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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    Taken from the kickstarter page...

    I hope that is not referring to yourselves but to actual machine run time of the prototypes
    Note; there are 2080 hours in one year of an average work week. "Hundreds" of hours is not tons of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    Taken from the kickstarter page...



    I hope that is not referring to yourselves but to actual machine run time of the prototypes
    No shit, that was the past 2 weeks alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by litlerob1 View Post
    Note; there are 2080 hours in one year of an average work week. "Hundreds" of hours is not tons of time.
    Considering he is still planning on buying machines to build these im going to say hundreds is accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Generic Default View Post
    Oldwrench,

    Just a couple GIFs of an indicator test for linear motion. The limit switches repeat to within a couple tenths and there's really no stick-slip. Backlash was indicated at about 0.0003" when adjusted and 0.0007" without adjustment. Given that all machining is done within a few inches of travel on each axis, the speed benefits of ballscrews are negligible. The linear thrust assemblies use opposing roller bearings.
    Generic, that didn't address my point at all. OK, your GIFs demonstrate axis movement, basically indistinguishable from that of a laser printer. This may not make sense to you, but stick-slip and motion repeatability under no-load conditions have absolutely nothing to do with the fundamental flaw of deflection of the aluminum under any kind of cut.

    If all you're claiming is that it will machine Delrin within .001 per operation, well OK—but for $4700 you need a video of turning and milling METAL...with a good closeup of the workpiece and the chips. In the course of doing that you will understand why so many of us are telling you it needs to be cast iron.

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    First - I don't see how you expect to sell those for $4700, and turn a profit. There's a ton of work there...

    Second - congratulations for actually building a working machine. That is no small task in itself, and deserves some respect.

    Third - Don't invest in your own CNC machines to make these. Even if you stick to this design, have the parts water-jet and machine outside, and simply concentrate on the assembly. This will save you tons of (machine) time, and help preserve your cash.

    Fourth - Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think a mill-turn is the best route for a hobby machine. Instead, I'd focus on a 3-axis mill, and a 2-axis lathe. Maybe a Y-axis lathe if you wanted to get ambitious. I'd try to design as much similarity between the machines as well. IE - The lathe's headstock could double as a 4th axis on the mill. The base castings for the lathe's Z-axis & saddle, could also produce the mill's Y-axis saddle & X-axis ways. The mill's spindle & lathe's live-spindle could be the same. The lathe's turret & mills toolchanger could be made from the same parts. And so on...

    This would do a few things. 1- It would make the learning curve & up-front investment for your customers much less. It would also greatly reduce your manufacturing costs, and let you use better materials, like cast-iron.





    But, don't just take my word for it. Best of luck with it all.

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    By the way. Using a Shars 1" travel indicator to test for axis repeatability & lost-motion may be fine on a home-shop/hobby forum, but that WILL NOT impress anyone on this forum. Not trying to be a jerk, but the crowd here is used to real precision in an industrial setting.

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    Yeah I'd say that is a shit ton of work, I bet no one will get their machine. Kick starter is cool, but you always see people losing their investments, or at least used to, I don't hear so much about them anymore.

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    I am impressed you got this far and have raised over a hundred grand on kick starter. Just a bit of advice dont buy the machines to make your machine. Again dont spend the money to buy a mill. You are going to need every dollar to deliver those mills to the buyers. Farm out the work to shops with the skill and equipment in house. Deliver your first machines then waite and see how much hand holding you are going to have to do. Figure out how many employees you are going to need to keep the customer service up. That is the key to staying in business and not having a mob out for blood. You can sell crap if you are willing to support it. Refunds repair parts and customer service can overcome bad design and poor quality. No one on the other end of the phone to help will get you death threats. The internet is ruthless they will devour you and spit you out. I manufacture a line of products and have for over ten years. We make everything in the US but nothing in house. You will have your hands full just doing the assembly. Good luck. dont buy the mill.

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    I hate to be that guy...the guy who shits on someone who actually goes out and tries...but I feel like too many are trying to take advantage of kickstarter only to ultimately kill their business. Instead of performing real R&D you end up trying to produce multiple prototypes and send those off to supporters. First, prototypes are usually shit. They are the first iteration of your idea. Very seldom are these great products. So now you have multiple pieces of shit floating out in the world with your companies name on it. You've made no money because producing all these orders within the deadline has lead to less than optimal manufacturing options. But hey, customers are giving feedback on how to improve your product....unfortunately they have had to spend 5k in order to do so. All of the opinions you are reading in this thread...I pretty much guarantee this is what you will be hearing from your backers. Kickstarter should be the 3rd, 4th, or 5th step of your business, not the first. Consult with industry experts, gain an interested following, build several prototypes, then launch on kickstarter. Only then will you have built a successful, sustainable business.

