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  #1  
Old Fri 03 July 2009, 15:40
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Bonjour de Ste-Adèle (Québec, Canada)

Hi all,

first many thanks to Gerald and others builders here for the excellent work that as been done here. (I'm addicted)

I'm kind of a Jack of all trade and master of none. Recently, I've started making furniture inspired by regional antiques for others (ie. not reproduction per say) in a very small shop outside the house. To small for a MM, at least for now and though I have access to our basement, I don't think it would be a good idea to build it there because I would have to break it appart to get it out eventually.

I understand the MM is a production grade machine and from what I've gathered so far, those who have build one are earning a living with it or at least it as paid for itself. I'd be happy with the later especially because I'd rather be doing creative work then production work by a very long shot.

So my question or dilema if you prefer would be: have you builder guys build your MM to increase production (and profit I assume) or was it an investment on a starting business as in build the machine first and find work for it after?

Thanks,
Yves
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  #2  
Old Fri 03 July 2009, 17:53
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
I built it because I was interested in CNC and I'm interested in industrial machinery.
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  #3  
Old Fri 03 July 2009, 18:08
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Yves.
All the above.
- increase precision of fabrication
- increase in quality
- reduction of labor hours / per unit burdened
- improve profit by all the above

Sean

The ROI (return on investment on my 1st MM was 4.9 months)
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  #4  
Old Fri 03 July 2009, 22:10
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Felix, my guess is that half the MM's are built for fun and run at a financial loss. The majority of the profitable production machines would be with people that had a strong CAD element in their businesses before they started. The point is that the MM is only an accessory in a computerised design environment.

Therefore, the financial success of CNC depends on your CAD literacy. However, a lot of guys have defined their success as becoming CAD literate by using CNC in the business.
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  #5  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 01:19
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
Felix, my machine was built to : save wastage ,increase productivaty,give me that one step above the competition and the knowledge of and satisfaction of building it myself and like Sean said it is paid for.If you use it for earning an income you can rely on getting a return on your investment.
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  #6  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 05:20
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Salut Felix ( Yves)?,
Je suis ébéniste de profession et devrais commencé bientôt la fabrication de mon MechMate. Je pratiquement tout les composante en main. à l'exceptions de quelques mineurs.
Pour moi, c'est un peux des deux.
A - Rentabilité et commercialisation d'un autre créneau / marché que le meuble sélectif.
B- Plaisir et rentabilité de le faire soit même.

Si tu compte te partir en affaire avec ce type de machine, bien-OK et même avantagé . Toutefois Soit bien conscient qu'il y faut un bon temps d'accoutumance au logiciel de dessin CAD, logiciel CAM et le logiciel du contrôleur MACH-3 mais surtout du temps pour s'accoutumer au fonctionnement des ces dernier tous en harmonie et de plus le fonctionnement de la machine par elle même !
DONC, mon avis est de prévoir un minimum d'un ans d'accoutumance à tout cela avant de te lancé en affaire avec un tel investissement d'argent et temps, car temps tu en auras grand besoins pour faire ton 1er MechMate et temps pour la faire fonctionné rentablement !!

Bonne chance, Amicalement Robert
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  #7  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:04
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Suggestions

Gerald and all,

the main reason that the MM got me interested is because of you, the obvious qualities of the design and the subjects like accuracy, repeatability and or predictability that you and others talk about here in this forum. I know that if I ask question about bending moment for instance, someone will know what I'm talking about. And no I'm not an engeneer but I've got about half my degree in applied physics (mechanics) and the rest in teaching.

There is no doubt in my mind that I can build your design and more important I would think, how to operate it and make it dance if necessary via writing G-code directly.

I'm don't have a business per say, I was just building furniture for our house (amoung a zillion other stuff) and someone ask if I could make some for them and I said yes. I basically build those the old way, especially the joinery and the finishing, all by hand. But as you probably know, this kind of work isn't very lucrative, a few buck an hour but I just love doing this.

As I was thinkering on ways to improve my hourly earning a bit, I was considering various jig systems and I came across a machine called the Woodrat. From there and a few hours brainstorming I started thinking of a CNC router especially since I do all my design on a Cad program to begin with. Obviously an MM is an overkill for the kind of work I intend to use it for so I begun to think of things I could do with it to justify such an investment.

