My Montana Shop.
There are some good looking shops posted on here
I thought I would add mine to the list.
This is my first attempt at posting pics.
Not sure I like the Thumbnail Any suggestion?
Is the whole building the shop or is the section off to the right house?
Nice pix of Big Sky country. Great to see a virtual change of scenery here in NC.
We live here also.
The shop is about 2000 sq ft and the house is about 800?!?!? Gets a little cramped sometimes
Im originally from Indiana and bought this shop in 2004. It works nice being able to live here while we are getting things going. It was a manual shop when I bought it but we now have a Haas VF-2SS, SL-10, Citizen L-20 and Fanuc Wire EDM as well as support equipment. If I can figure out how to attach larger photos I will post the inside of the shop also.
John Order in the 'Antique Machinery and History' forum has a Sticky up on 'Images and Links' that may make it easier.
Here you are, just point and shoot.
Images and Links
Thanks for the help!
A better photo of my shop.
VF 2 SS with Rotary
I also have a Fanuc Wire EDM recently added.
I have seen some guys post their hobbies so I thought I would post some of mine:
Out for a ride with my buddy Chance, on the right. He is a Mustang from the Wyoming
I enjoy hunting. A whitetail harvested with my Bow.
Packing Elk (my first bull)
Just a few of the things I enjoy.
My family is very active outdoorsman when we are not making chips in the shop.
All work and no play...................not in Montana!
mti-bigsky, Your in Sheridan?!
I was just up there last summer. Got a couple of pics.
My aunt lives there. I grew up in Billings. Just curious. What on earth kind of business are you getting way out there with that kind of equipment set up? All small jobs from out of state customers? I never thought i would see any machining pop up in some remote parts of the state. Just curious. I dont mean to be too nosey. Theres not much work in that area either. Minimum wage barely gets you by out in those parts. Kinda nice to see some industry starting out there. I know the locals can be real hard on out of staters or even folks from any other part of Montana. Hope you are getting along alright.
I stalked this ram for a short time before relizing it wasnt very affraid of me. This was up at the resivour. She was a little skittish, but once they are above you they feel safer. I got about 20 feet from her and used the zoom lense. She was just about to take a piss in this picture.
Mission mountains near polson. Was visiting family in Polson on the same trip.
Then we where off to the Seely lake area. My brothers a Pastor up in that area. Got to try out his HK. Another favorite pass time in big sky country.
Was a great trip. Will probably be back in Sheridan next summer.
Yep, Im in Sheridan.
I do very little work in the state. We do mainly production work and some product development from Rhode Island to California and in between. I wouldn't be able to make a living otherwise. I don't do any work to speak of in the valley. I always have the occasional walk in wanting me to fix his crescent wrench or something. (Hence the reason you didn't see my shop. If you came into Sheridan on 287 you drove right by me.)
Most of my contacts were from my past life. We are starting to get more and more companies to notice us out here. Its not easy getting their attention but we try to provide them not only a great service but superior customer service. Plus most enjoy our pictures! They all ask the same questions you did.
Seen those Sheep alot up in that area. Some of the rams are starting to get a nice curl to them. The older rams as well as a few of the female have collars since they were planted.
If yuor ever in the area look me up!
Your living my dream. I have always thought that if a person could get all his customers in other parts of the country, then he could live anywhere he wanted. You sure picked a good one!! Nice shop.
It was a major life change coming from Indiana and a huge manufacturing hub. Rural Montana is not the easiest place to make a living but the trade offs are worth it.
I know its a great place to raise my boys.
If you don't mind me asking. Did you have customers close to you in your old location and if so, were they upset that you were leaving or did they stick with you and get their parts shipped to them?
I ran a pretty good size shop in Indiana (80-90 people). I had alot of contacts and I had quite a few acquaintances that worked for "competitors". When I moved here alot of those "competitors" became my best customers. Some of my major customers, past, have contacted me but right now Im not in a position (ISO Cert) to do work with them. All in good time!
I stayed in the same industry so I had the experience and knew the industry as well as anyone so I just had to get back in the door. That in itself can be very difficult! Its not easy because there is a perception that I live in the sticks and some people weren't sure if I even had internet here. Living in a rural area whose largest industry is cows, hay and tourism makes it tough to get people to buy into what you have to offer. If you can offer a superior product and above all, great service you can get it done.
Buckle up though, its can be a rough ride sometimes!
Its a worldwide market out there so you don't have to live in a dreadful place just because its a manufacturing hub. You can live where ever you want and make a living, it just depends on what kind of life you want to live!
All good information, Thank you. Do you ever run into problems getting raw materials or getting second operations done like plating or anodizing? If services like that are not local, I guess you would become a long distance customer yourself. All part of the package I suppose.
On to more important subjects. Nice rack on that whitetail. How is the population doing over in that area? A buddy of mine hunts in the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness area, a couple of ranges over from you and he said the herds were in a bit of decline the last couple of seasons.
There were a few logistical challenges to be worked out in our first year. As far as sourcing, I had great sources around my old stompin grounds so they have continued to help me grow over the last couple of years.
As for the deer..............theyre like flies around here. There are some nice whitetails in the river bottoms but tough to get to due to the private ranches. The Elk are in decline according to the "natives". haven't been here long enough to know myself. I know I didn't see as many herds this year as was the case with alot of other hunters. Mostly broken up for some reason.
great goat mountain hunting in my backyard also. Rode horses in about 10 miles last summer and stalked a group of 14 goats. Saw a big bear in the same meadow shortly after the goats departed. Maybe Ill see him again this spring!
lots to do for the outdoorsman!
Did you buy this shop just a couple of years back? There was a link on some forum about a shop in MT for sale, I really wanted to bid but SWMBO wanted no part of it while Young'un was in High School.
Bought the shop in '04. Found it while purchasing tools and equipment in my past life. Pretty ironic story really.
Made alot of changes to get it where we needed to be for starters. The entire shop was manual equipment. Nice stuff but no good for us.
Still making improvements and additions.
Beautiful Shop! How do you like your Haas SL-10? I'm considering buying one myself very soon.
SL-10........... Its OK. It really depends on what type of work you are wanting to run. The machine is a perfect size for me but doesn't seem to hold tolerance for long periods of time. If I run it hard for 3-4 hours it seems like I have to chase it the rest of the day. If I leave it sit for a little while (hour) I will need to zero out my offsets and start the process over. Ive had turret problems on and off also.
Probably....maybe won't but another one?!?!?
I've been looking at the Hurco machines. I have a VM1 coming next week. I will look harder at the lathe when Im ready.
I've got a 2001 Hurco and it's the best machine in my shop. No major problems in over 6000 hours. I'd really like to know more about their lathes but I don't know of any that have been placed close to me.
Hurco is in!!!
So far I like! Will get trained next week but hope to have in nailed before then.
Wrote five programs including engraving in about 1 1/2 hours. No manual needed yet.
Has anyone used the swept surface feature on the mill?
As for the lathes, I noticed a few weeks ago Hurco was having an open house in Indy and was advertising a lathe with live tooling AND pickoff. I think they are putting out feelers but that may be an interesting machine.