Make & Sell Clocks Made From Vinyl Records

Outside of a few hardcore collectors vinyl records have largely gone the way of the dodo. This means there is a whole lot of them available to purchase on the cheap.

Getting Started
To make a clock you need the movement/mechanism, and the hands (hour, minute, second) the vinyl acts as the face. You can either make the clocks from the whole record or you can have it laser cut into a particular shape.

Business Model
This is a manufacturing business, so you factor in your material cost (vinyl record, clock mechanism, hand. If you are having the record laser cut into a shape then you need to factor in that cost as well, ditto if you are supplying the clock with a battery, factor in the battery cost. Then there is another thing to consider are you going to add numbers to your clock, professional stick on numbers are not cheap and cost around R30 a set, or are you going to paint on or use sign vinyl for the numbers.

Then you have to factor in the labour cost – the time it takes to assemble the clock. Luckily the assembly is relatively straightforward – the hole in the centre of the record goes into the shaft of the clock movement acting as the clock face or dial, then the washer and nut affixes the two together. Then you add the hour, minute and second hands. Often times the second hands acts as the cap nut, but if you don’t have a second hand often a cap nut will be supplied so the hour and minute hands don’t come off.

One other thing you need to consider is that your shaft may be too thick for the centre of the record, if this is the case either source the correct sizes or simply drill through the center of the record to make the shaft fit. I often use the same mechanism for CD clocks like I do for record, as the shaft is nice and short meaning it won’t stick out and look unsightly and often have to do this as the shaft does not easily go through the hole of the record.

Once you have considered all this you have to consider your profit margin: big enough to make this a viable business yet small enough to not be too expensive.

Sourcing Materials
There are three different suppliers for materials you will deal with:
Vinyl record – The best source for vinyl records is flea markets, bric-a-brac, curio and charity shops where people donate their old stuff. The record you buy does not have to work, so to you it’s a waste product. You can use 12, 10 and 7 inch records for this purpose. 12 inch records are often cut with a laser cutter, while 7 inch are often used whole as is. Ideally you should not pay more than R5 for this part.
Clock parts – Those are sold at clock shops
Batteries – If you supplying batteries with your clock, then you cannot supply expensive makes like Energizer, best place to buy batteries is your local China Town.

Target Market / Marketing Your Product
These types of businesses are most successful if you can get into a high traffic sales channel: like a retail shops that sells handmade items. Selling to interior decorators is another avenue. You can also sell via local classifieds such as Gumtree or Facebook groups in your area. Another plus is if you are making laser cut faces then that will be a great fit for an Instagram account.

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