What about the people who would say "I don't need no stinkin' expensive instructions""What do you guys think?"
Obviously, it is difficult to know the extent of the skills the end user of the parts processes. That being said, I believe your concerns are very valid. I think that a number of the steps would be difficult for most people without a comprehensive set of instructions and/or blueprints to guide them. Fabricating the wide swing hinges with out a print would be a deal breaker for most.
If you go down that road, I think you would be wise to write up a "how to" manual and SELL it to interested party.. Make it worth your time. If the added cost of the instructions scares off the prospective customer then they weren't that serious to begin with.
No, I didn't use the window except as a curve template to make sure I got the curves right - the mold masters for both the inner and outer skins of the barn door were built from scratch. I think I started posting about the masters on the third page of this thread, so if you go back there and read forward you can see both mold masters. Once I made the mold masters, which are exact replicas of the parts I plan to mold, I made molds from those masters, and those molds were used to make the final parts.Just out of curiosity how did you make the molds for the barn door? I assume you used the Window in some way? I ask as I would be interested in replacing the glass with just a fiberglass slab/panel as I can't see out of it any ways and I would like to be able to fabricate a shower room to attach to it.
Could a metal frame or metal inserts (would need to be bent to match curvature) be used to help with the structure? if not, what would be the way you would tackle the problem? Thanks.No, I didn't use the window except as a curve template to make sure I got the curves right - the mold masters for both the inner and outer skins of the barn door were built from scratch. I think I started posting about the masters on the third page of this thread, so if you go back there and read forward you can see both mold masters. Once I made the mold masters, which are exact replicas of the parts I plan to mold, I made molds from those masters, and those molds were used to make the final parts.
For your application I'd be concerned about a "fiberglass slab" holding the compound curved shape well enough to press hard enough all around the weatherstrip to provide for a weathertight seal. The inner and outer skins of the barn door bond together to provide an extremely stiff structure which will press against the weatherstrip with equal pressure all the way around - a "slab" without any structure to give it stiffness may be prone to leakage.
The best way to approach this depends on what you want the inside of the hatch to look like and if you plan to add any functionality to it.Could a metal frame or metal inserts (would need to be bent to match curvature) be used to help with the structure? if not, what would be the way you would tackle the problem? Thanks.
Packaging and shipping: Yes, the fiberglass company is equipped to ship direct. BTW they're the company that molds the parts for the fiberglass Jeep-tub and military replica trailer kits I designed and are sold by Compact Camping, so they also do work for other companies that do the marketing/selling. They'd be glad to mold the barn door parts for any company that wants to market them.My two cents, as someone who has had poor luck throwing cash at my laptop screen trying to buy your barndoor, it would be very interesting to gauge the market with a funding goal similar to teespring's model. There are several webapps available now that would simplify the process a well! Essentially the problem of finding out if there's a market for the door (in any of a number of configurations) could be addressed by setting up a funding target with your fiberglass manufacturer. The kit in its many forms is selected from a drop down menu and once an agreed upon number of sales is reached, the purchaser's accounts are debited. If the target doesn't hit, funds are never drawn after an agreed on date passes. The process for setting up the target/funding backend is much simpler now with pre-built webapps and if your manufacturer is interested in these kind of limited run production efforts his web admin could set it up in a couple hours.
Alternatively, a simpler if less elegant method would be to setup a gofundme page and use the proceeds to pay the manufacturer for the run. It would solve the question of who would really be interested enough to put down the cash and remove much of the hassle forum group buys generally entail with money handling.
The first technique removes all money handling entirely going straight to the manufacturer, while the kickstarter method reduces it to one step really of taking a funded goal and the paying the manufacturer.
My concern would be handling packaging and shipping. Do you know if your fiberglass guys are equipped for handling distribution? Maybe they're focused on delivering a run to a retailer vice individual packaging and delivery?
Given that facilitating the logistics of production is not one of your mentioned interests would you be open to letting someone setup a group buy gofundme page and working with your fiberglass guys? Even that limited role I suspect would be a significant time investment though.
Food for thought..
I really don't know if the TrailTop system would have enough interest to make it a worthwhile production product. I suppose it depends on how many people are building trailers and camper tops and what style and design they're interested in building. Personally I love the system and think it's a great way to DIY-build a camp trailer (being the designer of the TrailTop system, you would expect me to say that )."It doesn't seem that there's enough interest in the barn door (at least in kit form) to make it worth anyone's time."
Now, your trail topper components.....that might be a different story.??