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Doing work for other shops

LOTT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
How true, how true. - Everybody who thinks they are going to "invent" something and make a million dollars is kidding themselves.
........
Try to start a business from the ground up on a product you "invented" and you will have a whole new meaning of going broke. - You got a better chance of hitting the lottery.
It's not that rare, those frames you welded were someone else's product. And that poor inventor likely earned more money for less time then you did to boot (granted he would have more invested on the front end, but still...).

Making your own products as a machinist is almost cheating, since you naturally can design for manufacture.

The world needs job shops and product shops. Some people are better at one than the other, get in where you fit in.
 

jamscal

Stainless
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Location
Louisville, KY
The world needs job shops and product shops. Some people are better at one than the other, get in where you fit in.

Yes.

But we do have a disconnect on PM about making your own products.

I think I have Garwoods attitude about it (without knowing him or his products):

Make a bunch of stuff you know something about, test the market, keep the good, leave the bad, refine, listen to customers, etc.

Some people seem to think you need a designer, an engineer, a marketing expert, an insurance expert, etc. before you even get started with a product....you don't. Add that stuff as necessary.

I grew to 3 people on my products alone, with crappy (from a traditional view) marketing. Many of my ebay and site pics are of my early prototypes, and they still sell.

I have 8 people now, and my products are a small fraction of my sales...but I have a ton in mind for if things slow down. I also make prototypes for fun/to keep my brain active.

I went where the business led and now we're doing some large scale fab projects, my big production job left but we do some production as well.
 

Comatose

Titanium
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Location
Akron, OH
Everybody who thinks they are going to "invent" something and make a million dollars is kidding themselves.

Get woke, go broke? Try to start a business from the ground up on a product you "invented" and you will have a whole new meaning of going broke. - You got a better chance of hitting the lottery.
It could be that I am be smarter, luckier and more attractive than every single other person here, but unless you're using "invent" in some sort of nonstandard way, I did that. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here either. A million dollars isn't what it used to be.
 

LOTT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
It could be that I am be smarter, luckier and more attractive than every single other person here, but unless you're using "invent" in some sort of nonstandard way, I did that. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here either. A million dollars isn't what it used to be.
Having met you, I'll agree to smarter and luckier, but more attractive is a stretch.....


Yes.

But we do have a disconnect on PM about making your own products.

I think I have Garwoods attitude about it (without knowing him or his products):

Jamscal, what do you mean by disconnect? I think we're on the same page, just curious which way you thought the disconnect was.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
Having met you, I'll agree to smarter and luckier, but more attractive is a stretch.....


Coma - don't listen to that putz!
Guys like us, we need to stick together....
I've been spreading a similar rumor for maybe 30 yrs by now.
Not getting a whole lot of traction....
Lots of jealousy out there....


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

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

jamscal

Stainless
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Location
Louisville, KY
Having met you, I'll agree to smarter and luckier, but more attractive is a stretch.....




Jamscal, what do you mean by disconnect? I think we're on the same page, just curious which way you thought the disconnect was.
Sorry...by "we" I didn't mean you and me...I meant people in general on PM
 

LOTT

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Sorry...by "we" I didn't mean you and me...I meant people in general on PM
Yeah, I know we're saying the same thing (and Garwood and Comatose and others in this thread), but you think the general trend PM wide is against trying to make your own product?
 

jamscal

Stainless
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Location
Louisville, KY
Yeah, I know we're saying the same thing (and Garwood and Comatose and others in this thread), but you think the general trend PM wide is against trying to make your own product?
Sometimes I think that...I guess I did this time. But over time I guess this forum would be pro. There are quite a few threads over the years I would say have been inspirational.
 

Comatose

Titanium
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Location
Akron, OH
I think it's hard to be a job shop and make your own products as well. I know we couldn't do it, so we don't ever job shop. Here's why (small company edition, the rules change when you are big):

Making your own products, you need deep knowledge of a limited breadth. You need specialized tooling and specialized processes. If your product was such that you could have it made anywhere by any shop, it's a non-starter anyway, because there will be cheap knockoffs immediately.

As an example, a product I will be releasing shortly has a plasma electropolished titanium assembly. Plasma electropolishing is pretty specialty, titanium electropolishing is pretty specialty, and there are some unique characteristics to the part that make it tough. Any job shop is gonna look at that part and go "yeah, no thanks" especially at the cost per unit I need. We had to build an entire system around that specific part.

A product shop can do that, because at a product shop, you tailor your designs to your ability to produce, and you tailor your ability to produce to your designs.

