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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    I think the biggest barrier is not price, it is communication. If you can't effectively communicate what you need then you're probably going to get hosed or turned away.

    How you state they have "A printer and a CNC" makes it clear you don't know what you don't know. You know "CNC" isn't much of a descriptor right? That could mean one of approximately 47,000,000 different kinds of machines.
    You count machines? I count sheep.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by ejronin View Post
    I know this is a years-old thread, but I honestly wondered the same thing as the OP.

    For 9 pages of people laughing at the OP, it was pretty interesting that some other key factors to the question was overlooked:

    Although the OP stated something about 0.05 tolerances, the growing number of people looking for items created via CNC don't really need that level of tolerance; they're not making precision parts and many who are seeking CNC work barely know mechanical or electrical engineering. The option to produce something that CAN have tight tolerance isn't the fault of the consumer. I think the OP was mainly referring to a question more on-line as to why the cost is high to a hobbyist or enthusiast looking to prototype or make a one-off. Millers with high end machines offering prototyping often have a quantity requirement that falls outside of the prototyping need thus making it seem like the mill operator is the fool or just offering the service to someone with more money than brains.

    My son can use a printer and CNC in his high school, and the cost of his drafting class is $50 per semester for material. You figure with an average of 90 students a year taking the course the school takes in $9000. Some people responding admit they couldn't run their machine on that for too long. It's not a large CNC and it's not fancy but it gets the job done. It runs a lot, and you're trusting kids with it so there's breakage. The point being, it's possible to make a business model on the same equipment without also whining about how you won't make money if you're doing a lot of small runs at lower quality for prototyping and one-offs. Whether that is worth your time isn't anyone's decision but yours just as paying you for it is theirs and not yours.

    Many have said, "oh, well YOU run it and see how it goes," and "it takes time to program and set up." Sure. That's a variable. If you're not the most proficient at it, it may take longer. That's a problem you have, not a problem I have. Years ago when I was learning Python and VBA, it took me hours to program things I now find simple. Are you charging for the job or the time? The work your doing is Manning a machine and ensuring the machine isn't breaking and the effort of the machine toward the product meets expectation. That's not a skill, that's a checklist of tasks. Modelling, engineering, and developing are skills. Be honest with the OP and yourself, you're being paid to watch and do in certain circumstances. The rest goes to material and general operating costs. Many businesses eat some of that cost. You don't want to, but that's part of not having a free lunch on your end. There's nothing wrong with billing that time, but don't pretend it takes a Master's in engineering to watch a drill fabricate what someone with a degree actually designed.
    Your arrogance and ignorance is stunning, for many reasons.
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    There's nothing wrong with billing that time, but don't pretend it takes a Master's in engineering to watch a drill fabricate what someone with a degree actually designed.
    Right there is a root cause, "Someone with a degree actually designed". Most of those people with a "degree" are complete idiots and it takes a skilled machinist to fix their mistakes.

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    So I was talking to some guys from a medical swiss shop and told them about some issues I had communicating some difficulties of some parts to someone in the old shop that hadn't touched a CNC since 1984. The guy is not an idiot (an asshole, sure), just doesn't have the frame of reference to understand the complexities of setting up 4-6 axis parts in a machine to run unattended. The medical shop guys told me about one time where someone from the front office came back to complain about lead time on something, and asked to be shown the setup procedure and why it takes so long. They had him take the print, open the barfeeder on the swiss and set it in there, and then go to the machine and press the green button and wait for the parts to come out.

    I laughed pretty hard at that.

    If it makes you guys feel any better, I come from a VERY complex technical world (biochemistry and related instrumentation) but I'd be a fucking moron if I thought CNC machining was easy. Like anything, there are simple and complex components, and you start to learn how to make complex things simple as you gain experience. And as you gain experience, you gain VALUE to an employer (or a customer if you're self-employed).

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    Some of these people are actually allowed to vote!

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Right there is a root cause, "Someone with a degree actually designed". Most of those people with a "degree" are complete idiots and it takes a skilled machinist to fix their mistakes.
    Polite term is "educated beyond their intelligence"

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    When I was attending university, my mentor was an engineer from England. There, engineers had to be able to run brakes, punch presses, lathes etc and possibly pour castings. In other words, have a fair amount of hands on training. Now it seems like the schools would rather inundate the students with prodigious amounts of higher level math and skip the hands on stuff.

    Which may lead to some of the abominable designs that are now appearing.

