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Old May 04, 2016, 10:33 PM
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Why are DLG's so expensive?

I understand the effort required to design a DLG, then make the molds, etc, but I would think that after a certain point economies of scale would kick in. I'd be interested to find out how many molds the average company producing a DLG has, what their CNC machines cost, and # of employees - I get it that if someone like Sam developes and builds an Aurora it required 100's of hours, the learning curve of using a CNC machine, and it's initial cost - but after a mold is made, how many planes are produced from that mold? If it's aluminium, I'd guess without knowing what I'm talking about that it wouldn't have a top end of wings that could be pulled from the mold - same with corian.
Seems like it's been ingrained and pounded into consumers heads that they are so expensive is because of those factors - but after a certain point, all the tools are paid for, and the only cost is labor. Given that incredibly complex electronic parts are made on an assembly line, I would think that a procedure would be developed and taught to the workers, and they would not need to know anything about G codes, aeronautics, ect - just how to put the cores in a mold and do the same thing over and over and close the mold and later, wa-la, a perfect molded plane - which should cost less than the 1st plane sold.
I'm a big conspiracy nut, and I freely admit I know jack about building a DLG, I still think the prices are artificially high and stay that way because we are conditioned to think "they just cost that much".
I'm sure plenty of people will jump up and expose my ignorance, but I'd actually be glad to have it lifted - better than thinking the man is sticking it to me. (lol)
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:06 PM
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sigh
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:07 PM
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I've got to chime in with my opinion.

CNC's don't make molds by themselves, and molds don't make wings all by themselves.

People often think that it just takes the push of a button, but even after 100's of hours of CAD modeling, dozens of hours of cutting, hours and hours of polishing, there are a number of hours of cloth cutting, painting, rolling out of epoxy, peel plies, bags, etc just to get to a part that still needs hinging, facing, drilling, and more.

If you were to add up only the layup I bet that there would be at least 20-30 hours of labor to produce a quality model. If you add the cost of $200/gallon MGS resin and $100+ of carbon in each model I don't think that the top models are overpriced.

Ward
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:13 PM
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a while back -There's a thread on the snipe cost to set up being somewhere around the $40k mark for tooling. that's a big lot of money to have to get back. that doesn't include labour, materials, or any other cost - its JUST the setup/tooling
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:20 PM
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Personally I think the value for what you get is the highest it's ever been simply because supply has far exceeded demand. The only differences in price now are quality composite worker labor rates in different parts of the world, but I do believe the prices will creep up again as overhead is getting more expensive for all companies.
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:24 PM
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HobbyKing models are inexpensive, but are perfect for a bit of fun. Super strong while being super light will always command the high (in comparison) price tag.
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrbaby View Post
sigh
This response was the only complete response possible. Excellent choice of words.
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Old May 04, 2016, 11:51 PM
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Agreed, Thomas, et al. As a designer/builder/"mfg" (items licensed and produced with my guidance) of LOW-cost mass-prdn items, the only reasonable way would likely be the discovery/invention/use of an entirely different way to build & produce a high (performance) end DLG.

One example in a related field is the use of tiny, cheap solid-state so-called "giros" instead of actual spinning-around real giros. It's said that a good way to solve an insolvable problem .... is to change the problem. That's not to say that I have such a solution in mind, but often opening up a field to mass-mkt prdn creates enough of a large market (OK, they go together) to actually find such ways.

I was in the factory in China where the then world leader in RC helicopters, Hirobo, was developing the first "easy-to-fly" RC heli, their coaxial LLama (it even needed a cable for the power, as LIPOs has not yet really emerged). Hirobo forced the factory to actually test-fly every heli on the prdn-line! The USA selling price was WELL over $300.

Within a few years similar helis were selling for 1/3 that price, and now for ca. 1/10 ....

And THAT led to today's multicopter mass-assault, with small simple versions selling for similar prices, ca. $30.

So .... perhaps the HH Whipit can open the DLG mkt enough to inspire similar innovation and cutthroat competition which drastically lowers prices. "We shall see ...."

L


edit: sigh
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_crash View Post
I'm a big conspiracy nut, and I freely admit I know jack about building a DLG, I still think the prices are artificially high and stay that way because we are conditioned to think "they just cost that much".
I'm sure plenty of people will jump up and expose my ignorance, but I'd actually be glad to have it lifted - better than thinking the man is sticking it to me. (lol)
How can the prices be artificially high? If they were too high, nobody would buy them. If the demand got any higher, the prices would go up.. This is how a free market works.

