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  1. #21
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    In the earlier designs from 2015, I had each live tool on the turret driven by its own motor; the turret shaft passed the power connections and the live tool blocks just connected to them. I switched away from that to a more conventional setup where one motor drives all the tools, since a single larger motor can be a lot more powerful and simple to control.

    The problem with angle heads and speeders and stuff for full sized CNC machines is that they cost too much. The SwissMak will stay under 6,000 dollars for this version. Most of the angle heads and electric spindles I've seen that attach to bigger machines would cost as much as the entire SwissMak. The live tool motor on the SwissMak will go to about 8,000 RPM, which is on par with full sized turning centers (yes I know the really nice Japanese ones can do 10,000-12,000 now). It would be easy to switch out the motor for one of an identical size that goes twice as fast, but there are electrical trade-offs that would make the motor controller use twice the amperage for a given torque, which means 4x the heat in the controller. I think the 8,000 RPM live tool range is perfect for tools that can be held in an ER20 collet. Keep in mind the SwissMak spindle can do parts that fit in a 6 inch chuck, so not everything is small.

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    Do you plan on making a website? Id like to buy one to use at work.

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    How unfortunate.

    I hope the other guy who's making the 600 pound hobby bridge mill is paying attention.

    A creator who underprices his product to ensure successful funding on Kickstarter is missing the point of crowdfunding. One must price the product realistically, then use Kickstarter as a test to see if the product has any market viability AT THAT PRICE. An unsuccessful campaign is a reality check, and a blessing in disguise.

    If tariffs are enough to sink a project, then the pricing was way too low, like half of where it should have been.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar987 View Post
    How unfortunate.

    I hope the other guy who's making the 600 pound hobby bridge mill is paying attention.

    A creator who underprices his product to ensure successful funding on Kickstarter is missing the point of crowdfunding. One must price the product realistically, then use Kickstarter as a test to see if the product has any market viability AT THAT PRICE. An unsuccessful campaign is a reality check, and a blessing in disguise.

    If tariffs are enough to sink a project, then the pricing was way too low, like half of where it should have been.
    I'm going to say the tariffs were just an excuse, as in other post prior and pointed out by few people he said he had already bought all the material for these machine. I dont know just what I read in the comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delw View Post
    I'm going to say the tariffs were just an excuse, as in other post prior and pointed out by few people he said he had already bought all the material for these machine. I dont know just what I read in the comments.
    Exactly! If anyone believes that BS I have some ocean front property in Arizona I would like to sell them. What a loser, blaming his failures on Donald Trump.

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    Sounds like maybe a one-piece-flow workflow would have maybe been better than doing all of them at once a little at a time. At least then there might be a few dozen shipped to start giving people some hope and appeasing the masses. Having a bunch of 80% finished machines floating around doesn't do anyone any good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by npolanosky View Post
    Sounds like maybe a one-piece-flow workflow would have maybe been better than doing all of them at once a little at a time. At least then there might be a few dozen shipped to start giving people some hope and appeasing the masses. Having a bunch of 80% finished machines floating around doesn't do anyone any good.
    After the Kickstarter was over and the numbers were in, we had a total of 36 machines to build. The early plan was to run a batch of components that would make 5 machines, to get our machining programs and fixtures dialed in. After that we would do three batches of ten at a time for a total of 35 machines. That last machine is a different type so it gets custom treatment.

    We had to scrap this batch production plan after the metal tariffs and pricing hit, since we couldn't get the metal we needed at the price we planned in a reasonable amount of time. It's more cost effective to buy all of the metal of a specific profile size at once, and since the suppliers were saying they couldn't guarantee prices for more than a few days and couldn't estimate mill order lead times or stock quantities, it made sense to move away from the batch plan.

    Vancbiker, radar, delw, and dualkit,

    In that update from last year we said we have nearly all of the metal, not 100% of it. That wasn't a lie, just looking at all of the parts we have finish machined shows the SwissMaks mostly complete if you go by weight, volume, or just looking at the assemblies like "yup, it's mostly there, just missing a few of the smaller pieces".


    I think a lot of the guys on this forum run or work at job shops that do mostly domestic work with medium or small job sizes for customers within the US. When you are competing with similar job shops, and everyone is buying metal from the same suppliers, your customers will see an increase in prices from everyone, and as long as your customers insist (or are obligated to) buy their parts from US vendors, you aren't particularly hurt by the metal tariffs. At worst you lose some money on a job you bid on just before metal prices went up, and you raise your future bids to compensate for the new prices.

    Our Kickstarter plan was the same as taking a large contract order at a fixed price that will take many months to finish, and is dependent on both metal prices and prices of imported components. The cost of aluminum was the single biggest expense in our budget, after that the components (motors, chucks, hardware, bearings, electronics, ect.) are the biggest expense. As Radar said, we could have just listed the SwissMaks on Kickstarter with a much higher price. The tariffs would have cost us the same.

