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  1. #61
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    OK, I gotta know. How can you spend $70-90K on a speedio and after 5 years have under 200 hours. Or under 10.
    I mean, why? what happened?

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    I know a guy in a similar situation who makes bespoke products at only a few a year, but each one when assembled is like $5-10k. He easily covers the machine payment with only a few hours a year. He had a shop long before this and also has an EDM and basically a full tool/moldmaking shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndogforever View Post
    OK, I gotta know. How can you spend $70-90K on a speedio and after 5 years have under 200 hours. Or under 10.
    I mean, why? what happened?
    A lot of Speedios go to folks who are doing direct-to-consumer, relatively high-end stuff. My camera straps, for examples have an ASP of $125 and depending on the model, have between 3-8 minutes of spindle time in each of them. It does not take many hours to pay off a $100k machine when the thing is producing $1000 of revenue an hour.

    Thats like why you buy a Speedio if you are in this kind of industry. I can go bust ass in front of the machine one day a week for 6-10 hours (depending on what we need), and spend the rest of the week on customers, marketing, shipping, etc in a relatively lax fashion, while still doing very very healthy revenue. No employees. Very low overhead. I cross shopped against an Okuma M560V which is a great machine, but I do a lot of tool changes and almost religiously believe in single-piece-flow; that Okuma would almost double my machine time, so 50+ days more a year I need to be playing Cycle Start Monkey. Speedio was worth every god damn penny... just think, if I had a Haas, there is no way I could shitpost as much as I do on here!

    So really, I think you all owe Brother a debt of gratitude.

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  5. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    A lot of Speedios go to folks who are doing direct-to-consumer, relatively high-end stuff. My camera straps, for examples have an ASP of $125 and depending on the model, have between 3-8 minutes of spindle time in each of them. It does not take many hours to pay off a $100k machine when the thing is producing $1000 of revenue an hour.

    Thats like why you buy a Speedio if you are in this kind of industry. I can go bust ass in front of the machine one day a week for 6-10 hours (depending on what we need), and spend the rest of the week on customers, marketing, shipping, etc in a relatively lax fashion, while still doing very very healthy revenue. No employees. Very low overhead. I cross shopped against an Okuma M560V which is a great machine, but I do a lot of tool changes and almost religiously believe in single-piece-flow; that Okuma would almost double my machine time, so 50+ days more a year I need to be playing Cycle Start Monkey. Speedio was worth every god damn penny... just think, if I had a Haas, there is no way I could shitpost as much as I do on here!

    So really, I think you all owe Brother a debt of gratitude.
    Completely agree - and the R machines take things to a whole new level.
    I think I remember who it was, but won't name names. One prospective Brother R650 customer was worried about needing an employee to tend the machine, and keeping the table filled completely so his cycle times would be longer. My thought on that - don't worry about filling the table completely. You'll be making more than enough to pay for the employee. Tending the machine becomes a first world problem.
    I've also found the Speedios to be close to perfect in reliability. Machines never ever break at a good time. Having reliable machines lowers stress for me, a very good thing.
    I've thought of retirement, and making parts in the home shop so the overhead is lower. I think about trying to live with a Haas toolroom machine instead of a Brother Speedio. Then I think there MUST be a way to keep the Brother. Watching the Haas change tools and "rapid" would be constantly disappointing. This is coming from a guy that started in a shop that still had lineshafts.

  6. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndogforever View Post
    OK, I gotta know. How can you spend $70-90K on a speedio and after 5 years have under 200 hours. Or under 10.
    I mean, why? what happened?
    Well, a few factors:

    First, we're not a machine shop. We're an electronics shop. We have a machine shop, but it's ancillary to our bread and butter. We make heatsinks and enclosures and connectors and fixtures and stuff in the machine shop.

    Now, we do power electronics for a variety of different industries. Motor controls and regulators and such. All low voltage. In about 2010 we fell into making controllers for electronic cigarettes. People in the DIY space were using our off-the-shelf regulators in their builds, and eventually we started making devices and controllers purpose-built for the industry.

    Fast forward to 2014-2015 and we're growing 350% year on year, with the growth being almost exclusively the e-cigarette stuff. We mostly make controllers, but we make some parts and some devices. I have an 80s bridgeport Interact, and an early 90s Fadal. When you're growing that fast, you need everything to go as quickly as possible. A speedio is much faster than a fadal, so I buy a S700X1. That's great, and keeps up. So I buy two more.

    But, again, 350% per year means whatever you were doing six months ago, you need twice as much of it now. In the space of four years, we went from 3300 square feet (2 bays in an industrial park) to 7000 square feet (five bays in the same industrial park) to 11000 square feet (took the non-adjoining bays one building over) to buying a 36,000 square foot building.

    Remember, machining is a side-line. Our bread and butter is electronic controllers for other peoples' devices. But our major constraint for the past few years had been space first, and machine capacity second. So when I buy the building, I also buy four more Speedios. Growth's like that.

