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A service to buy/sell custom hardware projects?

  1. Jun 28, 2012 #1
    I find it more than a little curious that so many people - including me, if I may say so - 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.

    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?

    * I use the word 'hack' and 'hacker' loosely to mean someone who builds interesting things. Things a la hackaday - not breaking into computers.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, the words "hack" and "hackers" have negative connotations in many circles. I've changed your thread title to substitute the word "projects" for "hacks" to avoid the negative connotations.

    Are you aware of the magazine "Make" and the associated "Maker Fairs"? I think that is somewhat along the lines of what you are asking about:


  4. Jun 28, 2012 #3
    There's a lot of books on amazon with "How to.." build your own speakers, amps, etc. There's even some book called 100 hacks or evil genius projects, and they give the designs for different electronics projects.
  5. Jun 29, 2012 #4


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    Part of the problem is that there are certain regulations that kick in once you start selling electronics on a commerical basis, you basically need to be able to present documentation saying that your gadget conforms to regulations XYX (EMC, health&safety if there are high voltages or currents involved); and getting the neccesary tests done can be very expensive.
    Note that the need for addtional testing was one reason why the Raspberry PI was delayed.
  6. Jun 29, 2012 #5


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    Over the years I have found a number of web-sites that display cool projects that the owner of the site has done. A certain amount of money is made by selling the plans to those projects. Much better in my opinion than selling the actual hardware.
  7. Jun 29, 2012 #6
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