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The Factory Amsterdam


Jul 6, 2011
Schenectady, NY
(Continued, character limit)

One more piece of equipment has yet to arrive, which is the big ol bandsaw. It's sitting under tarps in my friend's shop's parking lot because one of the electrical boxes on the side was about 2" too wide to clear the wheel arches on the trailer I rented. Currently waiting for his nice deckover trailer to be available again so I can bring the saw over, and in the meantime I'm trying to clear some space so I can actually put it somewhere.

Three of the bikes in there aren't mine and will be leaving by next month, which helps. I'm planning on selling two of mine so that I'm back down to one bike and much more floor space. I'll also have to get rid of some of the tables and carts because they're all quite large, but at least this way I can physically see them in the space and make much better-informed decisions about what to keep. I knowingly brought over more than I could keep so that I could spend a little more time thinking about it without the pressure of the move and an insane ex-landlord hanging over my head.

Since the machine tools have been offline since early November, the Fuses are doing all the heavy lifting. The 1+ had its second powder cake meltdown since I received it in late October, and this time it filled some of the internal gearboxes with solidified nylon and Formlabs is coming out to fix that or give me a new unit soon. In spite of that, the trusty old F1 is going strong and has been making enough money to cover my entire shop overhead on its own so far, and is on track to triple or quadruple that by next month.

This is about 1/4 of a job I finished earlier this month:


I'm finding that I really like additive mfg from a business perspective because of how low effort it is compared to the payoff. I still love machining, but it's so hard to make steady revenue with it as an owner-operator with substantial overhead that I'm going to focus on printing this year and be much more selective with the machining jobs I take on. I'd like to hire a fairly self sufficient part timer soon to run my machines for 5-10 hours a week so that I can have them making steadier money while I focus on business things. I figure that way I can afford to offer better wages than most other shops nearby without stressing about finding enough work to feed a full timer in the near term, and as things pick back up, I'll adjust hours as needed. Seems like lots of machinists like those kinds of part time side gigs, and I really couldn't care less what time of day the work gets done as long as it does get done, which is apparently unusual for shops in my area. I'm hoping to find someone who can get to the point where I trust them to come in on their own schedule, independent of my own.

Also happened to grab a couple pics of the old space after we finished clearing everything out on a day with some lovely afternoon lighting. I'm going to miss the aesthetics of that building so much, but man was it a pain in the ass to run a shop in. Those wood floors were beautiful and lovely to stand on, but moving equipment on them sucks and the leaky roof wasted about half of our available space. I'd love to have a cool old building like that if I can afford it as a hobby space someday in the future, but I am intimately familiar with how much cash that burns, so it'll be quite a while before that's on the table.

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