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    Small Machine Shop Owner's Catch 22

    Oh, it was just a snarky comment that came to mind this morning. I'm not sure I'd do things much different if I had it to do over. It's just been a hard year for a lot of reasons. But, that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger (and grouchier.)
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    Small Machine Shop Owner's Catch 22

    To successfully operate a small machine shop requires excellent critical thinking and decision making skills. Running a small business with the high costs associated with machining (equipment, tooling, inspection, maintenance etc,) in light of the going rate for precision parts is an example of...
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    Tried and True Machine

    Was a Scout leader for 17 years. Every year, with each batch of new boys, we'd teach the Woods Tools Safety section and for the next 2 or 3 camp-outs every stick they could lift would be pointy. Making spears seems to be wired in pretty deep.
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    Hiring undocumented workers

    There is money to be made cooking meth too. Maybe you should try that rather than running a machine shop.
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    New website - Browser check

    Functional and unpretentious layout. Enjoyably casual language in the text. No grammar errors that I could see. I'm not a photography critic but I liked your photos. Well lit and all about the parts. I enjoyed your attempt at demystifying Billet, Military Grade etc. but that is truly a lost...
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    My first day as Owner. What was the first thing you did after becoming the owner?

    I took a poll. 72% of my personalities believe that running an extremely small business will drive you crazy. The other 28% think you have to be born crazy to want to run one. No matter what, after a couple years you'll be completely unemployable anywhere else. Nature vs. Nurture... you...
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    Shop owner preferred retirement plan

    Wow. I looked at pulling some money out of my IRA in order to cover a shortfall that I expected to be a few months long. I talked with an accountant and the potential penalties (if the repayment was even a few days late) and the cost of returning the money (the mutual fund will take their...
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    ** ANYONE *** around Fort Riley Kansas area??

    I live about an hour and a half southwest of there. I'm not sure what help I can be, but give me some more info and I'll see what I can do.
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    help with slats on plasmer bed

    Here is a solution I came up with for little parts. Once I realized how much less expensive sheet is than 1/8 x 3 flat bar, and since I've got to cut it any way, and since I have unusable scrap around the edges that could wind up 1" strips.... The solution was rather obvious. I don't cut...
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    Do one man shops really not have any help?

    I ran a truly one man show for 11 years at which point my son was old enough to start sweeping up (10). 4 years ago I hired a part time guy who became a full time guy. Then I hired another when the first one found a job he didn't have to commute to. Ray left a month ago for a little better...
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    Plasma brag

    I can't say that I've been happy every day but overall my review is still positive. I have to say that I was expecting a little more from the control which is simply not as stable as a comparably priced machine tool like a lathe or mill. It is a windows based control and that comes with...
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    How to find customers?

    In a slightly more serious vein than some of the previous posts... Market to your competition in the architectural field. They are using parts similar to the ones you are making. Those are the pieces you have expertise with. Your architectural competition doesn't have the ability to rapidly...
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    Which plasma cutter to buy?

    I too am a Hypertherm disciple. I had a 45 (whatever preceded the power max.) One day it shot big blue sparks from the power board. I called them and they had one on hand, but they pointed out with their trade in policy they'd take my dead machine and give me a sizable discount on a new...
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    Using copper rod to weld around to form hole--Possible ??

    National Standard makes a copper free wire. It is my all purpose day to day wire. I'm sure other brands do too. Just ask your welding supplier or google around a bit. I'm with Matt on this one. Those holes aren't bad enough to worry about. Put new pins in them, forget it and move on to...
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    Tried and True Machine

    I do love seeing a big pile of inventory like that arrive. And by the time it's done I'm really glad it's gone. And, nice fixture. As far as the auto saw goes... in a few short years you'll have a couple of young assistants. No better way to learn than sawing, deburring and stacking...
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    Owners.....did your cirlce of friends change when you became self employed?

    I think that there is a fundamental difference in the valuation of time between the Self-employed and the Wage-earner. If a wage earner comes in hungover on a Monday (say, after a Super Bowl) and lurks from one dark corner of the shop to another, he or she makes exactly the same money as if...
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    Pics, Vids, and life in the new building!

    Speed is for snow, Eh?
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    Pics, Vids, and life in the new building!

    Sorry, this is going to be off topic but the picture of the Power Plus triggered a memory... My dad has often told me of when he was nine or ten, his older brother Steve got an Indian with hand shift. He offered to take him for a ride. Two miles out of town they were doing 100+ mph. Half a...
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    Ox's Shop

    I'd like to have a bumper sticker that says, "If you can read this you'd be better off looking at my brake lights."
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    looking at first cnc

    I have the manual version of that lathe. It is a good light duty machine. If your goal is to make small parts you could do a lot worse.