On 9/30/2019 5:19 AM, email@example.com wrote:> I met a guy at the local
scrap yard. He was dumping a couple of 55 gal drums of swarf. He
invited me to see has shop and I have since visited his shop a number of
times. He has had the shop for about 6 months and does not have any
specialty. The major machines that he has are a manual lathe, a turning
center , and a Bridgeport. And is located in Wilmington , De.
> So does anyone have an idea of work he should be trying to cultivate?
I once got a big job (big for me) for a company in the Ukraine because a
big shop thought their job was to small for them and sent it my way.
Can't hurt to be friendly with the competition. To be fair the job was
also better suited to my skills and general type of work than theirs. (I
Also, don't be afraid to do some design work or help work. I don't like
to sell CAD design work time. I prefer to roll it into the cost of
making custom and one off parts, but I let a fellow talk me into it a
couple years ago. His machinist had all kinds of silly issues with a
couple of my designs. I think he thought I was just a CAD designer with
no shop floor knowledge. I responded to every concern with how to
machine it and efficient options for fast machines vs powerful machines.
In one case I had to say, "Just machine it the way I modeled it. You
will see. If doesn't work send it to me and I will make the piece for
free." That customer now has me working on a big (big for me) order for
his next new invention. All prepaid work with a time estimate, but no
hard deadline. I'm not comfortable selling my CAD time mostly because
there are a lot of tricks I can do in CAM that make the job easier and
faster. Its more work to model it for somebody else. In this case I
wound up getting his machine work too in the end.
Ultimately it comes down to this if your shop is slow take the work you
can get and do the work you can do. Even if its not exactly what you
want to do. But also be honest with people. Even if you eat sandwiches
from the cheese line this week. Most will appreciate it.
A couple years ago I had a fellow want me to "machine" a largish crude
mold. I told him that it was a job for a welding and fabrication shop.
Not a mold and machine shop. He tried to insist, but I said a local
weld and fab shop would do it cheaper, and they wouldn't have to ship it
across the border. I explained how to ask for the job to be done. He
was thrilled and I do all his custom mold work ever since. He usually
even tacks on things to his orders like specialty parts. He even wanted
to buy one of my company hats. (I gave it to him.)
... and don't be afraid to push your limits. Several times I have had
requests for things I thought were beyond me. Instead of saying, "no" I
say, "I have to think about it for a few days to see if I can figure out
how I would set that up. I might not be able to do it, but I want to
think about it." Sometimes after a few days I decided I'd need
equipment I can't afford right now or even that I just can't figure out
how to do it, but sometimes the answer comes to me, and I add another
skill set or make a new tool.
If you have no work you might have to discount some work, but remember
that most people who get a "deal" will never let you serve them again if
they don't always get a deal. Not everybody, but most. Its the cost of
bringing cash in the door today sometimes.
One more thing. If you have an area of passion besides machining
consider things about that passion that you might make, improve, or
invent. If you have an idle time make those parts and try to retail
them. Facebook and Ebay are hack sales sites, but they get your
products in front of more people. Even if they don't sell somebody
might think to themselves, "Hey, maybe this guy can make MY parts."