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Making $$ with a shop

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  • Making $$ with a shop

    My wife's always after me about all the tools and equipment I have. I have a Mig, a stick and oxy/ace rig. Grinders, drill press and a bunch of air tools/hand tools. Plus a 10x24 lathe and soon to have a full size mill and 8 in. shaper in the shop. I'd like to make a little $$ or at least horse trade jobs for tooling or something like that. Trouble is that I don't have any idea how to get work.
    Any ideas? Oh yea, I also have a LOT of hammers and recently acquired an indexing head for the mill.

    Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

  • #2
    your local chamber of comerce may have information or even a website about local manufacturing business's .otherwise you may have to just go through the phone book.when you call a company ask about who does purchasing/engineering/RD. In some company's you have to go through purchasing but on the small R&D firms in my area dealing with the engineer is easyist. tell them what you have to offer and send them some info about your shop.after every phone call analyze what went well and what needs work with your"cold call" style .If your shop looks even half way profesional invite them out to see it because men LIKE workshops and it is a good way to get to know people.mostly all of this works best if you are a real bussiness ,if you'r just a guy looking to do casual work many company's will be uninterested in you.Just letting people you know and the people at toolshops and other macho places know that you make and fix things might bring in some work . Sometimes machineshops may have work to subcontract out to a small shop owner but it will often be work with a poor ratio of labor to earnings . definatly get business cards and try to work up social contacts .good luck!!

    [This message has been edited by hollister (edited 12-17-2004).]


    • #3
      You're in the medical field. Ask around and see if the prosthetic department (scuse if that's not the right term, but you get the idea) can use a few parts now and then. Hell, with your interests, it might be your calling. You could offer to do repairs/fittings for folks that don't have the money for a full blown hospital bill, and still make a little money and get some experience in the process. Maybe.


      • #4
        Look at all the parts on E-bay. Make what you want, when you want.

        Good luck
        Happy holidays
        Be safe


        • #5
          Thanks. The first thing is to get the shop pretty decently tooled which I'm doing at a pretty good clip. Then I guess I'll learn the limitations and capabilities of my machines and get proficient again. Been out of machining for about 7 years...
          I'm mostly scared of taking a job I can't handle. You know, "Sure, I can handle that. No problem." And then find out that it's a little more involved.

          Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga


          • #6
            Hey Vinito. I was trying to think of something relating to medical and I think you've hit on something! There are several prosthetic shops in Macon. When I get ready I may call on them. I'm makin' progress on the mill...

            Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga


            • #7
              Poke around custom car and bike shows. Not every car & bike builder is a machinist. One of my best customers showed up at a garage sale we were having looking for tools. Got to talking and found out he's a house painter who does early Lincoln restorations. I gave him the nickel tour, and now he comes to me for the one off stuff you can't buy from a catalog. Best part is, he knows it's unique, so price is never an issue. There's usually no hard deadline either, so it fits into a family life. Get to know people in the other trades. Sometimes they need a special tool or part made, or something fixed. For me, it's not too steady, but it does help to buy more equipment.
              Good luck,


              • #8
                Hoffman - Liability is a big concern in orthotics/prosthetics. I wouldn't bet on making anything for patient use. Somebody might have an idea they need prototyped though, or maybe fixtures. By the way, I am a prosthetist -orthotist.


                • #9
                  <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Not every car & bike builder is a machinist.</font>
                  There're not? LOL....

                  Seems like I spend more time in front of my machines than I do bangin' fenders and sqirtin' paint.


