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Does it make sense to set up own CNC machines and produce parts compared to these Chinese prices?

metallicmen

Plastic
Joined
Aug 2, 2023
Our business currently produces small handheld devices that have quite many metal parts. We buy them from China. With shipping,we spend every 2 months about $115,000 for those parts. Biggest costs are the aluminium end panels making up already $40,000 alone. The quantities are around 25,000 pcs. Of parts in total, 4000pcs per each separate part. Some are milled and some are lathed parts. I calculated the expected cost of raw material in comparison to the end prices we now pay, for example end panels aluminum costs around $0.15 and the milled panels from China $5. Sizes are quite small, biggest parts around 60x40x10mm, lathed parts 20x25mm and 12mmx10mm. Lathed parts stainless steel.

We would have around $300K to invest for machines. Is this going to get anything for serious production?
 
What country are you in, and what's the prevailing wage there?

I won't put raw stock in a box for $5 each. If you're getting the quality and lead times you need, I wouldn't mess with a good thing.

You don't just need a machine. You need:

A mill, with automation, someone to program it, set it up, keep it fed, and debug it.
A lathe, with automation, someone to program it, set it up, keep it fed, and debug it.
An inspection department, with all appropriate inspection equipment, and someone who knows how to use it correctly.
A shop space to put everything in.
And probably several other things.
 
Using aluminium I assume anodising, that alone is a world of pain. My parts have so far been to 6 anodisers before I found someone who knew what they were doing. I know of a medical manufacturer that sends all their anodising from Australia to the USA for anodising.
 
Using aluminium I assume anodising, that alone is a world of pain. My parts have so far been to 6 anodisers before I found someone who knew what they were doing. I know of a medical manufacturer that sends all their anodising from Australia to the USA for anodising.
wtf?
sounds like an opportunity for someone thats not an idiot to make big bank in australia doing anodizing...
 
wtf?
sounds like an opportunity for someone thats not an idiot to make big bank in australia doing anodizing...
That's the problem. It's such a weird industry you need your wits about you to do it successfully but who wants to work in a toxic industry like that. It's like firearm bluing, super easy if you follow the steps correctly but extremely toxic with acids and fumes.
 
wtf?
sounds like an opportunity for someone thats not an idiot to make big bank in australia doing anodizing...
There’s similar opportunity here in the US. I’ve had lots of parts ruined by companies that say they’re anodizers. On the other hand find the rare good one and they never seem to ruin anything so it’s possible.
 
Our business currently produces small handheld devices that have quite many metal parts. We buy them from China. With shipping,we spend every 2 months about $115,000 for those parts. Biggest costs are the aluminium end panels making up already $40,000 alone. The quantities are around 25,000 pcs. Of parts in total, 4000pcs per each separate part. Some are milled and some are lathed parts. I calculated the expected cost of raw material in comparison to the end prices we now pay, for example end panels aluminum costs around $0.15 and the milled panels from China $5. Sizes are quite small, biggest parts around 60x40x10mm, lathed parts 20x25mm and 12mmx10mm. Lathed parts stainless steel.

We would have around $300K to invest for machines. Is this going to get anything for serious production?
Been away from sourcing parts since right before Covid....
but before that once parts meet fit/finish spec, relationship between buyer and Asian supplier is solid, and repeat orders/shipping/customs gets a rhythm to it, unlikely, at least here in the U.S. it would make sense to invest in the headache of manufacturing for small parts...unless required by regs.
But like it said, U.S. based, and have not played since Covid.
 
it is near impossible to beat China. China's government is behind China's manufacturing..Here our government is at odds with business.
And it seems if personal kickbacks can be had some government people will sell us out for side money.
It seems a stacked deck for our loss.
About the only answer is to go, Communist..then everybody will be poor and we will be even with China prices.
A darn shame for sure.
 
There may be benefits to bringing the manufacturing in-house; but at a really rough guess of the quantity and dollar value of the parts you are looking at, you would probably need to add another decimal point to the amount of money that you would need to invest.
 
About the only answer is to go Communist..then everybody will be poor and we will be even with China prices.
It's a bitch being poor like this ... I have to wait for a good sale at Hermes to buy socks.

plaza66.jpg

also a good thing I don't drive these days, it's so difficult to choose what color you like ...

yellow.jpg

nope, looks like a daffodil

red.jpg

nope, cops love red

pink.jpg

not unless I'm gonna cruise polk street

silver.jpg

too hard on the back getting in ...

aqua.jpg

there we go, something you don't have to take your hat off to get in ! Nobody wants a car you can piss over !

Hate to say this, Buck, but "poor" is not the word I'd choose. Snotty maybe but not 'poor'.

Whatever is wrong with the US, I think it goes a little deeper than just saying 'communism'.

IMO, not that you asked, but it really seems to me that finance sucked the country dry. Everything that could have been going to make the country a better place went to Lloyd and Jamie. China just said "Fine, we'll be the little yellow guys who do the work" -- too bad for the US it's work that makes money, not shuffling numbers around in a spreadsheet.

Hey, how about that Yellow Freight, eh ? Good time to buy stock ? Let's make some wealth !
 
Certainly, there are rich people and wealthy areas in China.
but the average wage in China is listed as about $5,000 USD.
Russia under or about 8k usd
Ukraine a little less ballpark of 7,500usd.
USA over 90K (I would say working class in USA about $60k
But there is still demand for USA manufacturing, one would have difficulty competing with China pricing.
 
