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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Look into to DOD work for the US government, Canadian citizens are allowed to bid on most jobs. Once you enroll which takes a couple hours here and there for a week you will find plenty to bid on. The larger sized low volume jobs still went for a decent price. Small high volume jobs went cheap and have ridiculous packaging requirements like individually bagging 6mm washers. The USA gov loves paperwork. I had to give it up when I moved as my satellite internet doesn't seem to get along with their website. Dozens of phone calls to their tech support and still could not get my passwords to work.


    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    how is he going to get profitable work like that owning a TL2 in a garage in Alberta?

    Like I said I had not done DOD work in a half dozen years, what you can make off it swings wildly with the economy. Since the economy has improved I am guessing jobs are going for better pay than they were when I stopped.

    There are 10's of thousands of small jobs to bid on you can find what fits you. The low quantity large sized parts got for the most money hourly, the high volume small parts the least. A lot of jobs have long lead times that you can complete anytime, you can also bid jobs anytime of day or the week, it is good for fill work and some guys who have it down pat on what to look for and what to bid make a living off of it solely in a one man shop. You can find jobs that you can make with a $500 beater lathe and a Harbor Freight drill press all the way up to complex assemblies that require a well equipment machine shop.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Like I said I had not done DOD work in a half dozen years, what you can make off it swings wildly with the economy. Since the economy has improved I am guessing jobs are going for better pay than they were when I stopped.

    There are 10's of thousands of small jobs to bid on you can find what fits you. The low quantity large sized parts got for the most money hourly, the high volume small parts the least. A lot of jobs have long lead times that you can complete anytime, you can also bid jobs anytime of day or the week, it is good for fill work and some guys who have it down pat on what to look for and what to bid make a living off of it solely in a one man shop. You can find jobs that you can make with a $500 beater lathe and a Harbor Freight drill press all the way up to complex assemblies that require a well equipment machine shop.
    never realized that. thanks.

  4. #23
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    Start your own product line unless you really want head down the job shop life

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  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    never realized that. thanks.

    A lot of the DOD small contract work is making replacement parts for stock, there is a lot of WWII equipment that is alive and kicking that is still in service and maintained. One part of my learning curve was remembering modern suitable replacements for obsolete materials and processes. I worked from a lot of prints that the last revision was in 1940. A lot of people are under the illusion that military and aerospace means tight tolerances and high precision work, many times that is not the case.

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  8. #25
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    I am in a similar situation, just with a fadal mill instead of a lathe. I make custom pet items, and other than one other project, have not made any money. RFQ seems like a dead end to be honest. Seems most people I know in a similar situation make a product of there own, and that is how they get by. Problem is finding the right item that has enough demand and margin. Good luck, hope you start to get some work your way.

  9. #26
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    narrow your focus. find four items you manufacture well. then tweak them and make them better learn to make them faster.
    when running your own SHIP you got to give 20 plus hours to the sail.
    most important. dont sell the product you make Sell the benefits of your product.

    just some pointers

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  11. #27
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    You need to find your own product line and grow from there. In a meantime, and until it become profitable, think about finding a part-time job somewhere. When your product line take off, only then its time to buy the machines and work from the garage full-time - not before.

    Not a user of MFG (or similar bidding website for this matter), never seen those but heard/read once or twice that its kinda hard to compete with others who work for free. Besides the "quality & techniques used" in Asia are improving at a much faster pace than anywhere else in the world so hope NOT for anything to get any better for the Canadian manufacturing industry.

  12. #28
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    I'd be happy as a pig in mud if I could do only lathe work and never turn on a mill again, but unfortunately that's not the way the world works.

    I'm working now on a $7000 job that's got no lathe work whatsoever. All mill work, and ended up its quicker and easier to do it on a manual mill than on a cnc.

    Last job of much size was about $3000 of primarily cnc lathe work, but every part had one off center feature that couldn't be done without a mill, even though the mill work was only about 30 seconds per part. No mill, no job.

    I can think of many jobs that have been mill only, but honestly can't remember the last time I had a job that was lathe work only with no mill work at all.

    You need a mill.

  13. #29
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    Dimple dies and bead roller dies are two things that can be made with lathe only,

    You can sell them to the custom sheet metal guys.

  14. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by metlmunchr View Post
    I'd be happy as a pig in mud if I could do only lathe work and never turn on a mill again, but unfortunately that's not the way the world works.

    I'm working now on a $7000 job that's got no lathe work whatsoever. All mill work, and ended up its quicker and easier to do it on a manual mill than on a cnc.

    Last job of much size was about $3000 of primarily cnc lathe work, but every part had one off center feature that couldn't be done without a mill, even though the mill work was only about 30 seconds per part. No mill, no job.

    I can think of many jobs that have been mill only, but honestly can't remember the last time I had a job that was lathe work only with no mill work at all.

    You need a mill.
    I do a lot of lathe work that have no milled features. but they are mostly on a swiss style lathe and they are either very small or have 10 to 1 or more length to diameter ratios.

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    QT: [I couldn't even get material and tooling for their delivered price.]
    That is a darn shame.
    Think you have to knock on doors and figure 50% time may be out knocking for a time...

