Target retail price for my 'G' reload kit is 16 dollars for a two pack. There is indeed governemnt related overhead when you sell anything, Paxton ;)
I was told by TMT that if I intended the motors to be started via APCP preheater, then I was required to sell the reloads with the inclusion of legally manufactured preheater grains. I am considering kiting up reload kits without the preheaters for overseas sales, but they wouldn't be certified reload kits.
The option exists of certifying them for pyro-free ignition at some point.
That is unreasonable and WELL beyond any rule. Nothing stopping you from say telling customers to buy AT RMS grains (approved devices) or hybrid igniters from other sources. There is no law or rule that says a hybrid reload MUST come with an igniter.
OK OK. How about lack of ATF and DOT(again minus igniters).
Man you got screwed.
By the way. Melting point of nylon is like 500 degrees or less right? Anybody ever test the use of sugar propellant pre-heater grains? That would save what, 4-5 bucks shot right there with a home made igniter? I don't understand why igniter kits with kclo4 and aluminum and/or magnesium powders are perfectly ok with tripoli, but you couldn't sell the hybrid reloads with instructions on how to make a simple preheater grain.
This is one of those areas that really needs to be addressed, but I think people in general are afraid to "discuss" anything lest the FEDs creep in and want to then regulate that too. Like you imply, we can make an igniterman triple fold igniter that looks more like a D motor and use that in any motor with a core big enough. Shouldn't we be able to light a hybrid the same way? Heck, the manufacturer could even supply a mold to make the right size preheater grain. The mold could be as simple as a one inch long chunk of plastic drinking straw.
"Don't ask, don't tell", gets to buggin' me at times.
I believe that I could post a spreadsheet showing you the breakdown of costs and profits, and you'd still see nothing more than 'a few inches of plastic pipe'. That's fine with me. I don't think that 12 dollars for a certified J reload is 'so much'. Look at APCP 'baby J' motors; they are ~40 bucks. That's 28 to 30 dollars more for the 'government overhead', and I incur most of the same packaging, shipping and manufacturing costs that APCP manufacturers do when putting a reload kit together.
So, I just did a quick calculation of what it *costs* to get a single reload out the door for my PentaMax system. $12.18. That doesn't include "overhead" costs--just materials and labour, and it *does not* include amortized R&D expenses, or design expenses relating to NFPA compliance, or any of several other things one might reasonably say was a "cost input" to making these things.
Conventional business wisdom suggests that in order not to go broke, one needs to set an MSRP of 5 to 10 times the raw manufacturing cost for new products, or niche-market products--particularly if there are distributor hierarchies involved. Over time, as manufacturing is optimized, and volumes increase, the MSRP/cost ratio can shrink. Volumes in this market aren't going to increase drastically, which means that manufacturing optimization is likely to either not happen, or be quite minor.
The MSRP on my PentaMax reloads is $55.00. Which is somewhat less than the factor-of-five-to-10 that sound business judgement would suggest. Nobody ever accused small hobby rocketry manufacturers of having sound business judgement [or they wouldn't be doing this at all!].
I think Tripoli saying they must be certified and shippable with preheaters was a signifigant bonus to the end user. Having a 'complete' reload kit with preheaters, ignitors, and other consumables and having it mailable, well I fail to see the downside for the hybrid fan... Even if it was considerably more work up front for us.