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  1. #21
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    I had a TM-1P that was made in 2007 and loved it! made whatever I want. I think you can find a TM-1P or TM-1 for your budget and they also sell pretty well later on if you want to move to something else or shut down.
    I have a friend that also bought a new Haas TM-1P that was I think a 2008 or 2009. He is a member here and he's made some improvements on his machine and loves it also. Here is a video link of one of those (he's in Brandon FL):Programable Coolant Air Solenoid Introduction - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    those are some pretty simple parts as you first described them.

    Can you estimate the quantity of each one of these two parts you will be either buying or fabricating in 2017? Or is every part in the "less than a dozen" quantity and pretty much unique for each project?

    Also what would you expect the best supplier so far to be able to make each of those parts for in the past in terms of price? What would your expectations be in terms of the price you want to make these two parts for?

    This would give members more info to give you better advice.
    I would say that overall what I get asked to build is unique and less than 12 a year type of parts. Now I am working really hard at getting a chance to quote this particular job which could lead to higher quantities and in my opinion could lead to filling a void in there production capabilities which will lead to small run production for me.

    I have attached a part that I have actually been quoted (the other parts are from a current job unquoted) and one vendor quoted me $345 and the other $225 and thats without anodizing. My opinion is that I can make this part in my machine one day and make a decent amount of profit margin to make my payments, blah blah

    screen-shot-2017-01-11-10.41.06-am.jpg

    Looking back on the comparison of the quotes the difference was in the weldments that I had them quote. Now another aspect that people don't understand is that I have a certified welder, a miller 250 (mig and tig) on my contracting staff who if I bought a nice setup table and some tooling could weld for me parts that I would otherwise in my opinion pay out the ying yang for.
    Example - Quoted $450 and $275 - I would love some advice on this aspect too...

    screen-shot-2017-01-11-10.44.55-am.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangle_kt View Post
    I am looking at this from a contractors view - whilst you have landed on your feet with your current role you are not an employee so can go as fast as they want you out. You then have no work and a investment in a machine with no clients...

    There is an opportunity sure - but there is also risk, and I know if I was your client and a young contractor came to me who I'd trusted with procurement and said they would take over production of the items they used to procure I wouldn't be happy.

    You spec the requirements, therefore you have a conflict that you will order more than needed, over spec or fudge something - that would concern me. That is aside from the fact that the natural competition you mentioned earlier which drives a $4k difference between job shop A and B will vanish - so no downward pressure on prices.

    Next, if you sub'd out a job and the parts came back REALLY bad, you'd reject the order, maintaining quality for the client - but if you make a rough ass part, and dont reject it and your clients notice/are effected they will drop you faster than a rock.

    Do not underestimate your relationship - You are in a position of trust, but you push it and they may question your independence, and therefore value

    The real question you need to spend time considering, is what do you want your business to be? You have a skill set, and you can leverage that to make money - but if you sink your time into making parts, learning, buying stock, cad,cam, that is time you are not using to secure more customers/work for your contracting part of your skill set, which on a per hour basis may be worth more. Also consider the market, you have already said ( as well as others) there are tons of job shops in the area, so if it all goes pop - will you be able to compete? Figure out where the LONG TERM profit is to be made, and maximise your efforts in THAT area.

    Also consider than a VMC alone isn't enough, you need 3 phase, compressor, vice, tooling, band saw, and consumables etc etc - that can really add to your investment.

    Having read your replies you sound very enthusiastic, but you need to recognise the problems that come from that enthusiasm - full on rose tinted glasses are NOT helpful when making business decisions - especially ones that not only expose your to risk, but significant (for an young individual rather than a company) level of capital investment.

    Be objective, consider the downsides, sound out your client, record the balance of risk/reward and make a proper decision.

    My sense is (and having been there myself) you will go with your gut - but hopefully the points above have given you another viewpoint to chew on.

    Whatever you do, all the best!
    You are right sir, I am not an employee. I am a vendor. Which has provided them resources and completed projects in difficult situations with customers that has earned me a spot at the table as much more than a former employee. I am included on every repair job, special refurbishing project, and custom tool build that leaves the building... Not to diminish your point I just think there is more to the picture than the text can describe.