    edit...I do have a question though. Pocker NC V2, similar concept, desktop 5X machine, they claim accuracy of +-.002 and that machine is smaller. Is their product bad or is yours really good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    By the way. Using a Shars 1" travel indicator to test for axis repeatability & lost-motion may be fine on a home-shop/hobby forum, but that WILL NOT impress anyone on this forum. Not trying to be a jerk, but the crowd here is used to real precision in an industrial setting.
    Hi Jashley,
    I think this is getting into the minutia - the Shars products are mostly good enough to get the point across, he's really not going to gain much real precision or street cred with a Mits indicator instead.

    I mean, aluminum VS cast iron - that's a reasonable thing to question. Not the indicator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    edit...I do have a question though. Pocker NC V2, similar concept, desktop 5X machine, they claim accuracy of +-.002 and that machine is smaller. Is their product bad or is yours really good?
    Pocket NC V2 — Pocket NC Company

    Pocket NC Version 2 - YouTube

    It's a good reference, thanks for pointing it out. What the PNCV2 has going for it is "true" five axis capability, albeit in a really crippled package due to low stiffness, resolution, and power. The OP's machine is 3+2, at least as I read it.

    But yeah, they're selling the base PNCV2 for more than the Kickstarter price for this new machine. Part of that is it's now a "mature" machine, so the price should be expected to be higher. But I agree that if what's shown in the splash pages for the OP's machine is what you'll get for the $4,700 + shipping that it's either a loss-making product or there's some real redesign that'll have to be done to simplify and cheapen it.

  16. #32
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    This machine doesn't sell at a loss. The reason it can be made and sold for under $5,000 is that it doesn't have the expensive core components that contribute to the vast majority of the cost on most machines. No ballscrews, no linear rails, no steel heat treat & grinding, no proprietary electronics. All of the hardware parts on the SwissMak are off the self components, with the exception of the bar-stock machined components. Also, these Kickstarter units are kits, meaning the backers will be assembling them. Minimal assembly costs.

    Jashley and kpotter,

    On the subject of buying a production machine to make the SwissMaks....
    I've already lined up a bunch of suitable VMCs, gotten quotes, ect. A new Haas VF-4 is the least expensive option, 20% down, 7.5% interest, 4 years. Tooling it up, getting air lines, coolant, cutters ect. costs thousands more. These costs are accounted for within the budget, and the budget determined that I need 120k of pledges.

    The debate of In-House vs Outsource was a no brainer when I quoted some of the components. The cost of machining all of the parts of each machine in the Kickstarter batch clearly justifies financing a single VMC. Given that we have to rent a small shop space to run the business no matter what, making the bulk of the machines (aluminum bar work) just makes sense. These are simple parts too. Hold some plates in vises, drill, tap, counterbore, profile, face, chamfer. Everything fits in a vise and can be done in 2 operations with common tooling shared between all parts.

    I have until October to build ~30 machines. I plan on delivering early unless there is a major delay with getting the VMC on the shop floor.

    Also, for those of you wondering about cash flow; I can't give details, but take my word that there is significant interest by investors. I budgeted to get through the startup phase and expensive capital equipment situation using only the Kickstarter funds, but having investment really takes the risk out of this for Kickstarter backers.


    I really do appreciate [most of] the comments so far, I'm fully aware that straying from the normal methods of doing things draws criticism. I think that if most of the people on this forum could see the SwissMak in person, touch it, crank the handles, run a few parts....you would realize that it's much more achievable than you previously thought.

    That being said, the most helpful thing you can do for me is to let me know what unanticipated things you ran into while you were running your own shops. Expenses, regrets, mistakes, things you wish you had known.

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    My comment wasn't aimed towards tearing you down, much props for the idea and vision of where your hoping to go, I'm not whatsoever interested in your machine, but it's got a cool factor. How much machine/setup time did you have in the prototypes? How did you come up with your expected time frame your aiming for? Do you have much machining experience? Good luck, hope it turns out good for you, if it does, keep it in the USA.

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    Update your location.

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    Good idea and if it runs and works I'll not question construction materials.

    A few notes that may help you down the road:
    You need to torture test any design, this means 24/7 running it very hard so you can find the point of failure.
    All machines have point(s) of failure and you want to know these before your customers do.

    One big cost in building machines is demo machines that never get sold and spare parts inventory.
    Another biggie is good documentation and user training, you may be able to charge for the second.
    Phone support for help may not seem like a big time and resource killer at first but it will be.

