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  1. #1
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    Default Protohawk Machine

    I am back to my own shop after a while helping to revitalize an old shop, and I'm looking to get my spindles running.

    I have a single VMC, manual lathe, manual mill, and then I also can do TIG welding of many different materials. Most of my experience is with 1018/1020/A36, 8620, 4140/4140PH, and 4340 steels, 6061/A356 aluminum, 303/304/316/416 and 17-4 stainless steels, and some 6Al4V Titanium. I only have 3-axis right now but it is capable of doing good surfacing work.

    CNC jobs are limited to about 10"x22"x15" and only a hundred pounds or so since I don't have a jib crane.

    I am currently working on some examples of my stuff on my website and getting my quality management system and calibrations in order; while I've worked under ISO 9001 and 13485 standards I don't plan to be accredited in the very near future, though I am willing to for the right work!

    Protohawk's Website

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  3. #2
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    Good luck Rick!


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Doing proto work and claiming 2 and a half thousands seems a bit loose.

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    Is the less than sign not commonly used in this industry? Serious question; I have no idea. I've made what I'd consider tight tolerance turned parts before (parts with a half dozen calls within 0.002" and a few at less than 0.001") but I've only rarely seen anything less than +/-0.0025" on the mill. I can hold whatever my machine will do but I'm not sure I want to quote any +/-0.001" parts on my VMC. It isn't garbage but it isn't new, either.

    Maybe prototyping has a different connotation than I'm aware of? My original focus was selling design and manufacturing "access" to hobbyists and small businesses that were getting the cold shoulder or prohibitively high quotes from job shops in the area. Mostly motorsports stuff that could be +/-0.020" without issue.

    I can pull that note from the page if it is a point of contention; I thought it was a good way to say "I can make parts to your print" without soliciting crazy tight tolerance work that I can't do profitably in my current setup.

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    At least to me, prototyping means onesey twosey work. Which often involves mill tolerances of +/-.001, lathe tolerance of +/-.0005, along with bearing fits in the .0002 range. In whatever nasty material the customer wants.

    +/-.020 would nearly be welding or carpenter tolerances.

    I think you should probably do a few test cuts and re-evaluate your capability. I have equipment ranging from WW2 to mid 1990s and dont have much trouble hitting these tolerances... scrap may be a little high on the bearing fits, but I still manage.

    I get not wanting to oversell capability, but underselling is probably worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    Is the less than sign not commonly used in this industry? Serious question; I have no idea. I've made what I'd consider tight tolerance turned parts before (parts with a half dozen calls within 0.002" and a few at less than 0.001") but I've only rarely seen anything less than +/-0.0025" on the mill. I can hold whatever my machine will do but I'm not sure I want to quote any +/-0.001" parts on my VMC. It isn't garbage but it isn't new, either.

    Maybe prototyping has a different connotation than I'm aware of? My original focus was selling design and manufacturing "access" to hobbyists and small businesses that were getting the cold shoulder or prohibitively high quotes from job shops in the area. Mostly motorsports stuff that could be +/-0.020" without issue.

    I can pull that note from the page if it is a point of contention; I thought it was a good way to say "I can make parts to your print" without soliciting crazy tight tolerance work that I can't do profitably in my current setup.
    Only reason I mention that is because I'm sure you can hit better than that, why sell yourself short.

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    I wouldn't post tols in the first place.

    If by chance something comes through that you are uncomfortable with - you simply pass on it - or mention that you will doo your best, but ....

    What you can or cannot hit is many times part specific for whatever reason.
    A blanket statement doesn't cover this.



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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Appreciate the feedback! I'll pull the tolerances from the list. I glanced through some capability statements form other shops in the area and none of them have tolerances, either.

    Probably time for me to start a shop thread, huh?

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    Also - I highly recommedn that you not "target" overflow werk.
    That is a plan for feast and fammine.

    You want to be someone's "go-to" guy so that you git whatever werk is out there - even when it's slow.

    With overflow - you only git werk when the tier above you is already full to capacity.
    Next time that job comes back (or anything like it) they will run it themselves if not busy.

    Take it if you have time, but for Petey's sakes - don't target it!


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Also - I highly recommedn that you not "target" overflow werk.
    That is a plan for feast and fammine.

    You want to be someone's "go-to" guy so that you git whatever werk is out there - even when it's slow.

    With overflow - you only git werk when the tier above you is already full to capacity.
    Next time that job comes back (or anything like it) they will run it themselves if not busy.

    Take it if you have time, but for Petey's sakes - don't target it!


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    I 2nd the above!
    Overflow is a miserable situation.
    For the reasons Ox listed, and then some.
    Shops only put the lowest margin work out there as overflow.
    And, 98% of the time the job is already late, so expect to get your ass ridden.

    Trust me, there is no money in doing overflow machine-shop work, for another machine-shop.

    Yes, sometimes "you gotta do, what you gotta do" to keep the doors open and food on the table. I have two overflow jobs going right now
    They are stragglers from me being extremely slow and desperate for 10 months. And, I can not wait until they are out of here!

    There are exceptions. There is a large shop local to me that puts out a lot of good work, and pays well. But, that can be risky.
    I know of one guy that just went about $1million in debt based on promised work from this place!
    Man, I just can't fathom taking that risk. The shop could loose one contract and pull all that work back in and leave this dude hanging. Crazy!

