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  #31  
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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  #32  
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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  #33  
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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  #34  
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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  #35  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 03:36
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
How to Generate Income with MM

This post was in a new thread, have merged it with the above posts from existing thread . . . .

Hi,
I understand about half of the MM builder do generate an income using the MM. How nice...

I happened to be the othe half who build it to generate a loss...

Surely, it would be great for the MM to pay for herself.

Would it be too much to ask for the smarter members to enlighten me and the others who are business-wize challenged?

Thousand Thanks in advance.

Cheers
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  #36  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 05:20
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Ken, I moved your post into an existing thread. It will be good to breathe some life into this important thread again. Thanks.
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  #37  
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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  #38  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:04
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Suggestions

. . . . . . . .

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.

. . . . . .
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  #39  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 08:47
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Cut from another post:

. . . . . .

10) start a sign-making business.


. . . . . .
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  #40  
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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  #41  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 10:12
isladelobos
Just call me: Ros
 
Canary Islands
Spain
Send a message via MSN to isladelobos Send a message via Yahoo to isladelobos
For an engineer, make this machine is a beautiful experience,
and do everything possible for the perfection,performance, usability, security.

This machine no reemplace my actual life form, but fills an important gap in his.
if I think make the machine for a business, then I need work for this true.

philosophy: I can buy My machine, but love it like?
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  #42  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 14:23
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Sign business question

Ken,

do you have any suggestion where to look for somekind of definition of what's a sign business can look like.

Thanks,
Yves
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  #43  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 14:34
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Gerald,

I'd like your opinion on this one, do you think an MM can do stuff like Aspire from Vetric seems to enable us to do or am I dreaming awake.

Just in case this helps, for me this kind of work implies (very) limited production and or single item kind of work.

Thanks,
Yves
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  #44  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 15:14
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Aspire is 100% suited to MechMate, and vice versa.
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  #45  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 20:13
servant74
Just call me: Jack
 
Nashville (Tennessee)
United States of America
I saw the break even analysis, but one more item that should not be forgotten. Cash Flow analysis.

An old professor told me: all sins in business can be forgiven, except running out of cash.

Probably not true, but the point is well made. If you every run out of cash, even if you have 'receivables', you are out of business. The USA Small Business Administration says that the #1 reason for business failure is being under-capatilized. I have known businesses that had to much cash that 'burned through it' before they could start generating enough cash flow.

Receivables are OK, and cash is better, but if you have to many recievables, and not enough cash, sometimes you can 'factor' them or 'sell your recievables' (at a discount) to generate cash. Not the best way to go, but it works for some businesses (textile industry is famous for this).

Some ways I don't like, but works, to get 'a loan' is to borrow from your suppliers (but pay as agreed, good suppliers are great to have, so don't abuse them!).

Banks only seem to want to loan to companies and people that do not need money, so develop your relationship with a bank early on.

...

Now this is the pot calling the kettle black, I am just trying to figure out a reasonable business plan. But I know that a business comes first, CNC router just needs to support the business. Getting a CNC router (for a business) without knowing what you are planning on doing with it is a bad (business) plan. But a hobby doesn't need ROI. Satisfaction gives that.

....

ROI is another thing that needs to be remembered in the long run. Return on Investment. When I worked for an oil company, they would not even look into any project that didn't have a 18+% ROI at a minimum. Basically it is close to a 5 year full payback of all expenses (including cost of money borrowed). This includes all salaries (or draws if the owner).

....

Now I need to realize I, like many, are getting a CNC Router, than figuring out how to make money with it. It will probably not pay back like a business that focuses on the financials first. My hope is to turn it into $$, but I know that I am not doing it 'right'.

So any suggestions on how to make $$ with a router is appreciated!
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  #46  
Old Sat 04 July 2009, 23:22
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
A breath maybe, fresh one? I doubt.

Hi Yves,
I'm looking too...

On this, I think 1) accuracy is not that critical in sign making 2) MM eat complex figures for breakfast 3) surely customers will appriciate the speed. 4) should do away with after sales services.

Another idea, glass/stone etching? But I don't know how that is done.

From where I'm from, one may think how tech business can one expect in a 3rd world country, but there are actually plenty... eg, I just located a material stockist providing laser & plasma cutting service nearby... and found out a stone throw away, there is a 3 warehouses full of CNC machines for punching, milling, lathe, cutting... the full out-fit doing OEM parts fabrication/machining.

How can we find a niche to survive with these giants around???

