1. #1
    Hi Guys
    I need a to diversify due to a back problem I'm on the mend now after spinal surgery. I love working in wood and used to be able to carve walking sticks, reliefs and make small wooden boxes etc so I'm hoping to automate some of that production. I have lots of time at the moment but am going crazy and need something to occupy myself with, due to complications my hands are quite weak and making a machine from scratch is going to be very challenging next to impossible, so I was wondering are there any recommendations for a machine that could cut cherry wood walnut etc it doesn't have to be a big machine just reasonably sturdy and reliable my budget is a pitiful £1000 I know it doesn't sound much but its a lot to me as I have no income at the moment I am hoping to start a small business making little bits and bobs so in the future I would be able to afford a pro machine, or am I just dreaming :). Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    I've given your question a lot of thought and have drawn a blank, under different circumstances I'd suggest converting a cheap benchtop mill and adding a fourth axis or sourcing a problematic machine and fixing it.
    Do you have anyone who could provide some muscle for you to assist with a conversion or repair?

    - Nick
    If you will not be swayed by logic or experience simply pick the idea you
    like best, but ask yourself why you sought advice in the first place and,
    for a simple life, perhaps consider not doing so in future

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply Nick my son would be able to help with most things as long as it doesn't interfere with his social life oh to be 18 again. I have come to a similar conclusion and I am worried that I won't be able to get a satisfactory machine looks like I will need to save much more money. So any advice on this would be very helpful.

  4. #4
    Yes and no.
    First .. professional-commercial advice.
    The other guys are competing with mobility, bigger machines, experience, some with money re: finishing, packaging, branding etc.

    You, or anyone else, can never ever compete with guys having machines with toolchangers - IF and WHEN making their type of repeat jobs.

    BUT..
    A vast amount of money is made via semi-production artistic or custom stuff at the high(er) end.
    A lot of this stuff used to be (mostly) hand made.

    My advice.
    YOU could be perfectly successful, perhaps extremely successful, making 1-5 or single-piece units of high quality/value (semi)artistic.
    The 1000£ cnc will NOT be *how* you get successful - because endless numbers of competitors have
    -more experience
    -bigger machines
    -more accurate machines
    -vastly higher productivity/unit in cm3 machined / quality.

    BUT You can still be quite successful.
    FOCUS on one area - that YOU can sell well.

    Your key, determinant, critical path is what you can sell (very profitably), not what you like, not what you think, not what others do.
    The further away You are from what "others do" the better your chances of success.
    The higher your prices are, the better your chances of success.

    You have zero chances of success *because* of a cnc machine, of 1000£.
    You have high chances of success because of doing things, via cnc-somewhat, or not.

    The one thing You have, most don´t, is time.
    Leverage what You have.
    Focus on stuff with detail, manual work, polish, decoration, lapping, polish, etc.

    Imo, your best bet would be to buy an NSK spindle, Nakanishi, some tools and cutters, and go into manual polishing/rework business.
    As an adjunct to other shops, subcontractor.

    Business case:
    Guaranteed 100% work, all the time.
    Very easy to sell.
    Almost no suppliers- no one has time AND an NSK spindle and patience.
    Borrow the money for the spindle and tools from a bank.

    You can very easily make 20-40£/hr, 800-1600 gross/week.
    Double-triple national income.
    Your clients will like You .. and wont try to down-cut you on pricing.
    Endless specialty niches that will use your services ..




    Quote Originally Posted by woodworker View Post
    Hi Guys
    I need a to diversify due to a back problem I'm on the mend now after spinal surgery. I love working in wood and used to be able to carve walking sticks, reliefs and make small wooden boxes etc so I'm hoping to automate some of that production. I have lots of time at the moment but am going crazy and need something to occupy myself with, due to complications my hands are quite weak and making a machine from scratch is going to be very challenging next to impossible, so I was wondering are there any recommendations for a machine that could cut cherry wood walnut etc it doesn't have to be a big machine just reasonably sturdy and reliable my budget is a pitiful £1000 I know it doesn't sound much but its a lot to me as I have no income at the moment I am hoping to start a small business making little bits and bobs so in the future I would be able to afford a pro machine, or am I just dreaming :).

    Thanks in advance.

  5. #5
    Wow lots of info thank you. I used to make small items with a scroll saw and a laser engraver got to the point where I could no longer hold the work pieces down I was in serious danger of losing digits, I reluctantly sold the equipment as I was unable to even stand at the machine. 2 years later after surgery I am now feeling a bit better I'm trying to ease myself back into making at least doing something I might be running before I can even crawl here but I'm going crazy.
    I have a background in 3d/cad so I'm trying to use at least some of my knowledge, I am not interested in taking on the big boys as I used to make one off custom pieces which I used to sell at craft fairs. I have an almost endless supply of off cuts of wood I fully understand this is a difficult situation I'm in.

  6. #6
    There is definitely a market for bespoke individualised items... just look at etsy, not on the high street etc. Make stuff for weddings and you can make a killing as people just spend spend spend. Nice rustic signs, table decorations etc.

    That sort of stuff, especially where personalisation is required, is in my opinion much better suited to the cottage industry than the bigger boys. When I got married the wife wanted some laser etched wooden hearts for the save the dates, we found some on etsy I think for 80 quid... thinking that was a bit much for a few quids worth of wood and a bit of laser time I went around looking for quotes and the big places were coming back with quotes in the many hundreds, which just isn't realistic.

    We also spent quite a lot of time making nice things like wood slices for the central table decorations, some nice rustic signposts pointing to the various areas (toilets, photo booth, bar etc etc)... most people wouldn't be able/willing to make their own and happily spend decent money on that sort of stuff.

    Perhaps that gives some ideas for you. Certainly would be enough to get a little money coming in at least. Not as good as hanermo's suggestion probably, but very low-risk and easy to get up and running with to see how it goes.

  7. #7
    You have pretty much nailed it there I know a couple of wedding planners and used to supply them and I am hoping to get back to doing that I don't want a huge business as when you aren't enjoying it it's time to stop imo at my time of life this is more important to me now if I was in my 20s or 30s I would be looking to build an empire. Thanks for all the help I've put in an offer for a complete system and hope to get it by the weekend, expect lots of newbie questions.. just saying lol..

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