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    Decades ago working for the man the large company I worked for did outsource some jobs when we were at capacity and getting behind. This was an OEM. You can bet it wasn't the gravy jobs, mostly short run, fussy tolerance oddball material stuff. As one of the two guys on my shift overseeing the department I was privy to what the company was paying for the jobs. This was mostly all repeat work that we had previously done in house so I could look up the set-up and cycle times. The companies were all local and I was shocked at a lot of the pricing because it was very low. It was pretty obvious our vendors were working for peanuts thinking they would get their foot in the door for more lucrative work. It never came.

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    I started with a VMC approx the same XYZ as yours, life got a LOT BETTER when I got a couple of 4020's, and I would be a lot better with a 6030.

    The bigger the machine (within reason) and you can accomadate a larger range of parts. 4020 is a good size, the smaller machine doesn't get a lot of love these days.

    Also a CNC lathe is worth getting, an old Mori SL3 (or similar) would be a worthwile addition, good envelope and has a tailstock.

    I have a couple of BP's and manual lathes which see a lot of work. Starting out it would be hard to predict what type of work your going to get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph406 View Post
    Starting out it would be hard to predict what type of work your going to get.
    Very true!

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    I'd also want to know how you'll check the work, what sorts of CMM, video scopes, gages and stuff are available. Do you have a profilometer? Do you work as easily with metric as US?

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    I'm just looking for some work to get the spindles up and running and dial in some of my process flow right now. Knowing what a lot of local shops are quoting for work, I know the subcontract margins are going to be shit. But I also only have to cover a $40-50/hr shop rate right now. Tooling and workholding is gonna kill me on a lot of jobs early on, but right now anything that I can get to break even but net me materials, tools, knowledge, etc. is a win (I think?).

    I'm stuck with my current machine size in my shop mostly because the Sharp was the only "real" VMC that would fit under my (nonstandard) garage door header. I have around 700 square feet of shop space and maybe half that is taken up with two cars (no, the race car and the wife's antique are not getting parked elsewhere LOL).

    Knowing the volume of turning work out there right now I would buy a lathe in a heartbeat if I could physically fit it in the shop. A "real" shop is on my radar but I'm not looking to lease so I need to find something I can get tenants for if my shop plans fall through. To be honest, my wife has had some difficulty with the whole "I'm at work right now, I'm not available to be in husband mode" thing.

    My business plan is still to work mostly in product development if possible. We'll see - my first job so far is looking to be a consulting gig for a gentleman who needs to figure out how to program some CNC wood lathes from China. They always say the real money is in consulting LOL

    I can't express how much I appreciate the feedback from industry veterans. Seriously, thank you all.

    Could we get a moderator to move this to the Member and Shop Photos section? I feel like it is already too much good info from you guys to have it here.

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    Best way to work with other stops is to have a specialty.
    Find a shop that doesn't have turning center and get that work.
    Hone and finish bores.
    Tumbler, bead blast cabinet and offer finishing.
    TIG welder and look for repair work.
    Location. Look for close shops. No one wants to ship from Milwaukee to Madison when they can get someone closer.
    And don"t be surprised if you terms of "you get paid when I get paid"
    Anyone experienced person can make parts, so what makes you stand out and be the first pick? Your equipment might be a limiting factor. Gotta stand out in the crowd....
    What happens when they want a shop tour??
    I see lots of shops here in SE Wi pulling a lot of work back in house that was sent out.

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    I could move it, but then you would have a funky title and wouldn't have your name in the title.
    Doesn't help search later.

    If you decide that you still would rather that I move it - I can.

    ???


    EDIT;

    Actually - I [think that I] can edit the title when moving it.
    What would you like the title to read if I can make that werk?


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    Last edited by Ox; 09-25-2019 at 04:32 PM. Reason: edit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    I'd also want to know how you'll check the work, what sorts of CMM, video scopes, gages and stuff are available. Do you have a profilometer? Do you work as easily with metric as US?
    This is the number one thing I've been working on so far. While I have access to a full quality lab on a contract basis if necessary (including a brand new Mitutoyo Crysta), I can do the basics here. I've got a local calibration lab doing my standards, and I have many of the basic tools. I'm currently shopping for a comparator, larger surface plate, and a profilometer (I've got one of those standards cards which is what they used at the old day job even though we had a Surftest; drove me nuts). I'm planning on buying things like ring gages, thread gages, and tight tolerance go/no-go pin gages as I need them (since I can get these quickly locally), and in the past I've just made production gages myself for things like larger bores and then validated them using calibrated equipment.

    My neighbor worked for us at the shop and did calibrations and quality for about 35 years prior to that so I am lucky to have a fantastic resource for all things related to gages and calibration, and he works for beer!

    Metric or SAE doesn't matter to me. I came from an industry that uses metric exclusively so to me it is just another conversion standard to remember. My CAD/CAM system doesn't care which I use and it is very easy to go back and forth there. I've done things like use metric cutters to avoid size-on-size internal radii, or to avoid fixturing, etc. The only caveat to this is that the print better specify! It drives me crazy how many prints I have seen that don't have units or even a system call. Sloppy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I could move it, but then you would have a funky title and wouldn't have your name in the title.
    Doesn't help search later.

    If you decide that you still would rather that I move it - I can.

    ???


    Actually - I can edit the title when moving too I think.
    What would you like the title to read if I can make that werk?


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox
    Maybe "Protohawk: come watch a dream die?"

    Perhaps just "Protohawk"

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    I really don't understand the concern with gauging?

    Conrad - have you sent werk out several times - only to have the sub not able to measure it?

    A guy git's what he needs as he needs it...

    ???


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

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox


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