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Thread: Starting a machine shop

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    Starting a machine shop

    Ok.. I just got a Bridgeport Knee Mill.. This is the start of my machine shop. Yes, I know I am going to need a lot more equipment but this is a start I guess.


    Soo... Where do I go from here? I have 4 years experience in machining. I am just overwhelmed by what I have to do... I don't know!..

    I would like to get some work for my manual mill (if that is possible)


    Please somebody give me some guidance..


    I am located in Tampa,Florida..

    Similar Threads:


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    There are CD's that list all businesses. They can be sorted by catagory, which, you can zero to your demographics........30-40 mile radius. Make PROFESSIONAL business cards, bang on doors, make short run parts, fixtures etc. Don't be a whore and work for free. Stay away from "Myquote"



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    Registered jackson's Avatar
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    you should'nt have any trouble getting some odds and ends work for the machine you have as long as your are competiteve with your pricing. Are you working for a company now?

    individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.


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    What do you do? What do you want to specialize in? Tooling? Production? Medical? Aerospace? These are all questions you'll have to answer so that you know where to look for work. Keep in mind that you're entering a broad field with a lot of competition. My advice would be to find a niche, something that you enjoy doing, and market that. Also focus on your QC and ability to inspect your work especially if you're pursuing medical or gov't work. A simple website with an equipment list and a professional e-mail address couldn't hurt either...

    Good luck!



    I don't know much about anything but I know a little about everything....


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    I would say at minimum, you will need a lathe, to go along with your mill.

    A manual mill is almost a first aid kit nowadays, meaning it provides a bandaid solution for emergency repairs. I am not attacking your abilities. I run a repair shop as well as a cnc job shop, and the manual mill just doesn't provide sufficient machining ability for anything except keyway cutting, and maybe facing stuff off. I am assuming you want to make money, and that your customers will care how much you charge. There is no doubt that many things can be done on a manual mill, but the time factor is an important element in getting paying work.

    By contrast, a manual lathe gets lots of use, day in and day out, in a repair shop. Even in a prototype shop, a manual lathe is indispensable for performing many 'nuisance' operations that just require simple facing, drilling holes in the center of things, etc. This is because the flexibility of manual lathe chucks for part setup is hard to beat on a cnc equipped with power chucks, unless you go to the trouble of making many many sets of soft jaws. That in itself can be costly to do on simple one of a kind jobs.

    First you get good, then you get fast. Then grouchiness sets in.

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    What would happen if I were to get a CNC machine? Maybe something like a nice new vf-1?



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    Also, should I stay away from MFGquote.com? Should I go start a membership there if I am going to start a business?


    By the looks of that site it looks nothing but pure opportunity.. but I bet the grass isn't as green on the other side..

    Am I right?



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    Moderator HuFlungDung's Avatar
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    Yeah, take the $6500 that you would have spent at MFGQuote, and buy yourself a nice tooling package for your VF1. Even if you never do a job with your tooling, at least you'll have something to look at in a year

    CNC mills can be a lot of fun, but there is a big whack of learning to get beneath your helmet. Don't buy with the expectation of work walking in through the door. Until you figure out how to run everything, there will not be (m)any paying jobs, they will all be learning jobs. You may have special circumstances in your favour, but getting connected with those who need machining services is a bit of a challenge for the typical startup.

    First you get good, then you get fast. Then grouchiness sets in.

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Quote Originally Posted by MBG View Post
    Also, should I stay away from MFGquote.com?
    Hi, although there are a few forums on the net with people asking about MFGquote.com, the company has pretty much blanketed the web with paid advertising and success stories.

    I am a small business owner with a single CNC machine. I manufacture parts that we design in-house and sell on the internet. I was interested running my machines more, but didn't want to spend time looking for work - mfg.com sounded like it might fit the bill - kind of like ebay in reverse. I contacted them and eventually bought a one year contract. For a small shop like mine, this was probably the biggest mistake I have made. They are making a lot of money by enticing new suppliers and keeping a high volume of non-paying customers providing rfqs.

    Since I have been on both sides of MFGQuote.com, I felt that they were using dishonest selling practices and filed a complaint with the Georgia BBB. MFG.com did not respond to the complaint, although their "customer service" person emailed me with a short email - The entire text was "You cannot cancel your account". Nice customer support. Think about that the next time your salesman calls you.

    They give you a free "test drive" as a supplier, showing you real time quotes. What you don't see is the actual awards. They will direct you to a page that shows the "value" of the awarded rfqs. What he won't tell you is that those "values" are derived from the awarded quote and the requestor's anticipated yearly buying amount, which has no relevance to the actual "value" of the rfq. Here's how it really works:

    1. Someone posts an RFQ on mfg.com for a simple aluminum part that requires a 3 axis machine. They are prototyping a new product and request pricing for 5 parts, 25, parts, or 50 parts. The requestor is asked for their expected yearly volume. Because they don't want to get prototype pricing, they say something like 1000.

    2. The RFQ gets posted. Lots of companies respond to the RFQ for the 5, 25, and 50 part volumes. Some companies will post rock bottom pricing hoping to gain the customer's business for the 1000 part volume. Some companies will post realistic pricing for the 5, 25, and 50 part volumes.

