Thread: PROTODIE 2017

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    PROTODIE 2017
    #1
    Protodie Master and Vendor ProtoDie's Avatar
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    hey guys,
    been a while since I posted, I'm still around but have been slammed with Tool n Die design work and finally have a small break
    Thought I would share some of the changes over the past years and why I have not been posting new projects for a while

    14 years ago I left the tool and die shop I was running and started my business "Protodie" which was just me doing cad design for tool and die shops , specifically stamping dies for the automotive and furniture industries
    the name "Protodie" I made up and basically comes from the words prototype & die and originally had noting to do with buggy builds

    my passion and hobby on the side was designing and building race buggies and racing which I started doing 17 years ago.
    The cad design software and machinery I had allowed me to build high quality performance buggies and parts

    The first couple of years on my own in die design were busy and good but then the whole industry slowed down and many Tool and die shops closed
    At that same time I had a lot of interest in the buggies and parts I designed and I started selling them and building the parts for other people.
    I also was lucky to land some production work in the automotive and furniture industries.
    a couple years were tight , but I was able to have just enough work between buggy parts and production to survive the lack of design work

    Then production and buggy parts picked up and I was able to design and build some new & different model buggies and parts.
    I think over the years I was able to design and built 12 different models ,,,, fun job for sure

    a couple years ago the production work finally ended and I went from 8 employees to 3 and building strictly buggy parts.

    after a year of that,,,, I finally realized that the production work we were doing was paying a majority of the business bills and allowing me to pursue the buggy side of the business.
    buggy parts alone could not financially support my family and the business.
    plus the SXS market has hurt buggy and part sales. Tough to compete with the instant gratification of deciding to buy and take it home that day and make payments.

    so,,,, luckily tool and die design was smoking busy again and I decided to get back into that to cover difference from losing the production
    I had a excellent fabricator and friend working for me on the buggy side of the shop and he was to cover the manufacturing side of buggy parts while I covered die design and the business.

    a year ago he came down with a life changing illness at 37 years old and could no longer work.
    really sucks, like I said he is also a good friend. (he is doing somewhat better but probably will never be able to work more than a couple hours a week)

    so now for the moment I've kinda come full circle back to where I started 14 years ago, just me and mostly Die design
    its good though, I've been working long hours designing for big companies the past year.

    I still build buggy parts but have had to somewhat limit what we offer at this time.
    sometimes I can not build bigger orders for a couple weeks until I get a couple day break from design.
    long term plan is to keep the buggy side of the business going and take care of our customers even if orders are limited.
    always feels good to get away from my computer and go out in the shop and build cool shit

    life is constant change , who knows what I will do when I grow up
    Last edited by ProtoDie; 09-09-2017 at 02:41 PM.
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    The Bob Ross of MBN Bullnerd's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your friend, but good to hear from you.

    I was just thinking we haven't seen anything from you in a while.

    Good luck and hang in there! Manufacturing should be getting better in the US, hopefully bring you enough work to be comfortable again.
    "Speed is time-time is speed"-Dennis Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by TALON View Post
    did you use a special bigfoot camera or something ,you know all blurry could be a tree stump kinda thing .
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    I think this is the first time that a vendor has actually explained what is happening with their business and why their circumstances have changed. Thanks for the info and I think it will help set the proper expectation and mindset to ensure good business.

    Several vendors have gone inactive or out-of business without any warning (*cough-Ubuilditplans-cough*) and left nothing but speculation and supposed theories about why orders weren't being filled in a reasonable amount of time, etc. I also hear you about the SXS market and the impact it's had on the offroad buggy-building business. I hope your "real" business keeps up a brisk pace. Self-employment has its advantages, but most people never think about the down-side when business drops off. Like off a cliff, for example.
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Thanks for sharing the changes at Protodie, completely understand. Sorry to hear about your friend. Hopefully things will improve for him in the future. Best of luck on your endeavors!
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Protodie Master and Vendor ProtoDie's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys!
    Not buggy related , but Kfab is sharing his vegetable prison / green house so

    the bonus side to no longer running production in the shop is over the past year my son and I gutted , purged a lot of the shop of obsolete equipment and accumulated junk
    We took the production area 32 x 48 room in the shop and converted it over to our family tavern
    he learned a lot of new mechanical skills like framing, refinishing cabinets, paneling , laying out shit to crooked walls
    19 years ago the shop started as a horse barn with 4 light bulbs and a goat pen


    here are some pics before we converted it




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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
    #6
    Protodie Master and Vendor ProtoDie's Avatar
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    bought a kitchen off craigslist and refinished it




    we throw some good parties in here now



    lots of pool and ping pong, plus Jesse thought we should have swords on the wall,,,, excellent idea I thought




    with Michigan winters I figured we needed to grill indoors year round




    this was my original work bench I started building buggies on,,,, now an entertainment center

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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Millenium Member Deranged's Avatar
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    Jody, It is really good to that you are doing good!! I hope that now that business is good, you can build another car and shred Silver Lake with us! If you have any GSXR 1000's laying around, I would kindly take that off of your hands for a spare engine. LOL

    Justin
    Nowhere near the desert.
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Hey, that looks really cool! Which chair is mine?, Ha!
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
    #9
    Protodie Master and Vendor ProtoDie's Avatar
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    Thanks Ninja, your chair is the closest to the fridge
    if you ever find yourself in Michigan , I have a chair and cold refreshments for you lol

    Justin, Thanks Brother, I do not have any spare gixxers around. I do still have the race track out back if you want to turn a few laps in your single seater,,,, and of course have some refreshments in the lounge after
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    Re: PROTODIE 2017
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    Millenium Member Deranged's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProtoDie View Post
    Thanks Ninja, your chair is the closest to the fridge
    if you ever find yourself in Michigan , I have a chair and cold refreshments for you lol

    Justin, Thanks Brother, I do not have any spare gixxers around. I do still have the race track out back if you want to turn a few laps in your single seater,,,, and of course have some refreshments in the lounge after

    SWEET! I may be taking you up on that in the next couple weeks!


    Justin
    Nowhere near the desert.
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