    This forum has a heavy conservative bias but I'm still kind of surprised that the people above can't see how the tariffs hurt us. As far as I know, this trade war is unprecedented in modern US history, the closest thing was that Bush steel tariff that lasted a year and a half and was regarded as a major fail. We didn't budget for a big chunk of our Kickstarter funds to go straight into the US treasury.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Generic Default View Post
    ........The cost of aluminum was the single biggest expense in our budget, after that the components (motors, chucks, hardware, bearings, electronics, ect.) are the biggest expense. ....

    This forum has a heavy conservative bias but I'm still kind of surprised that the people above can't see how the tariffs hurt us......
    IME, it is a rare project where the material cost of a machined part accounts for more than ~20% of the item's selling price. Usually material is way less than 20%. Labor/overhead is always the far greater chunk.

    Since material is the minor piece of the sales price, changes in material cost have a correspondingly minor influence in the final part price. Assuming material is 20% of a part's price.....

    $20 material + $80 labor/overhead/profit = $100 part

    With 25% tariff applied to material...

    $25 material + %80 labor/overhead/profit = $105 part or just a 5% part price increase. It's a hit for sure, but should not put ones business in jeopardy.

    Your business model must be quite different since you say the metal tariffs are taking a big bite. If that is the case then I'm sure you are pricing your parts too low and will find that you can not produce the machine profitably at the price you targeted.

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    I mostly agree with Vanc's post, but I need to do $2000 work to $2600 blocks of steel starting this week, so ...



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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    Exactly! If anyone believes that BS I have some ocean front property in Arizona I would like to sell them. What a loser, blaming his failures on Donald Trump.
    Trump sucks.

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    My understanding is that the tariffs delayed production by quite a bit, and then the work was taking longer than expected as well (as such things do). The hardest challenge for this type of business is the constant bleed of overhead costs - if you are several months behind schedule the rent and machine lease will crush you.

    Hopefully you can recover, there is obviously interest in the project and I'm sure the next set of machines will be easier to build.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Generic Default View Post

    This forum has a heavy conservative bias but I'm still kind of surprised that the people above can't see how the tariffs hurt us. As far as I know, this trade war is unprecedented in modern US history, the closest thing was that Bush steel tariff that lasted a year and a half and was regarded as a major fail. We didn't budget for a big chunk of our Kickstarter funds to go straight into the US treasury.
    maybe maybe not, I think the real problem is most people on this forum use there own money to get started or take out a loan. not use website set up for freeloaders that uses other peoples handouts.

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    I was surprised that they could machine all of those parts and put in all of the electronics and motors for $6k, and still make enough of a profit to make it even a little worthwhile. The amount of markup needed to cover marketing, insurance, overhead etc is always shocking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by G00 Proto View Post
    I was surprised that they could machine all of those parts and put in all of the electronics and motors for $6k, and still make enough of a profit to make it even a little worthwhile. The amount of markup needed to cover marketing, insurance, overhead etc is always shocking.
    Well he can't.. actually lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delw View Post
    maybe maybe not, I think the real problem is most people on this forum use there own money to get started or take out a loan. not use website set up for freeloaders that uses other peoples handouts.

    RED Digital (cinematic cameras) were pretty famous for taking pre-orders and then delaying release by years in some cases. "Peeps" had to put down a not insubstantial amount of $ for the "Pre-order"... BUT full refunds were available for anyone that wanted to bail... No questions asked. Usually there were huge waiting lists also / demand.

    But somehow they managed to maintain an almost cult like user base. Early days some people called them a "Scam" (as they just didn't believe they could deliver what they promised at the initial price point) but they did deliver and they revolutionized digital cinematics and put powerful tools into the hands of the many (outside of big budget productions.).

    BUT was kinda helpful to have a billionaire (Jim Jannard originally cofounder of Oakley) to have a substantial slush fund / war chest when things really screw up / get difficult. ).


    His tag line was …


    "Everything in life changes... including our camera specs and delivery dates..."

    We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone with a bad attitude.




    BUT they did some amazing breaks and deals for those that 'Kept the faith" usually the wait was rewarded by RED dramatically improving the products they released. [At least on the camera front.]. [Their cameras have gone more up market since then but are still used for major CG intensive productions.].

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________


    A substantial "War Chest" is required to absorb all the likely screwups delays and design changes for pretty much any complex product that you try to put into the market place. Try to make it as good as you possibly can before launch. Sometimes better to partially subsidize the initial launch and then re-coup costs later on. Going half cocked and releasing a not so great product can kill your business ( before it's had a chance to really go anywhere.).

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    Quote Originally Posted by G00 Proto View Post
    I was surprised that they could machine all of those parts and put in all of the electronics and motors for $6k, and still make enough of a profit to make it even a little worthwhile. The amount of markup needed to cover marketing, insurance, overhead etc is always shocking.
    It depends on selling to Americans, a machine tool that most of which came from China....Not American materials and parts.

    Much like Gordo tries to do with measuring equipment.

