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Helping young Engineers, only to have them send work to China

If a part can be made using Xometry or some other online ordering tool, then it is almost certain that I will not win the job. My prices are usually about 1.5x to 3x xometry's domestic rates. When my customers come to me with a job that can be done elsewhere, I usually tell them upfront that they will find lower prices online. I still quote the parts, but don't spend any time on the quote.

Prototyping in direct competition with xometry or china is not a viable business in my opinion. I try to stay far away from that type of work.

I don't think I said I compete against Xmtry, I just use it as a guide. because I know the engineers are using it. Young Engineers seem to be re writing the rules of procurement, whether we like it or not
 
I don't think I said I compete against Xmtry, I just use it as a guide. because I know the engineers are using it. Young Engineers seem to be re writing the rules of procurement, whether we like it or not
I used to be a clueless engineer many years before I started my own shop. My first job was working for a cheap, penny pinching company that had already been black-balled by most of the surrounding machine shops. They had already moved most of their machined parts to chinese shops by the time I was there. My entire perspective on pricing was that it was totally normal for machined parts to be made for 20-50% more than material cost. When local shops gave us quotes that were higher than what we were used to, our attitude would be: "do they take us for fools that they expect us to pay 3x what the part is worth!?" Of course my world was turned upside down when I went into the business myself...
 
I don't think I said I compete against Xmtry, I just use it as a guide. because I know the engineers are using it. Young Engineers seem to be re writing the rules of procurement, whether we like it or not

Its happening in all industries. Part of the older generation moving up the ladder into senior roles or retiring. A lot of the long time handshake deals and long time work relationships, are being replaced by newcomers, that will use google to find a vendor anywhere in the world to do the work, as long as it makes the newcomers life/work easier or gets things cheaper so they look good, vs working with long time vendors that have had good relationships with the business for a long time.
 
Its happening in all industries. Part of the older generation moving up the ladder into senior roles or retiring. A lot of the long time handshake deals and long time work relationships, are being replaced by newcomers, that will use google to find a vendor anywhere in the world to do the work, as long as it makes the newcomers life/work easier or gets things cheaper so they look good, vs working with long time vendors that have had good relationships with the business for a long time.

Seemed like a lot of this happened during the pandemic. Many older employees and shop owners retired or died. I know several long established shops that had 30+ year machinists die from Covid and simply cannot replace them to get back where they were. One big manual shop I know of had 3/5 guys die in a 6 month period. A close friend has backed away from running his shop handing the reins to his son.
 
Its happening in all industries. Part of the older generation moving up the ladder into senior roles or retiring. A lot of the long time handshake deals and long time work relationships, are being replaced by newcomers, that will use google to find a vendor anywhere in the world to do the work, as long as it makes the newcomers life/work easier or gets things cheaper so they look good, vs working with long time vendors that have had good relationships with the business for a long time.
The key word is relationships. Personally I don't think the newcomers are the problem, they are just a manifestation of the problem that our generation created in its constant pursuit of short term growth. I doubt many of the company boards and funds that control many of these companies that we complain about are controlled by the under 35's people are banging on about.
 
Lost another job from Engineer #1. same deal long convo's about materials etc.

One part of the convo is that one part of the geometry is incorrect and has to be adjusted to fit another part. I told him this. I have the part the pieces he's having made fit. He's not getting it, so when he gets the parts from China he's in for a surprise. Not a good one.
 
Lost another job from Engineer #1. same deal long convo's about materials etc.

One part of the convo is that one part of the geometry is incorrect and has to be adjusted to fit another part. I told him this. I have the part the pieces he's having made fit. He's not getting it, so when he gets the parts from China he's in for a surprise. Not a good one.

Life is too short to bother with this stuff. I do some programming for my friends shop. One big customer is always fucking up designs where parts won't fit together. It's such a hassle to try and clue them in they have a huge problem that we don't do it anymore. We make to print and then a few months later we get a new rev print and po to remake all the parts. They don't care so why should we?
 
Life is too short to bother with this stuff. I do some programming for my friends shop. One big customer is always fucking up designs where parts won't fit together. It's such a hassle to try and clue them in they have a huge problem that we don't do it anymore. We make to print and then a few months later we get a new rev print and po to remake all the parts. They don't care so why should we?

Well i did care as I consider myself a team player. Not anymore, at least with this customer.
 
