Rockwell Model T

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Sabre, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Redfisher

    Redfisher Doesn't celebrate National Donut Day

    I was talking to a friend of mine a while back and we wondered why the makers of these modern razors rely so much upon casting and machining instead of stamped parts. It worked well for Gillette. Once you have the dies and sheet stock you could bang out parts all day long.

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  2. blashe

    blashe Well-Known Member

    setting up brass stamping line for 1 piece can cost $200.000+ The market is way too small for such a large investment, they will go belly up by the time they blink
     
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  3. Redfisher

    Redfisher Doesn't celebrate National Donut Day

    I guess that explains it.

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  4. blashe

    blashe Well-Known Member

    If you think about it the Model T has around 5 or 6 pieces that can be brass stamped, that's 1.5 mil in just setup
     
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  5. Redfisher

    Redfisher Doesn't celebrate National Donut Day

    Couldn't it be done on a smaller scale? Maybe garage level. One press, interchangeable dies, some polishing in a tumbler of sorts and then plating. Not a factory.

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  6. blashe

    blashe Well-Known Member

    To be honest I don't know if they make such small stamping machines that are small and precise for smaller jobs, usually the machines are large machines with feeding lines, AKA semi automatic but majority is automatic process
     
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  7. Spang

    Spang Member

    As others have noted, it is apparently not that simple. The way I've seen it explained, Gillette used a process of "progressive stamping" for their brass parts. This involved feeding sheets of brass into long lines of machines that would progressively stamp the parts. Progressive meaning that, for example, to make a complex part like a curved silo door with two little legs and hinge holes in either side, might require something like 8 separate dies/stamping procedures. Each die would cost something like $30,000 today. So tooling alone for a "Fat Boy"-like modern razor (the Model T's archetype) using this process would be many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Gillette could do this back in the day because costs were less, they were prodigiously capitalized and, most importantly, their market was huge. Unlike today's niche DE market, Gillette's market was essentially the entire universe of shavers. Though their per-unit profit was small, they sold a zillion razors and that provided a handsome return on their investment in mass production. No maker today can afford the capital investment that would be required to produce razors like Gillette did; the market size simply isn't there. That's why we'll never again see mass produced, affordable razors that approach the quality of the vintage Gillettes. Today's options are either cast, or small production CNC.
     
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  8. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Agreed. 100%

    Let's not forget Metal Injection Molding, or metal 3D printing either. I think we will see really high quality 3D metal printing in our lifetimes. Just seeing how far 3D printing has come in the last ten years is inspiring. Heck, they can 3D print titanium parts now.
     
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  9. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    I agree, MIM is a good option. I've seen a lot of quality parts made using that process along with 3D metal printing.
     
  10. blashe

    blashe Well-Known Member

    I wasn't aware that 3D printing has gone in the line working with metals, ru kidding me 3D in SS, Ti, Brass, Aluminum? that's good news
     
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  11. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    Yeah, I've seen some amazing items done that way.
     
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  12. Spang

    Spang Member

    Yes, great points. I neglected MIM, not to mention the similar powder metallurgy process of sintering, both of which have been used to produce SS razors. And I'm sure you're right that 3D printed razors are probably coming in the not-too-distant future.
     
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  13. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Little known fact, the Feather stainless razor is sintered, not machined. I'd forgotten about that until you mentioned sintering.
     
  14. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    Is sinering an expensive and/or complicated process?
     
  15. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

    From what I know, sintering can be cheaper than MIM as molds have to be made for MIM. And molds can be very expensive to make and they're usually made for products that will be made for a very long time. But MIM has advantages, as in the strength, density and overall finish of the product. But with 3D technology getting better all the time, also costs are going down per product. it might be the way to go.
     
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  16. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Sintering is taking metal powder, pressing it into shape, then heating it up to "weld" it together. It doesn't melt the metal into a liquid, just heats it enough to fuse it.

    MIM is "metal injection molding" whereas the metal powder is in a binder and pumped into an injection mold like plastic. They are heated after being molded to remove the binder and like sintering fuse the powder together. Parts made via the MIM method must weigh less than 200 grams, otherwise they can't be heated correctly.

    Neither process is really complicated, but the resulting part isn't especially pretty, which is why these parts are so often plated afterwards. Of the two, MIM produces the most "accurate" parts. The most expensive part is usually the cost of the feedstock (metal powder), but the mold can run between $10-30k.

    According to Joe at Razorock, the ASD2 Feather razor is made using MIM, not sintering, so I was wrong about that. They most likely did all the mold making in house, so the dies for the razor probably cost them about $20k.

    So for every razor they sold, (call it 1,000 razors) $20 of each razor sold would go towards the die mold cost. That doesn't include multiple revisions to the die, which would mean reworking the die or even having it remade.

    So, back on topic, it would cost a couple hundred thousand for Gareth to have the Model T made via MIM. He should have charged a little more for the Kickstarter razors and aimed at a loftier $$$ goal and gone the MIM route. It would have resulted in a better razor, in my opinion. Most likely he will do so if he goes for a full stainless model T razor.
     
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  17. Spang

    Spang Member

    They did raise just shy of $620K from their KS and IGG campaigns.
     
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  18. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    True. But doesn't Kickstarter keep 20%?

    That being said, we don't know what kind of overhead Gareth is/was looking at. I'd trade in the nice box, extra blades, and other "goodies" that were pledge rewards for a stainless Model T in a sandwich baggie. Lol

    ...or even a solid brass one.
     
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  19. Spang

    Spang Member

    Kickstarter and Indiegogo both charge about 8% in a combination of flat commission and transaction fees. That's roughly 50K of the 620K Rockwell raised. As for overhead, at the time the Model T was launched Rockwell was ostensibly already a going concern, so I don't see how the Model T project would have added appreciably to overhead. I realize that in many cases a KS campaign is used to fund a start-up, but in the case of the Model T, we have an already up and running company. So the premise here was to capitalize a new project, which is consistent with the original funding goal for the Model T campaign, which was just 50K. Given those facts, I have a hard time understanding where all the money went. Here is an interesting piece on what happens when a KS campaign ends up raising way more money than anticipated by the creators, who are perhaps unprepared for the ensuing mass production required to fulfill pledges. We might be seeing some of that here. https://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2016/03/when_kickstarter_blows_up_crow.html
    I'm with you on that one ... any day.
     
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  20. jimjo1031

    jimjo1031 never bloomed myself

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