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  #1  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 06:12
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
I have been wanting to build one of these for so long,...

At one point I actually bought and received the laser /bent parts needed. I didnt go through with it because I lost the space I was going to use to build and operate the machine. That was well more than a year ago. Almost years maybe.

For awhile there I was fine but now the itch is back I still dont have the space required to build and operate the machine. But,... if I REALLY REALLY wanted to,... I could probably do what I had to do to get this done. But that would mean taking a huge chance. I would definitely borrow all the money I need to build the machine plus maybe some extra. I would probably have to rent some kind of space to build and operate the machine.

The thing is I have never built and operated one of these. I don't doubt my ability to build the machine. That would technically be the easy part. Learning to use the machine in decent amount of time,... kind of nervous. Its all new to me and like everything new to me,... it makes me nervous.

Once I borrow the money and rent space,... everyday that machine is making money, I'm losing money. Have any of you been in this situation? Can you give some advice? Tell me about your story? Thanks.

Right now I making some Kydex belt loop things for these universal mag pouches. Going to sell each for $10. I am making them by had right at my computer desk. By hand I am just about done making 56 of them. Took me a couple of days. If I had one of these routers,..... I would have hundreds of them done by now! This is driving me nuts. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 14:14
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
I think you should make a trip to one of the Shopbot jamborees and see how they work, see how the software works.

http://www.shopbottools.com/mProducts/beforeyoubuy.htm this is a little worksheet to predict the length of time it will take you to start using your mechmate AFTER you are done building it.
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  #3  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 23:15
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
I was thing about maybe purchasing a very small desktop router and using that to learn how to use all the software involved. Good idea bad idea? Just something to use as a learning tool. Something prebuilt or at the least a kit or something. This way i will know how to use the mechmate soon after its built. What do you think?
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  #4  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 23:22
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
For the price of one of those desktop routers you would be 3/4 of the way to a real Mechmate...
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  #5  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 23:27
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Really? I didnt research the small desktop routers. Didnt think they were that expensive
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  #6  
Old Wed 18 January 2012, 23:59
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
http://www.k2cnc.com/shop/products.asp?cat=26

It's not cheap.
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  #7  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 00:21
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Lol. Why would anyone pay that much for such a machine?!?! Well,... how does one go about learning to how to use one of these besides attending a shopbot jamboree? This is so frustrating. I really dont think it would take me long to learn. Im just uncertain of exactly how long. Thats what scares me. It the time that it will take to build, learn, and then find work that scares me. I can assume i wont be making money right away which is normal for the starting of most businesses.
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  #8  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 00:27
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
After you have the machine running, you will still be spending (tooling, rental... etc) while learning how to run your MM. Also, you will still need time to build the business which may take more than a year or 2 to see meaningful income.
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  #9  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 01:11
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
What exactly do you mean by tooling? Im wouldnt be to worried about business growth and making good profits right after the build. The only thing id be worried about is making enough to cover the absolute minimum. Rent for the space, the loan payments, materials, bits, etc. As long as i made enough to keep the operation running so that i could keep spending time with it to learn and get better. I know that if i could do that i would only meet with success. But its that initial choice i have to make,... do i try and do i not? You know? Im wondering if anyone in my situation had made the choice and had a good outcome.
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  #10  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 02:33
KenC
Just call me: Ken
 
Klang
Malaysia
In that case... The only person qualified to answer your question is yourself.

Tooling as in cutting bits for various type of works, collets, hold-down, consumables... etc etc...
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  #11  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 04:26
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
You don't have to spend any money (or sweat and time) on building the machine before you start learning how to use it. Get the CAD/CAM software of your choice now and see if you can get your head around that first.
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  #12  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 05:04
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Well i already have cad software that i use. I dont know if you remember but i modeled the entire machine using Inventor. So im fine with cad and im pretty sure ill do fine with cam as well. Its just that i never really done anything like this before. I just modeled stuff using cad. Im pretty sure its very much different when you have to actually model something to be cut out right?

I was talking to my woman about all this and she's very willing to lend me all the money needed to build the machine. That would be a huge help because she wont except repayment until im making money. I guess she had faith in me. I was going to just pull a loan but if she will lend i think i will take it because that means deferred payments. I would only have to worry about space then.
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  #13  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 09:54
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
If you are proficient in Inventor, you have the "head" for CAD/CAM.

The CAM software has plenty of simulation modes where you can watch your parts being made, without actually having a machine.

