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Author Topic: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?  (Read 311 times)

Offline ncologerojr

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Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« on: Oct 11, 2018, 08:58:48 »
There are no wrong answers. Itís obvious where I stand, but Iím always curious how others feel about it. Itís interesting how opinion varies in different enthusiast groups.

What are your feelings on true handmade parts vs. mass produced or cnc products?

Does it make a difference to you, or does it not matter so long as it fits the build? Do you care if something is unique or not? Is price the main factor? Is one just better than the other?

What do you think?

Offline advCo

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 11, 2018, 09:14:47 »
Personally, if I can make a part instead of buying a part, I will. Unless its going to take me an insane amount of time for the same result as buying a part off the shelf, then I will shell out the money.

I love to see hand-made or one off parts.  I also recognize and appreciate the insane amount of time that goes into a lot of custom fabrication.

I still consider CNC small run parts in the same kind of category, although definitely not the same as hand sculpted metal or fiberglass work.

That being said, I'd likely never pay someone to fabricate for me (unless I've designed a part and don't have the means). Its a price thing, and I like the challenge of building my own parts if and when necessary.

"He broke the mirrors off his Cadillac, 'cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back."

74 CB360 - Luna - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=63294.0 - Sold
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Offline ncologerojr

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 11, 2018, 10:00:23 »
Personally, if I can make a part instead of buying a part, I will. Unless its going to take me an insane amount of time for the same result as buying a part off the shelf, then I will shell out the money.

I love to see hand-made or one off parts.  I also recognize and appreciate the insane amount of time that goes into a lot of custom fabrication.

I still consider CNC small run parts in the same kind of category, although definitely not the same as hand sculpted metal or fiberglass work.

That being said, I'd likely never pay someone to fabricate for me (unless I've designed a part and don't have the means). Its a price thing, and I like the challenge of building my own parts if and when necessary.

I agree completely.

Offline irk miller

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 11, 2018, 10:49:57 »
As a trained artist and craftsman, I have a distinct appreciation for the handmade.  I, personally, would rather try to make a part over buying it off the shelf.  For example, I made the valve guides for my R100/7 myself.  They are readily available and reasonably priced, but I enjoyed the process and pride of getting my bike running on the weekend from guides I made myself.  If there is a mass-produced part that I really like, I'm not necessarily against buying it though either.  I was in art school when desktop printers and computers started to become cheap and readily available, so we talked a lot about a desktop revolution in publishing.  I think with CNC's, it's been a similar trajectory.  I realize there are bigger companies that produce mass amounts of parts machined by CNC, but with the garage builder or small custom shop being able to buy into the market as well, I consider the process as legitimately craftsman as hand planishing body work. 

My MFA is in Ceramics, so I have to bank on people's willingness to pay double for my wares over those mass-produced in China.  I recognize myself as part of a niche market, so I try to avoid any comparisons to other markets.  One is not more legitimate.  They are just different.  Some love art, some do not.  Some want original paintings on their walls, while some want giclee prints. 

Offline advCo

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 11, 2018, 10:53:13 »
My MFA is in Ceramics, so I have to bank on people's willingness to pay double for my wares over those mass-produced in China.  I recognize myself as part of a niche market, so I try to avoid any comparisons to other markets.  One is not more legitimate.  They are just different.  Some love art, some do not.  Some want original paintings on their walls, while some want giclee prints.

Same deal I run into with woodworking. A small custom table similar to what I've done in the past is going to run a customer minimum 5x the price of a table with the same specs from IKEA, and not a lot of people are willing to pay the price associated with the work.
"He broke the mirrors off his Cadillac, 'cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back."

74 CB360 - Luna - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=63294.0 - Sold
82 GS550L - Tracker-ish - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=67229.0 - Sold
74 XL350 - The Turd - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70252.0 - Sold
Suzuki FA50 "No-Ped" - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71189.0
73 Suzuki RV125 -http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=73875.0
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Offline J-Rod10

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 11, 2018, 11:05:12 »
I built thousands of sets of rear sets on a manual mill and lathe. It took a ton of time. With that time, comes an increased cost to the consumer.

When I bought CNC equipment, I was able to largely remove my time from the equation, build more, faster, and price them quite reasonably. Essentially, I was able to take my time out of it, and sell more at the same time. On the manual lathe, I had roughly one hour in a set of foot pegs. Knurl, turn down, cut to length, back face them, etc. On my Mori, right at 7 minutes for a pair, finished, and ready to ship.

I started with fiberglass. Built several thousand seats, all by hand. Labor intensive, time consuming. The Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese flooded that market to the point that it was no longer worth building them.

There's certainly a market for "handmade." Alloy tanks, seats, etc. Most other parts on a motorcycle, they are time consuming, and difficult to price reasonably due to the time involved.


