Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Made Fresh While You Wait Store

"Hey, this waste paper basket is still warm!"
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When I was a kid, before the world sucked like it does now, you could go to certain amusement parks such as Sea World or Disneyland and buy a freshly injection molded souvenir. You'd put the money in, watch the whole process through a clear lucite cover and out popped a little plasic astronaut, octopus or other toy themed to the park where the machine was located. It was quite simply the coolest thing in the world. Lawyers probably outlawed these things because lawyers are evil scum intent on destroying civilization and it only takes one moron kid trying to eat the plastic dolphin to close the whole industry down.

So doing a little research I see these things were called "Mold-O-Rama" machines, created in the 50s of course, when people saw the future as something to be positive about as opposed to now where a pussified world full of whiney little bitches curl up in the fetal position sucking on a bottle of anti-depressants waiting for the world to end because of global warming, the Mayan calendar, nuclear apocalypse etc.

Anyway, the idea would be to have a store full of these machines for as many household products as possible. Most would be injection molded but products made by other automated means would be featured as well. The food court would serve fresh donuts from that Crispy Cream donut machine. Watching the automated donut making process is like foreplay. "Ohhh baby! I'm gonna dunk you in that milk and get it aaaall over you!"

Everything made fresh, every product you buy puts on a show as well. It might cost more or would it? The raw materials would cost the same and if a store where you watched the thing actually being made was more popular than the drug store where the products are boringly lined up on shelves, who knows? Maybe this could sell more products by doing it in an entertaining fashion.

ADDENDUM: One section of the store would have the custom made one of a kind plastic product machine where you'd make your... whatever, with a simplified 3d program and it would make the mold to make the part for you. Yes, you could simply do a one off 3d printed version but that wouldn't be as cool as making 1 mold for 1 piece, molding the piece and watching the whole process. (Hat tip to Max for that part of the idea)

doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012

The coolest thing on Earth http://replicatorin...ng-vending-machine/
A store full of these would be very, very fun to shop at. [doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012]

World's greatest commercial parody http://www.hulu.com...ive-cluckin-chicken
[doctorremulac3, Apr 23 2012]

The Toymaker 3000 http://www.msichica.../exhibits/toymaker/
At Chicago's Science and Industry Museum [RayfordSteele, Apr 23 2012]

[link]






       Can it be a vending machine? I dunno, maybe a GIANT Robot Chicken...
4whom, Apr 22 2012
  

       I dunno, [doc].   

       For foodstuffs, this might work. A lot of stores (at least here) have in-store bakeries already, and it might be attractive to make these "bake-to- order", or at least let customers see them in operation. On the other hand, customers might be disappointed to see that the "in-store baking" involves putting the final touches onto frozen part-baked items.   

       For injection moulding of goods, there is a huge problem of tooling costs. The store would have to keep a thousands-of-dollars mould set for each item it wanted to sell; and all stores would have to be re-equipped with new moulds when the product was revised.   

       Finally, I don't know how quickly and easily an injection moulder can be switched between moulds. My guess is that the switch can be done fairly quickly but that, in a factory, they probably spend a while adjusting temperatures and cooling times whenever they switch to a new product.   

       Bottom line: making a million plastic orange juicers is going to be a lot cheaper than making one of them a million times over.   

       Compromise: have a single HUGE machine with hissing steam, flashing lights and a component that goes "Sproinnnnggg!" every so often; also a control panel with many bakelite knobs. Plastic pellets are poured into one end of the machine by merry workers and, after much hissing, flashing and sproinnnnging, a perfect product emerges from the chute at the other end. At the end of the day, the merry workers recover the plastic pellets from inside the machine, and reload it with finished products ready to be "made" the next day.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 22 2012
  

       So, I ordered a computer recently. On the manufacturer's website I clicked buttons & selected from menus to configure it, and then, once the credit card got approved, probably the next human to see those specs was some assembly-line worker plugging in components according to a computer display.   

       Point a camera at this person's workspace, and that of other workers who assemble & pack the product, and at the loading dock, and the air- freight facility, and so on. Many of these cameras are probably in place anyway, for employee performance monitoring and security. Considering what the ordering/assembling/shipping software's already doing, and considering the trend among Fedex, DHL, UPS, etc. to provide up-to-the- minute tracking information to customers, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch for their software to splice together video clips of my particular purchase being assembled & shipped, so that I can watch.
mouseposture, Apr 22 2012
  

       Oh no Max, let me clarify. Each product would have not only it's own mold set, but it's own machine. You'd go to the wastepaper basket machine, get your basket made. The screwdriver machine would cut and form a screwdriver out of the bar stock and mold a handle around it. A store with a thousand products would have a thousand different machines. It would be about the size of an aircraft hanger.   

       True, you'd probably have to sell a lot of orange juicers for that orange juicer machine to pay for itself, but you'd be charging full retail as opposed to wholesale.   

       But yea, it being a profitable business model was kind of a hopeful afterthought. To really make money you'd probably have to charge admission.
doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012
  

       What's needed, clearly, is a master-machine which produces, on demand, the moulds from the which the product is to be made. A large CNC, fed with huge billets of metal, ought to be able to turn out a mould for an orange juicer in a while-you-wait kind of way.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 22 2012
  

       Custom designed one of a kind plastic product made to your specifications?   

       Easily done. Practical? Who cares? That takes my idea one step further into the cool impractical idea stratosphere.   

       I like it. I'm going to add it to the original idea.
doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012
  

       Why not use additive manufacturing? Cuts a whole lot of steps out the loop.
4whom, Apr 22 2012
  

       I think you're talking about 3d printing which is also amazingly cool.   

