I'm still undergoing a delay with having a prototype kit manufactured. It's a bit of a disappointment when each promise of a quote for parts turns out to be empty. I know part of the problem is the small scale of the production I'm looking at -- 10 kits batched per month is a small order for most workshops. One firm suggested buying a whole year's supply in one go. That's around £100,000 investment in stock, for a fledgling company that is trying to start up without loans or debt.

Really, I think I'm just at the point that many small projects get to: the easy bits are done (designing) and the hard bit starts (production). For some projects this means that they die; others go quiet for months or years, on hold until the problems get ironed out. For me, I've spent so long looking at Atomic Duck that I'm itching to have one to ride!

While I could spend this time manufacturing my own prototype (Atomic Duck is designed so it can be cut with hand tools) this means that I can't test the production method for kits until the first kit is manufactured for sale. As I don't have the manufacturing capability personally, I'm outsourcing kit production, so I want to know that I can produce a kit before I put it for sale.

However, there's actually no need for the delay in manufacturing to affect the other parts of my business. Along with selling kits and making design drawings available online, I also want to offer printed design drawing sets, and kit parts for sale. As there's no reason for work on the chassis to stop that, so I'm currently looking at shop software.

The current front runners are:

  • Opencart

  • PrestaShop

Anyone had any experience with these, or have and alternative suggestions to try with php and MySQL?

While I'm intending to launch with design drawing packs, adhesive packs and fastener & bearing sets, are there any other products you would like to see available? Maybe things like large scale vinyl stickers of the Atomic Duck logo, or Sturmey Archer gearbox built into a rear wheel (3/5 speed, with coaster brake and reverse gear).