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People 'trading' their hardware hacks?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by KiwiKid, Jun 28, 2012.

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  1. KiwiKid


    Jun 28, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    Before I say what I wanted to say: I've been lurking these forums for some time now. I've never been active, and mostly searched other threads for advice and answers to my questions. I've got a bit of experience, I'm a nice guy, yadda yadda yadda.

    Now, on to my actualy question. I find it more than a little curious that so many people - including me, if I may say so - are hackers and build cool, actually practical toys, yet I virtually never hear of people selling these (or blueprints/instructions on how to make them, etc.) to others. Thus, the idea of creating a 'hacker creations market' (or something like that. It's not as if I've got it all worked out) popped into my head: a place where people can buy (maybe request) and sell hacks, creations and blueprints.

    The problems I see with such a market are these:
    - Custom solutions are more expensive than products made by people at an assembly line. Thus, hackers would need to demand quite a bit of money for a single solution, which buyers may not be willing to pay.
    - Hacking is a hobby. People don't want to try to make money with their hobbies.
    - Quality assurance would be difficult.

    I think the first problem is avoidable/solvable, and the second problem is only a general sentiment few people actually care about (if you can make money with your hobby, I suspect most - not all - would take it). But, hey, I've been known to be wrong from time to time. I don't know how to solve the third problem, but at first thought I think a 'rating' system and a strict set of rules of what you can expect from the creator/buyer would be best.

    The reason I like this idea so much is that there are so many careers people can choose to do solo and make a decent amount of money, but building new stuff isn't one of them - unless you want to do a startup, which requires you to focus on a single thing for a very large amount of time (i.e. most people I know who build stuff don't want to do that). I don't know whether the idea I proposed is possible, but I hope you can see why this idea appeals to me, and, hopefully, to others

    Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you think it's possible? Would you or hackers you know like and use such a service?
  2. CocaCola


    Apr 7, 2012
    You are going to find problem #1 being the biggest issue... Everyone on the Internet wants something for free... We have become a very price driven society, the cheaper the better for most... When it comes to custom electronics there is a huge minimum 'fee' that would need to be charged to make it even a break even venture... I say this from a 'business' standpoint, there are always people who will work for FREE and GIVE their time away but as soon as you turn it into a market for the masses you will likely see those people jump ship in no time as it simply won't be enjoyable any longer as it's no a job and they will expect some compensation...

    I do freelance custom electronics and trust me it's a never ending uphill battle... You can go to Wal-mart and get a fully function AM/FM clock radio with a CD player for $15, in nice retail packing... I would be hard pressed to find an appropriate hobby enclosure for that price, let alone implement even a single blinking LED into it, without experiencing an out of pocket lose, in addition to no labor compensation...
  3. KiwiKid


    Jun 28, 2012
    I understand. Maybe I wasn't entirely clear. I didn't mean that I would, personally, make all these customized hacks, but rather that I would like to see a service where people (as in, other people besides me) could buy and sell their creations. Would you - and other people here - be interested in something like that?
  4. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Give an example of the kind of thing you think you could sell in small quantities at a profit.

  5. KiwiKid


    Jun 28, 2012
    Home automation systems. Small modifications to already existing hardware (e.g. an alarm clock that interfaces with the coffee maker). Personal intrusion detection systems (though this is a bit more risky). Oxyhydrogen generators. Custom ROVs. To name but a few random things that pop up in my head. ;)

    I don't expect people to be able to make a living by doing this - more something along the lines of earning a bit of extra money by doing something they enjoy. I also expect mostly technical people to be interested (most of the things I mentioned wouldn't be very useful or interesting to people who aren't already interested in the more technical stuff).
  6. CocaCola


    Apr 7, 2012
    I think you missed my point, the market will not support you selling it at a high enough $$ value to make it worth 99% of designers time to bother with, and you will burn out the free time givers in no time flat...

    What hourly rate are you willing to pay me to design and build a circuit for you? Note that I can get an unskilled labor job in my area and earn $10-15/hour... Now how many hours do you think it take me to design and build something? Now factor in PC board design and manufacturing cost, as well as component cost...

    Does $100 for a sequenced blinking 10 LED circuit sound like a bargain or rip off?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  7. gorgon


    Jun 6, 2011
    At least in my country that would be a bargain for a custom made PCB, let alone a blinking LED added. :D

    But, since I live in Europe you can't sell any electronic consumer product without a CE certificate, including ROHS.

    I suppose it is easier overseas.

    TOK ;)
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