Wooden Dinosaurs R We?
June 21, 2005 12:10 AM   Subscribe

How are the wonderful wooden dinosaur models made?
Is it done, perchance, with lasers?

More to the point, what is their wholesale cost? How would that change if I wanted 10k of a single model? If I guaranteed an order of 1k, each with a different pattern?

And how does one find these things out?
I suppose I should just call someone up and ask, eh?
posted by metaculpa to Shopping (10 answers total)
Lasers? I would have figured it was just a jigsaw.

More to the point, what is their wholesale cost?

Less than the retail cost.

I suppose I should just call someone up and ask, eh?

Yes. B.C. Bones: +1 253 859 4343
posted by grouse at 12:31 AM on June 21, 2005

grouse is right. A stencil is placed onto some wood in the general outline of the part(s) required; the shapes are drawn in pencil. Everything else is trimmed by hand on the saw.

As for wholesale cost, you have to figure the materials cost, which is largely dependent upon the stock of the wood involved, and what kind of deal the supply outlet may have provided. Then one has to include labor, storage & shipping fees, utilities for the factory space/general upkeep, etc.

Changing the spec depends upon how soon you need the new component(s), along with the manufacturer's schedule and staff availability, and materials storage. If the manufacturer needs to outsource to another supplier to meet your demand within deadline, that's additional costs altogether - the supplied wood, storage and shipping might not be at the same rate as your main contact.

Altogether, changing spec on wood-block pieces is far, far easier than it would be for metal, plastic or other materials. It would take roughly a month, or longer, depending upon manufacturer's schedule and workload (from other clients).

Popular Woodworking Magazine is a good place to start learning the trade, if you'd like more general information on contacting third party outlets for large projects.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:45 AM on June 21, 2005

When I worked in a specialty toy store that sold these, the wholesale cost was exactly half the retail MSRP. Of course, we weren't buying thousands, so you could probably get a better deal.
posted by zsazsa at 6:26 AM on June 21, 2005

Maybe some guy workingin his garage would use a jigsaw to makes these in onesy-twosy quantities, but for those that are mass-produced, I would bet they are die cut. A company spends several thousand dollars on a die, but then uses it on a standard industrial press to crank them out at a rate probably greater than one per second. The human labor to cut these out with a jigsaw, even at sweatshop rates, couldn't compete with die cut.
posted by Doohickie at 6:53 AM on June 21, 2005

Interesting. One of the weird things about them (or the one I was just given) is that, for the pieces that were still in the wood sheet they were cut from:

a) there is no obvious starter hole for any of the pieces, and
b) there is less than a millimeter's play surrounding the pieces.

I didn't think you could do that with a jigsaw. i guess my hope was lasers based on that, but perhaps they're a finer tool than I had thought.
posted by metaculpa at 8:58 AM on June 21, 2005

Well, if they were like that, they were definitely die-cut.
posted by zsazsa at 9:16 AM on June 21, 2005

What Doohickie said.
posted by Specklet at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2005

The Temple builder's name is David Best. You can contact him via Black Rock Arts.
posted by rdc at 10:32 AM on June 21, 2005

I laser-cut stuff for artworks here at the University of Michigan quite a bit. If these puzzles were laser-cut, the tolerance would be quite small, and there would be no 'starter' point visible. Also, though, you would see a burnt black edge around all of the wood. This could be sanded off, I suppose, but that gets pretty labor intensive. Our laser only cuts ply, also, as far as woods go. It also cuts various paperboards and plexiglass (I've cut all three types).

I don't believe laser-cutting is used very often for mass-produced objects. It is primarily used here for architectural models and by weirdos like me who laser-cut art.
posted by Slothrop at 1:12 PM on June 21, 2005

Also, if it's die cut, you can see where the die pressed into the wood from one side prior to cutting, while the other side is slightly raised.
posted by Doohickie at 5:11 AM on June 22, 2005

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