Small job-shop contract with (actual) money

But not much.
I have an ongoing small job-shop project, if you wish to quote on it. My
prior vendor just "vanished" (really). Price does matter.
We sell three steel "guns" for stage work. They are loaded with various
types of flash powder for noise or spark effects. They are:
1) Cannon Simulator Pot - a 1" i.d. x 1.5" o.d. x 2"h seamless tube
continuously welded perpendicular to a 4" x 4" x 3/8" plate. The tube has a
(roughly) 9/64" hole drilled near the base - just above the weldment - for a
"touch hole" (like a cannon).
2) Sparkle Pot - a 3" i.d. x 3.5" o.d. x 2"h seamless tube
continuously welded perpendicular to a 4" x 4" x 3/8" plate.
3) Three-way concussion gun - three 2" o.d. by 4" long solid rods
drilled with a 1" bore 3.4" deep. Three are spaced out and continuously
welded perpendicular to one 10" x 4" x 3/8" plate. This item takes strong
explosive force, so must be of an alloy that won't fatigue crack (1000s of
shots, but not many tens of 1000s). Dunno if regular merchant stock ("mild
steel") would do, or not.
Actual dimensions on the tubing in items 1 and 2 aren't too critical. They
should be close, with the object to have nominal 1/4" walls on the tubing.
Item 1 can hold a tube item with a slightly under-sized nominal 1" o.d., so
it must have a 1" bore.
Seamed tubing of any variety is NOT acceptable for items 1 and 2.
Item 3 must have at least 0.5" unmolested virgin metal at the breech end of
the barrel, and the hole should be finished out with some slight radius at
the bottom shoulders of the bore to reduce stress risers.
Each base has two 5/16" mounting holes, on diagonal corners.
Each item is given a cursory cleaning and de-burring for handling safety (no
weld blending, just knocking off spatter, etc), then is painted satin black.
We sell 30-40 of each per year, and would prefer to take about half that
amount every six months, both to keep our lump outlay (and yours) to a
We have inexpensive shipping available through deep discounts with a
national freight carrier.
If you want to do this, contact me off-line for details. We don't have
drawings -- will have to do them over again, because our original vendor
both did the drawings, and vanished with them.
I'd do it in my shop, but I'm rubbing up against 90 hours per week right
now, and can't use the extra "wake up time".
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
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I cannot envision a small shop being able to carry the necessary liability insurance that such a product might require..............
.....but, I CAN envision a number of potential liability issues.
Reply to
Not in practice.
One: It's _our_ product, covered by our blanket liability policy. We are the "manufacturer" -- you'd just be an "employee". When a job is specified to a fine-enough detail so that the fabricator cannot make any choices during the work, the fabricator becomes our "statutory employee". Unless he decides to "moonlight" and make the same product for others, he's not an independent contractor, but an employee. IRS says so; so do the courts.
Two: It is only sold to and only used by licensed pyrotechnicians. They carry their own insurance for such use.
Three: It's WAY over-built for the job -- for obvious reasons.
Four: Its use is approved/disapproved - per use - by a local fire marshal familiar with its use.
And last: The product will be advertized, sold, and maintained as ours. You will never be documented to have had anything to do with it, and nobody would associate you with it -- you'd be just another raw-materials supplier.
Otherwise, even the iron monger supplying the raw materials, or Bridgeport, or the welder or bandsaw manufacturers would be in the chain of liability. In practice, at least in our industry, accident litigation never seems to go past the designer/manufacturer of any device. I've never heard of a raw chemicals vendor being party to an injury suit caused by finished fireworks.
In my entire career, I've never heard of one of these things failing during "normal" use, and thus causing injury or property damage. There have been accidents during loading of them - static, and the like - and a few due to loading with high-explosives not approved for use in them, but neither ours nor any other suppliers' I can think of has ever had one of the guns themselves fail using the approved powders -- even when improperly overloaded.
Our current vendor slipped out in the night to avoid "other liabilities" (like creditors).
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote in article ...
In that case, as your employee, you will then be contributing to my Social Security account.....right?
That is until the lawyers start seeking the deepest pockets, of course.....perhaps seeking to blame a weak weld for a catastrophe.
As they say, "First time for everything."
I've had customers like that, so I can sympathize with you.
Still, I don't believe I would like to take that chance.....nothing personal.
Right now, with the current legal atmosphere, being semi-retired and not able to justify the costs of liability insurance, I'm only doing race car stuff on a cash-only basis for people I know receipts, and no photos of their equipment anywhere near my shop.
Since I still have all my motorsports fab tools and equipment, I feel I have all the metal-fab equipment necessary to do your job, and I thought it would be a nice time-filler for me since I am semi-retired, but its use scares me away from it.
Looks like an interesting project for some young machinist wanting to moonlight in his home shop.
Once bitten - Twice shy......and all that.
Reply to
I work at a large prime contractor, and I have heard just this claim made with respect to the companies making VMEbus crates and cards that large contractor builds into its products, some of which have real safety concerns. Some are weapon systems, some are for air traffic control, and the like. Screw-ups have real consequences.
