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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyc123 View Post
    To trboatworks,

    Somehow I messed up the thread trying to edit/delete a comment. Replying to your question about have I built these things - yes, I have. That's why I asked. This was the first thing I started making - tables.
    Thanks- I would proof any design from drawing to finished sample to see how long it takes.
    I can have hours in a single stick going into a piece.
    A great deal of this concept depends on the type of furniture you want to produce.

    This table top took:

    97f4d767-df56-4c10-bbc3-830ed46bc2aa.jpg

    A few days of layout and cut work:

    14ec94bc-600e-4732-a9d2-f5b121d29148.jpg 01a84036-8f30-47e7-a830-e701a4ae145f.jpg

    I don’t see enough time in your calculations unless the process is really well setup for larger runs of each design.

    I will drop in later with a couple of more thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyc123 View Post
    One thing I've thought about is manufacturing going back to a piece rate system like it was centuries ago where people produced parts at home or at a facility and employees are only paid by the piece. What if people machined parts in hackerspaces/makerspaces or built furniture pieces like on Etsy and sold online? How feasible would it be for them to compete with larger manufacturers?

    Some basic math I did was on building a table for furniture.

    I can get the lumber I need to make a small end table from yellow pine for about $5. Let's assume it takes me 20 minutes to cut all the pieces for one table, as well as use the planer to smooth/even them out. Let's also assume I spend 20 minutes gluing the top together. And then let's say it takes me another 20 minutes to do final assembly using screws for legs/supports. I've maybe used 6 or 7 bucks in materials, at most. And it's taken me an hour to build this end table. Look at what end tables sell for - lowest I see is around 60 bucks, many times 100 or more. These comparable sales on Google Shopping and Etsy I'm looking at aren't even painted. Wal-Mart had a small table like this made of fiberboard that was not assembled for 40 dollars. With the proper setup, I believe this run time could be reduced more, maybe to half an hour or even less. I'm using conservative numbers to make the point.


    So I have 1 hour of labor per table in production time + let's just say 8 bucks in materials. Now assume I'm selling 20 at a time to a retailer or distributor, and I'm selling them for 40 dollars.



    Gross Sales of 20*40 = 800

    COGS of 20*8 = 160



    Gross Profit of 800 - 160 = 640



    640 / 20 hours = 32 dollars per hour I'm getting paid to make these tables.



    Of course there's distribution/shipping - I'm not sure exactly what the convention is for retailers to get furniture, i.e. whether they pick-up or I have to handle freight. Even then, surely there's a way around this. People could make products for specific markets - like making things in a city specifically for distribution within that city and nearby areas.

    The big issue I see is that the production capacity would be small, but if you spread this out over a large number of people doing this, that would get larger.

    What I'm basically asking about is an Uber of manufacturing.
    Traceability is gonna be a nightmare.
    As well as responsibility for errors/bad parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    First, let's establish the ground rules. Are your times from a fully tooled factory without indirect overhead or from a small individual shop?

    Tom

    edit Actually there is direct overhead that must be included. Someone has to draw and transport stock to the workstation, someone has to handle scrap, someone has to orient the pieces for gluing as in grain up, grain down, grain up..., someone has to dowel or biscuit the edges, someone has to clean, trim and surface the glued board, edges have to sanded or machined. Frame must be made for the legs, cut, finished, fastened to the top. Legs must be made same as the frame. Finishing, inspection, packaging.

    Then we have to throw in all the indirect costs, purchasing, management, setups, maintenance.....

    This not just a slam, bam, thank up mam.

    Tom
    Small individual shop using a single individual, and you wouldn't need to do all the things you mentioned. I think you're misunderstand what it is I'm talking about here. This is just a simple table, not fine furniture.

    "Someone has to draw and transport stock to the workstation" - you just go out and buy materials.

    "someone has to handle scrap" - you mean throwing the leftovers in a bin/pile in a corner.

    "someone has to orient the pieces for gluing as in grain up, grain down, grain up" - this is nothing more than simply putting the parts together. You're making this sound a lot more compicated than it is.

    "someone has to dowel or biscuit the edges" - I just used screws and glue.

    "someone has to clean, trim and surface the glued board" - fair enough, but that's just adding a small process on.

    "edges have to sanded or machined" - they don't have to be sanded or machined. Even if you do this, you're still not adding a huge amount of time on.

    "Frame must be made for the legs, cut, finished, fastened to the top" - what frame?

