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Trying to determine feasability of production for winch pulley

Discussion in 'Marketplace' started by Green65, May 15, 2012.

  1. Green65
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 25
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Whitehall, MI, USA

    Green65 Junior Member

    Hi there, I'm considering production of a designed, prototyped, and patent pending pulley system for 2" (and any other size) belts on boat trailer winches. Naturally, I can produce these but the question is: What might they sell for and therefore, will they be profitable to make? If I had my own marketing department, this question might be easier to answer.

    This system will consist of a single pulley that hooks to the boat and is used to help winch the boat onto the trailer. Makes it twice as easy to crank allowing you to not power load your boat. A couple selling points are that it is often illegal to power load as it may undercut the ramp, and doing so can damage your boat/trailer if done with out care or by someone inexperienced. With this design, you don't need to drive the boat as high on the trailer. Just get it within 3-4 feet of the winch, stand on dry ground and crank it up. Easy even when (as usual) you are pulling it up hill. This system is designed with 2024-T3 aluminum (used as structural aluminum on many airliners), nylon and stainless steel.

    I know that there are geared / 2-speed winches available, but lots of people don't even know those exist and then there are those that either like new gadget or would rather buy a Cadillac instead of a Chevy.

    My 12 year old uses ours to pull our 18' Sea Pro up onto the trailer the last few feet when we go out. Say's it is easy.

    So, please give me an idea what you think this might sell for... or if I should go ahead with it just because it is usable in other industries as well.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Green65
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 25
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Whitehall, MI, USA

    Green65 Junior Member

    It's OK, don't be shy. Throw out a price and tell me what you think it would be worth. There is no wrong answer.
     
  3. Jetboy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 278
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 65
    Location: USA

    Jetboy Senior Member

    IMO an extending tongue putting the trailer deep enough is the proper way to load any boat. Why fight physics? Much easier and better for both the boat and the trailer to simply have the trailer a few feet further down the ramp.

    Second problem: many if not most trailer winch towers aren't built to handle the additional loading. They may bend. If the lower attachment point is to a frame rail or something like that, you're spreading the force out, but then your angle of pull is wrong and you're increasing the resistance by increasing friction on the bunks. May be a problem.

    Third, possibly I'm not clear on what you're trying to build, but I'm having a hard time knowing how you will defend a patent. A simple shouldered pulley for 2" web is not novel or non-obvious. Is there something that would make your pulley unique? The problem with this is that if you cannot defend it, as soon as you sell a few a competitor will build one and the price will be driven down to a bit above production cost. Not a high profit item.

    As far as price, Depending on materials, whether it has ball bearings or bushing, somewhere between $30 and $60.

    Not trying to be difficult. Just calling it how I see it. I wish you the best of luck!
     
  4. Green65
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 25
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Whitehall, MI, USA

    Green65 Junior Member

    Thanks JetBoy,

    I sort of got the message from the 135 people that viewed but did not post...Your idea sounds good with an extendable tongue as long as you find a way to easily un-extend/retract the tongue. I like it but it might be more involved...a cable winch or second winch perhaps using telescoping square tubing...

    With my pulley (which I use on our boat) the return strap from the pulley runs parallel to the out going strap and thus the original angle is retained. No extra stress is applied to the structure. The only effect is that the crank is twice as easy to turn. A drawing would make it more clear.

    I will not be going ahead with this as I believe it is not cost effective to manufacture. I will continue to enjoy using mine.

    Thanks,

    Greg.
     
  5. Jetboy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 278
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 65
    Location: USA

    Jetboy Senior Member

    I hate to be negative about it. My family owns a steel fabrication facility. We build mostly custom mining equipment and some structural steel. The unfortunate reality is that even if you have a great idea and a rock solid patent, you still have to defend it. And it's nearly impossible without HUGE money to stop Chinese copies.

    I'm a patent attorney in my day job. I do mostly high tech physics based patents. In that field there might only be 1 other company that can even attempt to copy what my client is doing. Easier to handle. For my parents business I generally recommend not patenting many inventions, especially if they are very hard to reverse-engineer. When you patent it you give away the plans. 30 years ago you were trading the knowledge and design for a period of monopoly on that product. Now you trade your design for nothing if you can't afford to go after all the copies. Why give your ideas away to the public domain for some Chinese company to copy. F' them. Let em try to build one without my plans.

    As far as tongue extenders, the easiest way is to have telescoping square tubing. Have solid end stops, and use regular hitch pins. If you have electric trailer brakes, you can use them, or just use wheel chocks. You unpin from the driving position. Then drive the car forward to extend until you reach the stop point. Re-pin the shaft, and put the boat in the water - and retrieve it. Then unpin reverse and re-pin and you're ready for the road.

    If you have the equipment to do it, it's easy to build. You can buy seamless receiver tube and then something like 2" square 1/4 wall for your inner tongue. Of course this is within reason on the size of the boat. Generally though, IMO there's no sense in building a tongue that's significantly stronger than the hitch you're using on the truck side.
     
  6. Green65
    Joined: Sep 2011
    Posts: 25
    Likes: 0, Points: 1, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Whitehall, MI, USA

    Green65 Junior Member

    Sounds interesting and informative, not negative. Lots of good info. Thank you.
     
  7. midnitmike
    Joined: Apr 2012
    Posts: 257
    Likes: 20, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 167
    Location: Haines and Juneau

    midnitmike Senior Member

    As a backyard inventor the idea of patenting some of my work has always intrigued me, but over the years I've come to realize how useless it might eventually prove to be. Back in the early 90's I was working on a ducted prop design that I thought had some promise. I never did finish my research and lost interest after a while, but the idea always stayed with me. A few years ago I found the USPO online and used to spend hours pouring over anything and everything that tickled my interest.

    One evening I did a search on ducted props and found one just like mine that had received a patent ten years after my initial work.. I was proud that the idea had been found suitable for a patent and at the same time sad that it wasn't in my name. It didn't take long before I uncovered a second patent on the same design approved just two years later by another fellow. He made some silly modification to the first patent that in all practical purposes wouldn't have worked, and even stole the original designers drawings for use in his application.

    This second patent was a hoax because their own R&D later proved it didn't work, and they began manufacturing a modified version...you guessed it just like the original patent they copied. They went on to make millions of $ from what I view as blatant patent infringement.

    In todays world China surely takes the prize for patent theft where even large car companies can't stop the out right copying of entire vehicles.

    If you've got a good idea, and think it's worth it then, see if you can get it made and enjoy the moment.

    BTW...there was a fellow living here that got a patent on a bolt-on trailer tongue extension...I wonder what ever happened to that?

    MM
     
  8. Kay9
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 589
    Likes: 26, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 279
    Location: Central Coast Oregon US.

    Kay9 1600T Master

    Im confused. I read your post and it sounds like your invention is a Winch with a single shive pully mounted to the eye bolt of the boat thus giving you a 2:1 advantage in pulling the boat to a trailor. If this is indeed the case you have nothing to patten as I can point to a 1786 copy of the British Bluejackets manual where they describe in detail a handy billy.

    As far as price, I can buy a single shive block from my local hardware store for about $3.25
     

  9. midnitmike
    Joined: Apr 2012
    Posts: 257
    Likes: 20, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 167
    Location: Haines and Juneau

    midnitmike Senior Member

    You're right Kay9, the only difference between the two is his pulley's shive is shaped to allow the use of flat belt like material. It doubt it would merit a real patent, but it may qualify for a design patent.

    MM
     
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