    Weird thing is - they want me to take over production on these VERY low volume products because they know with my capabilities I can produce them faster and with better quality then there production facility. I'm brought in and told to quote these production builds.

    I understand your point regarding no downward pressure on prices. I guess when I analysis quoted numbers from shops and have a welder sitting at home who could make the weldments and if I owned the right cnc I could make that profit I am giving to the next guy. Wouldn't you?

    "Do not underestimate your relationship - You are in a position of trust, but you push it and they may question your independence, and therefore value" - Sir, I do not underestimate my relationship with my customer, I treat them like royalty and to tell you the truth I feel like that is the reason they enjoy working with me. I don't treat them just like any old customer (how I feel these machine shops are treating me)

    In regards to the rest of your post, I greatly appreciate the advise and you are right in the end I will go with my gut and so far in life and in business it hasn't proven me wrong.

    Thanks again for all the advise. Very wise statements in your post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo Abad View Post
    I started with a Tormach. I didn't have any experience with machining or CAM before. After a couple of years, the Tormach paid for a brand new Haas MiniMill. Not comparison.
    Tormach's are not cheap. After you include enclosure, tool changer, tooling, etc... you are with the same cost of a used (almost new) Tool Room, with more precision, rigidity and reliability.
    After receiving some more leads on Haas Mini Mills via this thread I can already see that there isn't THAT much (there still is a difference) in price compared to the Tormach and I want to get off to a start with a much more capable machine.

    Glad to hear you paid off the tormach and bought more machinery! Very encouraging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    I had a TM-1P that was made in 2007 and loved it! made whatever I want. I think you can find a TM-1P or TM-1 for your budget and they also sell pretty well later on if you want to move to something else or shut down.
    I have a friend that also bought a new Haas TM-1P that was I think a 2008 or 2009. He is a member here and he's made some improvements on his machine and loves it also. Here is a video link of one of those (he's in Brandon FL):Programable Coolant Air Solenoid Introduction - YouTube
    Thanks for the link! I will be sure to save it to reference back to.

    I am looking at TM1 machines as well. There are some decent deals on them too.

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    for small quantities of parts I would try and get a machine with a probe on it. The cost is quite a bit but you really save a lot of time and the motivation to get it done with a probe is much easier. I really saw a HUGE difference in how fun it was to make a part on my friend John's TM-1P since he had a Renishaw probe than it was to make the same part on my machine that I had to use manual tools to set x, y z zeros and various offsets as I worked on a more complex part.

    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    I would say that overall what I get asked to build is unique and less than 12 a year type of parts. Now I am working really hard at getting a chance to quote this particular job which could lead to higher quantities and in my opinion could lead to filling a void in there production capabilities which will lead to small run production for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    for small quantities of parts I would try and get a machine with a probe on it. The cost is quite a bit but you really save a lot of time and the motivation to get it done with a probe is much easier. I really saw a HUGE difference in how fun it was to make a part on my friend John's TM-1P since he had a Renishaw probe than it was to make the same part on my machine that I had to use manual tools to set x, y z zeros and various offsets as I worked on a more complex part.
    A probe is already factored into my budget. I don't think I would get started machining without one. Like you said it makes it more enjoyable!

    Good advice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    Thanks for advice but I think it's seen from a start from nothing point of view, which I don't completely feel like I'm at.
    Although impossible to get a perfect picture of what your situation is, hanermo's comments regarding costs are still relevant (not implying that you thought they weren't). The costs to run a CNC efficiently while making good parts just costs more money than you can account for unless you have been down that road before. Tons of little gotchas that result in $100-$500 (don't forget shipping ) here and there that add up quickly. This is a assuming you buy new. If you buy used you just need to be prepared (budget and time) to fix any part of the machine that may fail.

    Now, I know you mentioned you already have shops that run these parts so your reliance on your own equipment may not be critical but from my own experience your clients quickly get used to stuff turning around quickly after you start making the parts.

