like cutting my own fins. The exception to this is if the fins are complicated or a high number of them.

I think cutting body slots is better left up to the manufacture.

I think because of the current cost of rings, I would rather have them pre-cut. From a kitting stand point, I don't think you'll be saving a whole lot of money letting the customer cut thier own.

Cutting tubes i think should be the manufacture process. The biggest reason is an oops. If you mis-cut, you can't always go down to the local hobby shop and get another. Again, unless you are making a 1000 kits, you may want to try making a jig and cutting them yourself. This would also save on packing (smaller box) so it's a bonus for everyone.

Couplers. Well...Sort of the same answer as above

How much extra would I pay if all of this stuff is done? It really depends on the kit. The way I buy a kit (I am speaking for myself here) is based on how the kit appeals to me. Look at Sandman for instance. When he puts out a kit, you know that it's all about the details. details details and more details. Having said that, I would pay as much (or more) as twice the price of another kit of the same model. When you sell yours, don't get totally caught up in price. If it's a great kit with quality materials, design and performance, people will buy it.

:D
 

Fore Check

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Yeah, what flying_silverado said!

Don't mind cutting fins, tubes are ok but certainly not preferred, and I'm completely out on cutting rings, couplers, and fin slots.
 

Adam Selene

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I don't mind cutting fins but laser cut fins are cool! really don't want to cut fin slots, even on my OWN designs, would rather not cut tubes. couplers are right out.
 

nomopbo

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Personally,
If I have to cut everything anyway, I just assume scratch build it, rather than pay for a "kit".
Just my 2 pennies.
 

Adam Selene

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Originally posted by nomopbo
Personally,
If I have to cut everything anyway, I just assume scratch build it, rather than pay for a "kit".
Just my 2 pennies.
EGGZACKTLY!
 

nomopbo

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Scratch building is much cheaper than a kit. I feel what you are paying for in a kit is 1) everything is there, and 2) some of the work has been done for you.
 

Adam Selene

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Originally posted by nomopbo
Scratch building is much cheaper than a kit. I feel what you are paying for in a kit is 1) everything is there, and 2) some of the work has been done for you.
i think the point of this thread is "How much of the work is (or do you want) done for you"
 

nomopbo

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Oh, I understand that. There are just certain things I would expect to be done in a "kit". Except for specialty parts.

Just for example the new Thrustline Aerospace designs that require the cockpit piece. (forget the actual term) It is one piece of the "kit". That isn't too much to ask.

I don't know, maybe I did miss the point...???:rolleyes: Anyway put me down for less cutting.
 

powderburner

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wyldbill, I think that you as the manufacturer have to make the choices on how to offer your kits because you are the only one who knows what you can get done economically. If you choose to include some relatively exotic process or part, the price of your kits must go up, and sales usually suffer. You already know that part.

That said, I go for cheap. Inexpensive. Low cost. I don't care if a little extra 'craftsmanship' is required.

Slots are just plain NOT needed for 99 percent of low-power stuff. Don't encourage people to over-build. Teach them to sand the fin roots square and flat. Teach them to scuff-sand the fin root portion of the BT (remove the glassine cover layer). Teach them to two-stage the glue. Teach them to apply fillets. For the odd low-power kit that really does need slots, let us cut our own. At the very least, give us the option to cut the fins with or without root tabs.

I do like to have the NC shaped/turned, but I don't mind laying out a fin pattern and cutting those parts from a blank sheet (seems to be a lost art?, seems like lots of folks start squealing and whining about having to do this horrible task).

For small diameter (18mm and 24mm) BT I don't mind cutting a blank to the proper length because I can slip an old motor case inside to support the cut, but for larger diameter stuff it is not so easy to find something sturdy to slip inside (tubing couplers just don't offer much support) so I would like those larger tubes pre-cut.

I am not sure what you mean by cutting my own couplers. If you mean cutting a piece of regular BT, removing a slot to reduce the diameter, and creating a home-made coupler, then I vote no---couplers are cheap enough to buy, and the store-bought variety are stronger. If you mean cutting my own coupler from a length of coupler stock, then we are back to the issue of: what do I put inside to support the stock?