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    We had to scrap this batch production plan after the metal tariffs and pricing hit, since we couldn't get the metal we needed at the price we planned in a reasonable amount of time. It's more cost effective to buy all of the metal of a specific profile size at once, and since the suppliers were saying they couldn't guarantee prices for more than a few days and couldn't estimate mill order lead times or stock quantities, it made sense to move away from the batch plan.
    So let me see if I get this right. You used other peoples money to design and build a piece of equipment. Then somehow you raised enough to build a prototype and received even more money. Now, the project closed and you stated you had already purchased the material ( Do you expect us to believe that you had to pay tariff on material you already have)? I'm quite sure you never had it. Now rather than take the hit and finish the machines while you still have a little bit of credibility you are asking for more donations?!?!

    Sorry, I don't buy into any of that. My take is you are just lip service. You ran a campaign for a corporation That has no website or contact number, no email (not even a gmail posted), and a Facebook page with only 3 reviews.

    Here is my take on what I think happened. For those that don't know the dark side of Kickstarter i'll shed a little not so well circulated information. Kickstarter has an Office in Shenzhen Guangdong right in the heart of Chinese manufacturing. Not just machines products but everything from Bamboo panties to Knock off Fanuc controls.

    I didn't know this until one day I get a call from them at the factory I was at in Zhongshan. They told me that once every two months they fly a group of people who had reached their goals to China to help them get their manufacturing cost down and ask if I would like to be on their vendor list. Of course I said sure whats not to like about a bunch of enthusiastic inventors who just came into a pot load of money with no risk involved! I asked what the catch was and basically they would bus them to the factory and we would give them a tour and provide lunch. OK, fair enough,, my people spend a few hours every 60 days to give out business cards, customer relations in my book.

    A few weeks roll by and here comes the first tour. We had rented out a restaurant just down the road for lunch just to keep things simple. Yeah, in someones infinite wisdom nobody communicated the number of people. Two tour buses pull up with probably a hundred people on them against the eight or ten people I had brought with me. We managed to finish lunch and get the tour over and I finally had a few minuted to chat up the people in charge. It was then they gave me the jaw dropper. They contact people that reach their goal and entice them to have their project completed in China through their office in China. Kickstarter gets a percentage of the backing in return for brokering the work and overseeing the progress. Hmm, how nice of them to hit the client with a second fee. I do have to admit,,,, It has become quite popular as Kickstarter and Haccelerator send a lot of business our way.

    So what I figure this feller did was find out he could save a lot of money (Even though his campaign claims only the drives come from China). So he decides to use the brokering service just before the trade tariffs go into affect. He blows most or all the money getting them made then just before shipping he gets popped with a 25% increase plus the brokering percentage and cant or wont pay it. After all its not his money. The time frame seems to add up so this is a possible scenario.

    I cant say for sure this happens but its been two years and no one has received their machine yet? Certain things this guy says really ring the alarm bells. As another poster said "How do you machine the bottom and top of a surface at the same time on a vertical mill"? Along with where did the Material go he already purchased. And the fact he buys a brand new machine and claims it was delivered 2 months late? Why not cancel the order on grounds of breach of contract and find another style or brand that's a demo or just in stock? If he really bought the machine there went half the fund raiser. Once again he said in the campaign that if there is a problem all investors get their money back. If this guy had to use a crowd funding site to raise money I don't think he has enough to pay back almost 200K. And if this is such a good idea then why is there no way to contact this guy? Who in their right mind donates $6000 to a guy for a machine not even built without even a phone number? Maybe these investors should go ahead and contact their attorneys.

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    Whoa damn slow down Gcoder!

    I've never been to China. Nobody at Kickstarter has ever offered to fly me out to China, I never met with anyone at Kickstarter or had any factory brunches, nobody ever offered to make the SwissMaks for me. In fact, I have never even communicated with a Kickstarter employee, I just get their automated email messages and forwards from their PM system.

    I set up shop near the port of Long Beach and used a percentage of the Kickstarter funds to lease a Doosan DNM 5700. Yes it's a VMC, it machines both sides of the boxways with a giant T slot cutter from AB tools. Check out the youtube videos and Kickstarter update photos if you don't believe that, there are photos showing finished, hard anodized parts sitting on our storage racks in the shop.


    I keep in contact with the Kickstarter backers through Kickstarter's messaging system, which is similar to this forum in functionality. The facebook page was just kind of a formality, it costs nothing but I can still communicate with people through it. The reason we don't have a website yet is because we aren't taking new orders until we know we can produce them with a short lead time at a known price. It's easy to machine these parts, what's difficult is dealing with the supply chain. The material we already purchased is now machined parts, some of it (but not all) is anodized. There is a big shipping pallet with more than 200 stepper motors on it in the shop, there are bulk bags full of smaller parts like ER collet nuts/holders, motor shaft couplers, screws, bearing nuts, ect. as well. We have the majority of the stuff to get these machines shipped, we just need more money to finish.

    Also I should mention that all of the aluminum bars we bought were SAPA/Hydro/Kaiser, I think most of them were extruded at the factory 20 miles north of our shop. Considering that the initial aluminum tariffs were only 10%, it would have been smarter for us to buy oversized Chinese metal bars at the very beginning rather than stick with American extrusions, but that is a 20/20 hindsight situation.


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