Hi Fred C:
I understand exactly where you're coming from, and my GO TO solution has become to find a way to get a time and materials contract for stuff like this if I decide it's worthwhile even to take it on, rather than doing their engineering for them for free and then begging for crumbs (how I used to do it when I was young and eager).
It takes finessing the customer a bit, but if the challenge is framed the right way, you can be seen as a solution to their intractable problem and the time and materials contract is the price they pay for your willingness to put your time, expertise, resources, and ingenuity to solving THEIR problem.
We can never forget it's THEIR problem, not YOUR problem and they often need to be continuously re-educated to see that this is so.
When you decide whether to even get involved, obviously you have to make a calculation whether the costs you incur are worth it to your company, and walking away is sometimes the best option, but you get to decide that...not your customer.
So yeah, if the customer wants your input and expertise, you can offer it, but only if it suits you.
I tell my customers, yeah, I can try to make what you're asking for...here's what you have to accept if you want me to try.
That way everybody remembers just whose problem this actually is, and you get to bill for every hour you actually put into the project and every cutter you buy and every piece of material you fuck up trying to get there.
Submitting a time log together with the invoice often soothes a lot of ruffled feathers because they get to learn what it actually took.
Also, if they can't agree to those conditions they obviously don't want it all that badly.
So if that's true, they can re-engineer it, they can seek other vendors, or they can abandon the project...their call!
Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
The glib answer is "How can I help you?".
Yeah there's a lot more to it, but I try to frame the relationship in those terms right from the first interview...
As always the assumption is that the tolerances are ridiculous, the engineer doesn't know what he's doing, they need education because machinists always know better etc etc
If you can't make the part tell them.
If you can make the part charge them an appropriate value that reflects the time it takes to make a part. If that includes having to make a gage to check the part, include that.
I don't get my underwear in a twist on tight tolerances. I can either make the part or I can't. On the other hand a .03 radius on a corner .50 deep gets my blood pressure up. In those cases I quote $xx with the assumption the .03 radius can be changed to .xx and let them decide.