    "Legs must be made same as the frame." - ???

    "Finishing, inspection, packaging." - doesn't have to be finished. Inspection made add some time but not a ton. Packaging would also add some time, but again, if you're sitting there doing this over and over again, you're not really spending a ton of time doing this for each piece.

    I'm saying buy yellow pine 2x4x8's and 2x4x6's. Enough to make several tables. Then you start cutting the pieces - over and over again, until you have all the pieces for how ever many tables. Then you run them all through the planer, over and over again, etc., on and on. Overall, you have something like an hour, maybe a bit more, to make each table.

    Here's the original video I watched to make my first table.

    YouTube

    Even if you toggle the numbers up to 15 bucks, you're still not going way over to the factor of 6 you're talking about.

    What I will admit is that getting the finished pieces to market may be a hassle and add costs. Again, it really depends on how this is setup.

    Let's assume it takes twice as long - two hours. You're down to 16/hour, and that's just selling them at 40 bucks. I see similar stuff selling online for double that or more. Maybe I'm off here or there somewhat, but in general, I don't see how it's far, far off. The amount of time it takes to do these things when done with jigs and other equipment repeatedly is not that large. You're talking about maybe a 2-2.5 hours to put out a table from start to finish to market. Whatever the gross margin is on the table minus shipping, you divide that by 2/2.5 and I don't see how you're getting much lower than 12 or 13 an hour. I've driven Uber for kicks and I wouldn't mind switching it up. All I'm suggesting here is could something like this work and how would it work? The responses above seem to be that it wouldn't for a few reasons, and I can see that. What I can't see is as far as the person making the table (what you're talking about), I don't see that being the issue.

    For clarity, I'm not saying "I have an idea to start this big startup and what do you think" - I have no idea to start this. I just thought of it and wondered why it hasn't been done. "It" being some sort of system whereby people make pieces and are paid piece rates. Whether that means a company looks for people who make stuff by themselves and sell large volumes online already, or if it means contracting with a makerspace to offer rates for pieces, is up for interpretation. Basically, is there some sort of room to make an Uber or Airbnb of sorts for making things? Both of those things beat the traditional market setup of cab companies and hotels, by meeting or beating price, and doing the same with service. On the question of price, I think it would be possible for many things, because you have a lot of overhead cut out by using a collaborative space, as one example. Obviously the trade-off is capacity - you can't make stuff at even close to the same speed as a factory. But if a lot of people are doing it, then could you somehow work this into being a supply chain whereby you have commercial buyers buying large volumes from a range of people? (what was done centuries ago)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    Thanks- I would proof any design from drawing to finished sample to see how long it takes.
    I can have hours in a single stick going into a piece.
    A great deal of this concept depends on the type of furniture you want to produce.

    This table top took:

    97f4d767-df56-4c10-bbc3-830ed46bc2aa.jpg

    A few days of layout and cut work:

    14ec94bc-600e-4732-a9d2-f5b121d29148.jpg 01a84036-8f30-47e7-a830-e701a4ae145f.jpg

    I don’t see enough time in your calculations unless the process is really well setup for larger runs of each design.

    I will drop in later with a couple of more thoughts.
    To be fair, OP mentioned kits from Walmart and such, nothing like the pictures you are showing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyc123 View Post
    Small individual shop using a single individual, and you wouldn't need to do all the things you mentioned. I think you're misunderstand what it is I'm talking about here. This is just a simple table, not fine furniture.

    "Someone has to draw and transport stock to the workstation" - you just go out and buy materials.

    "someone has to handle scrap" - you mean throwing the leftovers in a bin/pile in a corner.

    "someone has to orient the pieces for gluing as in grain up, grain down, grain up" - this is nothing more than simply putting the parts together. You're making this sound a lot more compicated than it is.

    "someone has to dowel or biscuit the edges" - I just used screws and glue.

    "someone has to clean, trim and surface the glued board" - fair enough, but that's just adding a small process on.

    "edges have to sanded or machined" - they don't have to be sanded or machined. Even if you do this, you're still not adding a huge amount of time on.

    "Frame must be made for the legs, cut, finished, fastened to the top" - what frame?

    "Legs must be made same as the frame." - ???

    "Finishing, inspection, packaging." - doesn't have to be finished. Inspection made add some time but not a ton. Packaging would also add some time, but again, if you're sitting there doing this over and over again, you're not really spending a ton of time doing this for each piece.

