View Full Version : Need Some Equipment Advice

04-28-2003, 07:51 PM
I applied for an Industrial Grant from Chrysler/Damiler. Now they want me to put together a proposal for my shop, of what equipment I may need and some sort of business plan. I can do the business plan, I work in artist things and one of a kind stuff, plus I have some of my markets already out there. I need to get some advise from on the following equipment

1) Lathe bigger than my 7 x 10 with all of the goodies on it.

2) a mini to medium Milling Machine preferable with a R-8 spindle, I already have a HF one that uses MT2 stuff.

3) Rolling Mill for precious metals

4) Faceting Machine for polishing gem stones

5) Small foundry equipment for precious metals and things in the nature of Aluminum, lost wax casting is one of theing that I do, so any thing to make that easier would be prefered.

6) Any other shop equipment that may help like a shaper.

7) Books to buy, either printed or on CD

This grant is $25,000US, so its a fair amount of funds to start with.

The catches are, that I must be profitable my first year, we are not talking mega bucks, just more than break even. The granting company retains title for the first year of the equipment, then it's given to me outright. I can not use the funds for exotic trips to strange places, no stripers and no booze.

I want to put a grand into a computer system with printer and a good digital camera. Plus I am thinking of an intial, $2,500 to $3,000 for raw materials.

As that I am a "cottage industry" and do things by hand, CNC is out, but DRO may have a place.

Websites and picture are needed for this, so anything and every thing would help.

The deadline for my proposal is June 6th this year.

Many thanks,


Dave Opincarne
04-28-2003, 09:29 PM
QA equipment. Surface plate (2x3 is ok, 3x4 would be ideal), Height gauge, DTI, a gauge block set (can be had for under $100), and a ground angle plate. A set of gauge pins is useful but not necesary. Same with adjustable parallels. A 1",2" and 3" micrometer set is a must. A small MIG welder is also indispensable for a prototyping/small opperation. Personaly, I would find a small surface grinder indispensable too. 220V air compressor and tools also.

I'm guessing that your doing something with prototyping or product development as opposed to a simple job shop or specific parts production since those feilds would seem to have a fairly cut and dried equipment list so that's my input on the building blocks for an operation. I'd love to hear more about the grant program if your willing to share.

Good luck-Dave

04-29-2003, 12:27 AM
Doing things appears to be the guts of your proposal... SO what siz of things are you going to do? Whsat size? I would never rule good CNC out of your budget.. a small mill, the right software and controls, and you have something that is ENORMOUSLY useful. Design at the CAD and Art level can ripple on down to pieces of metal... and it does not have to be that expensive.... hope you frequent the Yahoo CAD-CAM group....

I created my own "grant" by getting a really old car instead of a new one. Created a monthly budget to get tools with.... For the big tools... buy one month and ship the next... Shipping was more than the tools.. For the little ones, get them in.... Do something with them... and then get them integrated to the CNC system. In all reality, that is where I will spend most of my creative time in the next year. Designing parts - then I get to spend a little time fabricating.

The CNC Mill is at a $2500 budget. Not too bad, when all is done. Software is about the same.

Good Luck....

-- jr

04-29-2003, 12:34 AM
Just tell me what you think is a machine for CNC, one problem is that I have to order it installed. Which would be a blessing.

My work ranges from 3 inch by 4 inch pieces of metals, to making compoents for much larger works.

I am a metal sculpture, so some most things are one of a kind.

Model numbers and sources would be helpful.



04-29-2003, 12:42 AM
I have thought of having Travers or KBC turnkey this package, any thoughts on doing that sort of thing?


04-29-2003, 01:11 AM
I can only talk about my choices, which are probably a lot different from others on this site. It may not be so far from your application, though. I come at it from a novice angle, I am more likely to learn and less likely to hurt myself with a small mill than with the BP II in the garage. Leaning the CNC stuff I want is more in the applications of design programs than in something like Autocad or MasterCAM. So I am interested in what I can do in Solidworks, Flamingo, Cinema 4D, Rhino 3D, Lightwave, Aura, and so forth.... and then somehow get that down and instantiated in a piece of aluminum or plastics.

I look at things as a positive, like a machined item or a negative, like a mold. I want to use my mill to make molds out of Al, forms for castings, and forms/parts for composites. Simple castings, mind you. Ones I can machine to do what I want later. So foams, waxes, etc. are in order there, too. CNC because these things are highly sensitive to methods and casting techinques. It must therfore accomodate real time shrinkage or design expansion for mold effects! It is just so easy to get one number out, when done manually, that I don't want to go there... The CNC stuff I can handle it automatically. More precise, too.....

Then there is the scanning in part of things.... If I make some toys to realize an image from a real world part, it requires good CNC in the first place. I am not going to spend 1000's on a digitizer. I have better ideas in mind.

Considering all this, I chose the primary mill to be the Taig. It is SMALL - 3.5 x 18 x 12 movement, and that is enough for most of what I want to do. The key element was to design a system that lets me "concept" a plastics part, design it, and build a reasonable "positive" from machined pastics, and when happy, machine a simple mold out of AL. Small volume production is plenty for me! The real trick is to turn Idea->Mold->First Plastics in a Week. This is a real hard part for me. For prototypes, this is an OK capability to shoot for within a year.

Next year, I can shoot for expanding the approach to the BP II. That will take some work - but it's work volume is so much better.... And it is radically faster, and likely more accurate.

Anyway.... there are a lot of different opinions. Mine are skewed highly to an single application.

Hopefully, some differerent opinions will pop up from those with a lot ( a whole lot more http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif) of general experience. I must defer to their wisdom!

-- jerry

05-13-2003, 07:27 PM
Well, I was the only person to apply for this grant in my catagory. Which was metal sculpture.

This is not a done deal, I still have to put on a Dog and Pony Show, as well as put together a proposal.

I may even get my ponytail cut off for this one. Which will make my mother happy.


Dr. Rob
05-14-2003, 02:31 AM
A dog-and-pony show? Now, who wants to see a pony without a tail?

Dave O was onto something there- not forgetting the small stuff. Tooling, attachments, hand tools, stuff like that. The versatility of any decent mill for example is multiplied manyfold by just having an assortment of accessories. Accessories which many of us are economically hindered from buying. So, if you get the chance...

And just as a general follow-up to the rest of this thread, is it really feasible to use CNC for prototyping and one-offs? It seems, that programming for a one-off is kind of reduntant in that you need to make one first to know if it's any good. If it is good, then you don't need the programming any more. Only in a second instance does it become practical. Just a thought / query.

Dave Opincarne
05-14-2003, 08:36 PM
As in all things it depends.

For simple rectalinier stuff, no it's not a help. Conversational/caned routing mills like the EZtrack are good since you can do a simple routine or use it as a DRO and joystick. The CNC becomes an advantage here when the speed of automation offsets the program and initial scrap cost.

As the part becomes more complex the advantage of CNC kicks in sooner since setup time for things like dividing heads and the like is the real killer. Don't need to do that. Parts that would require a tracer or pantograph even more so. For something like a turbine blade or a propeler CNC is worth it right from the start.

With the advent of CADD CNC becomes an advantage earlier on since it isn't hard to produce g-code once you have a part file and you need to create the drawing anyway.

05-15-2003, 12:47 AM
Web sites and vendor names would be a big help right now.


Dr. Rob
05-15-2003, 01:52 AM
How about www.mcmaster.com (http://www.mcmaster.com) They have every tool invented since the flint axe.