My main concern is finding just enough work for it that it would pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time say a year or two and afterward I'd be happy earning only a few k's a year. which would allow me to do the work (furniture stuff) I find pleasure in doing. All this is nice and probably feasable but there are so many things one can do with a CNC that I don't have a clue what to do and where to start. Basically I'm looking for suggestions, ideas and or stories about what you guys use it for.

Thanks all,
Yves
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  #8  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:40
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Yves, I am going to copy some parts of this discussion over to How are you earning an income with your MechMate? where it is a better fit and more people will see it.

(Do you perhaps want a simpler username for this this forum? I think that you might get a lot of spam because your e-mail address is so visible.)
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  #9  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:47
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Just Get One With It! Will ya?

Hi Yves,
I don't have a business as well, but one can always spread out the cash outlay by buying in stages while building the structural parts bit by bit.

If one must work on a shoe string budget, my suggestions:-
1) do without the laser cutting service and hand cut the parts, more laborious, but if you are not in a hurry, it is achievable. and I belive you have the skill to line everything up accurately.
2) Can start looking for suitable "hand me down" PC. & consider Linux + EMC3 software combo (free).
3) scavenge power transformers, use multiple transformer if you can get smaller one for free. & old PC casing as enclosure. Please use new filter caps for safety reasons.
4) wait for my report on those economical motors, drivers and DIY BOB.
5) Find a creative way to make those V-bearings and bushes... Necessity is the mother of creativity I always say.
6) shop really hard for those module 1 rack they are cheaper, lighter to ship and according to Gerald, majority builders prefer them.
7) Direct drive only. don't even think about belt reduction & gearhead.
8) make your own cable chain with MM after you get it running.
9) apply only the primer coat until your ROI.
10) start a sign-making business.
11) use Asian routers for a starter.
12) Dust management? well, shop vac is a full package, just make sure you empty the bin more frequently and wait for my DIY dust cyclone design.
13) and look for used steel. you may get lucky
14) Most importantly, NOTHING FANCY!!! Cosmetic always cost too much...

I concurs with your statement on the mechanical design. As far as CNC router is concern there is no point tinkering with anything else but MM.

Come, join us on this building journey, you have plenty of company among these wonderful people. I'm sure we'll make plenty life long friends along the way.

Bon Voyage

Last edited by KenC; Sat 04 July 2009 at 08:59.. Reason: poor english
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  #10  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:54
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Robert,

pour moi, fabriquer et operer la machine ne sera pas un problème. Mon premier ordi était un Apple IIe et la première chose que j'ai fait avec c'est de la programmation en assembleur. Depuis ce temps, j'ai appris à faire plein de chose avec un ordi y compris du Cad avec Autocad. Bien sûr, je ne suis pas un spécialiste de Cad/Cam/CNC pour l"instant mais j'ai aucun doute que je le deviendrai très bientôt.

Mon problème principal est que je ne veux pas vraiment partir en affaire, je veux juste assez de travail avec la MM pour justifier et payer son coût. En fait, faire de la production n'a aucun intérêt pour moi, je souhaiterais faire uniquement de la création sur une base artisanale. Une MM dans ce cadre de pensé serait un outil sophistiqué certe mais elle serait utilisée pour faire des objets uniques et non de la production. Je suis prêt à faire un compromis pour quelques temps afin que la machine ce paie tout seul mais après si elle ramasse de la poussière 11 3/4 mois sur 12 ça ne me dérange pas le moins du monde.

À toutes fins pratique je suis à la retraite et j'espère le rester, faire des meubles c'est un hobby voir même une passion, je veux juste bien m'équiper et pouvoir faire plein de choses espérons le plus original possible, c'est tout. Mais une telle machine est au-delà de mes moyens pour l'instant, alors il faut que je trouve un moyen pour qu'elle se paie tout seul et c'est là tout mon dilemme. J'ai pas vraiment d'idée de ce que je pourrais faire avec ou encore j'en ai trop, il y a trop de possibilité et je ne sais pas quoi faire!