    I'm saying buy yellow pine 2x4x8's and 2x4x6's. Enough to make several tables. Then you start cutting the pieces - over and over again, until you have all the pieces for how ever many tables. Then you run them all through the planer, over and over again, etc., on and on. Overall, you have something like an hour, maybe a bit more, to make each table.

    Here's the original video I watched to make my first table.

    YouTube

    Even if you toggle the numbers up to 15 bucks, you're still not going way over to the factor of 6 you're talking about.

    What I will admit is that getting the finished pieces to market may be a hassle. Again, it really depends on how this is setup.

    Let's assume it takes twice as long - two hours. You're down to 16/hour, and that's just selling them at 40 bucks. I see similar stuff selling online for double that or more. Maybe I'm off here or there somewhat, but in general, I don't see how it's far, far off. The amount of time it takes to do these things when done with jigs and other equipment repeatedly is not that large. You're talking about maybe a 2-2.5 hours to put out a table from start to finish to market. Whatever the gross margin is on the table minus shipping, you divide that by 2/2.5 and I don't see how you're getting much lower than 12 or 13 an hour. I've driven Uber for kicks and I wouldn't mind switching it up. All I'm suggesting here is could something like this work and how would it work? The responses above seem to be that it wouldn't for a few reasons, and I can see that. What I can't see is as far as the person making the table (what you're talking about), I don't see that being the issue.

    For clarity, I'm not saying "I have an idea to start this big startup and what do you think" - I have no idea to start this. I just thought of it and wondered why it hasn't been done. "It" being some sort of system whereby people make pieces and are paid piece rates. Whether that means a company looks for people who make stuff by themselves and sell large volumes online already, or if it means contracting with a makerspace to offer rates for pieces, is up for interpretation. Basically, is there some sort of room to make an Uber or Airbnb of sorts for making things? Both of those things beat the traditional market setup of cab companies and hotels, by meeting or beating price, and doing the same with service. On the question of price, I think it would be possible for many things, because you have a lot of overhead cut out by using a collaborative space, as one example. Obviously the trade-off is capacity - you can't make stuff at even close to the same speed as a factory. But if a lot of people are doing it, then could you somehow work this into being a supply chain whereby you have commercial buyers buying large volumes from a range of people? (what was done centuries ago)
    I think I understand your question, and short answer, it has been done/is being done. It is at flea markets. All kinds of stuff is made and sold at them. Not necessarily like what you are saying, but same idea - people make stuff in their garage or whatever and take it to market (the flea market) and sell it.

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  9. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Just in response to the Uber comment. How are they employees when they can take rides or not if they don't feel like it? Do your employees get to tell you "nah, I don't feel like doing that, I'm going to take a break"... Well maybe they can say it once.
    This is why I'm curious about this. I don't want to work 8-10 hour shifts 4-5 days a week. But if I could see a CAD file and a cost of materials that's low enough, I'd be a lot more interested in doing it. Work when I want, quit when I want. I've driven Uber and the flexibility is nice.

  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyc123 View Post
    One thing I've thought about is manufacturing going back to a piece rate system like it was centuries ago where people produced parts at home or at a facility and employees are only paid by the piece. What if people machined parts in hackerspaces/makerspaces or built furniture pieces like on Etsy and sold online? How feasible would it be for them to compete with larger manufacturers?

    Some basic math I did was on building a table for furniture.

    I can get the lumber I need to make a small end table from yellow pine for about $5. Let's assume it takes me 20 minutes to cut all the pieces for one table, as well as use the planer to smooth/even them out. Let's also assume I spend 20 minutes gluing the top together. And then let's say it takes me another 20 minutes to do final assembly using screws for legs/supports. I've maybe used 6 or 7 bucks in materials, at most. And it's taken me an hour to build this end table. Look at what end tables sell for - lowest I see is around 60 bucks, many times 100 or more. These comparable sales on Google Shopping and Etsy I'm looking at aren't even painted. Wal-Mart had a small table like this made of fiberboard that was not assembled for 40 dollars. With the proper setup, I believe this run time could be reduced more, maybe to half an hour or even less. I'm using conservative numbers to make the point.


    So I have 1 hour of labor per table in production time + let's just say 8 bucks in materials. Now assume I'm selling 20 at a time to a retailer or distributor, and I'm selling them for 40 dollars.



    Gross Sales of 20*40 = 800

    COGS of 20*8 = 160



    Gross Profit of 800 - 160 = 640



    640 / 20 hours = 32 dollars per hour I'm getting paid to make these tables.



