Bernard B. Boelens has filled his SMDKing Store on Tindie with his electronics designs. He lives in Hoogezand, Netherlands and enjoys having this creative outlet to share the products he has developed.
From Software Engineering and Management to Electronics Design
While many sellers pursued engineering or electronics background in college, Bernard instead studied chemistry, then business management. He did, however, dabble in a variety of technological interests during this time, such as teaching graphic designer tools and computer science, buying and selling laptops, repairing computers, and creating web pages.
After graduating, he did additional study in programming, took a job as a software engineer, then moved into management. He never lost interest in programming, however, and developed software tools for others in his business in order to assist with their jobs.
This led to a contract with a dental healthcare company where he came up with software to track invoices, orders, finances, and other items necessary to run the company. From there he was able to dive into hardware even further, creating a USB stick for personal data encryption. He notes that, “it’s fantastic being able create whatever I want,” and adds that “From that moment on, I was addicted to electronic hardware engineering and making money with it.”
Lessons in Hardware
While developing this USB stick, Bernard had to drill tiny holes in the circuit board in order to connect traces. While his little milling machine could handle the drilling, having enough light to accurately position the drill was problematic. His solution? A circular ring light made out of SMD LEDs mounted coaxially with the spindle.
Bernard Boelens’ LumenFix lighting device
This worked so well that after prompting from a friend, he looked into getting a patent, but found that:
A patent is tricky and costly business. I [was] even told, if a company ever manufactures multiple copies, you need to sue them—in their country. I guess it’s common knowledge: lawyers can make money, but they also cost a lot of money. I didn’t have the money for this adventure, so I had to let it go.
After keeping this idea in the back of his mind for years, he eventually tried to contact the company that made the milling machine, but got no response. He then tried to sell this device himself which ended up doing quite well (and is now available on his Tindie store).
If you have something you think others might be interested in, why not simply give selling it a try?
Selling on Tindie
Bernard opened up a store on Tindie in October 2017 and has a growing collection of items: an EMP sensor/lightning detector, an ESP8266 programmer, a cheap K40 laser cutter upgrade kit., and several versions of his LumenFix device. It’s difficult to define a theme of his store, though he notes that something like: “Inventions you were always looking for” might work, but would also be too vague. He’s open to suggestions, but for now leaves his description blank.
EMP Detector Prototypes
While these three items are interesting by themselves, Bernard notes that he likes to check out the destination of each shipped order on a globe with his kids. He’s seen products shipped to every continent—with the exception of Antarctica, though who knows if someone has taken one on an expedition.
His EMP/Lightning detector has been especially popular. While it’s normally used to trigger cameras or as warning systems for outdoor sports, he notes that they’ve been shipped to Baikonur, where Russia “just happens” to have a space launch facility. While he has no way to verify this, it’s possible these sensors could make the claim of, “As seen in space!”
Challenges and Rewards
When asked what he likes about selling on Tindie, Bernard notes that, “It’s user-friendly, easy to add items, enough help and examples, loads of good info online, a forum available, no hidden fees, good helpdesk, and tech-related.” He does note that it takes about a month to get money after your initial sales. While that seems fair to him, it’s something new sellers will have to remember.
He also points out that shipping items can be challenging at times, as customers expect to, “Order today, but deliver it yesterday.” As he puts satisfied customers as a top priority, if he marks it as “shipped” it’s actually at the local post office.
Tindie sellers are people, part of our great community, and are generally trying to do a good job with their stores filled with unique creations. As a buyer, be sure to contact questions or issues, and if you get great service and/or a great product, please remember to leave a nice review. It will certainly make their day!
Thanks so much to Bernard B. Boelens for providing some insight into his world. We at Tindie wish him all the best here and wherever his creations take him!
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