       Only problem is it's only slightly more interesting that watching paint dry. Even very small parts can take hours to make.
doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012
  

       No, no. 3D printing is following a very close approximation to Moore's Law, ito print speeds and accuracy/tolerance. And the laser sintering stuff will be superfast. Soon the turn around time from CAD file to albatross's stomach will be acceptable for commercial porpoises.
4whom, Apr 22 2012
  

       A commemorative "birth video" of your stapler? Sure, why not.
doctorremulac3, Apr 22 2012
  

       You can even have the mold sprue bronzed and made into a keychain. [+]
Alterother, Apr 22 2012
  

       A bit on the fence re: manufacturing one-offs of assembly-line products, but I like the idea of having a video of everything right from the mines on outward. Very expensive putting video cameras everywhere in the world though: you'd want to include not only the mining operations for the plastic, but the corporate decision-making process to produce that product line, and the intermediary clerks shuffling the paperwork.
FlyingToaster, Apr 22 2012
  

       Actually it's "claircque", but we'll let it go.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 22 2012
  

       I like this +.
blissmiss, Apr 23 2012
  

       Additive manufacturing in materials that are as durable as production grade molded plastics are far, far, far more expensive than said plastics. A small (palm size or smaller) plastic part will run $30-50. The same injection or vacuum formed part will run less than a dollar.   

       As for the original idea, even the cheapest tooling for a vacuum molded plastic part (low quality surface, low durability, low detail) is going to run several hundred to several thousand. The same grade of tooling for an injection molded part is going to run $5-20k.   

       A production machine/line to produce complex assemblies is going to run several tens of thousands to several hundreds of thousands. (Considerably more if you try to do a high flexibility system that can handle a wide number of different assemblies)   

       So, yes, it would cost a little bit more per part, only a couple of orders of magnitude though.
MechE, Apr 23 2012
  

       I can find no fault with this idea... the mezmerization factor is strong with this one.   

       I recall becoming addicted to these machines for one day in the mid-'80s; the Chicago Zoo had implemented an insidious scheme to divest patrons of their quarters by placing one of the things at every major attraction. My cousins and I left with armloads of monocromatic alligators, polar bears, hippopotami... an injection-molded menagerie of mind-boggling variety. The appeal was, as noted, mostly in the creation process; I can't remember anything about them other than watching the machines and, of course, that new-polycarbon smell.
Alterother, Apr 23 2012
  

       Could we make them in approximately the same size and shape as a short section of an irritating, small child's trachea?
UnaBubba, Apr 23 2012
  

       //A small (palm size or smaller) plastic part will run $30-50.//   

       Wow, that's a good price. I'm picking up a stl piece today for $200 that's about palm sized. Got a hookup you want to share?
doctorremulac3, Apr 23 2012
  

       When I was a kid, my Gramma took me to a shop where she picked out a live chicken and the guy brought it back dead, plucked and still warm! [+]
xandram, Apr 23 2012
  

       The next step would be interesting, bring a chicken into the back room and come out with a box of chicken Mc Nuggets. Complete with a picture of a smiling chicken on the box, winking and giving a "thumbs" up. (See link for the finest commercial parody ever made)   

       By the way, heard a great rebuttal to people who make fun of Chicken Mc Nuggets by saying "I don't know where they get those things. Chickens don't have nuggets." Ha ha ha. Point out that pigs don't have sausages either.
doctorremulac3, Apr 23 2012
  

       //Got a hookup you want to share?//   

       I may be underestimating. We've got a system in house that does decent quality plastic parts (very limited materials), but that means I don't get a part by part quote. Also, fairly open, fine structured parts and minimal supporting material.   

       If you don't need especially high resolution Rep-Rap isn't too bad, but you're still looking at $20-100/lb for the material.
MechE, Apr 23 2012
  

       //Could we make them in approximately the same size and shape as a short section of an irritating, small child's trachea?// is this the same size and shape as our OWN small child's trachea?
po, Apr 23 2012
  

       //our OWN small child's trachea?// - you and [UnaBubba]? - well, congratulations!
hippo, Apr 23 2012
  

       The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a giant plastic spinning top toy making machine. Fun to watch.
RayfordSteele, Apr 23 2012
  

       And I didn't even know they were married...(Una and po, that is.)
blissmiss, Apr 23 2012
  

       I have difficulty imagining them wed - until we hear otherwise I'm going to assume that the urchin in question is the by-blow of a champagne-filled evening.
normzone, Apr 23 2012
  

       I didn't feel a thing! Not sure what that says about the process...
UnaBubba, Apr 23 2012
  

       Rep-Rap, I'll check them out. Prices are coming down all the time with the proliferation of cheap 3d printers. You can buy a small desktop model now for about $1,500.   

       Hard to justify at this point though. Maybe I need one just to make a statement. Although if I need to justify buying a desktop 3d printer the terrorists have already won.   

       As for the cool toymaker link, I have a place in my heart for anything with the suffix "3,000".
doctorremulac3, Apr 24 2012
  

       married? heaven forbid.
po, Apr 24 2012
  

       You're happy to keep living in sin, [po]? I mean, it doesn't bother me, either way.
UnaBubba, Apr 24 2012
  

       rant[+]
Voice, Apr 24 2012
  

       Ahhhh, it's little Unapo.
blissmiss, Apr 24 2012
  

       You changing your name to reflect your lovechild status, [bliss]?
UnaBubba, Apr 24 2012
  
      
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