    Of course there's distribution/shipping - I'm not sure exactly what the convention is for retailers to get furniture, i.e. whether they pick-up or I have to handle freight. Even then, surely there's a way around this. People could make products for specific markets - like making things in a city specifically for distribution within that city and nearby areas.

    The big issue I see is that the production capacity would be small, but if you spread this out over a large number of people doing this, that would get larger.

    What I'm basically asking about is an Uber of manufacturing.
    add all kinds of time for customer service, shipping and packaging, payment processing, marketing, developing and maintain the website etc

    who is buying them? unless direct, cut it in half - sales channels are expensive. If direct, quandruple above times.

    Then deduct your SGA - heat, hydro, bldg maintenance, tax, admin, tooling, depreciation etc.

    You'll be working for $4.50/hour....better to go flip burgers and keep the shop for hobby stuff

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    From your description of the end product, you probably could do it for what you estimate, but I would hardly call it a table. More a board with four sticks.

    Tom

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    Isn't this like Mfg.com ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Isn't this like Mfg.com ?
    yes, or makersrow.com, or orderfox.com, or xometry.com, etc. I used MFG once to get a quote on something, and I got like 2 replies out of I think it was over a thousand it was sent to. I made the order quantity big enough, or so I thought, and MFG is really onto their stuff - they called me repeatedly throughout the process. Even afterwards, 6 months later, which was just in the past month or so.

    So yes, something like that, but the parties on each side would be different. On one side, you'd have individuals making the pieces themselves, and on the other you'd either have brokers, wholesalers, or full-on buyers like retailers. Or maybe the other side is small buyers like those on MFG. Maybe this would work for lower order quantities or something. Idk. Just a curious thought. Throwing it out there to see if this makes any sense. I think it'd be cool, and I'd def do it if there were a platform out there like this and it paid.

    Then again, maybe MFG and the others are where it would make sense. And that would make sense. Like someone else said, "if it could be done, and nobody is doing it..."

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    I think people are getting hung up on the OP's wood table example (which isn't a very good one) and not the idea (which is interesting from a discussion standpoint.)

    This might be a bad example too but see if this makes more sense (also, don't jump on me...I'm just trying to flesh out his idea):

    -Centralized marketing of a line of inexpensive, locally made furniture.

    -Sold direct or direct-ish on Etsy, ebay, instagram, FB, CL, maybe amazon.

    -"Makers" build the furniture to a predetermined price with a predetermined process.

    They could then store the few they make and perhaps deliver or you could pickup down at the local artisanal wheatgrass collective.

    So you'd be able to buy one "nationwide"

    -In the vein of Uber, the makers would only get paid after the service is performed. They could take the risk and tool up...and build in advance if they wanted.

    ______


    One of the things the OP ignores, I think, is that marketing is everything, and a cool/unique design is going to be a big part of that.

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  18. #32
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    The math does not add up but go ahead and try as you will learn much.
    A silicon valley venture (vulture?) capitalist friend of mine told me that if someone came to him who had not gone belly up one or twice in the past he was not so interested.
    Seems they want you to learn before they open their pocketbooks.
    Bob

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    Not helping your plan but I get to see a number of people who had a great ideal and get to retire in their forties, outfit a boat and sail away.
    Not many woodworkers in that crowd but I have seen two.
    One was a early guy in the made to order wooden slat blinds for windows.
    This was many years ago so I guess he was also placed as a early adopter of internet marketing and ordering.

    The second was just recently- he had a large router and made furniture of all types which were amenable to that tool.
    The way he worked it:
    He designed the piece, proofed it by cutting, assembling and finishing a unit.
    Priced, and photographed that unit and entered the design as a product in his web based shop.
    He then made to order from the catalogue of products.
    He got to 350 products in his store and did quite well.

    Both of these instances are not your distributed build ideal but they did work as profitable businesses.
    I’d say the blind ideal has passed.
    The later...?

    The YouTube video you posted is not a table, it’s a shop bench and a rather poor one at that.
    I would take the lead of the second guy from above in that you need good designs to build.
    They can be simple but making things which are crude hardly more than chopped up dimension lumber from Home Depot is not it.
    Your market can be low cost but still will need to attract buyers.
    Go to an IKEA and look at the solid wood furniture.