Merci,
Yves
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  #11  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 10:11
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Bonjour Yves,
Retraite...nous somme pas tous là encore....mais j'y travaille très fort pour que ma retraite soit simple !
Bref, ne sachant pas autant sur ta position, j'y voie plus claire maintenant !!
Il te serait possible d'en fabriqué une d'une autre dimension, pas nécessaire d'en faire une de 4 x 8 ou plus !
Si toutefois tu apprécierait en parler par téléphone ou même en personne avec un bon café, tu est le bienvenu de me communiqué par message privé direct dit «*PM*». Je devrais, à tout moins espère, avoir fini ma version vers fin de l'été...Faute de temps, j'aimerais bien plus vite !!...
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  #12  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 10:23
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M View Post
. . . . Je pratiquement tout les composante en main. à l'exceptions de quelques mineurs. . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M View Post
. . . Je devrais, à tout moins espère, avoir fini ma version vers fin de l'été...Faute de temps, j'aimerais bien plus vite !!...
Robert, isn't it about time you started your own personal thread?
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  #13  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 11:30
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Gerald,
You got me there !!
My initial intention was to start this thread of mine when I would have an irrevocable starting build date. You, more than many, know I will make one, my question has been the when... So many unexpected & obstacle has happen to me...just to proud of my self to say one thing is in the making to only let it sit & let others see I'm not advancing on it!?!
Getting there, I'm hopping to start devoting part to full time on this before end of august... if my contracts & family situation let's me....But on the other hand, I realize all to well, for my situation, the more I wait or let exterior factors push this MM build, the more I loose...Hate to loose....
Thanks Gerald....
BTW...Since when have you been hiding your knowledge of/on french
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  #14  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 12:33
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Sorry!

Hi,

I'm sorry for our french conversation (with Robert) which we will carry privately from now on and a lot more if possible.

Thanks Gerald for changing the name and for directing me to a more suitable thread for this kind of discussion.

Ken, thanks for your suggestions, plenty of good ideas there but I must say that I'm not very well equiped to work with metal. I think my approch will be to contract as much possible the mechanics (steel parts) of the machine. I think I can manage the welding as well as most if not all the rest of the build by myself. Basically, I wouldn't buy any tools for the metal work except maybe for a good grinder and the stuff needed to make threads of course.

Though I understand I could save some money building some if not all the controls (electronics) myself I wont even try. I consider my time is better spent making furniture then soldering pc board and the works.

Before I do any of this I still have plenty of research and studies to do (mostly what to do with it when build). In my career as a teacher and a technician I had the opportunity to work in various industries from paper mills to chimical plants (petroleum and derivative mostly) I also did some installation work of industrial washing equipment using basically no electronics for controls. In other words, building the machine (MM) wouldn't be the fun part for me. Using it creatively on the other end, that sounds like a lot of fun and that's where I want to spend my time.

Thanks again everyone,
Yves
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  #15  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 15:20
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Robert, I try very hard to avoid pushing anyone on this forum, but I had to show you that Google translate does reveal some secrets.
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  #16  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 00:17
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Just get on with it!

Hi Robert,
Sorry to budge into your conversation. I'm still new here but I did find your present quit prominent.

I would second Gerald's suggestion, just start a thread, let us know what you have been up to and also let us learn from your choice and decisions as well.

My build will be very slow and long as well, as hobbist can't really place building MM very high on my priority list.

I would like to know how MM can help a woodworker as well.

Cheers
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  #17  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 07:49
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Woodworking stuff

Ken,

I know you didn't address this to me but hopefully you'll forgive me.

The reason I'm here today basically started from woodworking, limited space and the need to setup a well equiped (machines, tools, etc) shop. I'm sure you understand that woodworking involve quite a bit of repeatitive (ie. boring) work and a lot of jig making and setup work. All of this is not much fun, for me at least, since I make my own plans or designs using some cheap Cad program (QCad) then I go in the shop and make all the pieces, assembly and proceed with finishing. It came to me when I saw the WoodRat machine video, that a CNC router would save me a lot (but not all) of the boring work especially the repeatitive work, lots of jig making and lots of setup work and still better yet I could save quite a bit of time and I wouldn't need as many machines and or tools beside the CNC of course. For desert, I could do things like carving for exemple that otherwise would be out of the question because it takes way to much time and it would simply bring my hourly earnings into the penny range instead of the other way around like I'm trying to do.

One (and I) must understand that having a machine (CNC or not) however expensive and sophisticated it can be wont make you a better woodworker and or business man the next day. There is a more or less steep learning curve before one becomes a good CNC operator depending on your background and current skills. Since operating the machine is not all there is to know about making stuff in a computerise environement you will also need to learn CAD and CAM stuff which implies working with computers and that for some folks is a nightmare. Worst yet would this knowledge and competance help you become a better designer, not a chance! A CNC machine is just that a machine you make it do things for you, not the other way around.

