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Business growth, machines purchase to grow.

Sounds like maybe the S500 might be your best bet for right now. But for the future, have you seen one of those HX250's other than pics and videos? We have a local dealer here and I saw one at a tool show they put on. Those are sweet little machines! I would definately keep that on my Radar If things keep going well for you. And hopefully they do. Good Luck.

Have not seen one in person, just videos and pictures. Got a quote with the options broken down. Really is appealing especially when looking at the 650, it isnt much more with its ability to expand in the field. But it starts at 2x the cost of a 500 so will be weighed.
 
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:ROFLMAO: , seriously.... I am actually classified as a Master in USPSA (Single Stack so 1911 and Iron Sights) and was on a pretty active SWAT team in a big County in SoCal. Red dots are really a game changer. So many people who have bad eyes really notice a difference and the DOT is very easy to pick up in situations where Iron sights are not even close to being seen. I look at it like Iron Sights on M4, old guys always complained about Acog/ Red Dots on rifles but you will not find a Marine, Soldier or most LEO agencies who do not have them.

One thing I do know, Red Dots on pistols allow you to see more when aiming. The dot floats out there and you do not need to focus on irons at 1-2feet and a person/threat at 20-30 feet.

I did a lot of Dry Firing and Love my iron sights. Heavy training days where I was alone and did not have to worry about others, Id shoot 500-1000 rounds several days a week. The Red Dot is here to Stay.

But if is does dry up, Ill start designing and making Fidget Spinners. ;)
Haha, just fkn with yah.:D
My friend owned a large manufacturing facility, we had a gun range built in to the back of the shop. owner said you'll never need to buy ammo, Ill keep it stocked.
Used to shoot hundreds of rounds a day, he even would buy me a new firearm about one a month.
good times.
yeah I need a red dot on my ccw, if nothing but for night sighting, just been too lazy to get it done.

you might want to try to offer a 7075 version also, for the poor people. probably better returns on them also.
 
Haha, just fkn with yah.:D
My friend owned a large manufacturing facility, we had a gun range built in to the back of the shop. owner said you'll never need to buy ammo, Ill keep it stocked.
Used to shoot hundreds of rounds a day, he even would buy me a new firearm about one a month.
good times.
yeah I need a red dot on my ccw, if nothing but for night sighting, just been too lazy to get it done.

you might want to try to offer a 7075 version also, for the poor people. probably better returns on them also.

Ya know, I seriously considered 7075. Big issue with Optic Plates is small screws with the plate suffer from Thermal Expansion and Stress with repeated heat cycling. Even though it is little and just around 300* Screws break often. Torquing screws down then having steel/alum/steel or whatever combination, .001-.002" from growth then the stress is bad. Titanium being thermally stable greatly reduces broken screws. I have yet to hear about broken screw issues with my plates and many are in the 10's of thousands of rounds thru them. My team tested a lot of plates before jumping into this and hated the plates. Steel is just as bad, less expansion, more stress.

Several companies are in the $50-$80 range and I needed to separate myself. I am in a league of my own but I know my product is at the top for several reasons. My titanium plates look and feel 10x better than most made from 6061 or 4140.
 
:ROFLMAO: , seriously.... I am actually classified as a Master in USPSA (Single Stack so 1911 and Iron Sights) and was on a pretty active SWAT team in a big County in SoCal. Red dots are really a game changer. So many people who have bad eyes really notice a difference and the DOT is very easy to pick up in situations where Iron sights are not even close to being seen. I look at it like Iron Sights on M4, old guys always complained about Acog/ Red Dots on rifles but you will not find a Marine, Soldier or most LEO agencies who do not have them.

One thing I do know, Red Dots on pistols allow you to see more when aiming. The dot floats out there and you do not need to focus on irons at 1-2feet and a person/threat at 20-30 feet.
Slightly off-topic, but I've been looking at getting a red dot. I currently have a Glock 17 gen 3. What would you recommend?
 
