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  1. #41
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    Good luck and I'm excited to see where this goes for you.

    The automotive performance industry is a funny one. There's some parts that there's lots of money to be made and others that I don't know how people are turning a profit on. I spent a while working in a shop that made "race car parts". We did production work for a bigger performance parts manufacturer, had a product line, and did some job shop work mainly for the mold industry. I think he was making $50-$75 an hour profit after paying for labor, heat treat, and materials on the product line but it wasn't enough work to keep the shop busy all the time. If you have down time developing a product or 2 to sell in a simple e-store and drop in a flat rate box might be a way for a little bit of income and to keep a machine busy when you don't have other work.

    I'm not really trying to get into machining full time these days but I do have a mill and a lathe in my garage these days. One of my buddy's builds a lot of performance/ off road racing transmissions and does a lot of other performance work and he'll either have me do some work for him or use my machines. He usually needs something simple like a couple thou turned off something, a bolt pattern drilled in something, or a spacer made. Usually it's a I need it today job but some times it's a get to it whenever job. Spreading the word around racing circles you offer machining services and "speak race car" might generate some work and lead to some other industries from racer's day jobs.

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  3. #42
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    Well, my first "real" RFQ came through yesterday, and I got target pricing. It has features in four planes, though I am able to use a custom form tool to reduce it to three operations. For OP1 I can get 14 parts on a MIC-6 pallet between my two vices, and then use the same pallet by moving some dowels for OP2. OP3 I would need to think about a bit; I could get four at a crack in normal soft jaws, or If I build a couple more mini-pallets I could maybe get 8 at a crack.

    Now that I think of it I could build two smaller pallets (one per vise) and have 8X OP1, OP2, and OP3 all at once. That would make the most sense from a just in time perspective (this is a new part in an industry that is eating up the assemblies into which it goes right now, they won't stay in stock, and it can't go overseas... read between the lines there). I can only assume this is going to be repeat work if I do well.

    I did the math and the tool change cost (and lead time reduction) of the pallets is significant. It would cost me around $400 to make the fixturing but it would save me over $800 in tool change time and also knock about a week off the whole project versus only using two vises on the table. THat savings goes way up if I can process OP3 at the same time, and lead time drops even more. None of this is even factoring the ability to walk away from the machine for a few hours and get other things accomplished instead of parts-swapping every few minutes for endless hours.

    Based on my calculations it would take me 3-4 weeks running balls out (12-14 hour days) to finish these, and that is if everything goes off without a hitch. I've got a vacation coming up (been planned and paid for for a year now, it is happening! LOL) that would interfere with my ability to over-run on my time frame, and honestly, the target pricing is about a third of what my quoted price would have been. This is one of those parts where I know what it costs me if I call up the manufacturer of the assembly and tell them I need a replacement, so it is hard to swallow the target pricing.

    Another complication is that this is really a CMM part that should be checked against the 3D model. There are too many complex features to check it any other way, and it would take a drawer full of custom checking fixtures to go that direction.

    I'm struggling with it, but I think I have to no-quote it. I'd rather do that instead of potentially not being able to keep an eye on quality in-process, or delivering late because something doesn't go right with my speeds and feeds calculations. There are a few small drills I'm worried about tool life on, and I've never run a few of these tools in this material before so it will take some experimenting.

    Well, off to a great start, huh?

    Oh and my screen is going out again on the VMC; I ordered the cable from FANUC today and if that doesn't fix it...

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  5. #43
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    If you don't already have an outlet for the form tools that you love, speak with Alf, Jon, and Larry at AB Tools. They're my go-to's for forms when we need them.

    If you need CMM and don't have an outlet, we should have ours in place in a few more weeks. Need to make some room, first.

    As for small drills, don't worry overmuch. They're fairly straight forward these days.

    Go make money!

  6. #44
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    If I understood right, their target price was less than what you would quote? Then I wouldn’t have taken another minute to worry much about it.

    As to actual cost, I have worked places that the purchase price of the item wholesale is a tenth of retail. Who knows what the actual manufacturing cost is. Another shop I worked at was a machine builder, most of their components were purchased at 30% of retail that you or I would pay. These were finished products, gear boxes, drives, linear rails, etc.

    So, I wouldn’t put a lot of thought into they retail for X, and I make them for Y. What matters is that you make money at Y.

    I did a job not too long ago that I knew the customer, I had bought his products before. I knew based on my price, he was marking up 48%. He has to stock inventory, he has to deal with the public, he has to deal with liability, etc.

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    Thing is I might be really bad at quoting...