Sorry for being a bit on the negative side but I spoke to my partner (wife) last night and she doesn't like the idea of putting that much money into this machine at this stage. But it's ok it's a reality check in a way. I'll wait until it's paid for by my current work with a little wigle room may be but I'm sure I'll build one in the near future. In the mean time, I'll keep exploring the CNC world and start learning as much as possible on all aspect involved.

Thanks everyone,
Yves

PS. Gerald, you should put a warning sign somewhere, this CNC stuff is very addictive (LOL)
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  #18  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 22:41
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Felix,
I share your position, but I'm fortunate enough have a day job as an engineer. CNC will help saving time on jig making and reduce tools inventory. Most importantly, I can speed up with my hobby progress.

The major cost of CNC machines lies on the linear motion and control, no matter the size, and building smaller doesn't save much.

Many years back, I dreamed of creating a product which I can earn my first pot of gold, but as I grow wiser, I learnt that there are hardly anything new under the sun for me to achieve the goal....

Anyway, wish you luck in your search.

Maybe you should look into recycling old printer motor and use make your own driver, I think a JBot is adequate for your purpose. I have a pile of these motors, I can sent you some if you wish.

For me, I'm adicted to MM already... LOL!

Cheers
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  #19  
Old Mon 06 July 2009, 05:57
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenC View Post
Felix,

The major cost of CNC machines lies on the linear motion and control, no matter the size, and building smaller doesn't save much.

For me, I'm adicted to MM already... LOL!
Ken,

I understand perfectly that a smaller machine would only save me a few feets of steel here and there and a bit of copper (wiring) but in my case a smaller machine also mean less floor space and that could amount to a big saving. Especially if I don't do sheets which would basically double the floor space needed.

The largest piece I would need to work with are panels which are rather small compare to (full) sheets but I must think also about turning (lathe/indexer) which for me is a top priority if not the first. I just hate the idea of having to do duplicate of a piece, imagine 4 or more.

I'm sold to the Mechmate design and I wouldn't compromise to build another design faster and cheaper and ending up with an amateurish kind of tool that I would end up swaring at because it can't even cut strait to begin with.

Before I came here, I went to various other sites and saw other designs and build stories. I didn't count but I was amazed at the number of so called improvements the builders felt obligated to do. I wonder if they figured out the total cost of their build including these upgrades. I can't help to wonder if they had build an MM from the start (without cutting corners) how much would they have saved in the end (including down time, production losses, etc.)???

No Ken, I wont even try to go on the cheap, cutting corners and what have you. The day I'll put the power on, I'll know for sure I have a reliable and predictable machine on my hand. Instead, I'll spent my time learning the stuff I'll need to be able operate my MM as efficiently as possible and thus improving my hourly earnings a bit. I just love making furniture and if I can reduce the amount of boring stuff I have to do, I'll be an happy man. That's worth a lot more to me then any amount of money.

Thanks,
Yves
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  #20  
Old Tue 07 July 2009, 10:04
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Cutting Corners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by felix View Post
Ken,

No Ken, I wont even try to go on the cheap, cutting corners and what have you.
Yves, I don't look at it that way, engineering is science+art of compromise... In my view, if a genuine need arises, and like average mortal with have limited resources, one will make use of the limited resources to achieve the goal if one's life depends on it.

Weight the reality and make pragmatic decision is how I would like to put it.

My life philosophy :- Attempt (your goal/dream/aspiration) while you still can... and enjoy the journey.

I'm not ashamed to announce my shoe string budget for MM. I can also assure you that I'll attempt every possible means to "cut-corners" and still maintain a high quality build.

My other dream is to build a Lotus 7 replica, I'm collecting parts and informations really slowly... Even though I know that my country don't allow home build car on the road, I'll build with or without money before I go 6 foot under...

BTW, engineers make a living out of making thing easier, simpler, enhance efficiency... We don't say "cut corners" but we will say "process improvement".
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  #21  
Old Wed 08 July 2009, 08:40
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenC View Post
Yves, I don't look at it that way, engineering is science+art of compromise... In my view, if a genuine need arises, and like average mortal with have limited resources, one will make use of the limited resources to achieve the goal if one's life depends on it.
Ken,

I agree with (you) the above 99.9%, but if your life "physically" depend on it, there is no room for a second chance and or for mistakes.

