Slowly getting into CNC Manufacturing business

A friend in Ohio was in the business of making replacement parts for the Model T and Model A Fords. He was a tool and die maker by trade, and did it on the side until it took all his spare time. Then he left the aerospace company he worked for and went full time. He had the best machine shop in the area, and the quality was so high that Ford allowed him to put their logo on the shipping boxes. I saw him take two to five of a damaged, rusty part to make a set of dies. The result was identical to an original part.

Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
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Reply to
Martin Eastburn

Find an area that you have an interest in already that would benefit from some fun and original parts. Sounds like you have already found one. The HO scale accessories sounds like just the ticket. While luxury items may be harder to sell in our current economy those people who want them will pay for just the right thing.

My wife was into dollhouse building for a while, and I was always impressed with how much money some of the miniatures builders ask for their stuff. I have been trying to encourage her to get into the miniatures business instead, but cranking out pins to make a chair on a mini lathe isn't as much pun as just putting the completed chair into the dollhouse. LOL.

One of the things I've noticed many guys start making who are into machining as their passionate hobby is machine tools. They make mini screw less vises, or ball turners for lathes and other things like that.

Reply to
Bob La Londe

Yep. Lots of HO scale guys with money to burn, tired of plastic crap.

Plus, there is no liability issue.


Reply to

This is probably a very good approach for most folks with other interests.. it works for me. Most of us HSM types can see the usefulness of an accessory, or better quality part, for almost anything we use regularly.

A friend had an Ungar HotVac desoldering iron, and the only tips available for it were Ungar's own, which were internally threaded 3/8-24 and ~7/16" dia with a taper to the tip hole, made of steel (I suspect a leaded alloy) that weren't plated with copper then over-plated with nickel the way many are made. The tips didn't wear out, they just wouldn't accept solder after they developed a scale that has to be removed with SC silicon carbide sandpaper, and redrilled to clear the hole of the internal scale.

I could see that an adapter which would accept inexpensive, commonly available 1/8" diameter tips would be a great alternative to the thread-on expensive Ungar tips. Later, when I had my shop set up, I decided to see if those adapters would sell on eBay, even though the HotVac units were essentially obsolete. I made the adapters from 316 stainless with a setscrew for securing the inexpensive tips. I sold every one I listed, and was asked for more.

That wouldn't be a business in itself, but it's an example of product improvement that other folks see as a necessary upgrade/improvement.

I envision countless other pieces of hardware that would enhance performance, or enable a device to be more versatile, by a simple add-on accessory.

There are many folks with no machine skills that would appreciate someone making a quality piece of hardware that would be convenient to have.

I'd suggest forgetting about patents and billion dollar ideas, and focusing on numerous thousand-dollar ideas, or many hundreds-of-dollars ideas.. and more will present themselves as one works thru the process.

There are a lot of pieces of junk plastic hardware that would be worthwhile to make from brass, for example.

I'd exclude items with safety issues, and possibly create a warranty that is limited to only replacement the broken part. Making parts for professional, technical or serious-hobbiest types would likely eliminate many average-consumer complaints, such as.. I can't figure out how to use the gizmo, or my child or pet was injured by your product (that they found on the floor).

Reply to

Wild Bill, you got it right exactly. One little cute thing is not a complete solution, but having a little inventory of, say, a dozen items that I make and sell, could make for a nice side income.

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GE apparently thinks a replacement for the broken timer knob ( plastic injection ) for my clothes dryer is somehow worth ~$40.00

But...since the first one ended up getting broke...why would anyone even want to buy another one from them ?

Reply to

$40?! The knob for my Maytag washer/dryer which I managed to break when loading it in the truck for my move cost like $10 with shipping. I ordered it online shipped to the new location and it arrived a few days after I did.

Reply to
Pete C.

I don't know what Sears wants for new knobs for my grill, and I don't care. I am machining my own out of a block of acetal plastic complete with set screw and markings. Would have just made them out of aluminum, but there is potential for heat.

Reply to
Bob La Londe

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