BTW: Sounds like you have got a good woman there - don't mess it up.
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  #14  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 21:56
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Thanks. Doesnt mean im going to borrow money from her though. I just want to weigh everything out first and see what happens.
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  #15  
Old Thu 19 January 2012, 23:50
WTI
Just call me: James
 
Detroit (Michigan)
United States of America
Download the trial of Mach3:

http://www.machsupport.com/downloads.php

and the trial of SheetCAM:

http://www.sheetcam.com/downloads.shtml


This way you can run everything before you invest a dime. Your confidence will rise, and you will be charged up to build your Mech.
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  #16  
Old Fri 20 January 2012, 00:47
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Ok. I will do that. Thanks.
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  #17  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 04:17
rischoof
Just call me: Rik #92
 
Goirle
Netherlands
Charles,
If you don't have the space yet, you can consider the way I go. I made a smaller one. the footprint is 1.6 times 1.3 meter. I build it up in the glas house. finaly it has to come in the basement. this is a space 4x3 meter. I modified the good design of the machine so it suits my situation. If I get the space in the future, I will extend my x axis from the machine from 80 cm to 250 cm. If you are not in a hurry to build you machine, look on scrap yards for used material that you can use. It must be able to find used materials to build a table, change the design so you can use the material you have. If you look in the building logs you can see that a lot of people do it this way.
If you look on ebay you can also find a lot of used material. It is realy not necessary to buy a new frequency controller there are plenty of used ones on ebay. this saves money, but wil cost more time to collect your materials.
I spent a lot of time looking on the forum how other people have build there machine and what kind of changes they made on the machine before I realy know what I wanted and started with my plans and material list.
Good luck with making your decision
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  #18  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 04:48
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
I think just going to wait i think it will be better this way. Ill just go to school(engineering) and hopefully ill land a good job paying more money so that i can get my own place with space for a full size mm. This way i can start as a hobby and discover my absolute abilities with it. I pretty much know already that i would be amazing with it because of the stuff i made in the past all by hand. If i tried now i would definitely end up rushing with it because time is money. All the stress involved during and even after if i should fail to keep it going. Ill just play it safe. Thanks guys.
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  #19  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 09:14
rischoof
Just call me: Rik #92
 
Goirle
Netherlands
Charles,
I am 43 now, I bought my first shepach combination woodworking machine when I was 16 from money I earned working evenings in the suppermarked. I payed 200 euro for it, I didnt earn a 1 euro an hour that time. this machine stayed in my parents shed until I was 29 Then I could place it in my own garage. but I praticed a lot with this machine and I was able to make my own furniture for my appartment I start renting when I was 23. When I was 17 I bought my turning lath. that one had to stay in my bedroom and later it moved to my living room from my appartment. After I graduated It was down turn and when I applied for a Job, there where 400 other people who where applying for that same job, they wanted my because I had practical experiance.
I looked for a couple of years to buy a used shopbot, but moving a shopbot to europe is expensive. then I found the mechmate site. this was for me the only way to affort and get an cnc routing machine I wanted for years. It take's me 2 years to build one. but I have something what I wanted for years. and when I look at my machine (daily) I am proud on it
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  #20  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 09:51
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
So jealous. I hope that when im done with school I'll be able to get a job It's just that right now all I have is a bedroom. Technically I have it good right now because im living with my mother. Very soon I will be moving out into JUST a bedroom. I already have various simple machines and tools I keep in my bedroom. I also have a dog that lives with me. I try to keep the room as open as possible for her. I have no where to store anything really. I would love to slowly build a MM but I have no where for it. I think I just nee to go to school and do the best I can in hopes that I can even get a job when done. If I go I'm shooting for two BA's too. A BA in electronic engineering and one in mechanical. Even if I couldn't get a job,... I'll have enough know how to do whatever I want. I'll borrow money and start something on my own. On my own is how I want it to be in the end anyways. I probably wont be able to afford all the extras of owning a MM. Thats why I was hoping that maybe if I had it built that I could get it to support itself. If I failed I would be back in a world of hurt. Right now I pretty much have all my old debt paid off. Been waiting for this moment for so long. I just dont want to make a wrong decision and get set back with nothing to show for it again. I mean if I got set back again at least I'd have the MM because theres no way in hell I'd sell it. It would be dismantled in stored but you know what I mean. I just dont know. Going to school seems to be the right thing to do. Because I really would like to be a REAL engineer and because everyone else go to school. But,... engineering school is expensive as hell! I dont even know if I could afford that! I might get to that point and realize I cant afford school and my best option might be to start my own router business. So much to weigh out here The day I have a MM,.. I will be just like you. Staring at it everyday all proud. to be honest I'll be on it doing 25 hours runs. Just liek the good ole days when I was making everything by hand. I just got done making 144 of the kydex belt adapter things for these HSGI universal mag pouches all by hands. Been doing it for days now. Just about done. Fingers all burnt and blistered from heat and friction. This is how I roll. Pain aint a damn thing to me when im enjoying myself while making something. Im hoping to sell each clip for like 12 each. Use the money towards paying off this last loan of mine.