CRs are just so cheap and easy to get that there is no real reason to cut your own from a blank piece of cardboard. The only case I can see where you would work from scratch is where you have an odd-ball CR design that just cannot be adapted from an existing CR.

While on the subject of CRs, let me say that I do not like the 'universal' kind where a bunch of concentric circles are all pre-cut and you are supposed to remove only the parts you don't want. These things have weak spots (lines?) everywhere that there is an un-needed cut, and fall apart way too easy. Did I mention that I don't like them?

I'm not sure I understand your question about 'would I be willing to pay extra?' I look for a kit mainly for two purposes: a source of parts to bash out something different, or if I am going to build the actual rocket, I get a kit because it includes cool decals/transfers/appliques that I cannot make myself. Personally, my cost threshhold depends on the kit. If someone offered an Interceptor clone for $25-30 that I could get shipped for about $5, I would buy three. If the same thing costs $40 plus $10 shipping, no thank you. Usually, I just wait until stuff is on half-price at the local HobLob and stock up.
 

rocketkid88

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yes... thats exactly what i was trying to say, powderburner!
 

Gus

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I think the major issue is "screw-up potential". Parts that are easy to mess up, like fin slots, I prefer to have done by the manufacturer. Usually fins are not a problem to cut but I would be hesitant to try to make those found, for instance, on Jim Flis's "Drake", or on Neubauer's "Little Joe 1" by myself.
 

wyldbill

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Excellent! Thank you! Here's some additional data points.

Originally posted by powderburner That said, I go for cheap. Inexpensive. Low cost. I don't care if a little extra 'craftsmanship' is required.
This is the kind of feedback I'm looking for.
Originally posted by powderburner Slots are just plain NOT needed for 99 percent of low-power stuff. Don't encourage people to over-build.... {etc.}
I agree completely in principal. The problem here is that the fins are oversized and prone to flutter. According to FinSim, a TTW fin substantially decreases the potential for the model to come apart. And it's a kit you'll HAVE to build light for it to perform well.
Originally posted by powderburner For small diameter (18mm and 24mm) BT I don't mind cutting a blank to the proper length because I can slip an old motor case inside to support the cut, but for larger diameter stuff it is not so easy to find something sturdy to slip inside (tubing couplers just don't offer much support) so I would like those larger tubes pre-cut.
Excellent point.
Originally posted by powderburner I am not sure what you mean by cutting my own couplers.
My bad. I meant...
Originally posted by powderburner If you mean cutting my own coupler from a length of coupler stock, then we are back to the issue of: what do I put inside to support the stock?
Point taken (again ;))
Originally posted by powderburner
CRs are just so cheap and easy to get that there is no real reason to cut your own from a blank piece of cardboard. The only case I can see where you would work from scratch is where you have an odd-ball CR design that just cannot be adapted from an existing CR.
Agreed. Of the six rings in the Design, only two are the same. If the builder is willing to mod a few std. rings a bit, I'd only need 4 ring types and could use standard rings. I agree on the "universals". Bleh.
Originally posted by powderburner I'm not sure I understand your question about 'would I be willing to pay extra?' I look for a kit mainly for two purposes: a source of parts to bash out something different, or if I am going to build the actual rocket, I get a kit because it includes cool decals/transfers/appliques that I cannot make myself.
Remember, I said "So. I'm thinking about kitting one of my designs...."