    The only part of your situation that gives me any kind of strange feeling is the lack of machining experience. That being said you can certainly learn and as others have said, you are posting in the best place to do so. My hesitation would be from the expectation of good parts, efficiently, soon after buying a machine. There is a steep learning curve but if you are psyched to start then by all means dude, jump in!

    Buy the best machine and tooling you can afford. Used machines come up here all the time by people that are respected in this community. That is what I would do first. Camp out in the machinery for sale forum and send out feelers ("WTB VMC..."). Good luck with the search and let us know how you are doin or if you need any help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    A probe is already factored into my budget. I don't think I would get started machining without one. Like you said it makes it more enjoyable!

    Good advice!
    The probe package is really nice, when you have to do a LOT of set-ups and measure a LOT of tools.
    If you only have a reduced number of parts, and are relatively simple, I will go with a Haimer, and use the cost of the Renishaw probe for tool holders, work holding, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    Although impossible to get a perfect picture of what your situation is, hanermo's comments regarding costs are still relevant (not implying that you thought they weren't). The costs to run a CNC efficiently while making good parts just costs more money than you can account for unless you have been down that road before. Tons of little gotchas that result in $100-$500 (don't forget shipping ) here and there that add up quickly. This is a assuming you buy new. If you buy used you just need to be prepared (budget and time) to fix any part of the machine that may fail.

    Now, I know you mentioned you already have shops that run these parts so your reliance on your own equipment may not be critical but from my own experience your clients quickly get used to stuff turning around quickly after you start making the parts.

    The only part of your situation that gives me any kind of strange feeling is the lack of machining experience. That being said you can certainly learn and as others have said, you are posting in the best place to do so. My hesitation would be from the expectation of good parts, efficiently, soon after buying a machine. There is a steep learning curve but if you are psyched to start then by all means dude, jump in!

    Buy the best machine and tooling you can afford. Used machines come up here all the time by people that are respected in this community. That is what I would do first. Camp out in the machinery for sale forum and send out feelers ("WTB VMC..."). Good luck with the search and let us know how you are doin or if you need any help!
    Definitely appreciate the advise. The lack of machining experience is a concern with myself as well, but I working on getting a support system in place around me to help when something isn't right that I can't figure out.

    Yes there will be cost that I don't foresee and it will probably add up to more than I want it to. But part of the challenge of being a good businessman is to find ways to be more efficient and to keep cost down and business coming in. Another truth to the situation is that I need expenses in my business to avoid Uncle Sam laying the hammer on me every year, the contracting side of things is pretty lucrative and doesn't involve any expenses.

    I will keep an eye out on here! That's something I haven't really looked at yet.

    Thanks again for the advice!

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    So...I'd say find a deal on a small Haas and go nuts. Rub some HSM express on it and make chips. High speed machining tool paths benefit lighter machines more. Your parts aren't complex and you seem bright and open eyed to the task before you.

    Week 1. You're going to wreck shit,break tools, crash the machine and make junk.
    somewhere between weeks 2 and 4 you'll figure things out and start to make acceptable parts. That's the easy part, for the rest of the time you own the entire process from design to shipping you'll endeavor to make every aspect better, faster, cheaper and easier. You'll either enjoy it and have a rewarding experience or you'll burn out in the process.

    My personal favorite part is being able to perfect a design based upon my experience not only as a designer but as a machinist and tool maker. That's what keeps me interested.

    I'd give yourself some time to get productive, don't just assume you will be faster than the people that do it everyday. Also, learning is a full time job, you'll spend countless hours in the process so leave time for your existing duties in the business. I'd plan on a couple months of overlap from the current suppliers before you could start bringing work inside.

    Given what people say about your area, finding a more reasonable machine shop might be easier!

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    Quote Originally Posted by XD341 View Post
    So...I'd say find a deal on a small Haas and go nuts. Rub some HSM express on it and make chips. High speed machining tool paths benefit lighter machines more. Your parts aren't complex and you seem bright and open eyed to the task before you.

    Week 1. You're going to wreck shit,break tools, crash the machine and make junk.
    somewhere between weeks 2 and 4 you'll figure things out and start to make acceptable parts. That's the easy part, for the rest of the time you own the entire process from design to shipping you'll endeavor to make every aspect better, faster, cheaper and easier. You'll either enjoy it and have a rewarding experience or you'll burn out in the process.

