The part I use is a 9/16" OD x 1/2" x 3/8" eyelet. It has been declared obsolete by the Mfgr. I've been looking for a replacement for over a month and can't get less than 50k parts at $.15 ea. My usage is about 4k / year.
I can use DOM tube...if I can find it. I've been looking A LOT! My normal tube suppliers, I use 6 sizes of tube, don't have it and it looks like I need to get a big qty.
I wish I could buy dies to make the eyelet or find a source for tube or find a source for steel bushings (1 quote at $1.36 ea...machined from bar)
(While writing this, I got a quote for DOM at $1.55 ft. ---So far, my best bet)
Call your old eyelet supplier and see what the problem is with them making them. And perhaps ask if they'll sell you the tooling to make them yourself, and the equipment if it takes something custom.
Perhaps they just don't want to spend the money to rebuild an old machine that they know is dying and only making them 4,000 pieces a year. Or they're having trouble sourcing the raw tubing and don't want to deal with it anymore. But either way, since it's a vital component of one of your products you have much more incentive to do the work than they do.
After all, they have the tooling (how else did they make them?) and they stated that they aren't going to use it anymore. Right?
You'll still have to pay to get the right size steel or brass tubing drawn to use as raw stock. (Unless you'd like to buy all the gear to draw your own, which I doubt.) And machining bushings from bar stock would be insane. But the rest of your destiny is under your control.
Just assign someone to feed the machine a fresh stick of tubing stock every half hour or so, lube it up, and let it sit over in the corner going a few hours a week.
Do it right, and you can develop your own tooling for all the eyelet sizes you use. And all the sizes that the customers can dream up for making 'specials'. Unless you like being at the mercy of component suppliers...
*************************************************** They use "Multislides" and the tooling is specific to the machine and they won't sell it anyway. Eyelet dies are multi staged blank, draw, draw, draw, flange, punch, trim and roll dies and it's not worth the set-up for less than 50k parts...I see their point. It's not worth making all the dies for my little usage. I can now get the tube I need and my final cost will be $0.21 + $0.05 for the first hit operation to flange one side...so a finished cost of $0.26 is OK for now, but $0.15 was better as it is $440.00 less per year. Another ant on my sandwich!
Sounds like a perfect job for a Traub screw machine. Set it for length, and cut off an entire bar via bar feeder.
I can get em for less than $500
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