My 2 cents
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  #47  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 00:16
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
Ken,if you can`t beat them join them, get clients to know your set-up a one man set up gives a better service at the end of the day.
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  #48  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 00:45
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Signmaking is not a great idea for turning a MM into profit. There is heck of a lot of non-MM work that goes into designing, cutting, painting, finishing, installing signs and you are competing against graphic artists with vinyl-cutting equipment. But, it is a way of getting in some business and it is better than nothing. Our son started out doing signs for stable doors with the horse's names on them - spent too much time laying out, sanding, varnishing, while the machine sat waiting for work.
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  #49  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 00:50
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Quote:
Originally Posted by hennie View Post
Ken,if you can`t beat them join them, get clients to know your set-up a one man set up gives a better service at the end of the day.
Hennie is hitting the nail on the head!

A MM-based business is still about the service of the people, not the machine.

The only advantage of the MM in the business is that you built it cheaply yourself and that you can maintain it yourself.

Your customer is not bothered with the tools that you use - he pays for the service/product that he gets from you as a person.
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  #50  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 01:49
Jan de Ruyter
Just call me: Jan
 
Pretoria
South Africa
You have to find a niche market. If you work in a commodity type environment, the price is determined in the market. Like cutting steel, he customer phones around, gets three quotes, takes the lowest.

What is important is the way you compete in the market. That could be price (bad one), product features (good one, especially with a MechMate), short lead time or high quality product.

The other one is the value proposition. Value is defined as Performance/Cost. Either increase the performance or reduce the cost.

But the big thing is keeping the cash flow running. Asking a 1/3 deposit to cover the material cost makes good sense and insisting settlement on delivery keeps the bank manager happy.

A book I can recommend to any business owner is The Goal by Goldratt. Makes good, uncommon sense.
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  #51  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 04:21
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Hennie is hitting the nail on the head!

A MM-based business is still about the service of the people, not the machine.

The only advantage of the MM in the business is that you built it cheaply yourself and that you can maintain it yourself.

Your customer is not bothered with the tools that you use - he pays for the service/product that he gets from you as a person.
Hennie, You are spot on...

Gerald, you just confirm my needs as well

Customer needs are
1) Best Price
2) Best Quality
3) Fastest Delivery

Eventhough we all know you can have it all. We want it all...
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  #52  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 05:05
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Sun zi Art of War

Gerald, Sean,
I love you business strategy.


Avoid confrontation with one's weakness and exploit one's strength to the limit.

Abstract
"故善用兵者,屈人之兵而非战也,拔人之城而非攻也,毁人之国而非久也,必以全争于天下,故兵不顿而利可全 ,此谋攻之法也。
故用兵之法,十则围之,五则攻之,倍则分之,敌则能战之,少则能逃之,不若则能避之。故小敌之坚,大敌之擒 也。"

In 1910, Lionel Giles, translated :
"Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy's
troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.

With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery
of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. This is the method of attacking by stratagem.

It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten
to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.

If equally matched, we can offer battle;
if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made
by a small force, in the end it must be captured
by the larger force."

Very Oriental of you
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  #53  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 05:51
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
Signmaking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
Signmaking is not a great idea for turning a MM into profit. There is heck of a lot of non-MM work that goes into designing, cutting, painting, finishing, installing signs and you are competing against graphic artists with vinyl-cutting equipment. But, it is a way of getting in some business and it is better than nothing. Our son started out doing signs for stable doors with the horse's names on them - spent too much time laying out, sanding, varnishing, while the machine sat waiting for work.
Gerald,

if that is sign making, then I'm not realy interested, I'm already earning to little an hour with my furniture thing.

By the way, I should mention that my first rational to build a CNC was to have a very versatile tool that could be used instead of few others and in the process save some floor space. I saw in a thread here somewhere, that (I think it's you) someone even intended to setup one on a wall.

If I stick with this first idea then I wouldn't care so much about a second business idea but I would try to make it as small as possible but large enough to do what I want it to do with it and of course the lowest cost possible without going on the cheap.

1- Raise panels => grooving, carving, etc.
2- Lathe/Indexer stuff
3- I don't know the name of this kind of work in english but it involves cutting curve patterns on pieces that is usualy done on a band saw or equivalent plus a lot of sanding.
4- Surely I would do mortices and possibly tenon as well, especially if I put the MM over the pit. My shop was a pump house, the water basin is deeper then the shop is high.
5- Dovetails of various kinds
6- Moldings
7- Surely I'll come up with a lot of other uses for it.