    From my days in consumer product retail, there were three levels of markup. Standard "A mark" was 50%, "B mark" was 35%, and "C mark" was 15%. The higher-end stuff had less margin available all the way through the supply chain because the components were more expensive to produce, and the end product still had to be in about the same order of magnitude as the cheap stuff for final price. We needed to be making 20% over cost on average to make a buck, so selling only high level stuff wouldn't pay the bills! That was a lifetime ago it seems. I was 16 years old when I was handed keys to a guitar shop. I'm pretty sure I've still got those keys.

    I've got a couple of products that I designed that I offer a distributor discount from retail pricing for the reasons you mention. Turns out, supporting your products directly can take a lot of time and effort!

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    Unless you are lookin' to sell it yourself, I don't know why you would waste any time at all concerning yourself with retail cost?

    Maybe there is oodles of room to make a buck on the part between the target price and your off the cuff price, but what will someone else make it for?
    Can you make it for that?
    If not - walk away.


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    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    In all my years of quoting the kind of parts I think you are looking at?
    I have found that 30% of retail will get you pretty darn close! If their target is grossly under that 30% line? No-quote.
    Obviously parts that belong in assemblies get a little more confusing. As, individually the parts always retail higher than the entire assembly.

    Also, be careful with fixturing up on first runs!!! Sometimes you are better off sucking it up the first go-round, and taking the long road.
    Especially with a new customer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelieking71 View Post
    In all my years of quoting the kind of parts I think you are looking at?
    I have found that 30% of retail will get you pretty darn close! If their target is grossly under that 30% line? No-quote.
    Obviously parts that belong in assemblies get a little more confusing. As, individually the parts always retail higher than the entire assembly.

    Also, be careful with fixturing up on first runs!!! Sometimes you are better off sucking it up the first go-round, and taking the long road.
    Especially with a new customer.
    ---^ I agree completely




    Not everyone has the funds to get an ERP system in place nor does it fit everyones business model but....if you can swing it....I would really look into something like shoptech e2 web version.

    Im sure a bunch of folks will get pissy but...ISO habits sure do go a long way to helping you learn and grow from your mistakes...especially quoting too low and even too high.

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    I actually already have budgetary quotes from Job Boss and E2 Shoptech LOL. I also have the beginnings of a quality management system. I am a believer for sure.

    So how do you guys do the math for fixturing costs? On this job I would go from babysitting the machine to getting almost 13 hours a day out of five interactions with the machine, for about 8% of the gross for the job at the target price. I'd also knock like 20% off the lead time. Those 10-12s tool changes REALLY add up over 1k parts like this. Put bluntly, everything I've ever done with process improvement point to this being a no-brainer, even if the job never comes back.

    I feel like this is punishment for all those times I joked that "tool changes on a Speedio are free."

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    I'm running 1000 parts on 2 chick vises right now.

    Our philosophy is short cycle times get vises, long cycle times get pallets or fixtures. Vise changeover time is faster with vises in our experience.

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  17. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    I actually already have budgetary quotes from Job Boss and E2 Shoptech LOL. I also have the beginnings of a quality management system. I am a believer for sure.

    So how do you guys do the math for fixturing costs? On this job I would go from babysitting the machine to getting almost 13 hours a day out of five interactions with the machine, for about 8% of the gross for the job at the target price. I'd also knock like 20% off the lead time. Those 10-12s tool changes REALLY add up over 1k parts like this. Put bluntly, everything I've ever done with process improvement point to this being a no-brainer, even if the job never comes back.

    I feel like this is punishment for all those times I joked that "tool changes on a Speedio are free."
    Don't forget to realistically account for how long it takes to produce these fixtures. Engineering/programming/machining.
    Lead time on fixture parts? Red-label shipping if MSC doesn't have them? How much of your tool change time does that all gobble back up?
    What about the button-to-button factor? How long will it take to unload/load vs. cranking vise handles? (vises are quick)
    I hate being tied to a machine as much as anybody. Trust me. Not trying to talk you out of fixtures. Just keep an open mind.

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  19. #52
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    Machine has been down for a few days now. I've got a tech coming today to look at it. Details are in my thread about the CRT problems.

    Also got a few job offers so far (unsolicited, though acquaintances) for doing some 1099 programming and setup work, or full time positions. It seems there are a lot of shops that really have a knowledge/technology gap around here, and just want their machines to make parts. Maybe that's where my business goes? I have no concerns about my ability to quickly get up to speed on new controls and machine configurations, but where I lack is general machining knowledge. I'm sure it'll be awhile before I call myself a machinist. Luckily I do have a great base of support with all the guys I know around here that will answer my dumb questions!

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    I have considered a similar path for my business. There is an enormous shortfall of skilled labor in our area. However, due to the cyclical nature of industry, most are very slow to hire on skilled laborers, in fear of having to lay them off. Likewise, several are severely lacking in knowledge and skills whether due to lack of turn over, or due to high turnover.

