What have you done to upgrade/improve your projects' professionalism?

I was thinking aloud that while my projects work well, they do have the professional look of Michael Jackson's nose. Now that might be fine for Bubbles, but I feel that I need to make my work look like it was produced professionally. As a general roundabout - what have you done to improve the look of your project? If possible I'd be very interested in how you fabricated metal and plastics to a high standard that didn't break the bank - I'm still trying to do stuff on a small-ish budget. Thanks for reading me; keep well ;-)

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Gorfram8 years ago
A few general ideas can be found in the Answers to this Question.

For metal and plastic fab, it helps a lot to keep everything clean and deburred as you go.

Think up every shortcut you can, and then don't take any of them.

And nearly everything that I make, especially when using a new technique for the first time, I make two of: one lousy sloppy practice piece, and then a real piece avoiding all my previous mistakes. :)
kevinhannan (author)  Gorfram8 years ago
Your answer is just so right - and so true - you've hammered this one home. I'm going to choose this as the best answer but I don;t want other people not to post further answers *please*. Thanks, Gorfram ;-)
Wow, thanks, Kevin. :) You've inspired me to incorporate my answer to the linked-to Question into the draft of yet another Instructable-in-Progress, but this makes 16(!) - please don't hold your breath waiting for its publication.
lemonie8 years ago
Show us some pictures of things that "need a polish"? L
kevinhannan (author)  lemonie8 years ago
Sadly, I don't have a (digital) camera so I'm sorry I can't do that as much as I would like. Let's just say that my work looks more like the junk it is, put together - rather than something that was made bespoke. For example, if I were to make a racing-car style gaming car, how would you go about fabricating that to a high standard, or do you think it would be cheaper and quicker to buy a shell? That sort of thing. Also, what type of metals do you use if you think you are going to spray/powder paint your work? What do you consider to be worth doing and not worth doing and so on. I realise it's an open question, and so it's kind of tough to answer, but it's not really. All it is, is asking what you do to make it look good and not a botch-job put together (as mine do). Thanks for the pop-in!
The issue of whether to buy or build comes down to a question of economics for professional work, coupled with ability and tooling/materials. the same can be said, to some degree, for personal projects. My younger brother does vacuum forming on a jig he made himself...would it be competitive with a job shop? for one offs no question...for 10K units...nope.

for anodizing, aluminum. much prep.

for powder coat, thorough clean welds, thorough deburring, possible sanding, and wash down including acid etch.

very big question that's the tip of the iceberg.

The one I haven't seen so far is documentation. Many people build cool stuff but the documentation is useable but not what I'd call professional. not so much of an issue for hobby, but if one intends to sell or patent, it often lacks... CAD, not hand drawings. organized parts lists. A sound template for project directories in the computer. any bought parts should have a file containing the product specs and other details. For software, well, too many coders fail to produce proper documentation of their programs.

These are af ew of the things I've learned working in academic and manufacturing over the years. You don't produce a 100K+ piece of equipment for Parker Hannifin, Boeing, KLM, Steris, or in fact most anyone in the business world that isn't properly documented. This isn't heavy industry or NASA, but the basic ideals still have value, even if somewhat more lax.

If I had a cookie, I'd give it to Gorfram. Her reply was bang on.
kevinhannan (author)  seandogue8 years ago
Gorfram gets the cookie, you get the chocolate medal ;-) Thanks for your input, Seandogue! I hope to help you with your queries!
I doan need no stinkin badge :) gracias for the nod Kevdude.
that was a joke btw...soes we're clear. no penalty no foul...just a lame excuse to use a tired old movie reference.
having a secretary to check for typos would help too...least for me.
Professional means attention to detail. There isn't A right way, but with the right attention, there are many ways that will look good AND work well. You can powder coat most metals. Given a chance, I'd also get an etch-primed coat on them first.
kevinhannan (author)  steveastrouk8 years ago
I think you're right, steveastrouk, I think I've been kidding myself that my sloppiness (which is what is it) can get by. I know you haven't said that, but "attention to detail" is where it counts. Along with Gorfram's reply -this is mint - do one, make my mistakes, and then another one properly. It reminds me of a woodwork tv show recently - the pro there said it takes him 5 chairs to make the proper chair. I have my answer now - and a big thank you to all. ;-)
Steve' and Gorfam have answered this well enough, but how about publishing some of your stuff here?

L
kevinhannan (author)  lemonie8 years ago
I don;t have a digfital camera - as soon as and I will do.
kevinhannan (author)  kevinhannan8 years ago
not car - chair - spelling does not check grammar - sorry