What about the design itself and the instructions? These take a lot of time and effort to produce, far more than the parts themselves are worth. I think we've gotten into the mindset of "I'll just scratchbuild it" because of resources like JimZ and RocketShoppe. This is great if the models are no longer available, but in cases where its still in production, this is the same mindset as "Why buy the CD? I can just get the parts (a CD-R) and use my tools (burner) to make a CD from the copies of the tunes I dowloaded for free from the Internet". I'd be pretty hacked if someone posted my instructions and parts list on the net for folks to scratchbuild without my permission. Same goes if they RockSim'd the design from my plans and passed it around. If you want to truly reverse engineer it and scratch it up by sight, great. Imitation is flattery, theft is not. (maybe this topic deserves its own thread ;) )

Would you take {insert current favorite "small" kit vendor here}'s instructions, decals and designs, scan them and put them out on the net for people to scratch build from? How do you think that {"small" kit vendor} would take that?

thanks again for the response!
-bill
 

wyldbill

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Originally posted by nomopbo
Personally,
If I have to cut everything anyway, I just assume scratch build it, rather than pay for a "kit".
Just my 2 pennies.
See previous intellectual property rant ;)
 

wyldbill

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Originally posted by Adam Selene
i think the point of this thread is "How much of the work is (or do you want) done for you"
EXACTLY :)
 

wyldbill

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Originally posted by Gus
I think the major issue is "screw-up potential". Parts that are easy to mess up, like fin slots, I prefer to have done by the manufacturer. Usually fins are not a problem to cut but I would be hesitant to try to make those found, for instance, on Jim Flis's "Drake", or on Neubauer's "Little Joe 1" by myself.
Well said.

Thanks so far, keep 'em coming...
 

flying_silverad

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Bill-

I'd be pretty hacked if someone posted my instructions and parts list on the net for folks to scratchbuild without my permission. Same goes if they RockSim'd the design from my plans and passed it around. If you want to truly reverse engineer it and scratch it up by sight, great. Imitation is flattery, theft is not. (maybe this topic deserves its own thread )

I don't really see this as an issue if the model is in production. I have seen very few instances of this. And, when they have taken place, it's usually an upscale/downscale (Deuce).


What about the design itself and the instructions? These take a lot of time and effort to produce, far more than the parts themselves are worth.
Depending on the model, once youhave established a template, future model instructions are easier to produce. Yes, the intial effort is longer, but it's an investment.
I think we've gotten into the mindset of "I'll just scratchbuild it" because of resources like JimZ and RocketShoppe. This is great if the models are no longer available, but in cases where its still in production, this is the same mindset as "Why buy the CD? I can just get the parts (a CD-R) and use my tools (burner) to make a CD from the copies of the tunes I dowloaded for free from the Internet".
I think it's true..alot of folks get into scratch building through cloning but again, I don't think there would be a need to for folks to go through all the trouble of rock simming and resource hunting. Why spend 30 dollars in time and effort as opposed to spending 15 dollars on the kit?


Would you take {insert current favorite "small" kit vendor here}'s instructions, decals and designs, scan them and put them out on the net for people to scratch build from? How do you think that {"small" kit vendor} would take that?
Again, within this forum, I don't think that's the caliber of folks that would do that for a model that's in production and available. I don't think there are people here that are at all like that. Case in point, look at the guy that burned a JIMZ Cd and tried selling it. He's not a guy that belongs to this group for sure. Remeber it's not always cheaper to produce an avaiable kit from scratch. The decals alone are a pain in the neck for some people and to buy them, if you could, would cost 5-8 bucks.
 

wyldbill

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Clarification:I'm not suggesting any of this would happen here. I'm pointing out that there a things in an original kit, besides decals and other physical parts, that contribute to the cost of the kit. I did this because some people said that if they had to do most of the work themselves, they'd rather scratch build than buy a kit. My point is that you can't (or at least shouldn't be able to IMNSHO) scratch build a kit that is an original design and is currently in production.

-bill
 

jflis

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Originally posted by Gus
I think the major issue is "screw-up potential". Parts that are easy to mess up, like fin slots, I prefer to have done by the manufacturer. Usually fins are not a problem to cut but I would be hesitant to try to make those found, for instance, on Jim Flis's "Drake", or on Neubauer's "Little Joe 1" by myself.
Just a point of note: For that very reason, the fins on the FlisKits Drake are laser cut :)

now, back to our program!
 

nomopbo

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Originally posted by wyldbill
Thanks for the response.