    I have one friend who works at a mold company. They make plastic bottles. WAY more complex than I would have ever imagined. He often has prints where he is splitting TENTHS to hold tolerance. They have an amazing mix of machinery and should be able to make ANYTHING. They frequently have issues and can't get parts made. He has said on numerous occasions that they need to hire me in as their problem solver.

    Another shop is just desperately short of skilled people, owner won't pay the price to bring in top tier people. A friend who worked there for 20 years, an amazing welder, good machinist, kinda guy who can make or fix anything, was replaced by a kid out of highschool working at Starbucks. Owner said they would "bring him up".

    So there is definitely a need. As you can imagine, there are a plethora of shortfalls and most I have not had the time to work out. What happens when I crash a companies Hermle? What happens when an idiot runs me over with a tow motor? Sure the courts will figure it out, but I do not have the time, and certainly do not have the money to find out. That liability has been a big rock outcropping that I have not been willing to reach under, even if there is a pot of gold sitting under it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    I have considered a similar path for my business. There is an enormous shortfall of skilled labor in our area. However, due to the cyclical nature of industry, most are very slow to hire on skilled laborers, in fear of having to lay them off. Likewise, several are severely lacking in knowledge and skills whether due to lack of turn over, or due to high turnover.

    I have one friend who works at a mold company. They make plastic bottles. WAY more complex than I would have ever imagined. He often has prints where he is splitting TENTHS to hold tolerance. They have an amazing mix of machinery and should be able to make ANYTHING. They frequently have issues and can't get parts made. He has said on numerous occasions that they need to hire me in as their problem solver.

    Another shop is just desperately short of skilled people, owner won't pay the price to bring in top tier people. A friend who worked there for 20 years, an amazing welder, good machinist, kinda guy who can make or fix anything, was replaced by a kid out of highschool working at Starbucks. Owner said they would "bring him up".

    So there is definitely a need. As you can imagine, there are a plethora of shortfalls and most I have not had the time to work out. What happens when I crash a companies Hermle? What happens when an idiot runs me over with a tow motor? Sure the courts will figure it out, but I do not have the time, and certainly do not have the money to find out. That liability has been a big rock outcropping that I have not been willing to reach under, even if there is a pot of gold sitting under it.
    Sounds funny out of context, but it happens. An old friend/aquantance was working when something happened and a fixture was dropped on him somehow (pretty sure the whole story is only known to the guy driving the truck) and he was killed. Don't know what actually happened, maybe he was doing something he shouldn't have, or the driver was high/texting on his phone/hungover.. who knows...

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    Well my wife can rest easy knowing that the house and shop are paid for if I die LOL

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    I primarily make products. Direct to customer sales.

    If I'm at 50% material/machine cost it had better be a real big seller to justify it. Actually I should say it is NOT worth at at that number, but if it's a legacy thing that sales and costs have changed 50% is where the price gets raised or the product is scrapped.

    If a product is under 20% cost to make it's got a good chance. 10% is a real winner.

    Takes a lot of work to inventory, protect, box, ship, support, etc.

    I have some stuff I sell that I essentially got for FREE. Like a couple divisions of a decent size OEM big name brand. It's still a lot of work and I didn't pay a damn thing for the inventory. Like if I could sell it all for 10% of it's retail value I would in a heartbeat.

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    So I sent off my first consulting project estimation earlier this week. I'm starting at the low side for on-site pricing, but basically I figure I need to be making what I "could" be making with my spindle running for now. I'm charging for travel, then on-site time, and have a different rate for off-site programming and things like phone/email support since I can do those while running my machines.

    Client is very receptive, let's see if that changes when he see the tooling cost (I'll be passing through tooling cost with no markup for now). If anyone knows of a good product that is similar to the Corobore 825 series (which I LOVE) and doesn't cost $1k... I'm also trying to get this particular product into a reduced-shank 1/2" or 3/4" end mill as they are going through 1" end mills right now (yikes).

    Machine is still down, but I do have a few orders pending now. All motorsports stuff for which the customers don't mind waiting a few weeks. Lucky!

    The next part should be here any minute for the troubleshooting of the machine, and I'm wiring a buck/boost transformer in before the Phase Perfect to bring my line voltage down to about 218V. We'll see.

    In the meantime, here's my latest product:




    No idea why those are so large, sorry!

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    Your buck/boost is single phase?



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

    Think Snow Eh!
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    What's up with the hot/dirty weld there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Finsta View Post
    I'm wiring a buck/boost transformer in before the Phase Perfect to bring my line voltage down to about 218V.
    The Phase Perfect's total KW output capacity will be diminished if you reduce the voltage going into it because it cannot pump out any more amps than it is rated for. Less voltage at same amps means lower KW output.

    I would strongly suggest you put in two buck transformers AFTER the PP to bring down the voltage as required. I believe this is stated in the manual somewhere.


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