Since Gerald and the first builders went through the workout the kinks and or bugs phase for all of us I would think it is wiser to go for a known path then trying to reduce the cost by going an unknown path especially in my case. I have no pretention of being capable of doing as good or better at a lower cost, be it on the mechanical, electric or electronic side. For me it would be simply suicidal or to put it in other words, much riskier and costly to go that path.

Quite possibly for someone like you, the choice can be different and I can understand that but for me, I don't think I have a choice.

Maybe my goals and or needs are also different then yours, I want to be able to improve the bottom line of my woodworking stuff, so building an MM is just a mean to work faster, hopefully better and to reduce as much as possible the repeatitive and boring work. I find my reward in creating furniture for people and see a smile on there faces. But I have to admit that also care about improving my hourly earning, it bothers me a little more then I would like to work for less then the minimum wage here.

Regards,
Yves
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  #22  
Old Wed 08 July 2009, 08:56
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Here is a thread where cost-cutting and corner-cutting has been discussed and where you might see some possibilities and risks:
Build a functional MechMate at lowest cost - what can be done cheaper?

Yves, if you are making small quantities of custom furniture, I don't see that a MM will be of much benefit to you, unless you already have solid CAD/CAM experience. Otherwise, the learning curve is going to distract you from your core business.
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  #23  
Old Thu 09 July 2009, 06:37
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Overkill maybe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Yves, if you are making small quantities of custom furniture, I don't see that a MM will be of much benefit to you, unless you already have solid CAD/CAM experience. Otherwise, the learning curve is going to distract you from your core business.
Gerald,

I understand an MM is probably an overkill for me especially that I make one of a kind or unique piece of furniture and it will basically never do production work per say. Basically I'm retired and thus I have plenty of time on my hand. Last night I was looking at antique furniture again, my main source of inspiration, and I tried to see what kind of work I could do if I had a CNC and I see plenty.

The main reason I'm sold to your design is basically because I understand that if I build one as per your specs I'm certain I wont have to "upgrade" it until I obtain the precision, predictability and quality of work I'm looking for.

I ask a few questions about these subjects on the JoeCNC design to Joe himself and I didn't get any answer basically. I felt like I was asking weird question and that nobody should care about these subjects. Here, it didn't take me long to find threads on these subjects and I saw that I was not the only one concern with those subjects. I felt like I could spleep on it with confidence if I opted for your design.

At this time, I'll try my best to give a hand to Robert on his build. I'm confident that I'll learn quite a bit doing that. From there, I'll have a better understanding of the build process. As for operating a CNC and make it do the work I want at this time, I have no doubt I can do that. In fact I already started writing a VB script (Mach3) that will generate g-code to make mortices. I intend to use it just like another wizard and as a way to learn about operating a CNC, g-code and other stuff as well. I understand that this is very basic stuff and that there are much more complicated stuff one can do with a CNC but it's my way to completely immerse myself in this and better yet, I find quite a bit of fun doing this and it cost me nothing.

Regards,
Yves
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  #24  
Old Thu 09 July 2009, 07:38
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Bonjour Yves,
I understand SOOO much your point, I can ALMOST see myself
Overkill for studio & custom furniture, yes in my present state, yes if it would be my only business orientation. Where I aspire to go, on this count , I defiantly need a CNC.
Basically, this will help me open my next step in my aspiring business orientation, and that goes without saying more productive at it.
Making my own out of Gerald design is the only option I too see fit and from there will benefit of knowing how to make these (plus so many skills along the way) not only to help other but also built a few after, both Sean in this forum know this to well.
I’m touch & honored to see you kindness & offering your help. I’ll need some & will give back mon ami
This looks like we’ll have fun…. Woodworking….CNC’ing…. danger ahead !?!
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  #25  
Old Thu 09 July 2009, 09:22
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
Hey Robert and don`t forget for us on the other side to learn a few words in French
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  #26  
Old Fri 24 July 2009, 12:47
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Salut Yves,
Je t’ai envoyé un message privée dans ta boite ici !
Essentiellement, je viens tout juste de terminer une superbe crédence type buffet, 10pi long !
Téléphone-moi ou retour le message si tu es curieux
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