    Take a look at Chesapeake Light Craft product.
    TWO very bright ideals-
    Kits for a large but largely incompetent home built boat builders market.
    And two,
    Driving a router to cut those kits to order out of a catalog of designs as the above guy did.
    But- the boats are DESIGNED well.
    They win accolades in the small world of small boat building.

    When I was doing that sort of work I was dredging Chapelle’s for Design’s, lofting them and building on strong backs like real men do.
    You can’t market hard demanding work too far...

    https://www.amazon.com/American-Smal.../dp/0393031438

    I guess my primary point- you need a decently designed product to start.

    I think your math sucks.
    Try for a reward of $150/hr.
    If you realistically think you can meet that you might end up with $40 an hour or so.
    It’s too early for such talk though- get a design and a way to build, finish and ship it that isn’t too painful.
    Everything takes time.
    Seems like more than you think when it’s all done.

    Be aware- those retired guys you envision making your gear,
    They are already doing it.
    There is a huge group of amateur woodworking types turning out low end furniture for anyone who will take it.
    Those guys are your competitors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    Not helping your plan but I get to see a number of people who had a great ideal and get to retire in their forties, outfit a boat and sail away.
    .....
    I want to retire in my forties and have a nice boat to sit back and sail the big water on....Oh wait, that did not work out.
    Instead I learned about divorce and then how to go just this side of bankrupt.
    I do still have a very, very old and little lighting which brings some peace.

    To the OP:
    Thing is nobody can tell you this will work or will not. You just go and the cards turn as they will.
    If you don't try you will forever question yourself.
    Just do not bet the farm and have some sort of emergency exit strategy. Draw a line when you start and pay attention when you cross it.
    Trying and failing is not bad, hanging on too long can be.

    I think your proposal is a tiny bit nuts but one never knows the twists and turns it may take once you are in the game.
    Bob

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    “If you don't try you will forever question yourself”

    I have two product line ideals and toy with selling out my current shop and setting up production.
    It’s appealing- making a product and sink or swim based on how well you do bringing that to market.
    I am more of a make/service/repair shop now.
    ‘Rust never sleeps’ so job security is built in...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trboatworks View Post
    I am more of a make/service/repair shop now.
    ‘Rust never sleeps’ so job security is built in...
    Ha ha - I own a steel sailboat and do various work on boats for others, if they're desperate enough to put up with me and my current sense of timeliness.

    Having said that if you're on the hard and have a serious problem then it's likely I'll drop everything to help out. Just made a replacement part for a Fleming wind vane steering system today for a person sweating on departure as soon as the next good weather window opens. Got the request at 1000, job done by 1300, payment by 1500. Everyone's happy.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    The math does not add up but go ahead and try as you will learn much.
    A silicon valley venture (vulture?) capitalist friend of mine told me that if someone came to him who had not gone belly up one or twice in the past he was not so interested.
    Seems they want you to learn before they open their pocketbooks.
    Bob
    There is merit to to that. I feel however that having come demonstrably close on a few occasions ought to suffice. Business that is, not personal. But we're still alive and kicking.

    I remember that wealthy SOB Gates saying microslop was always 2 years away from bankruptcy. With all that cash, just two years?!? Cripes, it ought to make me safe for a least the next minute and a half.

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    I think the money is to be made just like the Jewelry making schemes. Your company sells them the tools and supplies and guarantees to buy back the assembled product to be sold at retail. You get the money from them the quality is not good enough. They buy more supplies, from you, and you accept maybe 10% as good enough. And the business model goes on.
    So in Machining they buy the semi-finished material from you, at a good markup, and you reject most of the finished product so they have to buy more raw material from you. Works better then a pyramid scheme since you do have to sell any product at retail.
    I remember the rotten milk scheme sold to the Getto's in the 1980's. Any warning or complaints were racist and meant your did not want people of color to succeed.
    Bil lD

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    It's funny I bought flowers today online for my wife (anniversary) and thought: Ha...this is what we've been talking about.

    Choose from among many items from online pictures, via a central website. One of many local florists produces and delivers.

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  30. #40
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    IIRC "fine Woodworking" ran an article about 30 years ago showing the then Taiwanese woodworking machinery factories (grizzly et all)

    The small parts all were made in tiny home shops, all flowing "somehow"
    to the large assemblers.

    One place just made the drive gears for the 15" 4 column planers, in a single stall garage.

    Some items were sourced from multiple tiny shops, no real quality control, nor trace back for problems.

    The OP is suggesting the USA to follow suit, in a "Race to the bottom".


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