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It's a bitch being poor like this ... I have to wait for a good sale at Hermes to buy socks.

View attachment 404022

also a good thing I don't drive these days, it's so difficult to choose what color you like ...

View attachment 404023

nope, looks like a daffodil

View attachment 404024

nope, cops love red

View attachment 404025

not unless I'm gonna cruise polk street

View attachment 404026

too hard on the back getting in ...

View attachment 404027

there we go, something you don't have to take your hat off to get in ! Nobody wants a car you can piss over !

Hate to say this, Buck, but "poor" is not the word I'd choose. Snotty maybe but not 'poor'.

Whatever is wrong with the US, I think it goes a little deeper than just saying 'communism'.

IMO, not that you asked, but it really seems to me that finance sucked the country dry. Everything that could have been going to make the country a better place went to Lloyd and Jamie. China just said "Fine, we'll be the little yellow guys who do the work" -- too bad for the US it's work that makes money, not shuffling numbers around in a spreadsheet.

Hey, how about that Yellow Freight, eh ? Good time to buy stock ? Let's make some wealth !
"DBS" vanity plate on your ride?
 
but the average wage in China is listed as about $5,000 USD.
Most of the people making the 'average wage' you quoted don't have to pay for food or a place to live, and medical is a fraction of what it costs in the US. That 5k is more what they get to keep than what they get paid. Also everything you buy is quite a bit cheaper. Maybe half the population lives in the countryside where you don't need any money to live, that's all spending money to them. Even a big city is a lot cheaper than some burg in the US. Lots.

It doesn't really compare, conditions are so different. And they are different in the US also, for old people like us and for twenty-year-olds, who have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt before they even start, if they plan to have a decent job.

Plus there's no tent cities of drugged-out homeless people in China. And statistically there's no such thing as violent crime, you don't even consider it, it's not a feature of life.

"Poor" really depends on how you define it. Conditions are so different you can't just pull a number like that out and say "poor". What it takes to live is what counts.

standardparts said:
"DBS" vanity plate on your ride?
Those aren't real plates, I don't think that one was sold yet .... but I'm hoping it was a special order, not a factory color :D
 
QT: (Plus there are no tent cities of drugged-out homeless people in China. And statistically there's no such thing as violent crime, you don't even consider it, it's not a feature of life.)
I agree the USA is in shambles lately, fortunately, it has reached my neighborhood

*For the topic, I think there is some advantage to controlling your own manufacturing and doing so is supporting our country.
 
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Most of the people making the 'average wage' you quoted don't have to pay for food or a place to live, and medical is a fraction of what it costs in the US. That 5k is more what they get to keep than what they get paid. Also everything you buy is quite a bit cheaper. Maybe half the population lives in the countryside where you don't need any money to live, that's all spending money to them. Even a big city is a lot cheaper than some burg in the US. Lots.

It doesn't really compare, conditions are so different. And they are different in the US also, for old people like us and for twenty-year-olds, who have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt before they even start, if they plan to have a decent job.

Plus there's no tent cities of drugged-out homeless people in China. And statistically there's no such thing as violent crime, you don't even consider it, it's not a feature of life.

"Poor" really depends on how you define it. Conditions are so different you can't just pull a number like that out and say "poor". What it takes to live is what counts.


Those aren't real plates, I don't think that one was sold yet .... but I'm hoping it was a special order, not a factory color :D
C'mon......That Pink one will be the talk of all the other wealthy machine guys and gals.
Will make you think your back in San Fran,,,(without the smell of urine and feces of course)
 
Do you at least get the masked my little pony rocking horse when you buy the car?
If you ask for it :)

michiganbuck said:
I think there is some advantage to controlling your own manufacturing and doing so is supporting our country.
I totally agree with you. I agreed with you forty years before I even knew you. I bought absolutely nothing but US stuff for years and years.

And it didn't make a damn bit of difference.

Now it's too late to worry about, and also most of the people in the US do not agree with us, and also most of the people in the US are stupid shits who would rather piss away a trillion dollars a year on the army instead of housing, infrastructure, medical care, whatever would make life better for the people of the US.

You can only stand in the river trying to stop the water for so long before you figure it out, yes ? You go empty Lake Michigan with a tablespoon, I'm done with that.

At least in China people still make stuff instead of shuffling numbers around on a spreadsheet and calling it "creating wealth". So that's a little satisfaction.

standardparts said:
Will make you think your back in San Fran,,,(without the smell of urine and feces of course)
Not so glad you brought that up .. why does no city in the US have public bathrooms ? You can't even walk two blocks in a village in china without finding a bathroom. Every brainless nitwit city in the US snivels and moans about people pissing on the street but put in bathrooms ? no way, "someone would shoot up drugs !"

What a loser place, may as well be India. US cities pretty much can't do anything without fucking it up.

When did this happen ? It wasn't this bad in 1970, for instance. It sure wasn't perfect but nowadays, the people running stuff would be lucky to get a grade of "moron" on an IQ test. Honestly, could they screw things up worse even if they tried ?
 
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I knew a deer blind company that farmed out parts and frames to China outfit and went out of business because of spending a lot of money to get poor-quality parts.
And witnessed another deer blind at a trade show (ATA show in St Louis) balling out the China manufacturer for crap quality parts. they are still in business but took some loss on the outsourced parts.
The poor little China girl was turning red interpreting those bad words. She came to our booth the next day telling us how Mr whatever is a very important man with many factories who can make products for us.
But yes China can make parts world-class when they want to.
 
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