    My personal favorite part is being able to perfect a design based upon my experience not only as a designer but as a machinist and tool maker. That's what keeps me interested.

    I'd give yourself some time to get productive, don't just assume you will be faster than the people that do it everyday. Also, learning is a full time job, you'll spend countless hours in the process so leave time for your existing duties in the business. I'd plan on a couple months of overlap from the current suppliers before you could start bringing work inside.

    Given what people say about your area, finding a more reasonable machine shop might be easier!
    Wow great advice. I definitely understand that I won't be able to take on the work right away and master the whole thing. I will definitely make some mistakes learning and will not produce parts for a job I am assembling until I critique my machined parts as I do others.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head, most machinist don't see or put there hands on the final product and get the joy of making it all work. I work with some cool robotic tooling, and to see it all function is awesome.

    Great advice, I appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    Wow great advice. I definitely understand that I won't be able to take on the work right away and master the whole thing. I will definitely make some mistakes learning and will not produce parts for a job I am assembling until I critique my machined parts as I do others.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head, most machinist don't see or put there hands on the final product and get the joy of making it all work. I work with some cool robotic tooling, and to see it all function is awesome.

    Great advice, I appreciate it.
    We design and run stamping tools in production, and do production and low volume machining. I literally design, then toolpath, setup and machine dies. We assemble them, and then drop a couple hundred tons on them, sometimes for millions of parts. Total life cycle design is really rewarding because you get to experience the impacts of your design decisions in every aspect of the product. Did the tool work? Did it make a consistently good part? Is the tool durable? Is it easy to service? To Time? All of that involves material choice, geometry, production methods and probably most importantly human factors. It keep the grey matter occupied during the day anyway.

    I get bored easily so I've started making complex intake manifolds for $300K show cars! That's whole other level of OCD that keeps the brain busy. haha.

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    I've bought two used machines from 520 and they have both been good experiences. Probes are awesome.

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    1.Yes.
    And YOU will lose a lot less if You start from Your current POV- taking into account possibility of loss.
    The vast majority do not. You are doing much better.

    2.
    No.
    Basic tooling for a VMC is == 10k new, import, cheapest-ok-stuff.
    Good stuff is 20-30k, top stuff is easily double.
    200 toolholder, 200 tool, 20 insert, 10 of, 200, total 600 each, x 24, = 14.400$.
    You can do a lot or most for half.
    Still its a bunch of moolah.
    You wont yet know where You can and cannot save. Use someone local who does.

    4.
    You are ahead of 95% of new guys.
    Thats why it is likely You will be profitable.

    5.
    Likewise 4- you already have it, the extra cost is minor.

    6.
    Yes, as said.
    As long as it is taken into account..

    7. Waste, power.
    Either may be a major cost. Or not.
    Check first.
    It cost us about 100.000€ to get power to our demo room == typical shop (80kW).
    Waste may be 10k / month. Or near zero.
    Check first.

    8. Insurance.
    Try to get insurance for *You* and continuity, if possible.
    And against non-paying customers, as financing, if possible.

    It is immaterial biz-wise and a great deal for You if you can off-load your invoices to a finance company for 2-5%.Called factoring.
    Then YOU wont be calling the customer, and YOU wont have any relationship strain.
    This is easily worth 20-30% of total billing.
    Yes it is.

    My best money ever was made financing, at 100% rate / year, with super-satisfied customers at that.
    Your case seems ideal.
    You have an industrial/workshop plant with all or most heavy stuff paid for.
    Client(s) with money.
    Impossible to lose, imo.

    If YOU really want to make money...
    hire an old machine shop owner as mentor.
    1(-3) month full / half time, rest as needed.
    Pay him 10k, 5k now and 5k on goals you setup together.
    5 k next 12 months, say 10 hours / month.

    THAT will earn You about 200k first year.
    Yes it will.

    As You said, very very well, in Your last sentence, You are not starting out from zero.
    Most are, and You did not let us know in advance, afaik.
    So, a lot of the 40k in extras you have already paid for.