Last edited by cvriv.charles; Mon 23 January 2012 at 09:55..
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  #21  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 12:21
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Uhhh. I just had a talk with my mother. Here's the deal. I dont get a long all that well with my mother do to a lot of crap that has happened and is happening. Its the reason I havent asked her about building and running the machine here for at least long enough to learn, figure out my starting point and establish some clientele. Enough that the router can support itself if and when I move it into a rented spot. I assumed she would say no.

The main reason she would say no is because it's her house. Here's the deal though,... she's losing the house. Foreclosure. She lost her job and she's losing the house. Definite. But there are so many foreclosures thats its going to be a long time till we have to move out. 1 - 3 years the lawyer said. The previous owner put up a wall in the garage and turned the larger portion into a living room. The actual garage is small as hell. She doesnt use this converted living room for ANYTHING. Just sits there and does nothing.

I actually brought up the whole idea with her. The whole scenario. I can go to school or I can start this router business. I have a good feeling about both. There are pro's and con's about both. I told her I wanted to start this router business or really,... a hobby that pays me well. And then go to school while doing that and working part time at the hospital where I work. To maintain benefits and I even get some tuition reimbursement etc. So I have to stay at the hospital. But the router would be a second income and I have a feeling Im going to be very good with it. Then I told her I would have to teat that wall down and put up a door to block out noise. She for a second was like hell no. but I gave her the what do you need that room for! It's doesnt do anything! I could make money in there. Put that room to use! Your not even going to be able to keep the house! Why do you care! I understand her position that being her house. But seriously,.... she cant keep the house. she knows shes going to lose it. SO! After all that,.... she will think about it. I was pitching that idea to her hard as hell. I think she will actually say yes. LOL.

So,.... if she does say yes,.... I'm scared to death even thinking about it. To actually go through this?!?!? What a chance I would be taking. to pay off all my debt just to pull out another loan. Wow. BUT! The loan would be taking from a credit union which means I wont get raped with a massive apr. Also,... I keep telling myself,.... get the money. Build the machine as fast as you can. Learn it as fast as you can. At least make enough money to pay the loan off for the machine. At least that! This way the machine is paid for. I like the sound of that. Im very sure I can do that pretty quick. Having all the money I need up front,... I can build that machine quick. Worse case scenario after that,... I have to dismantle the machine and put it in storage. I can do that no problem.

So,... I have to get that yes. Then I will finish paying off that small loan I have. If shes says yes,... time to start planning, build a invoice of everything needed, costs, where to buy, what tools and machines I'll need to rent or buy. At the same time figure out what I'll focus on making to get this machine paid for. I might not even have to tear that wall down. If she says no,... I go to school and forget about the mm.
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  #22  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 12:49
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
I think you should consider a smaller platform to start with and come back to the MechMate once you are established with funds and a location. I would love to see you build a machine, but I also want you to succeed first and formost. I think for you a turn key tabletop machine would be a more viable solution for you and allow you to get started quickly.

Some that come to mind are

Camaster
ShopBot Desktop
Carvewright

I will also send you a PM.
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  #23  
Old Mon 23 January 2012, 22:24
TechGladiator
Just call me: Miguel #94
 
Randolph, NJ
United States of America
Charles.

Where abouts in NJ? I am also in NJ and just about to start making some dust.. Probably a week or two from that.
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  #24  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 08:43
Richards
Just call me: Mike
 
South Jordan, UT
United States of America
Having a CNC router is no guarantee of a successful business. I know many people who bought another brand of CNC router with the hope of quiting their jobs and using that router to make a living. So far, NONE of them have been successful enough to quit their jobs. Only one is making a decent part-time income.

That's not a slur on the CNC router owners; but, it is a warning that starting a business might take more time and more resources than most people think.

Run a break-even analysis on a spreadsheet. (I use Open Office, which you can download at no charge.) Find out exactly how many widgets you need to make per day to pay all expenses. Don't forget to pay yourself, and don't forget to add in a substantial "rent" so that your mother can keep her house.

If the numbers look good, and if you can pre-sell your services to people who will delivers the orders, then go ahead; however, if the numbers show a slim chance of making a profit, then work on your business model first and then wait to buy a machine until the numbers show that you will have a profitable business.

(In my business, I always pre-sell my services before I do any work. Most of my customers pay me before I do anything for them. Because my work is customized for each company, it would be impossible to sell the finished work to someone other than the original customer. So, they pay in advance. Right now, I'm finishing up a computer system that a customer paid for yesterday.)
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  #25  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 09:51
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGladiator View Post
Charles.

Where abouts in NJ? I am also in NJ and just about to start making some dust.. Probably a week or two from that.
Really?!?! I live in south jersey right now. Burlington county. Would you mind if I stopped by to watch? Show me a thing or two? I would really appreciate it:\ I work in New Brunswick.

