I’m helping a client design a custom parasol. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to source the mechanical parts like the runner, and top and bottom springs? I’m not having much luck with usual sources like McMaster and Grainger, so these may be specialty items.
I don’t know about sourcing - but i really do hope this parasol shoots bullets, doubles as a sword or emits a poisonous, purple gas.
Handheld, or the large outdoor kind?
If it is a normal size get an umbrella with a good quality mechanism and repurpose the hardware. Where they have rivets, drill out and use chicago screws if possible or use loose rivets on the assembly. For stretches you can use a U shaped pin bracket or a modified clevis pin at the ends. For the apix and runner part (good luck), look at yarn umbrella winders for engineering inspiration. If is an outdoor kind, Ikea and other companies offer the frames. Different engineering but same as above repurpose the hardware. You could use holes on the stretches and ribs and assemble with chicago screws or ribets but you would have to make the parts twice as wide of the diameter of the hardware. Look at patent drawings. This may save you time on the design and give you ideas. Indiamart or Alibaba may be an option. Overall none are cost effective, a lot of labor in fabrication and research. Personally i would not pursue it unless you have a high number or “price is not a factor” client.
It’s going to be handheld. At this stage I am only assisting with design, although there is potential to manufacture some or all of the wood components. The client prefers to source and assemble individual components rather than re-use existing assemblies so that she has more control over specific design aspects and avoid resale issues. This will be a luxury item so her price point is going to be relatively high. It would also be produced in multiples of 100s if not 1000s. Labor intensive aspects will likely be done overseas. The runner and top lock parts are proving the most difficult to find as individual components, especially for handheld umbrellas.
In my opinion this is no longer in the realm of a maker community so like Shark Tank, “I’m out.” PArting shot: KISS, design wise Keep It Stupid Simple. There are simple designs in the patent site. Indiamart (they use a heck of a lot of umbrellas in India same as china) and Alibaba have consierges that can direct to the right factories that can help with design. Offcourse they charge for the service. Geometry/360 degrees, Cad., and lathe can help design the parts. Starving engineers/architects college students might be interested. There are websites in India that can do drawings and design for a price often within days. The lady that asked for help if she really wanted to invest for a project of this magnitude, would not be looking at maker spaces. There are plenty of product design companies that can handle anything she throws at them but they also have a price.
Forgot space satelites have arrays of solar panel umbrellas that supposed to be simple to deploy maybe worth looking at.
I know this isn’t part of an answer – I just saw these traveling and thought it was interesting. Hand made in Thailand. I’d be very interested in seeing the shop that’s producing these.