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    Finding the easiest most cost effective way to design something that gets the job done reliably sure is becoming a lost art.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 706jim View Post
    When I was attending university, my mentor was an engineer from England. There, engineers had to be able to run brakes, punch presses, lathes etc and possibly pour castings. In other words, have a fair amount of hands on training. Now it seems like the schools would rather inundate the students with prodigious amounts of higher level math and skip the hands on stuff.

    Which may lead to some of the abominable designs that are now appearing.
    When I started in a machine shop long ago, the owner said that he also said that it would be a very good idea for engineers to work in machine shops. The owner of that shop didn't have a degree, but had designed and built from scratch many automatic machines. I've seen (and fixed many) mistakes by degreed engineers. This doesn't include the times I saw a way to design the part to be much easier to make.
    I know there are people on this site that are much smarter or more talented than I. Part of the reason I'm here is to learn, and another part is to contribute where I can.
    I've never really understood people that need to troll, or engage in digital self-gratification. My guess is they don't feel satisfied with their life, and are engaging in an attempt to find a reason for being.

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    This thread was the most fun I've had all week

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    Quote Originally Posted by Complete Moron View Post
    My son can use a printer and CNC in his high school, and the cost of his drafting class is $50 per semester for material. You figure with an average of 90 students a year taking the course the school takes in $9000. Some people responding admit they couldn't run their machine on that for too long. It's not a large CNC and it's not fancy but it gets the job done. It runs a lot, and you're trusting kids with it so there's breakage. The point being, it's possible to make a business model on the same equipment without also whining about how you won't make money if you're doing a lot of small runs at lower quality for prototyping and one-offs. Whether that is worth your time isn't anyone's decision but yours just as paying you for it is theirs and not yours.
    What kind of twisted logic is this?

    If a customer pays you $9,000 for material, but you spend the money on fixed expenses, where does the material come from? Do you pull it out of your ass?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radar987 View Post
    What kind of twisted logic is this?

    If a customer pays you $9,000 for material, but you spend the money on fixed expenses, where does the material come from? Do you pull it out of your ass?
    Hello Radar,
    ejronin touched on a number of tools in his Post, but I fear he touches one tool a little too often.

    The personnel manning the equipment he makes reference to are either paid for by their parents/guardians, or the general public (by way of taxes). It would be great if a machine shop could factor that into their business model. He also fails to acknowledge that there is substantial infrastructure and overhead, even for the 3D printers he uses as an example; they're not sitting in a tent in a field, being powered by someone generating power peddling a stationary bicycle equipped with a dynamo.

    Regards,

    Bill

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    Software development doesn't cost real money every time you have a bug (during the development and prove-out phase). Software development is purely a labor intensive process.

    Imagine every VB or Python bug in your program resulting in a machine crash, wasted material, and broken tool?

    A carbide tool could be $6-75, the material could be $2-20, and a machine crash could simply be a shortening of the life of the machine, wasted time, and/or costly repairs to the machine.

    In the real world a CNC program can't have many bugs or you would go broke fast.

    You get anywhere from 1 to maybe 25 tries to prove out a program or process. Many setups and programs result in just 1 reject part, or less, which depends on the skill of the programmer, setup guy, and operator.

    So, in the real world of physical items and subtractive manufacturing, getting it right the first time is not just a slogan, it's a way of life.

    The really good guys know that not everything can be obtained on the first try, so they program tolerances into the toolpaths and setup to be able to re-run the machining pass and get parts that are per print and in tolerance.

    That's my high-level explanation of why it costs so much to produce products via subtractive machining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ejronin View Post
    I know this is a years-old thread, but I honestly wondered the same thing as the OP.

    For 9 pages of people laughing at the OP, it was pretty interesting that some other key factors to the question was overlooked:

    Although the OP stated something about 0.05 tolerances, the growing number of people looking for items created via CNC don't really need that level of tolerance; they're not making precision parts and many who are seeking CNC work barely know mechanical or electrical engineering. The option to produce something that CAN have tight tolerance isn't the fault of the consumer. I think the OP was mainly referring to a question more on-line as to why the cost is high to a hobbyist or enthusiast looking to prototype or make a one-off. Millers with high end machines offering prototyping often have a quantity requirement that falls outside of the prototyping need thus making it seem like the mill operator is the fool or just offering the service to someone with more money than brains.

    My son can use a printer and CNC in his high school, and the cost of his drafting class is $50 per semester for material. You figure with an average of 90 students a year taking the course the school takes in $9000. Some people responding admit they couldn't run their machine on that for too long. It's not a large CNC and it's not fancy but it gets the job done. It runs a lot, and you're trusting kids with it so there's breakage. The point being, it's possible to make a business model on the same equipment without also whining about how you won't make money if you're doing a lot of small runs at lower quality for prototyping and one-offs. Whether that is worth your time isn't anyone's decision but yours just as paying you for it is theirs and not yours.