    It is tough to get a new customer part is because of favors and reliability of the current jobber.

    Quality is expected because if not print you don't get paid.

    Till You can pay the bill might offer pick up, overnight, one week turnaround..sure you may not be able to make every or even most jobs with that.. but you may get a foot in the door.

    Agree you are limited with only a lathe.

    Here is an Alberta shop
    Machine Shop Services in Alberta | Advantage Manufacturing
    I bet they got started knocking on doors.
    Looks like one Customer is looking for tube cutting.. most other jobs need more than a lathe..

  17. #32
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    IMHO having just a lathe is not good, same with having just a mill. I mean be honest, very few here don't have both + one hell of a lot more!

    Whats worked best for me is not just having a lathe + a mill + a surface grinder + tig welding + a assortment of materials + assortment of tooling to hand so i can turn stuff around before you have even quoted it. What has unlocked the best work (Plus most £££££) for me, is the tools i have made to make other stuff with the above toy box.

    Think various custom bending and forming tooling, this has unlocked vast vast riches relatively speaking for me. 50% of if not more of my take home profit is not made on my bought machinery, but the machinery - tooling i made! Hell yesterday i finished a unique - custom belt grinder, that changed a job i had from a 3 hour pain in the ass to a 20 minute no sweat task. That grinders already in profit from one 20 minute job :-) Took a lathe, a surface grinder and a mill to make, but its going to let me make so much more product a month im kicking my self for waiting so long to do it.

    Having a dozen unhatched eggs don't make you a chicken farmer! You gotta work out how to hatch that lathe into other things.

    Work out how to hatch what you got and go from there, but go find some work, theres always people wanting work out there, you just have to find em, a garage shop aint going to appeal to oil field work no more than my shops ever going to be making bits for space flight!

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  19. #33
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    I'm going to comment on the sales side of things for a moment. If you're not interested in sales, then just move on.

    I was a machinist for 10 years, and not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at it too. Not great, but pretty good, and I think I'm a pretty sharp guy. Made good money and all that. Anyway...

    A year ago, I took a sales job with a global carbide company that you all would recognize, and I've mentioned several times before. I knew before I took the job that it would be a challenge and big adjustment. I truly, had no idea how challenging it would be though. And remember, I work for the international company that everyone knows, and we have great - some of the best - products in the world...

    But none of that matters when you get into sales.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I guess you could say, that I too have "had a real shit time getting started." I can share with you what I've learned so far, but that doesn't mean I'm good at it yet...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    All that matters is the customer, and what they want, and what they *think* they need. And then you have to convince them that they are better off by giving the work to you, than someone else.

    This is not about persuasion and manipulation, and fake behavior, lying, and using the snake-oil & used car sales tricks. There is some real science & honest psychology behind what makes people buy things, and how they make buying decisions. What you have to do, is somehow insert yourself inside their brains, so that they *feel* that you are the best, safest choice for performing their work. You have to convince them that you are the answer to their problem, but they have to believe that it's their idea, not yours.

    And again, this is not manipulation, but it's more about walking a path with them, and then guiding them to the solution they want - which just happens to be you. You can do this with honesty and integrity, and leave with a clear conscience and sleep good that night, because in the end, if you honor your commitments and fulfill what you said you'd do, you will have helped them. (Remember, this is about helping them, not getting your work...)

    Done well, this ^^^ is hard work. Know why there's a lot of bad sales people out there? It's because this ^^^ is not an easy task... Ask me how I know...



    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Although I'm still poorly qualified to give this advise, here's the best advise I could give you at this point...


    1- Expect to get rejected. This helps ease the blow. Don't take it personal. It's not that you're a terrible person. But put yourself in their shoes. Do you like it when you get approached by a salesman?

    2- The best thing you can do is LISTEN to the other person, and give them your 110% attention. Listen so that you are able to fully understand them. Do not listen just so you can respond. Again - Listen so that you can fully understand them. (This will help you with life in general, not just in sales.) This is known as "active listening" and again, it's not easy to do. There's more to it, but the basic idea is, "shut up and listen!. It requires a lot of effort.

    3- You have to ask good questions. Quick story... A former boss used to ask if I wanted to work overtime. I'd respond, "No." Then he'd get upset with me and give me a speech about work ethic, and opportunities and all that. Then I'd respond, "You're asking the wrong question. You didn't ask if I was willing to work overtime. You asked if I wanted to..." You get the idea. Ask good questions.

    There's tons of info on the types of questions, and when to use them, but I don't want to bore everyone. The bottom line, is that you need to ask good questions, and try to learn as much as possible about what's important to them.

    4- Only after you think you understand what's important to your customer, can you talk about -- NO, ASK about what you could do to help them. Then, ask them if they think that would help them... Remember - your solution needs to be their idea...

    5- Even when they say "Yes" don't believe it. I'm sure you've been told a "Yes" and then never hear from the person again. Beware the counterfeit-yes. A real commitment is a difficult thing to get. "Yes" means nothing without "How."

    6- A "No" doesn't mean game over. If someone gives you a "No" what they could be saying is "Not now," or "I don't trust you yet," or a thousand other things.

