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Mech Eng wanted for dirty work

  1. Dec 25, 2004 #1
    I have come up with an idea for an in-hub motorcycle hydraulic CVT (can be adapted for cars too).
    I am not an Engineer.
    I am not yet an Engineering student.
    I suck at CAD.

    What I need is to talk to someone that knows all that I don't (especially about hydraulic dynamics).
    I want them to render the design in CAD, run the numbers, calculate the efficiency and see if there is some glaring problem with the design that I can't see.
    It's a really simple design, so it's hard to believe that someone hasn't come up with it already if it does actually work.

    If and when a final design is reached, I would need a drawing that I could bring to an engineering firm or machine shop and have a prototype built for testing.

    I am not looking for a partner, just a consultant.
    How much would services like this cost me?
    How would I go about finding someone to perform the Engineer work?
    Would a simple non-disclosure form protect me legally?

    Any input you could give would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2004 #2


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    Greetings !

    A non-disclosure document can protect you to some extent
    but I wouldn't just count on it. Plus, you need witnesses.

    If you don't want to waste money filing a patent application yet,
    which btw requires no propotype or anything like that, you
    can at least file a disclosure paper with the USPTO, it costs
    just 10$.

    You may try people at a university or acquaintances with the
    disclosure document. Also, try to do a patent search on the
    USPTO's online database (www.uspto.gov) and general internet
    searches - you'll be surprised how much info the right keywords
    can yield.

    Live long and prosper.
  4. Dec 26, 2004 #3
    What is a disclosure paper? I have never heard of filing one with the USPTO.

    I'm not too worried about being able to afford the process, I just want to know how much it may cost me.

    What order do I do this in?

    I mean, how do I get a patent without good working diagrams to begin with?
    How do I get good working diagrams without hiring an Engineering Firm or student to do them for me?
    How do I hire an Engineering Firm or student to draw me the diagrams to bring to a patent lawyer without first protecting myself by patenting it?

    I don't want to deal with one of those inventor service companies in the back of Popular Mechanics, I just don;t trust them. Besides, I think they are mostly for items like Ron Popiel sells on late0night infomercials. This doesn't fit into that category.
  5. Dec 26, 2004 #4
    Also, how do I know a good patent/intellectual property attorney from a scheister wanting to puff me up and take my money?
  6. Dec 26, 2004 #5


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    Greetings !

    A disclosure document does not provide any official filing
    date or anything, but you can file it up to 2 years, as
    far as I remember, before the patent application and rely
    on it later, though even this is not perfect, to prove that you
    are the enitial inventor, which of primary importance in the US,
    whereas in Europe the first to file is ussualy considered the
    rightfull inventor. More info's on the USPTO site.

    A patent is a relatively general thing, in many cases it is
    not very important that your enitial application is very proffessional
    and detailed. What is important are the claims and all the
    beurocratic word stuff. Unless your idea is very complex,
    a patent attorney or agent with maybe some limmited knowledge
    in the field can prepare an application for you without the
    need for any great experts.

    Live long and prosper.
  7. Dec 26, 2004 #6
    So is the disclosure document how you get a "Patent Pending" status on your idea?
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2004
  8. Dec 26, 2004 #7


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    Patents and Counseling

    Hi Raven. I've been an engineer for 20 years now, and I've got a number of patents and do consulting for a valve manufacturer from time to time.

    Patent pending implies you've completed a patent application and have filed it with the patent office.

    From my experience, you probably don't need to worry too much about people stealing ideas. Sure, it happens, but the biggest barrier to stealing ideas is simply the whole issue of getting anything to market. I've seen lots of great ideas, none of which are snatched up by anyone because the resources to market them are so difficult to acquire, meaning you won't simply walk into a manufacturer and hand them a patent and a great idea and get noticed. It doesn't work like that.

    The company I consult with doesn't require me to have any kind of disclosure for their work. They know me, it's a trust thing. Though not having an agreement may be rare, trusting your consultant is not. You need to be able to trust them. A non-disclosure is sufficient for most people. As for using students, that might work, but they have no experience. I thought as a student, that shouldn't matter, but looking back now I'd never suggest using a student for something like that if you're serious about it.

    Ok, here's another issue. You don't want to share the idea, but that's impractical. If you can't make it work by yourself, then whatever additional ideas go into the development of the device - those ideas belong to the developer/engineer. You can't simply say all these ideas are mine, now somebody make them work for me. One person doesn't have the corner on the idea market, so the development of anything (complex) that's worth marketing is a product of a number of different people. Consider teaming up with someone you trust, and just see how far you can go. These ideas start out with a bang, and 999 times out of 1000, end up with a fizzle in less than a year. If you're the one out of a thousand that gets an idea past the "how can I make this work" phase, you still have long odds to get it to market. Sorry if this sounds too pessimistic, I wish you the best.
  9. Dec 26, 2004 #8


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    Greetings !

