Today I posted the following at the forums.adafruit.com site which focuses on workbench/electronics projects for the hobbyist & low-volume producers. I'm looking forward to learning my way around here (and there):
I'm about to equip a workbench/shop for some electronics & metalworking projects. With an eye toward building a retirement business, I want to hone some skills and ultimately open an equipment dealership, a time-share type of workshop similar to the crafts shops or pottery shops, only the focus would be one people who need equipment for electronics and milling projects OR use the workshop to actually make/mill/engrave or do projects for others.
- Is there a demand for a time-shared workshop properly equipped with laser, milling and electronics equipment?
- Is the field so saturated with on-line equipment dealers that a brick & mortar location couldn't make it?
- What should I be following to spot the trends in demand for project equipment like those at Make/Adafruit/cnczone.com? (sites, associations, magazines, etc.?)
As a first-time poster, I may have posted the wrong kind of question in the wrong place. Be gentle.
I'm no authority here (or anywhere) but I'd probably be interested in paying for time to have access to equipment. I don't think I'd personally want a time-share arrangement, I prefer to rent by the minute or other arrangements. I used to work at a dry media stripping place that had several cabinets with Aluminum Oxide, Glass Bead & Plastic Media available for walk in customers to rent by the minute and it does a real bang up business.
Since anything CNC requires more than just starting the timer on a blast cabinet, you might want to figure out the programming, data entry and production costs for various projects &or figure out how to bill them individually. For example if someone has CNC ready files compatible with your equipment that they can load & run, they'd pay a load fee and then by the minute to run the machine. If they require PC work at your place, bill for that. Factor in what kind of material they're working with on your CNC machines so you don't end up losing the farm on tough stuff eating up your tooling/bits/etc.
Just my uneducated 2 centavos. lol