    Many have said, "oh, well YOU run it and see how it goes," and "it takes time to program and set up." Sure. That's a variable. If you're not the most proficient at it, it may take longer. That's a problem you have, not a problem I have. Years ago when I was learning Python and VBA, it took me hours to program things I now find simple. Are you charging for the job or the time? The work your doing is Manning a machine and ensuring the machine isn't breaking and the effort of the machine toward the product meets expectation. That's not a skill, that's a checklist of tasks. Modelling, engineering, and developing are skills. Be honest with the OP and yourself, you're being paid to watch and do in certain circumstances. The rest goes to material and general operating costs. Many businesses eat some of that cost. You don't want to, but that's part of not having a free lunch on your end. There's nothing wrong with billing that time, but don't pretend it takes a Master's in engineering to watch a drill fabricate what someone with a degree actually designed.
    You're being kind of a dick, so you're going to get dick replies in response (as you deserve), but the bottom line is that it takes a lot of skill to set up and run a CNC machine, the machines themselves are expensive, and programming the machine well takes a lot of skill and requires expensive software which all costs money.

    The people questioning the cost of CNC machining are thinking only about the actual cost of the machine running, but that's far from the biggest cost. Competitive shops will bill out million-dollar CNC machines at $150-200/hour, and those machines can make a lot of parts quickly, so the per-unit cost for each machined part is small.

    But for any given job, it can take anywhere from a few hours to several days (or weeks for much more complex stuff) to program the machine to cut it. People think you just load a 3D model into a machine and it cuts... that's not true anymore than downloading Visual Studio makes an Android application. You have to tell the software how to cut the part, which tools to use, how to move, what order to cut, etc. Just like you have to tell Visual Studio what libraries you want to use, what the flow of your program will be, how to compile it, etc. It ain't easy and you wouldn't work for $10/hr anymore than a good CAM programmer would.

    The machines also have a finite life. 10 years is probably a good estimate. So a $120k machine will cost roughly $1k a month just to own, plus the cost of electricity, repair, fluids, etc, easily another $1k a month. Add in an operator, an industrial space to put the machine, and you're easily at $50/hr on the low end, much more on the higher end.

    If you call up a shop and want 1 part, all the tooling, programming and fixturing costs are spread out over 1 part. If you order 1,000, it gets spread out over 1,000pcs.

    How much would you charge to write a custom VBA app for a business that would handle their customer service needs? Probably an hourly rate or many thousands of $$. One could ask why - since it's just a bunch of text on a screen that you can write while lying in bed. Hell, there's tons of 16 year old kids out there that can write VBA or Python stuff, or Russians/Bulgarians/Vietnamese people that can do it better than you - so why would you charge such a high price?

    Skill costs money. CNC machining parts isn't all that easy, and the more complex the part, the more it costs. Just like a Hello World program for an Arduino is cheap, but a database-driven customer management program isn't. Especially if you're selling one unit of your product compared to thousands of units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    So I was talking to some guys from a medical swiss shop and told them about some issues I had communicating some difficulties of some parts to someone in the old shop that hadn't touched a CNC since 1984. The guy is not an idiot (an asshole, sure), just doesn't have the frame of reference to understand the complexities of setting up 4-6 axis parts in a machine to run unattended. The medical shop guys told me about one time where someone from the front office came back to complain about lead time on something, and asked to be shown the setup procedure and why it takes so long. They had him take the print, open the barfeeder on the swiss and set it in there, and then go to the machine and press the green button and wait for the parts to come out.

    I laughed pretty hard at that.
    I've always thought that it's a cryin' shame that pay rates in the CNC machining industry tend to be so much lower than other skilled trades or technical trades, because there is at least as much need for technical brilliance in the CNC world as others. And if a person is a true high-flyer, it is very difficult to find a job that values that and pays accordingly. But CNC is a world where a halfwit can seriously cost a company massive amounts of money and a hot-shot is worth their weight in gold.