    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    1.
    ...I'm not sure you can see or I've explained the whole picture. It would definitely only be a lose of maximum of 30k, ...

    2.
    I understand there are extra cost involved, but do you go out and spend 10k in tooling on parts for one customer?

    2.1
    That doesn't sound very wise, why wouldn't I just purchase the tooling I need for the job(s) I have and buy tooling as I need it?

    4.
    I already own a bandsaw capable of the requirements I need, I own racking, pallets, pallet jacks, forklift and don't forget I do more than just make parts so I accrue some of these cost based on the big picture which is assembling the product.

    5.
    In regards to book keeping cost like you mentioned I already have a streamlined system that I use and is paid for again by already having a successful business, so is it really that more cost accrued?

    6.
    There are definitely some cost in Metrology and I tend to buy the best from the beginning so I would probably fall more in the 5-6k range.... Good point!

    I just don't see the extra 40k you are saying to watch out for? I'm not going to be superman and try and buy every piece of equipment I can to say I have all the capabilities. I will sub out what I need to until my machine is paid for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdlinger View Post
    I've bought two used machines from 520 and they have both been good experiences. Probes are awesome.
    I've got a inventory and price list from them. A few pieces I like but prices a little high.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    don't be shy, talk to companies such as these before they move machines the first time. Give 2 - 3 dealers a call and describe what you are looking for and a price/budget. They will have items coming in that have not moved yet and you might be able to see them before they move and make a deal to move to your place. Sure they will keep calling and calling but you will need to accept that if wanting to go with a dealer. Some companies will only sell to dealers not straight to individuals.

    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    I've got a inventory and price list from them. A few pieces I like but prices a little high.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    You guys needs to hit the breaks

    Can you 50k into a machine, tooling, fixtures, machinist tools you don't have?

    Can u afford to pay someone minimum wage to run the machine (worst case) or a full on guru 30+ per hour when you get in over your head?


    If either of those are no, you aren't ready.

    25k in two months doesnt go nearly as far as you think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladams17 View Post
    You are right sir, I am not an employee. I am a vendor. Which has provided them resources and completed projects in difficult situations with customers that has earned me a spot at the table as much more than a former employee. I am included on every repair job, special refurbishing project, and custom tool build that leaves the building... Not to diminish your point I just think there is more to the picture than the text can describe.

    Weird thing is - they want me to take over production on these VERY low volume products because they know with my capabilities I can produce them faster and with better quality then there production facility. I'm brought in and told to quote these production builds.

    I understand your point regarding no downward pressure on prices. I guess when I analysis quoted numbers from shops and have a welder sitting at home who could make the weldments and if I owned the right cnc I could make that profit I am giving to the next guy. Wouldn't you?

    "Do not underestimate your relationship - You are in a position of trust, but you push it and they may question your independence, and therefore value" - Sir, I do not underestimate my relationship with my customer, I treat them like royalty and to tell you the truth I feel like that is the reason they enjoy working with me. I don't treat them just like any old customer (how I feel these machine shops are treating me)

    In regards to the rest of your post, I greatly appreciate the advise and you are right in the end I will go with my gut and so far in life and in business it hasn't proven me wrong.

    Thanks again for all the advise. Very wise statements in your post.
    Either I missed or you didn't mention that they have asked you to take on the production - that is a very different picture. Reputationally there are no risks, and they are obviously happy with the approach. Some of the other points stand about where you want your business to go - but dropping for a CNC if you have a lot of the other kit, and you have the time, and you will not lose your client in the process means a much more favourable picture.

    As before - all the best!

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    Buy used $20k machine. a simple Fadal etc...with cheap parts support. something that you can later pass along without a big loss in a year or two.

    Learn to make one or two of your parts on it in your sparte time.
    I'm sure you can tool up for those simple parts for under $3k

    Those parts could have been made on a Tree mill I sold for $3k
    or a centroid cnc bridgeport. Those parts / quantities don't need probes and fancy fast machines.

    See if you like it and want to keep going down that road. upgrade if you want, or sell it, or sit on it.

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