                  • #10
                    the first order of business for you is to hop in your car, drive over to Milledgeville.
                    drive up to that big white building and ring the bell. ARE YOU CRAZY?
                    want to make a small fortune in the motorcycle business?
                    start with a large fortune.
                    down here i call most of the biker crowd WHIMPY "i will gladly pay you tuesday for boring my cylinders today" dont let the parts go before you have the money.
                    having said that let me suggest what i have learned in the past 2 years since i started.
                    find out which machine shops in your area are really busy and offer to take some of the overload off them.
                    make sure that you tell them that you dont want their customer, you want them for a customer.
                    have them black out the title block so you cant know who the prints belong to.
                    medical devices may be a very tough market. EVERYTHING has to be approved by the FDA down to the coolant. traceability on material etc. imagine the worst and factor it by 10X.
                    e-bay is a good option but how do you guess what sells well? my wife is on me all the time to sell on e-bay. do i want to invest $500.~$1000. on hopes i hit THE WIDGET?
                    if you have a horizontal boring mill and welding equiptment visit the local site prep guys and the heavy equiptment guys. for repair and maintenence work.
                    in essence use your immagination.
                    if your a conventional guy you will really be in a lonely spot.
                    everybody wants CNC capability.
                    where i live there are over 100 machine shops. all trying to get the same work.
                    if you have an idea for a product lne develop it. you have a much greater chance of calling the shots that way.
                    here the chamber doesnt want to help much unless you join. i would encourage joining.
                    custom car guys usaully have more $$$ than bikers.
                    good luck on your endevor the first year is the hardest. i dont know if it gets easier or you just grow a tougher skin...jim
                    oh yeah one last thing. DONT GIVE UP

                    [This message has been edited by toolmakerjim (edited 12-15-2004).]


                    • #11
                      get jobs from the city, state and us army corps of engineers(feds&dod).

                      garbage trucks are big money, im not kidding you, they run 5-7 days a week and need work(sometimes big).

                      well drillers,loggers,contruction workers,farmers,recyling centers, also bring on the work.

                      I could go on and on, no shortage of work if you can do it.


                      • #12
                        buy a printing press then you can really make money.

                        Do you want to make beer money or real money, I think one will be quite a bit harder than the other. I find manufacturing a product with a limited range of variation has been a good way to go. But first you need to build machinery , and thats what you can do in your shop.

                        Here is my 18 month project, now been running 5 hrs a day for 3 years

                        Its a rotary diecutter for making labels.


                        • #13
                          This is in response to Toolmaker Jims posting. I made motorcycle parts years ago for a bunch of Bikes that made it into cycle canada showcase magazine. I never got paid much if anything at all. Also one fellow who went on to become Tuner of the Year with his Roadracing sponsorship actually was telling people back then that he had made the parts that I had actually made. I was at his bike shop one day and a fellow I didnt even know was looking at me looking at scots bike and had the unmedigated audacity to tell me how scott had made the motor mounts and brake stay caliper brace. I didnt say anything at all but that was basically the end of making bike parts for other people. Years later when delving into Harley Davidson Stroker Engine building and making crancase Laps to true up those horrible shovelhead cases, I found out that the Boys would rather trade illigal Substances in lieu of labour ect,. I am totally crapped out on motorcycle machining. It has been a big dissapointment for myself and a few others I know. If you want to make money in your shop go to the yellow pages and find every ones adress that is involved in machining ect, Then visit them and let them know what equipment you have and how much a hour. You can undercut many other shops as a Small Home Based Machine Shop. Stay away from the Losers. Good Luck. Madman


                          • #14
                            Stanko, I don't recognize that one, is it a single station Webtron with Mark Andy paint?

                            I've got a highly modified Mark Andy 820 at work with an addon 4th print station and die station, turnbar, guide larger payout, splice table, constant turning anilox rolls, 830 style running register etc. I built the payout, splice table, a second airmotor driven waste windup, and a registry adjuster before the last die station. Since my brother in law owns the company I have the option of using it for personal use any evening I want but I haven't found a project for it yet.

                            As for making money with machining, that's why I bought my CNC, I've already made back a good percentage of what I have in it selling a custom tool I came up with to Porsche enthusiats. A larger product line, website and ebay are next on the agenda.

                            -Christian D. Sokolowski


                            • #15
                              Hey rsr911, nope its not a webtron, but you are spot on with the Mark Andy paint. Its completly homebuilt and it makes money.
                              I started with a MarkAndy 830 brochure and just borrowed some concepts and ended up with this. It cost about 1/4 the price of a commercial machine and runs about 250 fpm so Im pretty pleased with it. Your 820 sounds interesting a friend of mine just bought one but he hasnt really come too terms with it