    Like I said a disclosure document has nothing to do with the actual
    application. However, it provides evidence that the enitial idea -
    you'd better write a good and full discription, was yours.
    It's much better than sending letters to yourself with a post
    date or stuff like that. You still have to file a patent application
    with the established time period.

    As for experts, like the user above said - it's best to get help
    from someone you know. However, you can also adress some
    university profs (not students) or working engineers. (I personally
    think that some prof. is better because they're more into the
    R&D and possibly less greedy :wink: ). Anyway, any expert in the
    field could help, but maybe you should consider bringing some
    joint venture contract in addition to the non-disclosure document.
    Thus, the person would sign both and in case your idea is good,
    you'll already have an agreement with your expert on how to proceed.
    Of course, you'll need an attorney to prepare the proper agreement.

    Live long and prosper.
  10. Dec 26, 2004 #9
    Here's an idea for what it might be worth,…

    I worked for a fellow once that has a working idea for an electrostatic vice. His idea worked, but he needed mechanical, electrical, and programming engineers to work out all the details and improve his design. His method to achieve this amounted to hiring a handful of brilliant, yet formally uneducated, geeks. I know, because I happened to be one of the geeks that he hired.

    This actually worked out quite well. There were only 5 of us. Each geek had something unique to offer in all of the fields of interest above. Moreover, all of the geeks where multifaceted (which is probably why none of them ever focused on any particular degree).

    The result of all this was that every time a problem or question would arise all of us would think on it individually and compare notes as a group. It was amazing at how fast we were able to improve his product and overcome technical difficulties. This actually bred a team spirit since we were all working toward the same goal.

    Ironically, we (the geeks) became more interested in the project than the original owner. He seemed to be more interested in fame an fortune than trying to actually build up a sound company based on this product. He eventually squandered his finances unwisely and the whole thing fell apart. But in principle it was working and would have succeeded had he focused on the product instead of his ego.

    To make this work, however, he did have two advantages:

    First, he was granted something like $60,000 a year which allowed him to hire us in the first place (we worked flexible hours and not always full-time). He paid well hourly, but didn't offer benefits etc. The idea was supposed to be that once the company got up and running full-scale we each geek would become a head of some specific department. That would have actually worked will, because a company that has heads who are used to working together like we were would actually do pretty well in the way of departmental communications.

    The second thing this guy had going for him was the ability to recognize geeks that were genuinely smart, creative, and who would also be productive. He did well in that department actually. If I had a company I wouldn't mind at all basing it on the geeks that I worked with when working with him. They were all smart, and they were all devoted to getting it right. Too bad it didn't work out in the end.

    In any case, I don't know what your financial situation is, but if you can afford to hire a bunch of geeks (and have the ability to pick them out in interviews) that might be the way to go. That still puts you in the position of the "chief" whilst giving you the instantaneous feedback form mechanical, electrical, and computer software engineers. All of the geeks I worked for could program a computer, build most basic electrical circuits, and understand most mechanical designs. They all had fairly versatile backgrounds. None of them had more than a formal BS degree, yet they all had the informal educational level of Ph.D.

    I think that if I had the finance to go that way, that's the way I'd go. The fellow who hired us did have us sign agreements that we would not disclose any information that belonged to the company and we would also not work on electrostatic vices for something like 5 years from the time we left the company. I'm not sure how well those documents protect, but I supposed their better than nothing.

    Oh yeah, you would also need to have a shop of some sort. The guy I worked for actually worked out of his basement and had a lot of old used and make-shift equipment. You would need at least an all-purpose lathe-milling machine, some computers with something like AutoCAD installed, and probably a couple of used junk motorcycles to play with. :biggrin:

    If you do things right you should have a marketable product within a few months. Depends on the geeks you hire. :wink:

    How novel is your idea?

    By the way, I don't know what you mean by CVT, but if you mean Continuous Variable Transmission I think someone else may have already beat you to the market!

    Still might be worth a go if you think you can find a niche in the market.
  11. Dec 26, 2004 #10


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    if you are not an engineer and you have an idea that you *think* is new - someone probably already did it. it may be an inefficient design or the end product, or simply an idea isnt economical. sorry to break this to you but unless you are of some mathematical/physics mindset coming into the engineering realms you will often stumble upon that.
  12. Dec 30, 2004 #11
    Thank you all for you advice.
    I will consider it all carefully.

    It is a Continuously Variable Transmission, but it is quite different than what is out there so far.
    It fills in the missing gap.
    Conical drive units are for miniscule power.
    The belt drive CVT's can't handle very much power
    Though the current chain-pushed CVT's can handle more power, they are still quite limited (I haven't gotten a close enough look at Nissan's yet, however).
    The current chain-pushed CVT's along with having fairly low power capacities, are much more complex than the belt/pulley models.
    The idea I have is as at least as simple as the belt-driven models and can handle much more power than the current chain-pushed models.
    Plus, no one has come out with a motorcycle CVT, and this one fits on the hub, rather than taking up precious room where current motorcycle transmissions are currently placed.
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