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Need help with a business idea.

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Hi guys and gals, completely new here and have zero experience with blacksmithing or metalworking. A friend and I had a thought about a product that we would like to look into making and selling, but he has just as much experience as I do, NONE! I was just wondering if anyone could give me any pointers on finding someone that could help us make a prototype or two. Without divulging too much of our idea, we need help making an ax head so I would think that would be considered fairly easy in the world of metalworking. Any advice would be very appreciated.



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Anticipated use of item, is it for chopping wood or looking pretty on a wall?



Solid order or ethereal idea?



Surface treatment?

Repeat business or one off?

Why is making an axe head 'easy' in your eyes, and why do you think that idea carries any weight when you have just said you know nothing about metalwork?

My pointer for you is to give people the information they need in order to help you.

Good luck. Al

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Well for now we just need to find someone that we can discuss the idea with. We know we want it to be very sturdy steel yet pretty light. We are in the very early design stages, I am just trying to figure out how to find someone in my area that could hopefully help me out.

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Answer the first question that was asked of you for starters..........the more info you can provide the easier for someone to step up and say "Yes" I can help you or "I know someone that is close to you than may be able to help".

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to be very sturdy steel yet pretty light. We are in the very early design stages, I am just trying to find someone in my area that could hopefully help me out.

What is the function, which dictates the type of material to use. Styrofoam will work if you are going to hang it on the wall, looks just like the real thing. Styrofoam will not do well when cutting wood. High end exotic alloys cost a high end price, and require a blacksmith knowledgeable in working with that high end exotic alloy.

Very early design stages, so you want us to assist with the design? Axes have been made for years, and are made to serve many different purposes, pole axe, double bit axe, broad axe, etc. Which brings us back to what is the function?

To find someone in YOUR area, put your location in your profile. Where are you located? UK, NZ, OZ, Canada? IForgeIron is visited by over 150 world wide countries each month. You have to help us narrow your location down some.

The more information you provide, the better the answer we can give.

In order to build a prototype, you have to supply exact dimensions to the builder. About this long and this wide will be enough. Full scale working drawings and dimension and spec out everything in the drawing.
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Talk to me. IF you are willing to tell me something more than what you posted here.

As for being in your area, your keeping that a secret aint too good way to start finding help, and this is the WORLD WIDE WEB.

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ASTRO AL pretty well sums it up. If you are looking for a smith who is doing smithing as a living, remember that their time, and knowledge are worth something. I used to have a machine and fab shop, and I would field questions like this from time to time.

Without sounding snarky, it really does get down to details. When a farmer told me he needed a part fit close we fit it to .001" , later he told us that he meant 1/64" or .015". In machining every place past the decimal, and the smaller the number the price keeps going up. Same with forging. Material costs can vary greatly (cents per pound to tens of dollars per pound), add certifications, and it goes up more, add DEFARS, and it goes up more. Some materials are easy to forge, others require strict temp control,pre/post heat treatment, etc. If the part is heat treated to a certain spec the material needs to be capable of meeting that spec. I totally understand not wanting to let an idea out , especially to a group that could make it themselves. I have almost 60 inventions of my own that I want to start exploring manufacturing. Some I have the knowledge to do myself, others I will have to seek out someone I can trust to help me without pirating my idea. It really is a tough thing to trust someone with your "baby".

What I would suggest is general dimensions, how it may differ from a standard ax, and the performance that you are seeking from it. If it is for a specific field, say oil fields, refineries, forestry, etc, it will be up to you to decide if you want to convey that information. It may help, or it may not be relevant at all to the construction, just depends.

Prototypes do not come cheap, as there is usually a large extra expense for time to develop the method of manufacture, and generally working out the bugs. Rarely do things go as planned the very first time.

Good luck with the project, and I hope you can make a go of being an inventor.

And welcome to IFI. Please stick around, some of us may seem a bit gruff, but once you get to know us better you'll see that we are not that bad =).

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Like everyone said, for starters, list your location. There are probably smiths on here in or around your location so we need that info.

As far as an axe head being easy, I wouldn't recommend it for a starter project. (Then again, I don't make them!)

If you are going to create a single item in a mass-production type setting, you need to know your market (how many you will need to provide,) know how to reach your market, and then build your facility to accomidate those needs.
You'll need a general idea of how many of what you are making, you are able to sell, and at what price you can sell them. That's going to let you know if this is even doable.
From the little bit of information you listed, I gather there will be two people (you and your friend,) producing these "things."

In that case (and assuming that what you are making actually has to be forged,) you are going to need two forges and forge stations, coal or propane.
If you are producing large quantities in a time efficient manner, more than likely you will need a power hammer.

So you are looking at basic equipment purchases of
2 forges
2 power hammers
2 anvils
2 pairs each of the appropriate tongs needed
2 each of several sizes of drifts, mandrels, punches, slitters (depending on what it is and how you are making it.)
whatever types of appriate hand hammers
files, grinders, sanders for finishing
proper steel and a steel source
If you are making production axes, knives, swords or whatever, a heat treat furnace might be handy.
Probably a bunch of other things that I'm forgetting.
And a shop to put it all in.
And if whatever you are making requires a wooden handle, you'll probably want a few basic wood working tools.

Now you may understand why you need to know the market and what kind of potential sales you are dealing with. Business is an investment, so make sure you've got a solid chance of making money.
You are jumping in head first. If you want to just do it as a hobby, a hammer, vice grips, hair drier, brake drum, a big rock, and a leaf spring will get you going.

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Didn't you see where he said he didn't want his idea stolen? Sure, not in so many words but that was the message. Like an experienced smith would need more than a quick look to reproduce whatever. Oh well, reality does it again. <sigh>

On the other hand if you, whoever you are, are still out there we will be happy to give you a hand even though you may not be able to use it, it takes a knowledge base to even ask beginning questions. We'll try anyway.

Frosty The Lucky.

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If security is an issue, consider a signed non disclosure agreement before laying your cards out. These are fairly common in RD engineering circles outside of China. In China everything is fair game, they essentially have no IP law. Show something in China and they are making down the street, under a different chop the next day. Be guided accordingly.

Planning and careful analysis should protect your idea and further its development process.

Good luck with your idea


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