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Milestone - My 1st paying job (Home Shop)

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  • Milestone - My 1st paying job (Home Shop)

    Fast background:
    I am an Electrician for a steel mill. It's a large operation and amazingly, they do not have machine shop or fab shop. If the mechanics can't torch it or weld it, it gets farmed out to a local machine shop where we frequently get gouged ($$$), but that's another story.

    I have quickly developed the reputation as someone that has unique (for them) fabrication and machining skills and can think outside the box (read as McGuyver).

    As such, when the engineers in charge of the substation found they have boxes of fuse holders that are drilled and tapped for the wrong bolt size, they asked if I could modify them in my shop at home.

    2 sizes (50 Amp & 100 Amp), 300+ total pieces.
    6061-T6 Al
    Blind hole - 3/4" deep
    Currently 5/16"-18
    Required 1/2"-13

    Had to make a stop collar for the 7/16" bit.


  • #2

    Drill to depth

    2 step tapping - 1st taper tap, them bottom tap

    Had to modify a tap for bottoming. Only had taper taps at home.

    Will be paid my normal base pay for time required.

    I'm trying to approach this like a genuine shop and calculate operation time per piece.

    1 hour for set-up
    2 min./piece to drill (clearing the chips is a royal pain with that collar)
    5 min./piece to tap (2 tapping operations)
    These times account for loading, operation, unloading and clean-up.

    As this is my first try at this, does this seem reasonable?

    P.S. Quickly figured out that my next modification to the lathe is a quick release lock for my tail stock.


    • #3
      Put the drill in a boring bar type holder on the toolpost, loose the collar and use a bed stop instead.
      Drill all the parts for the first operation. This stops the collar being a pain.

      Buy a spiral flute machine tap and you will be able to tap in one second operation.

      I'd allow 30 seconds to drill and 45 seconds to tap.

      [EDIT ] These are production times, not charging out times.

      Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


      • #4
        Both great suggestions John. I'll have to file those away for FUTURE use. I don't currently have the necessary tooling.

        Time constraints - I have to be done by tomorrow morning.


        • #5
          Originally posted by kyfho
          Will be paid my normal base pay for time required.
          Way too low of a pay rate. That's for labor only and does not cover depreciation, overhead, etc.


          • #6
            Paying you for your time is a steal for them. Remember when calculating expenses to include actual machine use in addition to specific tooling required. After all you did have to buy all those machine right? Plus you have the building expenses, the power bill, etc. Not trying to be critical but if you let them they will gladly let you pay their expenses. Something to keep in mind as new jobs pop up.
            Central Ohio, USA


            • #7
              I was thinking the same thing. I always price stuff by the piece on jobs like this.

              I also do most of our machining for work at home. Generally speaking I won't even go out to my garage for less then about $100/hr minimum, at least not for work stuff
              Last edited by legendboy; 04-16-2012, 09:43 PM.


              • #8
       gotta charge a LOT more than that! Where your machines free, electricity free, rent/mortgage/home free, tooling free?

                Your basic rate should be between NO LESS THAN $35 per hour, up to $100 per hour. Most often, a shop like yours is in the $45/hr range. Not a penny less, I say!


                • #9
                  You better get off the computer and get busy. By your times, it will take you 36 hours. That's cutting "done by tomorrow" pretty close.

                  I would charge a flat rate. $0.50 per piece. I agree with John, you're way off on your time estimate. Forget drawing "hourly rate" unless the company is providing the machine, tools and electric.


                  • #10
                    I would add something for insurance or get a very comprehensive release of liability. Those are BIG fuses and if one of those modified parts should cause a problem, it could get very expensive. The attorneys for the original manufacturer will be very fast to blame you no matter how improbable that may be. You could loose everything in a lawsuit. If you do go the insurance route, DO buy a policy that covers the parts for at least the rest of your life.

                    I try to avoid any jobs that could have high dollar value damages associated with any parts or devices that I make. Perhaps one day I can get a policy to cover it.

                    As an employee, their insurance covers such problems: as an outside contractor, it does NOT.
                    Paul A.
                    SE Texas

                    Make it fit.
                    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


                    • #11
                      If he is working by the hour, is he still concidered an outside contractor?


                      • #12

                        I would not modify a safety device like a fuse in my own shop for an outside company.


                        • #13
                          I think if he is working for where he works at the same rate it would come under there insurance, just like working off site.

                          First off, good for you getting some side work on your machines at home.

                          But I agree with the others and think you should get at least double your pay rate for things your doing on your machinery, after all what happens if you don't have the tool to do it and have to buy say a drill bit. I may cost you an hours pay to buy that tool and then your down an hour before you even start.

                          I have had many people over the years think I could just do it home for the same money or to help them out, not likely and they get a bit annoyed with you over it. After all they are getting paid the right price for the job and making a profit, and at home relaxing while your working.



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by J. R. Williams
                            I would not modify a safety device like a fuse in my own shop for an outside company.
                            boxes of fuse holders that are drilled and tapped for the wrong bolt size,
                            I'd be willing to take on that job. I worked in the electronics field for over 50 years and understand your concerns, but the holder is just a chunk of metal, not the actual safety device. Before you poo-poo my electronics experience with heavy duty electrical devices, I'll advise you that I have maintained, designed and built 100K Watt transmitters. That is fairly heavy duty electricity requirements.

                            I'd charge them overtime, at least. And, make sure their insurance covers you and shop while job is in process.



                            • #15
                              I'm with Pops. While working your normal 40 hour work week you are at the job site. However you are at home doing work for them outside of your normal 40 hour work schedule. Time and a half at least and definitely check as to wether or not their insurance covers you and your shop while working for them. My company had covered us when we traveled to various schools off the site. Went to chicago for a week to attend convention and schooling. Definitely something to think about. And then there are the costs for tooling and equipment and electricity. At your current rate they are only paying you for your time and not your equipment expenses. They are getting the better of the deal. Frank