    3. The customer will decide to award the RFQ. The cheapest company sounds good, but since they didn't seem to communicate well and they were unable to quote from a igs file with simple dimensions, the customer wisely shies away from them. The more expensive quotes were comparible to quotes that the customer got locally - they probably had a charge for engineering, tooling, fixturing that were not expected to be rolled up into the small volume. So the customer decides to go with the lowest price that seems "legit".

    4. The customer awards the RFQ for 5 parts at 25.00 per part. The total value of the RFQ is $125 including shipping charges. The customer gets the parts and is probably happy with them. They might not be perfect, but hey, they were only $25 each, and he might order more, or maybe he'll outsource it locally after the prototype.

    5. After the RFQ is awarded, MFG.com updates their page and proclaims that an RFQ was just awarded with a value of $25,000. Some poor machine shop owner sees all of these awards and decides to sign up for a $5000 yearly contract.

    Whoa! What happened here? $25 grand? The RFQ went for $125! Now multiply this by a lot of RFQs per day. Now lets say the user decided to go with a more realistic quote of $75 per part for 5 parts (after all, thats still good for a complex prototype) and he pays $375 for the prototypes, which is still a good deal.

    MFG.com now proclaims that the RFQ was worth $75,000. Dang, doesn't that seem like something you want to sign up for?

    MFG.com doesn't care about the buyers or the suppliers. MFG.com has salesmen that have one purpose - get companies to sign up for a $5000 per year contract. After they sign up, they are told to go screw themselves if they are not happy. The buyers are happy - they don't have to pay anything for an RFQ and they get some rock-bottom prices.

    For the supplier its classic -
    Once they get you to agree to pay $5000, they got you.
    You cannot cancel for any reason (except bankruptcy).
    They will threaten to collect if you do not pay.
    Your account will renew automatically.
    They have a bad reptuation with the BBB.

    They have good salesmen who can probably afford nice houses. Still feel like subscribing?

    You will NOT get enough volume to pay for your subscription. MFG.com will NOT make it any harder for people to post FISHING or UNDERQUOTED RFQs. This is not in their interest.

    It doesn't matter that you get screwed. There are a lot more machine shops who are looking for work and, gosh, look how many RFQs are being awarded on MFG.com!

    If this long post keeps a small shop from spending $5000 on a service that will not help them, then I won't feel so bad about putting my shop in jeopardy. Like the others said, don't subscribe unless you got that $5k ready to flush, and you have someone hired full time to quote jobs under your hourly costs.

    Signed
    -James
    "disgruntled subscriber"



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    Thumbs down Myquote

    I have not found anyone on any site anywhere at anytime that has had anything but a sad experience with Myquote.

    To those who have subscribed you need to have an attorney read and explain your exit options. Somewhere in the contract it is explained when Jupiter gives birth to a new moon, you will have 48 minutes to bow out, else AN AUTOMATIC YEARS' RENEWAL. However it is charged (credit card or otherwise), it cannot be cancelled outside that window explained. They have an excellent legal team!!

    Myquote is a legitimate business.....they provide a service. As explained, you can receive awards and make parts. That satisfies the law. Just because you cannot make a part for less than the material cost is not their concern.

    Everywhere on every cnc site I have suggested to "stay away"

    I only hope others driven by dreams or desperation read the response so well detailed in this thread and perhaps will see this exercise in futility.

    Good luck



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    Quote Originally Posted by FranH View Post
    I have not found anyone on any site anywhere at anytime that has had anything but a sad experience with Myquote.

    To those who have subscribed you need to have an attorney read and explain your exit options. Somewhere in the contract it is explained when Jupiter gives birth to a new moon, you will have 48 minutes to bow out, else AN AUTOMATIC YEARS' RENEWAL. However it is charged (credit card or otherwise), it cannot be cancelled outside that window explained. They have an excellent legal team!!

    Myquote is a legitimate business.....they provide a service. As explained, you can receive awards and make parts. That satisfies the law. Just because you cannot make a part for less than the material cost is not their concern.

    Everywhere on every cnc site I have suggested to "stay away"

    I only hope others driven by dreams or desperation read the response so well detailed in this thread and perhaps will see this exercise in futility.

    Good luck
    What is myquote?



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    MBG, being a small glass shop owner and working for a tool and die shop at night I can tell you that running a business in the state of Florida can be tough. First you need to look at the minimum overhead needed to run your machine shop and have and always keep at the very least twice that amount in the bank. next always remember that there are start ups like yourself that will do a job for half of what you will(this is what sneaked up on me and bit me in the ass). Now comes you and your abilities. If you are a very seasoned machinist then doing the work will not be a problem but only 4 years if I read that right does not sound like its enough. The "banging on doors" part of an earlier answer is VERY IMPORTANT. Your personality and the way you handle yourself with a potential customer is critical. I learned some key things in dealing with people from a buddy and former boss of mine, always be yourself and don,t be a salesman and always at least sound like you know what your talking about. And finally, RESEARCH. Research everything from where to rent a shop, the necessary licensing and insurance to sources of supplies. Good Luck,
    Rich



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