Offline Hurco550

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 11, 2018, 11:10:20 »
I go somewhat both ways as a welder and machinist. Some parts I look at as challenge to create while others I would rather just buy. Without trying to sound to self absorbed, if a part is cheap enough to buy already produced and it will not be a challenge for me to make from scratch, I will buy it. Things like brass bushings. I spent several years on and off at my last job turning custom brass bushings with tight tolerances for a local food manufacturer to keep their antiquated equipment running. Its no longer a challenge to me to turn brass bushings. If I can buy them done for a reasonable price, I have no desire to turn them myself, even though I have a lathe in my garage capable of doing the work. If its a custom order or will be super expensive, of course ill make them.

This is just my personal thoughts on the matter, but I for one will not ALWAYS make something, even if I have the ability, and its on a case by case basis.
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Offline The Jimbonaut

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 11, 2018, 11:50:51 »
My MFA is in Ceramics, so I have to bank on people's willingness to pay double for my wares over those mass-produced in China.  I recognize myself as part of a niche market, so I try to avoid any comparisons to other markets.  One is not more legitimate.  They are just different.  Some love art, some do not.  Some want original paintings on their walls, while some want giclee prints.

I can relate to that.  I have a jewelry business which relies heavily on people's willingness to fork over a little more for handmade (especially as many of our designs have been ripped off and are available for a few cents over on sites like alibaba).  But I also have to accept that willingness is often tempered but ability - some people want the original but finances dictate otherwise.  I too want the original painting on my wall, but always have to settle for the print.  Almost always anyway.

Of course there's always the argument that if you can't afford the original then save up until you can - the artist will thank you very much if you do.  Bummer that in real life it doesn't always work out that way.
"I'm telling you Donnie, nuthin' but nuthin' but right"

Offline irk miller

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #8 on: Oct 11, 2018, 11:54:00 »
Of course there's always the argument that if you can't afford the original then save up until you can - the artist will thank you very much if you do.  Bummer that in real life it doesn't always work out that way.
I've done payment plans for people that want my sculptures.  I've never been ripped off doing that. 

Offline The Jimbonaut

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #9 on: Oct 11, 2018, 11:57:39 »
Nice, that works.  We get mauled by huge manufacturers in China however - they steal the design and sell copies for a few cents.  We're getting ripped off on an industrial scale.
"I'm telling you Donnie, nuthin' but nuthin' but right"

Offline Rat_ranger

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #10 on: Oct 11, 2018, 12:01:23 »
I've made a bunch of one off parts for various things and used mass produced parts.  I've also bought one off parts from others.  It really depends on what it is, how much money I have, and how much time I have.
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Offline advCo

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #11 on: Oct 11, 2018, 12:09:27 »
Nice, that works.  We get mauled by huge manufacturers in China however - they steal the design and sell copies for a few cents.  We're getting ripped off on an industrial scale.

That sucks. I do feel like there is a growing percentage of people who would rather support the small business than China, though. Myself included.
"He broke the mirrors off his Cadillac, 'cause he doesn't like it looking like he looks back."

74 CB360 - Luna - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=63294.0 - Sold
82 GS550L - Tracker-ish - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=67229.0 - Sold
74 XL350 - The Turd - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=70252.0 - Sold
Suzuki FA50 "No-Ped" - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=71189.0
73 Suzuki RV125 -http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=73875.0
'97 BMW F650st - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=75732.0

Offline The Jimbonaut

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #12 on: Oct 11, 2018, 12:15:28 »
People definitely appreciate the small business, but in our experience it's a combination of exposure and $$'s that often steer the final decision.  Many of our designs are available in big chain stores across North America - the buyer simply doesn't know that they're rip-offs and not the original.  Oftentimes small businesses simply struggle for exposure in the face of major mass-produced availability.  That's where strong branding comes in, but it's still a monumental challenge.
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Offline 1fasgsxr

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #13 on: Oct 11, 2018, 13:40:15 »
That sucks. I do feel like there is a growing percentage of people who would rather support the small business than China, though. Myself included.
I am all for supporting the small business !! 
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Online pidjones

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 11, 2018, 20:48:46 »
It's not just the small businesses getting screwed by China. I worked for a "major multi-national engineering and manufacturing business". Service and spare parts are where the profit lies in medical equipment - one of our segments. China hs been copying our parts that were made by US suppliers to our specs and undercutting us on parts on the world market. Although the machines are patent protected, the component parts, even to our specific design, would be impossible to cover. Then the part fails and we have to send our engineers in to do contracted service.
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Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Handmade Vs. Mass Produced - Opinions?
« Reply #15 on: Oct 12, 2018, 17:34:42 »
Nice, that works.  We get mauled by huge manufacturers in China however - they steal the design and sell copies for a few cents.  We're getting ripped off on an industrial scale.

Very true.  A few years ago  on another forum a guy wrote about an idea he had and how to market it.  He got a number of replies.  But one hard nosed businessman (I call him that because I know him and he is) told him a couple of hard truths.  One that I remember is that if he thinks his product will be a hot seller he should make it but make a few warehouses ful because as soon as it hits the market and starts to sell the Chinese will steal it and flood the market at half the price.  Be ready for a short sale period.
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