What's new
What's new

Welding work from machine shop?

Camfabrication

Plastic
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
I have a welding business that I'm trying to grow. I want to specialize in micro tig and laser welding and also regular tig welding of all materials. What would be the best way to to get the word out to shops in a wide area I know I can go door to door to the local guys. Also is this something the a lot of shops send out? Thanks
 

Kingbob

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Location
Louisiana
Not to sound like an ass but isn't this something you should find out before trying to grow in a certain direction? I get you have a vison but nothing grows in infertile soil.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
I have a welding business that I'm trying to grow. I want to specialize in micro tig and laser welding and also regular tig welding of all materials. What would be the best way to to get the word out to shops in a wide area I know I can go door to door to the local guys. Also is this something the a lot of shops send out? Thanks

Where in Pa ?
Up in Erie, we have a couple of shops, doo allot of tool & die repair welding.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
I have a welding business that I'm trying to grow. I want to specialize in micro tig and laser welding and also regular tig welding of all materials. What would be the best way to to get the word out to shops in a wide area I know I can go door to door to the local guys. Also is this something the a lot of shops send out? Thanks

im in that boat. not many shops out source things around me and is all done in house normally unless they are crazy busy or its specialized repairs. there is work, just don't expect a ton of it.
 

jamscal

Stainless
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Location
Louisville, KY
I thought I was going to be a hot-shot tig welder when I first started...Maybe the business is there for some people but not me. I prob made more $ year one with a small used mig vs the new dynasty 200dx setup I bought.

Now I have a 7-8 person shop, still have the Dynasty, but it sits for weeks at a time.

Good luck!
 

Booze Daily

Titanium
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Location
Ohio
I had a guy come by a couple years ago and dropped off a business card. He asked for my email so he could send some pics as a marketing tool.

I get an email every couple of months showing off new projects he has done. Nothing pushy, just info.
He does really nice work even though I have never needed anything welded.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
trouble with welding is anyone can buy a setup for $500,and every machinist thinks he s the worlds best welder.....tig welders local I see with work are vintage motorbike repairers and at the airport,where I assume you need some sort of ticket to weld on airplanes......Otherwise ,every man and his dog got a tig that can weld ally.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
I have a welding business that I'm trying to grow. I want to specialize in micro tig and laser welding and also regular tig welding of all materials.

trouble with welding is anyone can buy a setup for $500,and every machinist thinks he s the worlds best welder.....tig welders local I see with work are vintage motorbike repairers and at the airport,where I assume you need some sort of ticket to weld on airplanes......Otherwise ,every man and his dog got a tig that can weld ally.
Notice the OP's area of expertise/Focus.

Not as common as "everybody".
 

implmex

Titanium
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Vancouver BC Canada
Hi Camfabrication:
I have direct experience in the domain you're trying to expand into.
I have a laser welder I've owned for well over a decade, and it has seen enough work over the years that I have formed an opinion about its business viability.
I have a page on my Implant Mechanix website dedicated to it, and has been my primary way to advertise it, along with word of mouth.
I am also a full service prototype and limited production shop.

- The odd customer has come to me because of the laser welder and stayed for the other things I provide.
- The odd customer has come to me for other services (mostly wire EDM), and stayed for that and the occasional laser welding need that they found out about incidentally...usually because of a fuckup or because of an un-engineered need that was most conveniently dealt with using the laser.
- I have a grand total of one customer that comes only for laser welding...they're a great customer and I make good money doing their work, but I could never feed my family off it. (it amounts to around 5 grand a year).
However, I do not promote the capability other than with the website and by word of mouth which obviously I cannot control.

I was a moldmaker in a previous life, so I originally positioned myself for mold repair and had great expectations.
In the beginning, I did quite a bit of mold welding...I had five regular customers (local mold shops) that sent me work pretty reliably.
One by one, the toolroom managers I knew in all those facilities retired, and I haven't welded a mold in years.

China molds were a great source of work until they got good at moldmaking.
So were old fart companies, with old fart toolrooms, and old fart managers, crusted over with old fart methods.

They've all driven themselves into oblivion with their old fartitude, and the China shops have gotten MUCH better at building not just workable molds, but good quality molds.

But mold welding is still the principal place to build a business of the kind you appear to be describing because molders still crunch molds and when they do they need a fix...NOW!.

Medical welding is unreachable for almost anyone for two big and inter-related reasons:
Medical device builders do their welding in-house
Medical devices need to be certified, usually to ISO 13485.

13485 is a hugely onerous standard to certify to...it takes massively deep pockets to get there and to stay there...way more coin than you'll ever acquire with a welding business that's starting out in a garage.
So the big medical device houses all have the capability in-house...it's just easier for them to control it that way, and they can roll in the ISO 13485 for the welding together with the certification they need for all their other processes.

So although there's work out there, it's been sporadic for me, despite being in a good position to exploit my familiarity with the needs and with the local players in the most accessible sub-domain (mold repair).
Do consider these things if you contemplate spending lots to set up.

I bought my laser welder because I couldn't resist the lure of the cool new toy.
I was able to eventually justify it.
It was a poor business decision with a lousy ROI...I'm guessing at least 5 years.
I didn't care...I WANTED that toy.
It didn't kill me financially.
There was no pot of gold.

That's about the best I can say...BTW, I still love my toy, and I don't regret buying it and I do play with it.

Cheers

Marcus
Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
 

newtonsapple

Cast Iron
Joined
May 16, 2017
I work in the same medical field as Marcus. I am on the design and development side and sometimes contracting laser welding services. I have 3 buckets welding work would fall into.

The first is production (ISO 13485) type work. This is 100% CNC welding, even if I am initially only making 200 pieces a year. The effective hourly rate for this work is astronomical. I am paying for a process, and one that can scale with potential growth as process changes are expensive and failures are VERY expensive. None of these shops are labeled as welding shops. They are medical implant manufactures with a decent amount of vertical integration (machining, laser cutting, electropolishing).

Mold repair. I think my record is that 1 in about 40 molds I have been involved with have been welded. This is despite running hand loaded inserts and screwing around with a fair bit. It is far more common on small molds to pocket and insert new geometry. Hard milling and EDM speed have changed what gets welded. What is your experience level? Everyone I know that does this came out of a large tool maker and set off on their own (doing work for the former employer) or worked essentially as an apprentice under another welder. You have to be pretty confident because if your welds lead to stress cracking in a very large and expensive mold, you are in a world of pain.

Prototyping and one off type work. This might be making 10 samples of welded nitinol or stainless wire parts or welding a thermocouple to a heated die. I've got a local welding shop (tool and die repair) that does this work. I usually just walk in and they will knock out what I need while I grab a coffee down the street. Not a lot of money in this, but really valuable for me. I usually pay an hour at their expedite rate for 20 minutes of work, which is fine by me. I know a few medical device contract manufactures that can do these quick manual laser welds, but the tool and die repair guys are really much better welders for this sort of stuff.

My spending ratio between these categories is 98 production, 1 repair, 1 prototype.

To make a living doing this, I think you really need to be comfortable with the tool and die work. You also need contacts at the big shops. No shop manager is going to risk destruction or delay of on a $200K tool to some random guy. Otherwise you need to have an integrated business like Marcus where laser welding augments other services to allow you differentiate yourself.
 








 
Top