    On a related note, I always think it's amusing when people look down on costs in other industries. I have a friend who is a driver for UPS. He was looking at LED lights for his 4-wheeler on Amazon, but didn't want to pay the prices. It was something like $50 for a Chinese-made junk LED light and came with wiring, fuses and everything. He asked if I could make it for him and save him a few bucks. It would take me 3-4 days of programming and machining to make the part, and material would have been more than the price he wanted to pay. He was a bit annoyed that I couldn't help him out and said CNC shops charging such ridiculous prices was why so much of the work was going to China. But this is a guy who has no special skills and just drives a UPS truck around delivering packages and gets about $100k a year doing it (granted, with overtime). I asked why someone should get 2 grand a week just to sit in a chair and drive to people's houses and drop packages in their driveway. He got very defensive and told me how most people could never do his job. I just said "uh, huh...".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ejronin View Post
    The work your doing is Manning a machine and ensuring the machine isn't breaking and the effort of the machine toward the product meets expectation. That's not a skill, that's a checklist.
    This is some decent Trolling. And he's getting only the responses I'm assuming he expected. And the snippet that I quoted is true (to a point). In 2019 operators ARE given the title of Machinist, in almost every shop I know of. But that doesn't make the statement true in regard to actual Machinists, only the operators who are called that, so their Millennial feelings don't get hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ejronin View Post
    I know this is a years-old thread, but I honestly wondered the same thing as the OP.

    For 9 pages of people laughing at the OP, it was pretty interesting that some other key factors to the question was overlooked:

    Although the OP stated something about 0.05 tolerances, the growing number of people looking for items created via CNC don't really need that level of tolerance; they're not making precision parts and many who are seeking CNC work barely know mechanical or electrical engineering. The option to produce something that CAN have tight tolerance isn't the fault of the consumer. I think the OP was mainly referring to a question more on-line as to why the cost is high to a hobbyist or enthusiast looking to prototype or make a one-off. Millers with high end machines offering prototyping often have a quantity requirement that falls outside of the prototyping need thus making it seem like the mill operator is the fool or just offering the service to someone with more money than brains.

    My son can use a printer and CNC in his high school, and the cost of his drafting class is $50 per semester for material. You figure with an average of 90 students a year taking the course the school takes in $9000. Some people responding admit they couldn't run their machine on that for too long. It's not a large CNC and it's not fancy but it gets the job done. It runs a lot, and you're trusting kids with it so there's breakage. The point being, it's possible to make a business model on the same equipment without also whining about how you won't make money if you're doing a lot of small runs at lower quality for prototyping and one-offs. Whether that is worth your time isn't anyone's decision but yours just as paying you for it is theirs and not yours.

    Many have said, "oh, well YOU run it and see how it goes," and "it takes time to program and set up." Sure. That's a variable. If you're not the most proficient at it, it may take longer. That's a problem you have, not a problem I have. Years ago when I was learning Python and VBA, it took me hours to program things I now find simple. Are you charging for the job or the time? The work your doing is Manning a machine and ensuring the machine isn't breaking and the effort of the machine toward the product meets expectation. That's not a skill, that's a checklist of tasks. Modelling, engineering, and developing are skills. Be honest with the OP and yourself, you're being paid to watch and do in certain circumstances. The rest goes to material and general operating costs. Many businesses eat some of that cost. You don't want to, but that's part of not having a free lunch on your end. There's nothing wrong with billing that time, but don't pretend it takes a Master's in engineering to watch a drill fabricate what someone with a degree actually designed.
    Let me just put this out there, to shut your pie-hole: the overhead for my tiny two man (including me) shop is $30k/month. Do you get it now?

    Edit: I just went back, and re-read your post paying a little more attention.
    I realized, I should have never even responded. Because, you have no fucking clue what your are talking about when it comes to a CNC machine shop. And, the skill-set required to make anything. "don't pretend it takes a master's to watch a drill fabricate what someone with a degree actually designed"?! Seriously????! Bwaaahahahahahaha!
    That is too damn funny!

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    In 2019 operators ARE given the title of Machinist, in almost every shop I know of
    Oh not in my case.... If I interview someone I always ask first "Are you a machinist or just a CNC Setup, Programmer or Operator. I have a little Kennedy toolbox by my desk marked (Machinist test kit). The box has half of a small broken gear, A pitch gauge set, a flat fly cutter, a HSS blank, and several aluminum gear blanks, and a pair of safety glasses. I would set the toolbox on the table and ask "How many cranks in a dividing head for a full rotation"? The most common answer was "36?" as in they would question their own answer. I'd just shake my head, thank them for their interest and send them on their way. I just have no patience for button jockeys that bypassed the basic skills building blocks of the trade and then calls themselves a machinist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    Let me just put this out there, to shut your pie-hole: the overhead for my tiny two man (including me) shop is $30k/month. Do you get it now?
    I dont understand how that's possible.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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    There have been some pretty funny basic skills tests posted here in the past. You should placate the interviewee next time and ask it like this; with a 40 to 1 ratio, how many cranks...? Then you might get someone who actually thinks first.

    I saw one where they were told "work starts at 8:00am-what time do employees need to be ready for work?" People fail!!!

    R

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