Other views:
If I have to provide you with model and specs you better be competitive with xeometry; you are not offering any value added.
If I come to you with model and say these parts need bearings presses or heated on, here is the bearing # you as machine shop should tell me or just make them right. If I ask, you should recommend material I need. If not then why wouldn’t I go with cheapest option?
 
Reminds one of the story of the elves that did all the lazy coblers work every night ..........I forget the rest ,but he definitely sent the job off to China and dudded the elves.
 
Other views:
If I have to provide you with model and specs you better be competitive with xeometry; you are not offering any value added.
If I come to you with model and say these parts need bearings presses or heated on, here is the bearing # you as machine shop should tell me or just make them right. If I ask, you should recommend material I need. If not then why wouldn’t I go with cheapest option?
Fit, finish, turnaround time, the ability to make a change halfway through when the shop catches my mistake, etc are all reasons I might pick a local shop. On the other hand, if I just want a lowest cost, low tolerance, low volume part that looks right for a visual demo I’m going to paint, Protolabs/Xometry most of the time. I don’t waste the time of my local shops quoting those though. My local shops also tend to not like stuff that totals under a couple hours of billing.
 
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Its happening in all industries. Part of the older generation moving up the ladder into senior roles or retiring. A lot of the long time handshake deals and long time work relationships, are being replaced by newcomers, that will use google to find a vendor anywhere in the world to do the work, as long as it makes the newcomers life/work easier or gets things cheaper so they look good, vs working with long time vendors that have had good relationships with the business for a long time.
Half and half. Sometimes the relationships are good, sometimes one or both parties has gotten lazy. I have my group of shops I like to use because we have a relationship. By that I mean there is a history of them helping me in a pinch and not reaming me too badly (or even being willing to do the work to begin with). On the other hand, I’ve been the young guy that resourced a shop. I spent 2 years watching all work get directed to a place they had been using for 30 years. They were expensive, late, and while the parts could be hand fitted, they nearly never met print. They were constantly saving us, but from their own mistakes. We didn’t get along great, and my parts were always magically 2-4 weeks later than everyone else’s already late parts. I realized one day I could order the same parts from a group of local shops in Germany cheaper, faster by half the time, and to print. The local place probably still thinks ill of me, but it’s their own fault IMO.
 
Plan is zero advice going forward. No more help will be provided.

The buyer/purchasing agent thinks these two engineers are idiots. So if I tried to bill for engineering support, may not get paid, but he wouldn't be offended.

Engineer #1 and I had long conversations about going out to the desert (not together, just general desert travels), astronomy, desert camping etc. He's a strange character, quite interesting. Might be surprised that any conversations going forward will be work related , and extremely brief.
We used to call that type enginerds, all theory and no practice.

I suspect this was as much a management decision as by the engineers alone. This is typical of the "ethics" which has replaced moral behavior not only in business but in society as well. It is part of the downward spiral of so much of western culture is in where cost is everything and no sense of obligation towards those who are loyal.
 
Lost another job from Engineer #1. same deal long convo's about materials etc.

One part of the convo is that one part of the geometry is incorrect and has to be adjusted to fit another part. I told him this. I have the part the pieces he's having made fit. He's not getting it, so when he gets the parts from China he's in for a surprise. Not a good one.


Oooooooh F'

Looks like I did win the job.:eek:

and going back to the quote I gave him a screaming deal.:eek: Pencil just a bit too sharp this time

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According to the grapevine I wasn't getting the job, then the e-mail I sent pointing out that unlike other vendors I've been helping him out with ideas and advice over and above what would seem normal, made him want to play nice.

Or the boss probably said "for fuck's sake send him some work, that'll shut him up!":)
 
Oooooooh F'

Looks like I did win the job.:eek:

and going back to the quote I gave him a screaming deal.:eek: Pencil just a bit too sharp this time

<snip>
Wait, you gave them free help you didn't think would be reciprocated AND you underquoted it? You really are a glutton for punishment :).
 
Engineer 1 calls and justifies why they didn't send me the parts I quoted, but was sent elsewhere.

Except it hasn't been sent elsewhere, he's still dicking around with the design, asking about features and how they might be machined. Then the icing on the cake he's telling me he didn't understand how to modify two parts to seal better.So I gave him just enough info that if he had a clue he could figure it out himself.

I told him if he had given me the parts when he promised, they would have been done by now, and I would have modified the two parts myself.
 








 
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