Now, if DLG's were a necessity of everyday life and the government set a minimum price for them to protect the manufacturers from having to compete in a free market, then the price could be artificially high. Since we don't legislate DLG prices in this country, the price is set by supply and demand.

When you find yourself a guy that got rich making DLG's come back to this thread and try your story again.... and even then you'll get "sigh" for an answer.
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Wiz View Post
How can the prices be artificially high? If they were too high, nobody would buy them. If the demand got any higher, the prices would go up. This is how a free market works.

Now, if DLG's were a necessity of everyday life and the government set a minimum price for them to protect the manufacturers from having to compete in a free market, then the price could be artificially high.
Exactly. And with a huge expansion into such a mass-mkt the greatly increased supply side of the equation is what normally lowers prices.

Which was my so-far purely "theoretical" point above.
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:26 AM
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Groundhog Day.....

Use the search feature. Use google. This topic has been had many, many, many times over the last 10+ years. Why is Kevlar so expensive? I have to buy a new radio AND receiver? But my berg 4ch fm is so awesome. Hollow molded? What is the world coming to? No one is ever going to fly with these hollow molded costs! The conspiracy is people continue to post in these threads and they continue to perpetuate nonsense. Damn. I just did it.
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:27 AM
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Did nobody else notice the lure in the OP's avatar?

I think someone is fishing....
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:48 AM
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Yep, I think there is a lot of potential if we can find a way to make even moderate performance planes cheaper.
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:55 AM
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I knew this was going to be like poking a hornets nest with a stick - actually I think it's more like throwing a burning bottle of gasoline and liquid soap detergent on a pile of magnesium and aluminium powder. (not to mention the ammonium nitrate fertilizer and diesel oil)

I thought GTRbaby's response - "sigh", giving me the mental image of the old man in Karate Kid while he watches his student screw up (or what he thought was screwing up)

You missed my point completely - and showed a very good example of the elitism and "I've been in the hobby for a 100 years, blah blah blah." -

Of course if DLG's are produced as boutique one offs made by 2 people, one of whom spent the last 10 years learning CAD, the other willing to devote all of his time to the hobby (not that it's a bad thing - I can already hear you not getting my point) - yes, then the models are going to be expensive.

Did you even notice the term "Economies of Scale" , and me being curious as to what the average number of people in one shop, and their combined knowledge they had to accumulate
over decates, how many planes can be produced by one mold before it has to be replaced by another expensive milled aluminium mold - (and if you even give it a seconds worth of thought that 2nd mold is going to cost exponentially less than the first, due to the price of sophisticated milling machines going down? Samc99us made that point very clearly when he said his CNC machine cost roughly 3K, and now they are half that price.
And sure, your sensibilities may be offended at the thought of someone with no knowledge of aeronautics, why and how a wing flys, what makes a wing a good wing, being trained to take the CNC cores out of one machine and place them into a mold, instead of the engineer on loan from NASA doing the layup - come on, do you seriously believe that after all the difficult portions of creating a new module (design, CAD/CAM, milling the mold) have been done, it's impossible to lay up the wing and with templates check alignment, etc that a hourly wage worker could not be trained to do it?
I know I am not going to change anyone's mind - you are to enamoured of the mystique of the build, but my point was that knowledgea becomes distributed, tools become cheaper, after a certain point they are paid off, the cost can then come down.
I freely admitted my ignorance of the technical requirements - and asked that it be lifted - but I am not ignorant of basic economics.
No, the planes will never be built in a big enough number that economies of scale come into play. They are going to continue being built as a boutique item, and yes, the high cost is justified. My main point is that IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. But judging by the scorn and rabid response to my original post - it is never going to change.

Aren't these forums just awesome entertainment when nothing is good on Netflix or HBO? I find it highly amusing that not one person even tried to comprehend what I was saying, and the elitist response. "Sigh", followed by "here here!", was made, instead of a thoughtful explanation of why I was full of BS.

Game of Thrones is on now, I've got something else to amuse me - have a good one!
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Old May 05, 2016, 12:55 AM
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One of the problems is the fact that the designs keep evolving. When that settles down a little more, it will make more sense to make tooling for mass production. If the market were there for a mass produced DLG, someone would make them. Now that I think about it, arent the Hobby King/TopSky offerings already filling that little segement?

Who is offended anyway? I'm not. Were you?
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