Good Evening All
I am trying to get a bespoke cabinet business off the ground with the aim to outsource most of the manufacturing, mainly involving CNC routing 18/19mm variations of faced MDF.
I'm am a designer with a background in furniture and bespoke cabinet and I am hoping someone can give me some advice about the costs involved with CNC routing. I am searching for help because I have sent out several dxf drawings of cabinets to a range of companies offering a cutting service, the supply of material and delivery, and the prices I am given seem to fluctuate quite a lot. I have been quoted anything from £60 - £140 for exactly the same job (cutting one carcass), even the delivery has been anything between £20 and £100.
Is there an avenue that would be best to explore? Or is there anyone who I should contact for a good service that is reasonably priced, I get the impression many people are trying to make a 'quick buck' rather than trying to form a lasting business relationship that works for both parties.
Finally, is there anything I should be taking into consideration when designing parts which will help reduce cutting time and therefore reduce the machining costs? Maybe this does not matter so much? The parts are variations of rectangles with holes for hinges and shelf pegs etc.
Thanks for your help
I spoke with a plastics guy recently who told me he at some point realised he was outsourcing 35000 euro a year on routing.He then bought a 60000 euro router and recouped huis investment in one and a half years time.
If you start a business based on outsourcing all manufacturing, which is a good thing (!) also ponder on what should happen if things pick up.
Especially if you run a lot of small batches, having your own router becomes effective very quickly.
But it will require a drastic change in how you operate.
Hi Sven. Thanks for you post. It makes sense to do the machining in house. However when setting up business if you have not got the capital to invest then it is a big risk before you know the business is going to work. Also have to remember there is more than the cost of the machine, there is the maintenance, new bits, ordering materials, paying someone to operate the machine and the cost of a big workshop to give it a home. I'm sure I will invest once I get the business up and running and the numbers add up, once I know the product sells I'll take the leap. Do you know anything about the technicalities of CNC routing? How to get the prices down or how to deign MDF components so they are quicker to cut? Or maybe I am clutching at straws???
Where are you? Give some more details of the job. I'll be happy to compare quotes as I'm doing the same thing at the moment.
Timbmet Stonehouse quoted me £80 cutting fee for a one off 2800x2070 sheet, a mixture of cnc and sawing. Their cnc is only 3000x1500. Was told it would be less for more boards. I suggested repeat orders should be cheaper due to no programming needed, but they didn't agree! I will work on them after my first job.
The big difference in pricing you may be seeing may just be due to the fact that some people don't know what they're doing, or how much they should be charging (at the low end). The high prioces may hjsut mean they don't want your business. I'd go with the cheapest one, and see how they're quality is. If they don't work out for you, go to the next cheapest.
I've been programming routers in custom cabinet shops for nearly 20 years. If you want to send me your design, I may be able to give you some ideas.
Hi, thanks for the comments. jimbo_cnc I am base in North East London at the moment. As a lot of manufactures are based out of the city to keep their costs down I don't think that it will really matter where the CNC service provider is based as they will probably use a courier unless it is a huge amount of part you need cut. For pricing I have been sending all the parts off for a fairly standard base unit 600mm wide, a top and bottom, 2 sides, a back, and 2 battens for the back to fix to. The parts also have some holes for fixing through and shelf holes etc so no complex shapes or 3D work. £80 for a carcass seems reasonable, what type of carcass is that and what material? There is the advantage with Timbmet that they are a big supplier of panel products so will have what material you want to use to hand. Can I ask what they are charging you for delivery and the cost of the material? Thanks
Hi Gerry. Thanks for your reply. I'd be happy to send you a dxf file of the sort of parts that I'd like to have cut, that is very kind of you to offer some advice. I do think that a lot of businesses don't like bothering with small orders from companies that are trying to get up and running so take a punt and put their prices high, it is a shame as everyone has got to start somewhere.
Have you got an email address I can send a dxf file to?
I set up one of my current activities based on outsourcing as many parts as possible, in stainless steel sheet and various plastics.
I also do limited numbers and two to three years in I realised that a small cnc might help me.
In the end it turned out to work better if I tried to make as many parts myself as I could.
I think that if you want to do custom work, having your own cnc is very useful.
If you need to start by outsourcing, which is a good idea, even if doing parts yourself is "better" in the long run, the supplier needs to be flexible too. That probably means that they are focusted on small batches too.
Mixing small batches with very big ones is often hard, unless the business actually focuses on being able to handle both.
Having a local one may be very good. Being able to just pop over to discuss stuff makes stuff much easier.
I think price will come from how much hassle you take out of the job.
If you can send nested cad files or even coded files to the cnc guy that only need cutting, it would be a lot cheaper than sending each individual part file over, adding quantity, thickness.
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 25-10-2014 at 08:29 AM.
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