I think I'd stick with the S500...more spindles at a low cost, and not a huge learning curve with a new machine (at least for the Kit) - this also more aligns with your one piece flow idea, although multiple parts on a pallet stretches that concept a bit.

We had a Mazak cell with 2 horizontals and 24 pallets. Doesn't matter the machine size in this discussion, but it takes a huge time investment along with the capital, and you can't expect multiple machines to behave the same, especially if you add one at a later date and add more pallets as we did. We always proved out programs on both machines separately, and only caught an issue up a couple times, but when a spindle is pushing $50k, it's not a bad idea. Also, a horizontal is not cheap to tool up, beyond tool holders, you have tombstones, fixture plates, Mitee Bites, the list goes on. When I pulled apart old fixtures, obsolete customers and the like, I had over $30k in Mitee Bites alone in little plastic bins, not to mention fixture plate material, Keenserts, etc. and the time it took to make all that stuff. I usually figured it would cost me about $3k-5k to tool up a tombstone, some more, some less, after having the tombstone, YMMV.

I presume you have tool life available on the control? You need to know when tools are expected to die, and then change them out before that happens, it's way cheaper to change out tools than throw out a bunch of parts and lost time. I think all of the horizontal cells have some kind of smart tool management (Mazak's Pallatech does). When tool life is reached, go to the back up tool if you have one, if the tool breaks and the tool setter catches it, it will flag the pallet and put it back on the rack, get the next pallet scheduled that doesn't need that tool (if there is no back up), keep going and the operator will have to restart/remachine the pallet from the broken tool point in the program.

One thing not mentioned yet is a Cobot...you could use one to load pallets. With a robot load, I think I'd consider shortening the pallet run time so you can check/replace tools, and as mentioned above, balance your pallets or mix OP10/OP20 on each pallet, so you are pulling finished parts every cycle. Also with the shorter pallet run time, you can more easily manage load times or when you are reporting back to the shop.

Unattended production requires process stability, and as one PM member said years ago, don't set your parts counter higher (or in this case, parts on a pallet) than you're willing to throw in the scrap bin.
 
Slightly off-topic, but I've been looking at getting a red dot. I currently have a Glock 17 gen 3. What would you recommend?
going to need a cut for the slide. Direct mill is strongest even though I make plates. Holosun has a lot of offerings at reasonable prices. Really would depend if you shoot a lot of just something that is on a night stand Sighted in and treated well.
 
I think I'd stick with the S500...more spindles at a low cost, and not a huge learning curve with a new machine (at least for the Kit) - this also more aligns with your one piece flow idea, although multiple parts on a pallet stretches that concept a bit.

We had a Mazak cell with 2 horizontals and 24 pallets. Doesn't matter the machine size in this discussion, but it takes a huge time investment along with the capital, and you can't expect multiple machines to behave the same, especially if you add one at a later date and add more pallets as we did. We always proved out programs on both machines separately, and only caught an issue up a couple times, but when a spindle is pushing $50k, it's not a bad idea. Also, a horizontal is not cheap to tool up, beyond tool holders, you have tombstones, fixture plates, Mitee Bites, the list goes on. When I pulled apart old fixtures, obsolete customers and the like, I had over $30k in Mitee Bites alone in little plastic bins, not to mention fixture plate material, Keenserts, etc. and the time it took to make all that stuff. I usually figured it would cost me about $3k-5k to tool up a tombstone, some more, some less, after having the tombstone, YMMV.

I presume you have tool life available on the control? You need to know when tools are expected to die, and then change them out before that happens, it's way cheaper to change out tools than throw out a bunch of parts and lost time. I think all of the horizontal cells have some kind of smart tool management (Mazak's Pallatech does). When tool life is reached, go to the back up tool if you have one, if the tool breaks and the tool setter catches it, it will flag the pallet and put it back on the rack, get the next pallet scheduled that doesn't need that tool (if there is no back up), keep going and the operator will have to restart/remachine the pallet from the broken tool point in the program.