    How will you handle field support over a large geographical area?
    Users can get very demanding and this support staff may sit on their butts a lot of the time eating payroll.
    Hobby market has some advantages over production machines here.

    An entry level pricing is 2X the cost of parts and labor to build and this multiplier is low. I have never seen anyone survive below this markup and seen many go belly up at 3X.

    I see a good idea and tallyho, but wonder about if the dollars are enough to make it fly as a business.
    Bob

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    So a maker is a professional person who makes stuff
    A craftman is a person who makes stuff to a high quality as a job but has lower social economic status and is most certainly not hip or cool.

    Id redesign it to several main cast iron castings and use mid grade ball linear rails.
    I have seen a similar machine in alloy with linear rails made as a trainer machine by a major german high end machine manufacturer forget the name though

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    Hard ano guides are basically crunchy coated chocolate bars. They will dent very easily even though the surface is "ceramic". If you want to really stiffen the base up you can make an allowance to pour polymer concrete into it, or even make precision molds and cast your own base. Better damping then cast iron too. I have been casting my own machine bases for 15 years. The precision is in the mold and all fastening points are just glue in concrete anchors that are in place when it is poured. Let cure at room temp for 24 hours and remove mold. Sand flash off and paint.
    I wanted to test a small weldment made with 3" channel. I started smashing it with a 10 pound sledge and stopped because it was damaging my concrete floor. I had a piece of polymer concrete about 4 x 10 x 18 that was left over from a pour I dumped it into a plastic box. So I put the piece on top and started smashing it again. I thought the piece would break after a few whacks. Nope. Just marked up a bit and much less so than the floor.

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    So far as keeping this machine low cost, I think perhaps a marriage of cast iron Durabar and aluminum could be workable. It's always better to have dissimilar metals in contact for bearing surfaces. Cast iron is reasonably durable even if neglected, which I suspect will happen with hobbyists. The aluminum should be reserved for the 'trucks' sliding on the cast iron as they will be fully protected.

    I think your timeline is absurdly tight. Hopefully, you would have a dozen of these things built in Mark 1 version and put them in the hands of the first customers in order to get feed back. Get the part redesigns made before you get a hundred of these things out there that need to be supported via a different parts list. I manufacture a machine for the bee industry. I built the first 5 machines, put them out, got feed back, and did a very major redesign which was very good, and I stuck with the redesign for the next 20 years. There are virtually no corresponding parts that can be used on the Mark 1 versus Mark 2 machines.

    I think having the customer assemble these things is a mistake. Machines like this need to be 'fitted' to be as tight as possible. Even careless handling of precision components is enough to make it impossible to get the thing together. Then the average smuck goes after dents and dings with file, abrasives, etc, and doesn't clean up and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffy887 View Post
    Hard ano guides are basically crunchy coated chocolate bars.
    I'd like to see what the ways look like after filling a couple 5 gallon buckets with AL chips. I'd offer real ways at least as an upgrade. Cool design overall.

    Reminds me of farmbot, which I don't think will last more than one season in use. Fun toys for sure. Like 3D printers, they are great for getting people interested in manufacturing, etc. Less so for making functional parts.

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    It's very impressive what you've done so far, and it's deserves some respect.

    After reading your site, and this thread, I'm not sure how the process will be. Let me know if I'm wrong:

    1.- You will machine (in-house or outsource) all the parts, buy electronics components, motors, etc...
    2.- You will assemble the kit and test it.
    3.- You will disassemble the kit, and send to the customer.

    As a business owner, that developed my product from scratch, here's some comments:

    If the product will go for $4,700, that means your cost of materials (including machining parts) should be between $1,200 and $1,500. Sincerely I don't see it, even if you're machining in house. I see your machine in the $15K to $20K range. If somebody is serious about machining, won't have any problem paying for it. Good luck supporting customers that are committed to a budget of $5K.

    At this stage, I'll save every penny and I wouldn't invest in a VMC. Outsource every single part. Work with local machine shops, offering blanket orders and schedules, and the cost will go down. After you have consistent sales, and your product has a decent reputation, you can bring your machining in house. Why a VMC? Why not a HMC? Why not a real mill-turn?

    In the beginning isn't about your capabilities. It's just about customer support, marketing, and improving your product. Look at Tormach. IMO, their reputation is coming from their support more than the quality of the machine.

    Do you do any FEA analysis? Unless your machine is intended to machine wax or soft plastic, I would consider other materials for the frame, like people mentioned before.

    Investors? At this stage? I would stay away from investors, partners, etc... Finance all you can by yourself.

    Look forward to hear more about your product! Best of luck!
    Last edited by riabma77; 05-17-2018 at 11:11 AM.

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