    By this time, however, the market's starting to shift. Whereas initially our electronics customers are people here in the USA, as the market grows even the high-end stuff starts moving to Asia, and our US customers start dropping. You'd think this is where the story goes bad, but you'd be wrong. My partner in the e-cig business (a big 6'4 white guy from Ashtabula OH) says "fuck it, I can sell anybody" and flies off to China. And does! So now we're selling electronics TO the Chinese, to put into their devices to sell back. Electronics manufacturing is pretty low labor, so there's no big cost issue here. We work super hard on the design side to always stay a feature or two ahead of the Chinese knockoff boards.

    The volume of the electronics side continues to ramp up, but making complete devices becomes less and less of a priority, because with finite engineering labor, we can either double down on our bread and butter and make better circuit boards to stay ahead, or we can spend time designing and build (one of many) complete devices using the boards we already have. Easy choice, I know where my bread's buttered. So the brothers that were in production early get decent (but declining) use, and the new ones don't really get brought into production.

    Then the troubles start. The FDA announces they'll be regulating these in (2016, 2018, 2022, back to 2020.) That casts a pall on the industry, but as they don't actually enforce anything people keep trucking. By now almost all of our business is following the model of purchasing electronic components from all over the world, assemble the controller circuit boards here in Ohio, shipping the completed boards to assembly sites in China (for companies all over the world) and then the majority of the completed e-cigarette devices get sold back here. Keep in mind how many times the things are crossing international borders.

    Then the trade war starts, and every time something crosses a border it gets whacked with a 25-35% tariff. About 10% of our electronics BOM comes from China, so that's tariffed. Then effectively all of the complete circuit boards we make go to China. Who whacks them with another 35% retaliatory tariff. Then the complete products with our circuit boards in them come BACK from China, and get hit with ANOTHER 35% tariff. This is starting to get expensive.

    Despite that, by Q1 of 2019 we're making 120,000 complete controller board assemblies per month. But the Speedios on the production floor largely sit, a relic of a less specialized time. The ones in the engineering lab get a good amount of use, though.

    Fast forward to now: The FDA's regulations are finally in effect, though not enforced as of just yet. We have complete products in the FDA approval pipeline, but the cases are extruded, not machined. We can't design new products right now, because anything that was on the market with an application pending when the regulations went into effect gets to stay on the market until the FDA rules one way or the other on it, but anything new can't be sold until after a years-long and millions-of-dollars approval process.

    Oh, and just to pour salt into the wounds, in the federal omnibus spending bill of 2020 they just made it illegal to ship any of the products through the USPS to consumers. UPS and Fedex followed suit immediately.

    And there's a global semiconductor shortage right now.


    If it makes you feel better, we have significantly more $150k to $500k machines over on the electronics side of the fence with a LOT of use on them purchased around the same time. And everything's paid for, including the building and my house, so nobody owes me anything.

    It's been a pretty good ride, all told. But I'm not going to need 7 high production mills in the near future, and if I need them again in the far future, I know how to buy more.

    Anyway, that's the long and longer of how you end up with a number of $80k machines with very little use. It'd be the long and short, but my in-laws are at the house all weekend, so clearly I have work to do on my computer...

  7. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndogforever View Post
    OK, I gotta know. How can you spend $70-90K on a speedio and after 5 years have under 200 hours. Or under 10.
    I mean, why? what happened?
    My specific story:

    I pretty much have a machine shop museum for the time being.

    Back in 2017, I was in the trench working hard in my business (Admittingly - I was struggling) and I got a call about a job.... I checked it out because it wasn't the same ol' commodity machine shop. I ended up getting an offer and accepted. That first year was going great working both jobs until... division performance was horrible... In early 2018, it became obvious the place was in trouble so I started gearing up for the next phase in my business... It involved the brother because I needed a more reliable mill.

    At that time, management made changes and asked me to take over the reigns as the operations manager. I wasn't sure how things would play out so I bought the machine anyway on the idea that regardless, I'll be working for myself full time again in 3-5 years max....And a fast machine will make better use of my limited time until then...

    So a combination of working too many hours at my day job, having a family and side business does me in. I work 65-72 hrs a week with 2 days max off a month for 6 months out of the year and 50-55 hours a week the other 6 months. When I'm not at work, I want to be with my family...I also need to finish getting programs developed for the work that goes across it.. Most of my work I've been doing over the last years was lathe work needed before the millwork so I'm about to put some good numbers on it.

    In addition to the brother, I have a 2006 Mazak QTN100 I bought back in 2016 from a reseller in Connecticut. It too had a similar low hour life. I bought it with 800 cutting hours on it and was pristine. It was in a small shop that made microscopes. The company was bought by a Taiwanese company and then ran into the ground and sold off. When I picked up the lathe, the reseller showed me the lot of equipment that came out that shop and everything that came out of that shop was pristine low hours condition.

    Someday I'll put my story in the shop forum as its an interesting unique story filled with good examples of bad ideas.