A job shop has the opposite needs. Limited depth (you can always no-quote something. you can't no-quote your own parts) but they need to be able to handle a much wider variety of parts and do it cost effectively. A job shop can't spend three weeks tweaking a part (they may never see again) in. They have to get it right the first time. They need to have all the tools, not just some of the tools. They can't have major downtime like a product shop can. They can't say "this 304 stainless batch is crap, I'll just make it out of 303."

But a combined shop has the worst of both worlds IMHO. Either they're designing products that can be run with commodity capacity, and they'll get knocked off as soon as they launch, or they have a bunch of specialty capacity sitting idle while they run a batch of 10,000 spacers.

I'm sure there are counter-examples, but that's why job shoppers feel like you can't make money on products, and product people feel like you can't make money job shopping. They look similar on the outside, but there isn't as much overlap as it seems.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Me...Ive invented this device that will save you countless hours doubled up in a greasepit,and its only $10........Customer.......Oh great....can I borrow it off you?
 

Alloy Mcgraw

Titanium
Joined
Aug 6, 2010
Location
CT, USA
Don't listen to grumpy old machinists, follow your dream.

If someone seems bitter while giving advice, immediately disregard. They are miserable for a reason, and are thinking emotionally.

Considering advice that comes from a place of experience is good....But based in reason and logic....Not emotions. You must weed out the negativity.

Many will pigeon hole themselves into a life of misery, but they are usually their own worst nightmare.

Little story that's relevant. I recently was talking to an owner of a used machine sales/service company that I bought a used machine from many years ago when I was starting out.

He told me that when I went to look at the machine originally he was laughing at my business plans internally, and that following my purchase of that machine he told his friends about me so they could all have a laugh.

I must have sounded crazy to him at the time....But the world is ever changing, and things that were once considered crazy or not possible, are now the norm.

Someone along the way had to take a chance on something they believed in...Most likely against the advice of the old guard.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I think it's hard to be a job shop and make your own products as well. I know we couldn't do it, so we don't ever job shop. Here's why (small company edition, the rules change when you are big):

Making your own products, you need deep knowledge of a limited breadth. You need specialized tooling and specialized processes. If your product was such that you could have it made anywhere by any shop, it's a non-starter anyway, because there will be cheap knockoffs immediately.

As an example, a product I will be releasing shortly has a plasma electropolished titanium assembly. Plasma electropolishing is pretty specialty, titanium electropolishing is pretty specialty, and there are some unique characteristics to the part that make it tough. Any job shop is gonna look at that part and go "yeah, no thanks" especially at the cost per unit I need. We had to build an entire system around that specific part.

A product shop can do that, because at a product shop, you tailor your designs to your ability to produce, and you tailor your ability to produce to your designs.

A job shop has the opposite needs. Limited depth (you can always no-quote something. you can't no-quote your own parts) but they need to be able to handle a much wider variety of parts and do it cost effectively. A job shop can't spend three weeks tweaking a part (they may never see again) in. They have to get it right the first time. They need to have all the tools, not just some of the tools. They can't have major downtime like a product shop can. They can't say "this 304 stainless batch is crap, I'll just make it out of 303."

But a combined shop has the worst of both worlds IMHO. Either they're designing products that can be run with commodity capacity, and they'll get knocked off as soon as they launch, or they have a bunch of specialty capacity sitting idle while they run a batch of 10,000 spacers.

I'm sure there are counter-examples, but that's why job shoppers feel like you can't make money on products, and product people feel like you can't make money job shopping. They look similar on the outside, but there isn't as much overlap as it seems.

Very well stated. 100% true.
 

neilho

Titanium
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Location
Vershire, Vermont
...But a combined shop has the worst of both worlds IMHO. Either they're designing products that can be run with commodity capacity, and they'll get knocked off as soon as they launch, or they have a bunch of specialty capacity sitting idle while they run a batch of 10,000 spacers.

Hmmm. Interesting perspective. I'm prob an anomaly - one man shop doing job shop work, have a product and do repair work to boot. And have worked for two shops (in my distant wasted youth) that did all three - we thought it was normal. You mean there's a difference? :D

Buncha Vermont woodchuck wierdos, I guess.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
Hmmm. Interesting perspective. I'm prob an anomaly - one man shop doing job shop work, have a product and do repair work to boot. And have worked for two shops (in my distant wasted youth) that did all three - we thought it was normal. You mean there's a difference? :D

Buncha Vermont woodchuck wierdos, I guess.

There are a lot of shops that do that. I do my own products and I also do repair/breakdown machinework. As the products wind up the other stuff will wind down. I enjoy that work and it pays very well, but I find the more I focus my attention on things I don't like doing like web marketing and refining products I've been making for a long time, the more money I make.
 








 
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