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  1. #261
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    Default CNCToolCat's Cat-House

    Ox,

    At this point I really don’t know how much we need to add on to the Cathouse, until all the potential new business settles in, or settles out....lol

    Most of our parts are for underground mining, as it is a very “equipment-intensive” form of mining. The machines take tremendous abuse in service, and thus require replacement parts often.

    Supplying the mining industry is like everything, it is intensely competitive.

    And with the operating bankruptcies of some of the big companies, as a supplier you have to always be on your toes, and work to keep from getting too caught up in a specific customer’s mess.

    Fortunately, we have lost just a little money over the years in such a volatile industry....not so for some of our distributors and competitors.

    My partner Montie is out every day visiting customers, keeping his ear to the ground for any and all information that helps us stay ahead of the financial “see-saw” that can be the coal industry.

    The OEM’s make good parts, and sell them for a mint. The mining companies like the OEM parts because they know they will work well, they just don’t like paying the high prices — especially in tough times.

    It’s easy enough to reverse-engineer OEM parts. Make them from the same steels, to the same machining and heat treat specs, and guess what? Cathouse parts perform just as well as the OEM, but at a fair price.

    Gotta dance with the partner that brung us!

    And besides, even undercutting the OEM’s by half or more, we can still make a higher shop rate in mining parts than we do on the job shop work for local factories.

    Just gotta be careful operating and selling in the jungle known as mining...

    ToolCat

  2. #262
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    So I added a spare Toyota forklift here at the shop. This one is a 3,000 pound model, cushion tire, propane with 4Y engine, and has 9,000 hours.

    Which may seem like a lot, but compared to our 26,000-hour 5k pound Toyota we’ve had for a decade now, the little ‘Yota will hopefully last me another decade to retirement!





    And tell me the guy I bought it from is not Eric Church!? CNCToolCat's Cat-HouseCNCToolCat's Cat-House



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  4. #263
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    LOL, yep, you sure did buy a forklift from Eric Church!

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  6. #264
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    Eric who? Had to look 'em up....................counrty moozak or western moozak?

  7. #265
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    High tech and red neck...all in the same turning tool setup.CNCToolCat's Cat-House

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  9. #266
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    Hmmmm ... Seems I've heard that line before?


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

  10. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Hmmmm ... Seems I've heard that line before?


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    "He's got twenty sub-woofers in the back of his truck
    A thousand watts of power and he keeps it cranked up
    He ain't into hip hop he ain't into rap
    He likes to rattle them speakers with Ronnie Milsap"

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  12. #268
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    "He's got twenty sub-woofers in the back of his truck
    A thousand watts of power and he keeps it cranked up
    He ain't into hip hop he ain't into rap
    He likes to rattle them speakers with Ronnie Milsap"
    ...I had to look it up, but that's funny

  13. #269
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post


    High tech and red neck...all in the same turning tool setup.CNCToolCat's Cat-House

    Did ya run outa zip ties?

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  15. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    High tech and red neck...all in the same turning tool setup.CNCToolCat's Cat-House
    So that's how they make reinforced tubing!

  16. #271
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    Could you do that if your shop was ISO certified?

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  18. #272
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    Sure, just have to generate and post a sign specifying the size and type of zip tie, which zip-tie-tighener-pliers setting to use, and the ever important MSDS and Waste Disposal Plan sheets.

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  20. #273
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    A lot of you probably know my shop blood runs Mazak blue, so as a quick example of how I use Mazatrol at the mill, here are some custom-milled vice jaws, done "on the fly":

    img_1663.jpg

    It's easy enough to use calipers/mics to make a quick print of the forging, then Mazatrol conversational (i.e. fast) programming at the machine to cut the features into the pre-loaded jaws.

    Quick clamping test-fits show where the shapes need to be tweaked, and with a few keystrokes, I'm back in the cut getting the custom jaws to fit the way I want.

    Notice the "woodruff" undercuts in the jaws, for the forging flash line.