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  9. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    but I do a lot of tool changes and almost religiously believe in single-piece-flow......
    There are arguments/situations for both single-piece-flow, and/or a table full of vises/parts.
    My shop runs the gamut of both. I have from (at any given time) single piece flow on a simple two OP part. To 16 parts in 4 vises on each pallet of a two pallet machine.
    On orders ranging from 50pcs to "who knows how long these will be running? Lets roll with indefinite for now".
    There is a time/place/reason for each. I can however tell you which strategy I personally like best!

  10. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Well, a few factors:

    First, we're not a machine shop. We're an electronics shop. We have a machine shop, but it's ancillary to our bread and butter. We make heatsinks and enclosures and connectors and fixtures and stuff in the machine shop.

    Now, we do power electronics for a variety of different industries. Motor controls and regulators and such. All low voltage. In about 2010 we fell into making controllers for electronic cigarettes. People in the DIY space were using our off-the-shelf regulators in their builds, and eventually we started making devices and controllers purpose-built for the industry.

    Fast forward to 2014-2015 and we're growing 350% year on year, with the growth being almost exclusively the e-cigarette stuff. We mostly make controllers, but we make some parts and some devices. I have an 80s bridgeport Interact, and an early 90s Fadal. When you're growing that fast, you need everything to go as quickly as possible. A speedio is much faster than a fadal, so I buy a S700X1. That's great, and keeps up. So I buy two more.

    But, again, 350% per year means whatever you were doing six months ago, you need twice as much of it now. In the space of four years, we went from 3300 square feet (2 bays in an industrial park) to 7000 square feet (five bays in the same industrial park) to 11000 square feet (took the non-adjoining bays one building over) to buying a 36,000 square foot building.

    Remember, machining is a side-line. Our bread and butter is electronic controllers for other peoples' devices. But our major constraint for the past few years had been space first, and machine capacity second. So when I buy the building, I also buy four more Speedios. Growth's like that.

    By this time, however, the market's starting to shift. Whereas initially our electronics customers are people here in the USA, as the market grows even the high-end stuff starts moving to Asia, and our US customers start dropping. You'd think this is where the story goes bad, but you'd be wrong. My partner in the e-cig business (a big 6'4 white guy from Ashtabula OH) says "fuck it, I can sell anybody" and flies off to China. And does! So now we're selling electronics TO the Chinese, to put into their devices to sell back. Electronics manufacturing is pretty low labor, so there's no big cost issue here. We work super hard on the design side to always stay a feature or two ahead of the Chinese knockoff boards.

    The volume of the electronics side continues to ramp up, but making complete devices becomes less and less of a priority, because with finite engineering labor, we can either double down on our bread and butter and make better circuit boards to stay ahead, or we can spend time designing and build (one of many) complete devices using the boards we already have. Easy choice, I know where my bread's buttered. So the brothers that were in production early get decent (but declining) use, and the new ones don't really get brought into production.

    Then the troubles start. The FDA announces they'll be regulating these in (2016, 2018, 2022, back to 2020.) That casts a pall on the industry, but as they don't actually enforce anything people keep trucking. By now almost all of our business is following the model of purchasing electronic components from all over the world, assemble the controller circuit boards here in Ohio, shipping the completed boards to assembly sites in China (for companies all over the world) and then the majority of the completed e-cigarette devices get sold back here. Keep in mind how many times the things are crossing international borders.

    Then the trade war starts, and every time something crosses a border it gets whacked with a 25-35% tariff. About 10% of our electronics BOM comes from China, so that's tariffed. Then effectively all of the complete circuit boards we make go to China. Who whacks them with another 35% retaliatory tariff. Then the complete products with our circuit boards in them come BACK from China, and get hit with ANOTHER 35% tariff. This is starting to get expensive.

    Despite that, by Q1 of 2019 we're making 120,000 complete controller board assemblies per month. But the Speedios on the production floor largely sit, a relic of a less specialized time. The ones in the engineering lab get a good amount of use, though.

    Fast forward to now: The FDA's regulations are finally in effect, though not enforced as of just yet. We have complete products in the FDA approval pipeline, but the cases are extruded, not machined. We can't design new products right now, because anything that was on the market with an application pending when the regulations went into effect gets to stay on the market until the FDA rules one way or the other on it, but anything new can't be sold until after a years-long and millions-of-dollars approval process.

    Oh, and just to pour salt into the wounds, in the federal omnibus spending bill of 2020 they just made it illegal to ship any of the products through the USPS to consumers. UPS and Fedex followed suit immediately.

    And there's a global semiconductor shortage right now.


    If it makes you feel better, we have significantly more $150k to $500k machines over on the electronics side of the fence with a LOT of use on them purchased around the same time. And everything's paid for, including the building and my house, so nobody owes me anything.

    It's been a pretty good ride, all told. But I'm not going to need 7 high production mills in the near future, and if I need them again in the far future, I know how to buy more.

    Anyway, that's the long and longer of how you end up with a number of $80k machines with very little use. It'd be the long and short, but my in-laws are at the house all weekend, so clearly I have work to do on my computer...
    Thank you. That makes a lot more sense. I live a sheltered life.


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