    Edit --> 5.5 - In fact, a genuine "No" is better than a counterfeit "Yes." You can work thru a real "No" - It's much, much harder to get past a counterfeit "Yes."
    -----------------------------------------------


    Fast forward a year, and I still often get discouraged by this sales thing. Lots of rejection, lots of no responses. Lots of counterfeit yes' and no real commitment. And I've had some training in this, do this full time + overtime, read lots of books and still have trouble with it...

    I don't mean to tell all this to discourage you, but just understand that it's not an easy task, and you are learning a brand new skill, from scratch.

    Think of it this way. None of us were born, knowing how to use the bathroom. Everyone of us shit ourselves, and had to learn to take a crap and wipe our butts. Same thing with reading mics, and running a lathe, and then doing both together to make a round part, on size. It's no different with sales. It's a brand new skill that you'll have to learn.

    And you're having to learn that while learning how to operate _everything else_ in your business. It's going to take time, so don't get discouraged.



    Try to remind yourself _why_ you decided to do this in the first place. Remind yourself that at some point, you believed this was the right thing to do and you knew it wouldn't be easy, but was still the right thing to do in spite of the difficulties. Try to remember that, and re-motivate yourself when you're feeling discouraged.

    Best of luck, and God bless.

    (I think I feel better already after that... )
    Last edited by Jashley73; 04-22-2017 at 06:56 PM.

  20. #34
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    I kinda like the approach a guy I personally know does "How To Sale". Works well for him... not a single week goes by that he doesn't call me up to ask me to run a quick hundreds for him - because he is just way too busy. Feel bad telling NO every time but it is what it is (can barely supply our own product line)

    • You don't need to show up in person. Ppl hates this s**t (take my word for it LOL)
    • Make a sample part, small/purposeful(e.g. beer cap opener lol), with a few features and insert this into a "give-away" bag along with your services brochure and include a presentable letter (quality paper, please). requires printing (sml investment).
    • Advertise that you will meet their expectations, and beyond. Try to live to that
    • HIS SECRET: He advertise that he will do a sample of 'their' part for free + no commitment attached.


    8x on 10 he gets a contract signed. The guy is doing parts for oem, 2 electronic reputable suppliers, and one for a ministry. He also have his own product-line to MFG and that's what he always comes knocking my door to seek help with - as if I have none of mine to do!

    Hope this helps a bit

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    I have got work out of fabrication shops, and profile shops who sub out work. Fab shops usually need turned pins for this that or the other (manway covers etc), steel profile shops sometimes have to quote parts machined, which they don't like doing, but they do to get the tonnage every month!

    As others have mentioned I find most parts need a hole or two, or a keyway etc.

    I sub out quite a bit of small work, and I would be very reluctant to join 'two queues' with two subbies to get one to turn, and another to mill some flats on a bolt or whatever on the bitsy work I send out. I just want an easy life, with parts done when they are promised. Im sure lots of other people are the same !

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  23. #36
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    You have one specialist machine and are trying to quote general purpose work. That's never going to work.

    A TL is an unusual machine. Long and not particularly rigid for a CNC, no power chuck, no turret, no sub, no chip conveyor etc. Not a lot of grunt for the swing and size.

    As far as I can see they serve two purposes. One is to have any CNC lathe in a prototype or engineering department (or toolroom if I am being charitable, but nah, not really) where the speed is less important than having the capability. It is an inexpensive, flexible, easy to use machine.

    The other is the repair department of a plant where down time costs thousands of dollars an hour, and the ability to fix something in house as soon as possible is more valuable than having to make a print, find a shop, shop it out and wait... and wait... And wait...

    In both cases the machine is making one-offs and most of the time it isn't in use.

    I can't see how you could ever be competitive job shopping with one. A production machine that makes parts 4x faster would cost, at most, twice as much, and that isn't even getting into overhead.

    Ideally you could find a niche where the machine's unusual characteristics are a help rather than a hindrance. Even if you become a heck of a salesman, you'll just go broke slowly trying to job shop with one. Find a niche, hone that niche and own that niche.

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  25. #37
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    It looks like there has been a lot of quality advice given since you first posted here. It has been mentioned by a few that you might find work from the farmers and I would like to back that up. IMHO it is difficult to start up with direct oilfield work around Edmonton during this recession. Alberta has a rich economy but possibly a lot of our potential has been put on the back burner, so to speak, during the boom of the oilfield but I believe now is the time when we go back to forestry, rock crushing, and agriculture. Take advantage of that. It will help stabilise your enterprise and will remain as a backup. I have seen a number of fabrication/ machine shops survive with this other work to tie them through up here in Grande Prairie area. I may be out to lunch but you actually might find work up north of St. Albert sooner than Edmonton because Edmonton is sure to be soaking up all work that approaches. I realise this is a completely different approach to what you may have been planning with the TL2 but it should be a versatile lathe if it has a steady. You really need a mill also. Make your own tooling. become versatile. You should succeed. I started my own machine shop service out in the country a year ago and it has been a success.

    Good luck!

    Josh

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