One thing not mentioned yet is a Cobot...you could use one to load pallets. With a robot load, I think I'd consider shortening the pallet run time so you can check/replace tools, and as mentioned above, balance your pallets or mix OP10/OP20 on each pallet, so you are pulling finished parts every cycle. Also with the shorter pallet run time, you can more easily manage load times or when you are reporting back to the shop.

Unattended production requires process stability, and as one PM member said years ago, don't set your parts counter higher (or in this case, parts on a pallet) than you're willing to throw in the scrap bin.

I heavily researched lights out when I got into this. I currently track tool life but still am proving out some tools as I change up Speeds and Feeds for finishes I like. I have tools in groups for back up if life is reached or tools break. One thing I still need to do Is program it so if a tool breaks and is caught between WCS/parts, It bypasses that WCS for the rest of the run. A lot to do still but I have had a bunch of 10-14 hour cycles and overnights. Change out tools early if needed, Probe parts during cycle, ect....I know the learning never stops and I am not naive enough to think I have this as good as it can be with not even two years behind a machine and programming.

The cost of fixturing is considered also. I try to use same size stock for Op1 on all plates so my pallets and stock can be used for any pistol. I only have 2 different sizes and they only vary in overall length and thickness so my pallet can still be used with just a different WCS assigned to same spots and probing.
 
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Since you're looking at Kitamuras, have you looked at their 3-axis verticals? I saw their small one at Eastec and it looked pretty nice. Cost ought to be competitive with the Brother. Box ways, 40 taper, etc. might be a good fit for Ti.
 
How many vises are you running? It looks like only one in this picture.


Screenshot_20231116-222733_Brave.jpg

If that's still the case spin the vise 90 degrees and add another vise/pallet.

Are you around to swap pallets every 10-14 hours? If so the R650 only saves you ten minutes a day of spindle time.

Would it be accurate to say if the S500 can run 10-14 hours than a R650 would run 20-28 hours? As in load both pallets and walk away? That helps if you can only get in the shop once a day, but if twice a day works I don't see how a pallet changer justifys the cost. Short cycle time parts, like the 2 minute load and 4 min cycle then yeah, it's huge. For a 2 minute swap on a 14 hour run then who cares... My next Brother should probably be a R650, because I'm mostly in the short cycle time camp, but you aren't.


Right, wrong, or indifferent, but I bet the machined titanium is what creates appeal to your buyers. Anything else, material or process, and you are a commodity.



Why do you need a chip conveyor? I'm thinking with small ti parts it takes a month to fill a 55 gallon drum. And with sub 1/4" tools why get a BBT? Again, not knocking them, just not clear why it would help you.

My advice- buy this for half the projected R650 cost and let it rip.

 
How many vises are you running? It looks like only one in this picture.


View attachment 416273

If that's still the case spin the vise 90 degrees and add another vise/pallet.

Are you around to swap pallets every 10-14 hours? If so the R650 only saves you ten minutes a day of spindle time.

Would it be accurate to say if the S500 can run 10-14 hours than a R650 would run 20-28 hours? As in load both pallets and walk away? That helps if you can only get in the shop once a day, but if twice a day works I don't see how a pallet changer justifys the cost. Short cycle time parts, like the 2 minute load and 4 min cycle then yeah, it's huge. For a 2 minute swap on a 14 hour run then who cares... My next Brother should probably be a R650, because I'm mostly in the short cycle time camp, but you aren't.


Right, wrong, or indifferent, but I bet the machined titanium is what creates appeal to your buyers. Anything else, material or process, and you are a commodity.



Why do you need a chip conveyor? I'm thinking with small ti parts it takes a month to fill a 55 gallon drum. And with sub 1/4" tools why get a BBT? Again, not knocking them, just not clear why it would help you.

My advice- buy this for half the projected R650 cost and let it rip.


That picture was early on when I was making the fixtures. Needed X axis to machine the pallet. The shop is only a few miles away so swapping out pallets is not a problem. I am hoping in the next year to build a shop on my property. My shortest part cycle time is 7 minutes but I usually have several of them on a plate for orders over a few days. Larger bulk orders come in more frequently and that is the runs with pallets loaded up and 10-14hr runs.

