I need a bit of advice. And seeing all the knowledge floating around this form I'm sure many of you can help.
I have a real good paying day job but my passion / hobby is in metalworking. I have a small shop setup in the Tulsa area with a 4 axis bed mill and a 14 X 40 manual lathe. I have developed a fair amount of talent in programming and operating my cnc mill along with the lathe I own. I would like some input on ways to make money on my investment. Surely there are people / companies in the area that could benefit from my equipment and services on a part time bases.
Most large companies wouldn't touch you, the reason being that you are viewed as a maybe 'parttimer'.....not something that large companies want to give as a reason for work not being delivered on time.
So, your best bet is to find a small startup that needs your skill set, but can't afford a full-time employee.
The other market is helping the DIY....which requires alot of handholding and explaining.....
Another option is to find a nitch product to make. it just can't be parts for corvettes... www.vetteorama.com but something similar mustangs, harley's whatever. look around on the forums for stuff that you are into, lurk around and see what the people want that nobody is making and make a couple and sell them for a fair price, that covers materials and some of your time. on a lot of my parts i don't make to much on my time, but my materials are covered and i don't sell tons of parts so it doesn't require too much of my time. But the money i make is a lot more than if i was just making parts every once and again for the shop down the street that needs a widgit made once every three months.
My old man told me once, and over the years I have found it to be true.
“If you get a piece of metal and turn it in to a Can Opener you can sell it for 10p. If you get the same piece of metal and shape it in to something “arty” you can charge a lot more for it. It is the same piece of metal, and the same amount of work, just more profit…”
As I'm a retired machinist, with a nice machine shop in my garage, I have more work than I have time! I agree with the nitch-market, and all you need to do is be creative!
Go into your shop, start building little mini things out of aluminum or stainless, and sell them on eBay, you will be amazed how fast they sell!
If you have CNC production machines, you're way ahead of the game, and can really make some honest cash!
For instance, if you were to take a brass plate 1/4" thick by 4" square, and write a G-code to mill out a Maltese-Cross with Hook & Ladder like the firemen use, it would sell like wildfire! The sams size plack can be made for a number of religous artifacts!
The sky is the limit!
Remember, it's like the lottery - If you don't play, someone else wins!
So get off your butt and be creative!
i've never tried to sell my stuff on ebay, i always worry that it won't do as well as i would like. of course most of my parts are of the custom order variety. this spring i will be making a run of stock parts that i will probably post a few on there though. its an item for the corvettes that has been requested several times and i am pretty sure it will do alright there. hope so anyways, because i will have to buy more tools to produce it. i am hoping to sell enough that i can buy one of those fancy mini routers from eric.
i've never tried to sell my stuff on ebay, i always worry that it won't do as well as i would like.
Hey, what are you afraid of selling on e-bay for. Make 5 parts and stick them up there. If they dont sell you wont have lost much and you'll have gained experience. Its not like you milling something to sell on e-bay out of gold and re-mortgaging the house to finance it . Make one part and stick it up, when it sells use the money to make two parts and stick them up, when they sell make 4 parts and stick them up......etc etc. If its just embarrasment (Are you making adult toys?...only kidding ), your not using your real name as your seller id on e-bay anyway, so just dont tell anyone your trying it (Except us here ), and if it doesn't sell you never have to tell anyone. But dont give up if it doesn't, make something else and try again, and again, and again, and again, and.........Good luck whatever you do m8.