The short answer is that the engineering decisions are made by the large contractor, and the various component suppliers are off the hook. If a component turns out to be insufficient, the large contractor is liable, for having chosen the wrong supplier/product, et al.
So, get an approved (and signed) drawing from Lloyd, and build to it.
Joe Gwinn
PS. No, I don't have the equipment yet.
Reply to
Joseph Gwinn
Your insurance protects you only unless your carrier issues a certificate of liability listing your subcontractor as "additionally insured", or as an added name on your policy. Otherwise, your insurance company would sue (or subrogate) anyone they could find in order to avoid paying a claim.
Reply to
Full steam ahead and don't mind the ankle biters.
If you wanted me to cut a piece of standard 1" black pipe three feet long, unthreaded at both ends, and you took it and got even with your wife for all those times she made you clean the garage and didn't put the seat down, wouldn't I be liable? As well as the manufacturer of the pipe, the scrap metals dealer who provided the metal, the seller of the pipe, and the UPS geek who delivered the pipe?
Some of the suggestions you are getting might think so.
I'd do it in a second, but I'm not a machinist and couldn't do the machining parts. It sounds like the pipe and plate could be done by any decent welder.
Reply to
Tony, geesh! I do this for a living. I pull certs. with "additional insureds" and "named insureds" every day. I'm quite familiar with the processes.
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
No; in actual practice, you'd be nothing but a material vendor, of a product not intended for the ultimate use (head bashing).
Guys... I don't want to debate this. We're a professional pyrotechnics supplier. We get sued often by people who think because they were driving to a fireworks display we supplied, that we're liable for the traffic accident they had five miles from the site. We know the territory well.
I wouldn't unduly risk any of my vendors -- they're too precious.
This job - except, perhaps for the radiused-bore rods - could be handled by anyone with a bandsaw and a welder. The product's performance is not dependent upon the precision of assembly or quality of the welds. We would like to make it appear as finished and professional as possible, but the design doesn't rely upon pressure vessel-quality welding or precision cutting.
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Lloyd: An observation. I suggest your criteria for choosing a vendor is flawed. "Price does matter. " In fact, this may have been the source of your current problem. If you had chose a vendor that you trust, who was making a fair margin, and therefore had the resources (capital from profits) to back you up and stay in business, you would not be in this position right now. Not blaming you for your vendor's lack of integrity, just pointing out a different approach on selecting a vendor. Submitting a quote is secondary in my mind, and should be done AFTER you mutually establish trust and confidence. Then you can discuss collaborative cost issues (stocking inventory, material, delivery, etc) that might make a difference in the final price. This just struck as the my worst case scenario from a vendor's point of view. Generally I don't want to quote, its time consuming and leaves me at arm's length from my customer. I always like to talk to the customer and ask what criteria they are using to select a vendor? If its price, what satisfaction do I get from being the low cost provider? If I can't add value to the transaction somehow, well, maybe I'm not the vendor. -Mike
Reply to
No, it's not.
I didn't say, "These have to be dirt cheap." I said that the price matters. These are not mil-spec parts built to milli-micron tolerances. I mention price at the top, because I don't want to bother the guys who'd want to supply them with 36 micro-inch finishes and polished bores.
My problem is simply that the shop that was making them closed down, and the owner left town without a forwarding address. My project wasn't the source of his financial woes -- after paying for materials and his and his (one) employee's time, he made roughly $25 profit per gun (average across the three types). His real-life business was making billet racing wheels. (on a couple-mil worth of CNC gear).
We don't haggle over pennies. But I can't sell these things at all if they're over-priced.
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
I could do these, I have the equipment, the skills and a High quality steel stockholder less than a mile away. I'd be happy to be using the shop for something useful. I would not get into trouble with the tax man or the wife either. Trouble is that shipping from the UK would probably kill the deal :-(
Regards Mark Rand RTFM
Reply to
Mark Rand
Unfortunately I live in Thailand so I don't know how shipping costs would effect the overall costs but if you want to contact me by e-mail I would be glad to make up a quotation. Of course shipping costs can be decreased by using surface freight but this would require substantially longer lead times and possibly higher warehouse stock levels.
If you can handle these then let me know. I would need material and weld specifications and dimensions to be able to make a reasonable accurate estimate.
Bruce in Bangkok (brucepaigeatgmaildotcom)
Reply to
I'm sure you do, I was just commenting on the insurance aspect only.
Reply to
The currency exchange rate might be worse than the shipping haha
Reply to
That does seem to be a significant factor at the moment. Good if you are buying, bad if you are in the remains of manufacturing industry over here. We're even loosing jobs to the bloody French (aided by differences in government policies)
Mark Rand (working in what was a British company, that has now been almost completely asset stripped to keep French workers in jobs) RTFM
Reply to
Mark Rand
SteveB wrote in article ...
Any "decent welder" would realize that pipe would fail to meet the specification.
Go back and read.
It calls for seamless material.
Reply to

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