Last edited by cvriv.charles; Tue 24 January 2012 at 10:16..
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  #26  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 10:13
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Ok. Let's stop referring to it as a business and for now refer to it as a hobby that pays. I don't want to get ahead of myself here. Here's the deal. I have experience with making stuff. I have an understanding with working with different materials such as wood, plastics, steel, aluminum, brass, copper etc. I am familiar with grinding my own bits etc. I know a lot more about all this than most people. I know more about that than I do about running a business. Thats why its now a hobby that pays.

I would be EXTREMELY happy if I built the machine and did enough with it to at least cover the cost of the machine. If all should fail after that,... so what. I still have the machine. Worst case scenario I would have to break the machine down and store it. big deal. I never said anything about quitting my job. Maybe at the least I would cut down to part time to maintain my position there along with my benefits. Thats about it.

Now,... as to what I would focus on making to earn steady money. Probably furniture. because everyone needs or wants furniture. I think thats a good place to start. I would start off with simple and stylish. I have a guy at work who makes furniture by hand. I know he's really good at it because of the things he has said. I already contacted him to see if he would teach me a thing or two. In between jobs I could venture off and try other things. I have been making stuff relating to firearms lately. Stuff made from Kydex. I'm very good at it too. I use to make a ton of stuff for computers several years ago. I was extremely good at that as well. I had one company funding my operation at one point and another hounding me for ideas. I could easily email both of them and let them know that I'm back in business and this time I'm automated. They will absolutely love that. There are several thing I can do to make cash quick. If I had any doubt about it I would not be typing this all out right now.

If I get a yes for the space in my mothers home. I will probably go ahead and build a MM. Everything in life is a chance. Some make it and some dont. I have a very good feeling about this. The idea wont leave me alone.

If I get a yes I will then do all the math. See how much money I need to build and get the machine running. See what my operating costs are and figure out how much I need to make to keep the machine running and to at least cover the cost of the machine. Thats it. Once the machine is paid off,... I'll have a pretty good idea of how things will be after that. I dont want to jump to far ahead.
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  #27  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 14:47
darren salyer
Just call me: Darren #101
 
Wentzville mo
United States of America
I won't try to discourage anyone from anything.
Having said that, building a machine that could take 6 months to build and get fully operational, while keeping your day job sounds great.
Doing it in a place that will be repossessed as early as a year from now....not so great.

What is the fall back plan if the lender steps up foreclosure proceedings?
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  #28  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 15:11
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
6 months to build one of these? Even if one had all funds up front? What is the fastest someone has built one? I really dont think it will take me that long to build one. But,... shit happens. I will admit that. If the lender took back the house before I was done with the machine or even paying the machine off,... I would be kind of screwed. Maybe. No back up plan. Its a huge chance.

As long as I can build and have the machine paid for by then,... I will be fine. If I got the machine built and paid off at least some of it with the machine that would kind of be fine too. Because I'll most likely be using my regular salary to pay the machine off as well. It will be a close call, maybe. Again its a chance. As of right now im 90% sure I want to do it. I still have some things to do before I get started with all this so I still have time to think it all through and make my final decision. Yea.
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  #29  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 15:22
cvriv.charles
Just call me: charles
 
New Jersey
United States of America
Ok. My mother said I can use the space. She doesnt care. It time for the next step. Have to pay off this last loan of mine. I have to join my credit union and inquire about a loan. Most likely they will say yes because I have good credit and they automatically deduct from my paycheck. During this time I will do all the math. Figure out how much I need to get started and to keep in running etc.
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  #30  
Old Tue 24 January 2012, 18:32
TechGladiator
Just call me: Miguel #94
 
Randolph, NJ
United States of America
Charles;

I think he fastest somebody has built one is about 3-4 weeks. I would look at the build log on the forums.

In my opinion you have to be pretty darn good to get the machine done in 3-4 weeks. Other things that you need to consider is not just the materials but also the tools. I had a ton of home tools (Drills, table saws, etc etc etc) but you at least need a welder, drill press, metal saw and a grinder to name a few if you want to be able to tackle this project. I didn't have any of the items I am listing above and bellow is a rough breakdown of what I spend on each

Welder $600 (Plus Helmet $99, Gloves $15, Misc welder stuff $40)
8HP Drill Press $375
Metal Saw $249
Grinder $80 (Plus probably another $80-$100 of disks)

Things that I had and I felts saved me a ton of time

Clamps
Magnet Squares (Thanks to SurfCNC for posting pictures of his, this probably saved me 30% of the time welding)
Paint Gun
Compressor & Complete set of air tools (Drill, Brush, etc)

I don't know what your situation is with tools, but depending on the amount of tools you may or may not have you can find yourself spending a decent amount buying them.

That's of course my opinion and I am simply going based on my experience.
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