    Here's the raw forgings clamped and ready to machine:

    img_1664.jpg

    And after machining (programmed with just 3 Mazatrol units):

    img_1665.jpg

    The soft jaws actually wear-in slightly over time, grabing the forgings even better.

    ToolCat Greg
    Last edited by cnctoolcat; 03-21-2021 at 05:49 PM.

  21. #274
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    Wow you can do all that Im mazatrol.

    I spent a day trying to do a chamfer on a round hole just to have Mazak support tell me it was not possible then today I’ve spent all day trying to get the darn thing to mill a hex with y axis. (This is on a lathe with matrix control)

    Im starting to give up on mazatrol. Problem is i don’t know how to program it in my cam and i dont really have a good post...

    I absolutely loved it on my sqt with tplus but very quickly not likening the matrix but it’s also a much more complex machine

  22. #275
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    Default CNCToolCat's Cat-House

    So after 24 years in business, it’s finally time to air condition the Cathouse.

    I got my unit from Surplus City Liquidators in Indiana. They have tons of new, surplus HVAC units of all kinds, (no affiliation, just a satisfied customer).

    Normally a 15-ton unit is about $15k, but SCL had it listed for about 1/3 of that! (It did cost ~$750 to have it flat-bed hauled to Virginia from Indiana).

    The unit is a Rheem 15-ton, 240-volt, air-only package unit, that is “convertible” for ground use.

    Most package units are designed for roof installation, so if you want to install on the ground, make sure it’s convertible!



    The big Rheem was actually bigger than what I was expecting!



    Notice the two removable panels on the bottom and right. The far right vertical panel covers the “air return” opening, while the lower horizontal panel is the “supply air” opening. The ductwork connects to these two openings for ground use.

    The 15-ton unit has two 7-1/2 ton compressors, and the 2nd compressor only runs when needed, helping on the power bill.

    The unit has twin blowers, driven by a 3 horsepower motor. Rheem actually offers a “high static” model with a 5 hp motor, so the Catman may have to hot-rod this one if the air doesn’t move strongly enough. CNCToolCat's Cat-House



    We poured the concrete pad out back last year, midway down the 100 foot long wall of the shop, and that’s where the unit will go.

    We’re getting quotes for ductwork, which will require a couple of square holes to be cut into the building wall.

    The guys and me will pull the 3-phase circuit, and install the thermostat. So, once the ductwork is in, since it’s a package unit (pre-charged and tested), all we will have to do is throw the power to it, and ease the thermostat down, to have 6000 CFM’s of cold, dehumidified air!

    I will post follow up pics once installed, and report on how it works. CNCToolCat's Cat-HouseCNCToolCat's Cat-House

    ToolCat

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  24. #276
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    To continue on the new air conditioner install at the Cathouse, here’s how we got it around back:



    (and yes, I’ve had the materials to build a roof over the Quincy air compressor for about 8 years, but just haven’t gotten around to it...lol)

    The ‘ol Toyota 5k riding over two alternating sheets of 3/4” plywood (treated-type, I’ve had for almost a decade, and yes it was soft under the hard tires, but I wasn’t paying $100 per sheet for plywood just to drive on!)

    Notice I broke a 2x8 on the final approach...haha



    Once set, my goal was to get both large openings cut through the building in a day...sounds easy enough, but it took over a day to get to this point:





    Because the ductwork quotes came back REALLY high, I decided to build temporary ductwork myself, to get some cold air somehow.

    I used 1” foil-faced extruded foam board, as it’s easy to cut and glue/tape into “Erector Set” boxes, which were then shoved through the wall openings to the package unit outside. (The duct will only see cold air, as it’s an air-only unit. We heat the shop with a 175k natural gas unit heater.)



    A top “hat” forces the air out into the shop, from about 8’ off the floor. I later installed a couple of air vanes, to shield a couple of close machines (visible in pic) from too much cold air (is there such a thing?) and also help reach the far ends of the shop better.



    If you notice the two 20x25 filters, the big 15-ton behemoth is breathing!

    Not without a hitch or two though...more later.CNCToolCat's Cat-House

    ToolCat Greg

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