But this thread isn't for dicussing the design, it's about how you, as builders, prefer a kit to be structured.
I was just going to bow out of this conversation, but I feel it is my point that has been missed.

My point is from a newbie, and treat it as such.
You asked how we as builders prefer a kit to be structured.

I can honestly say that if the last several kits I have bought (from vendors) were just instructions, templates, and a bag of stock, I would not have bought them.

As far as my scratch building comment. All the (considered) cutting sounded more like a scratch build than a KIT.

You are not a vendor. Sell it however you want. Sell just the plans and templates, or sell plans, templates, and a bag of stock. Do it however you want and what is affordable for you. If it's a good design, I will buy the parts listed in the directions. If you can afford to provide them, GREAT.

As far as intellectual property. You know as well as I do, you can look at a straight forward assembled kit and know exactly what you need to build it. (in production or not) Now if it's a sci-fi star fighter, one would need plans and templates, and need to buy the kit. (or as you mentioned, get plans/templates illegally)

And I would like to point out... in this forum, we do a lot of looking out for each other. (i.e. eBay and such)

So with that, have at it bro. I placed more importance on your question of how we prefer "KITS" rather than the fact you are not a vendor, and want to make a design available to other TRF's.

I apologize,
nomo,
out

PS Happy Birthday
 

flying_silverad

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If your considering to market your kit, vendor or not, who is your market? What is your object market? Scratch builders, novice, LPR, MPR, HPR, RTF guys, other?
When I make up my kits, there is some cutting involved but building is what I try to base my market on. Maybe a multiple choice poll might serve as a good tool as to what type of market lies within the forum. That might be a start.
 

Adam Selene

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polls! polls are almost as good as pictures!

seriously, a poll might be a good idea. can a poll be set up for multiple answers?
then you could ask:
would you be willing to cut tubes?
would you be willing to cut centering rings?
would you be willing to cut couplers?
ect.
 

powderburner

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Originally posted by wyldbill
I'd be pretty hacked if someone posted my instructions and parts list on the net for folks to scratchbuild without my permission.
I would too, if I was trying to sell kits. But I didn't intend to make any indication that I support such practices. I am an enthusiastic supporter of 'intellectual property rights' and the like.

I would (and do) copy old kits that are out of production, but I do not think it is a good idea to copy anyone's current-production model rockets and sell them for personal profit.

If you want to sell a kit to me, it is going to have to include clear instructions, one or two good suggestions for paint schemes, some cool decals (I don't make my own) or decoration scheme, and last but not least, your product must have the 'it' factor. It has to appeal to me, as something a bit different or a bit jazzier or a bit more ????!!!, before it will get my attention and move me to part with hard-earned cash. Otherwise, if it is just the same-old same-old, I really don't need another rocket that is essentially the same as the ones I already have.
 

Missileman

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My turn.
From my standpoint, I have never bought a kit that the body tubes/couplers where not cut to length (although I am willing to do that)
Nosecone should be turned , not something I would want to tackle.
CRs I would be willing to modify if mods are not major.
I am a big fan of Launch Pad kits and builder does most of the work with them.
IMO instructions don't have to be extensive.
As I recall you said a small run of these kits.
Target audience would likely be people on this forum or others you know that are in rocketry.
Point being most of us are already, for the most part, experienced modelers.
Oh and I already have more chutes than you can shake a nosecone at so if one is not included that's fine by me:D
Good Luck
 

shockwaveriderz

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whatever a kit builder can do to make things easier, ie laser cut fins, laser cut this, laser cut that, slots precut, etc is fine with me.....as long as its NOT another 3FNC rocket..... I like rockets that DO SOMETHING.....
 

SecretSquirrel

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Originally posted by shockwaveriderz
whatever a kit builder can do to make things easier, ie laser cut fins, laser cut this, laser cut that, slots precut, etc is fine with me.....as long as its NOT another 3FNC rocket..... I like rockets that DO SOMETHING.....
Have I mentioned that all Squirrel Works kits have laser cut fins? :)
 
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