Looking for a Chip conveyor because I want to go more towards unattended. Right now I have to clean the Chip pan after each long run. I currently use a 50 micron screen in the bottom of the chip pan and two mesh screen baskets under the chutes. It isn't horrible but I hate pulling out the baskets to dump them with the clean up on the floor, coolant drips, ect.. Not 100% needed but a nice to have. Unless I wait for it to drain down but then a lot of wasted time.

Most Speedios now come standard with BBT in the XD1 from what I have seen, As does the Kitamura. Also, potentially better tool life, better finish... I am in the process of changing out my Tool holders to all Rego-Fix as the minute I changed over my first holder to them, I instantly seen a better finish and 2x the tool life. I have several other brands and they are good but do not compare to Rego. Same speeds and Feeds, instantly better finish. This does not mean the BBT will be the same, but likely would be.
 
I've learned over the years that deviating too far from a winning formula often creates more problems than it solves. At the least, it slows me down.

If a single machine works for you today, a second machine of the same make and model will almost assuredly work for you tomorrow. This might not apply if you were to scale 10X, but for incremental growth, it tends to work.

Glad to hear that our vises are a part of your success. I hope it doesn't come off to others as self serving. Even if you didn't use our products, I think what I'm saying would still apply.
 
Most here are giving you great advice and have experience on the equipment you asked about. I am glad you are slightly diversified since economy is ho hum right now and I have not heard good things in the gun department lately.
Did you come up in the machining world and if so mills or more lathes. Reason I ask is each side can "see" things the others can't unless you can straddle both real well. I would go with another mill, but I would keep you eyes open for a used Swiss. It might open you up to more possibility of what you COULD make for your current market or offshoot to another in case things slow down.

Quite the success so far!
 
Most here are giving you great advice and have experience on the equipment you asked about. I am glad you are slightly diversified since economy is ho hum right now and I have not heard good things in the gun department lately.
Did you come up in the machining world and if so mills or more lathes. Reason I ask is each side can "see" things the others can't unless you can straddle both real well. I would go with another mill, but I would keep you eyes open for a used Swiss. It might open you up to more possibility of what you COULD make for your current market or offshoot to another in case things slow down.

Quite the success so far!

Never touched a CNC in my life until I was 42 and bought the Speedio. I did have a 618 lathe and index 645 mill in my home garage for several years. Always a tinker my whole life. Really just read a ton and watched a ton so Self Educated on CNC thru the internet. One of those who made a hard choice on my career in LEO when politicians began pushing their BS a few years ago so I jumped ship because my own morals meant more than a job.
 
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I've learned over the years that deviating too far from a winning formula often creates more problems than it solves. At the least, it slows me down.

If a single machine works for you today, a second machine of the same make and model will almost assuredly work for you tomorrow. This might not apply if you were to scale 10X, but for incremental growth, it tends to work.

Glad to hear that our vises are a part of your success. I hope it doesn't come off to others as self serving. Even if you didn't use our products, I think what I'm saying would still apply.

Well I greatly appreciate the thought and time spent on the design and versatility of the Vises you and the team put out. Could not imagine buying Vises and separate Pallets. The repeatability is incredible. Ill be placing more orders for pallet plates soon.
 
When you have products to make you get to hyperfocus on just your stuff. You don't need drawings because the part is modeled and toleranced in your head.

I had no real machining experience. I never worked as a machinist. I bought an old Mazak and a Mori and hired a programmer to teach me Mastercam. Took 2 months to earn back the $15k I spent on machines, tooling, wages, rent, etc and be making a living wage.

There's a lot you gotta know to be a good machinist, but to make your own parts you don't need that background. And frankly I think a background in machining often stifles product ideas. Machinists think about how to make stuff. Product guys think about what to make. The how part doesn't happen until after the what part.
 








 
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