A long time dream goal in life involves first a building to make my shop in. Then set up a home shop with a bit of manual and CNC machines, plus automation equipment & controls like what I do for my day job.
Jumping ahead, the desired end result would be that I make things in my home shop but using automation and sell the items to others interested in whatever I'm making.
So, in the shop, I would make hobby projects using manual and CNC machines, and if there seemed to be much interest, I could set up for automation to have a mini production line. Perhaps not full, lights out, automation but find a happy medium of cost of automation versus labor savings, using automation to make a person as productive as practical.
The manual machine tools would be more for the one off items and to construct the automated or semi-automated equipment.
For an example, I'd like to automate a progressive reloading press. After I get a part of it automated, make the parts needed to sell to others. For example if someone sets up a gear motor or cylinder to operate the press lever, a control with sensors sensing cases, bullets, powder and jams could stop the motor and alarm if something wasn't right. You wouldn't have to use a PLC costing $$$ but maybe a low-cost microcontroller board with free programming software. They already have alarms for reloading presses for powder level in the powder measure and level in the cartridge case, if these went to inputs in a controller they could stop the operation.
So worst case I'd have a home machine shop and not make any money from it, best case I'd make some money and perhaps grow into something more than a hobby. But if I didn't make any money, I'd get to work with my son, show him how to run the manual and CNC machines, program CNC lathe and mill, PLC's and robots. He'd get hands on experience in machining, CNC operation and programming, CAD design, electrical. I think it would be better experience than flipping burgers! Seems employers want young people with years of college and years of experience, they want someone 5 years of experience using 2014 software!
There is also some potential opportunity to sell parts to my employer. There is an approved vendor that can buy from employees and sell to the company. One of our maintenance mechanics bought an industrial sewing machine and makes dust collector boots that use Velcro. This saves a lot of time and disassembly in the boot replacement, it's not a secret and others don't have a problem with it, they appreciate the savings in time and labor.
The thing holding me back is money, I asked my bank and they don't seem interested in loaning money unless you can prove to them that you don't need it! My credit score has fallen after buying a new car but it's still over760, excellent. I work day shift and that's about the only time you can talk to banks about loans so it's difficult to get time to call them.