I'd be curious to see and or ear if someone is using her/his MM to do this king of more "traditional" woodworking stuff with it.

Yves
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  #54  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 05:51
servant74
Just call me: Jack
 
Nashville (Tennessee)
United States of America
Not to compare this to "The Art of War", but in finding a niche market, I have a friend that says

You can have it
Good (quality)
Fast (the faster you go, the more it costs)
Cheap (low cost provider)
Pick 2

Since as a small shop you cannot normally compete on 'cheap' versus the Wal-Mart or manufacturing giants, the 'Fast + Good' model seems to apply for most of us.

For me at least, design takes time. A CNC can give the 'fast' once we are used to using our tools, can be done. One industry that will pay for quality design and rapid delivery is the 'engineering prototype', where function and design are more important than cost. Getting 'in' with designers, architects, and engineering firms has served some well (Zomeworks in SanFrancisco is on I have heard that does well).

Furniture designers or stage set builders do one or a few of an item. Stage builders like to modify and DIY or at least finish it themselves.

Now what I would like to do is to have a 'product', cut and ship flatpack, that could be sold by others (or ebay and the like). Standardized 'flatpack' furniture like Ikea is a mostly 'taken' market in large areas. But if you develop a clientèle and retailers in your area it might be doable. You still need to 'develop' and do prototypes. Personally I want to stay away from 'finishing'. Just not my thing.

Like mentioned before, signs provide some a good living, but it is not a 'cut and forget', there is lots of individual design, service, installation, finishing, etc that goes on. Unless you are much more of a sales person than I (not hard to be that) this is not your niche. One friend paid for his CNC machine just cutting letters for another sign shop that was over loaded. Not everyone can be so fortunate.

Artists of various forms might be a source of revenue. But if they get to be of any renown, and regularly need your service, they will probably get their own CNC machine. Still, if they are going to produce lots of pieces, you might provide them their 'production' service.

Just a few thoughts.
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  #55  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 10:29
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
No Finishing please

Sounds like sign making require too much work outside MM. I'll keep my eye open for unfinished produce...

Come to think of all the above threads, If we want MM to pay for herself, we must think of something for her to do, not us!


Hmmm....
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  #56  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 12:43
servant74
Just call me: Jack
 
Nashville (Tennessee)
United States of America
Some other things to look into...

some thoughts for the 'occasional garage entrepreneur'...

For the 'occasional' CNC job, you might take a look at http://100kgarages.com/
and the http://www.ponoko.com/ sites.

As a Ponoko partnership with ShopBot (from what I can tell) are trying a 'new thing'. Add ShopBot owners (initially they say) to generate a network where 'makers' can have something routed. Basically new customers, for even 'non-businesses' or garage router owners.

For the garage type operation, making 'paying friends' at a local Makers group
like you can find at http://www.hackerspaces.org or even start one in your area.

Do nice 'FlatPacks' Ikea style and sell at flea market types of places? But it takes focusing on sales rather than 'making'.

Do something like http://www.shopbottools.com/project_wizard.htm - Especially with gcode and make designs parametric to make mostly custom items to sell direct or from a 'catalog'.
For some reason this never seemed to take off. I am guessing not enough want to 'share' to make it self fulfilling ongoing effort.

For me, and I assume others, it is not the making that is the problem, it is the marketing and doing the sales.
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  #57  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 12:52
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
The recipe for quick profitability is simple: Find craftsmen/factories that are laboriously cutting out shapes from plywood or MDF with templates, bandsaws and jigsaw and then show them you can do that process for them at half the cost with twice the accuracy.
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  #58  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 12:57
servant74
Just call me: Jack
 
Nashville (Tennessee)
United States of America
Finding them appears to be the standing issue. Suggestions?
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  #59  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 22:26
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald D View Post
The recipe for quick profitability is simple: Find craftsmen/factories that are laboriously cutting out shapes from plywood or MDF with templates, bandsaws and jigsaw and then show them you can do that process for them at half the cost with twice the accuracy.
This is what I'm going to find out.

Thanks Gerald.
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  #60  
Old Sun 05 July 2009, 23:23
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Quote:
Originally Posted by servant74 View Post
Finding them appears to be the standing issue. Suggestions?
Suggest you get really friendly with the plywood and MDF suppliers and form a coalition with them. They will be able to sell better if their product can be used more efficiently.

At minimum, see if they will let you leave some business cards on their counter, or an ad on the wall. (Your business card holder should of course be CNC cut )
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