Thread: Bespoke CNC

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  1. #11
    I would think these are valuable skills to be in house and thinking of a bigger unit the costs could be covered in the first year. Your limits would not just be props either but i'm sure you have thought of that. For what your costs are at the moment you could probable invest in a secondhand machine and save on build time. For the size of machine you need in length as long as you have the space a much more prudent machine should be considered. If you say business in this area is picking up then time factor is a large cost you need to reduce, this could offset some of the cost outlay?

    You could even consider something like this?
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  2. #12
    Other points to remember if you bring machining in house is that whatever machine/s you have, it / they have to earn their keep: if you suddenly have a quiet period, have you got other work you can put on the machine? If not, it could suddenly become an expensive liability; you'll still have rent / rates to pay on the workshop space (have you a workshop at present, or are you working on the designs at home?) , service supplies for it (electric / heating / air / water, dust extraction and waste disposal charges), materials, labour (your biggest cost), equipment costs (machine itself has to be paid for, tooling, clamping / fixture systems, maintenance of machinery, gauges and test gear) - these all have to be paid whether the work is there or not.

    Bear in mind also that if you don't know how to use / run that machine, you need to employ someone that does, otherwise you make nothing at all and you end up with customers frustrated with delays (they themselves may have customers waiting for a finished item) whilst you figure the machine out - it's not impossible that a customer ends up going elsewhere if you keep them hanging around for parts.

    I'm not saying don't do it, but you do need to consider your costs (and implications) extremely carefully: it may appear at first glance that doing your own machining will save money - but if you lose customers through delays / damaged items etc, or you find times are tight because there's no work to put on the machine, it may well be that subbing it out is actually more cost-effective.

    FWIW, the Proto Trak CNC systems may be useful to you - they are specifically designed for one-off / short runs and are easily and quickly programmed from job-to-job (look up South Western Industries, or XYZ Machine Tools in UK / Europe) if you do bring it in-house.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #13
    Adie you've made some very good points here, also by outsourcing the work i suppose you do pass on some of the liability as well.
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  4. #14
    Hi Prop man,

    I've been down the same route - should I design and build a machine or buy one ready made and get producing quicker? I chose the 2nd route after 3 people said they would help make the parts for me then backed out. I can live without the hassle.

    I chose Rhonmac in Wales after looking at many others. He seems to have been making and selling machines for a while and his large machines look solid although your requirements are pretty big. He's making me a small 460 x 600 x 100mm bench-top machine at the moment. While I'm waiting for it I can work on designs and all the thousand other things that will need doing.

    Contact him (Google Rhonmac). Let me know how you get on.



  5. #15
    One of the biggest mistakes I see when companies start looking for machinery is to look at the purchase price and not much further - only to find that costs spiral out of control. Indeed, it's not unknown for the final bill to be 3x (yes, THREE times) the original estimate in cases, due to poor cost anticipation.

    It *should* go something like this:

    Purchase price of machine.

    Does the machine come with tooling / fixtures included? If not, what items do you need? How much does that cost? Do you need "sister" tooling (ie several cutters of same size / type to replace worn ones)?

    Transport: is this being arranged by the machine supplier, and included in the price? Or do you need to arrange it yourself and pay it separately?

    Workshop: do you have sufficient workshop space, or do you need to arrange one, or expand an existing building? What difference will it make to your rent and rates? If your altering an existing space, how much will alteration cost?

    Installation: how do you plan to get it in the workshop? If its small, you may get it in with a forklift; if its a big machine, it may well need to be craned in through the roof - so you have the cost of removing and re-instating the roof section (how much?) plus crane hire. Crane hire itself could be 1500+ per DAY. If you have an existing factory / workshop, do you need to send non-essential staff home for safety or other reasons? How much is your likely downtime while your factory doesn't run (ie, how much production time is lost x number of staff) whilst you get the new machine in? Also with installation, your transport and crane hire (if it applies) and the roofing work (if it applies) need to be tightly co-ordinated: you don't want to pay an extra day's crane hire for example because something else isn't on site on time, or because your not quite organised with space.

    Service supplies: electric / air / gas / water and any other supplies it may need: can you run it from an existing electrical system? Does the supply point need moved closer to the machines intended site? Do you need to run new cables? Indeed, is your existing power supply man enough for the addition of the machine anyway? If that machine has pneumatics (eg tool change carousels), have you got a compressor that can handle it? If not, that could become a second plant purchase in its own right, and needs to be costed in the same fashion. The same goes for gas / water / hydraulics if they apply.

    Commisioning: Testing of the plant / system and making sure it functions as intended, and system hand over: is that included from the machine supplier, or is it charged separately?

    Training: going back to my earlier point that the machine is worthless without a skilled operator, how much is training going to cost? Bearing in mind that some people learn skills more easily than others, how long is your anticipated training period? Or is it easier to employ someone who already knows what they're doing?

    Finally, having gone through all that, how does the cost compare to sub-contracting the work? How much of a difference is there? How many items would you have to make (and sell) before you break even and start to show a profit? And how long (realistically) is it likely to take? Do you have / can you access (eg from your bank) sufficient funding to cover the bills for this period?

    Hope that helps.

  6. #16
    bloody hell !!! you guys make it sound like armagedon

    when i started reading this thread i was thinking "yea man, pick yourself up a cheap cnc, throw it in the corner... press go and start printing money" :)

    i somtimes think if we knew just how much blood n sweat was involved we would stay in bed and dream about how well it would have worked out if we had had the gumption.......

    having said that it does sting when you bite off more than you can chew

  7. #17

    Goes to show how blinkered you can get by pretty lights and all that glitters. I used to run my own business years ago and all i worried about was getting to work on time. judging business cost is a fine art and those that do it well succeed and those that don't get by or not at all. It's good to get a reminder sometimes and not just worry about 40% margins.......Times have changed?
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

  8. #18
    ok ill take my blinkered optimism down to the shops and buy something shiny

  9. #19
    LOL! shiiiiinnnyyy..........i like shiny....
    If the nagging gets really bad......Get a bigger shed:naughty:

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