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I guess its time for me to start my own Home shop thread.

empower

Diamond
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Location
Novi, MI
Having my own shop has been my goal/dream just about ever since i got into the machining trade roughly 8 years ago. i've had my own business doing custom fabrication over a decade ago, so not new to running my own business. Last year i bought a house with 5 acres and a 30x40' barn on the property after moving to Michigan from commiefornia, with the main driver for this place being the barn and land itself which is gorgeous.
The barn is wood frame, has a 5" concrete pad, and metal sheet exterior, no insulation currently. so that will be one of the first things to tackle, thinking spray foam - open to suggestions.
the other big task is power: property only has single phase 220 which just wont do. and phase converters are 100% out of the question, so is running 3 phase to the property. i'm pretty sure i have a solution that will work great - i have ~500KWH worth of batteries from work, the intent is to build a small room for the batteries to protect them from the elements, get a 3phase hybrid inverter and a BUNCH of solar panels.
this is the inverter i'm looking at, ~$13k
1711017624159.png

and at least 20kw worth of solar panels to start with, then add more as i need.
the idea is that solar will provide more than enough energy during the day, and store anything not used in the batteries, which will then get used at night etc. for dark/cloudy days, the grid 220v can charge up the batteries when i'm not doing anything.

Currently doing a little bit of side work at my job, and should have enough saved up in a few more months to buy my first machine, will most likely be a GF mikron (used). its a ~18k lb machine, i'm hoping 5" concrete should be enough, at least for starters. eventually the goal is to expand the barn to at least 2500sqft and if needed, will do a thicker concrete pour.
will keep my main job as long as i can, as it pays really well, but want to start this up off the ground as i go and slowly transition into full time when appropriate. i just turned 40 a few days ago, plan is by the time i'm 50, be able to move out into more remote area/state, ideally very close to mountains, and have enough to provide a reliable modest living for myself and my soon to be wife, maybe a kid or 2.

currently got a little john deere 120r with front loader, snow plow and forks, was gonna look into a backhoe attachment for it, but for 10k just for the attachment, i'm probably better off finding something used/standalone possibly as i'll need one around the property. gonna need to dig trenches for wiring etc, as well as hopefully do geothermal heating at the house at some point.

anyway, just wanted to get this kicked off, will post updates here as they come. questions and discussions are very welcome!
thank'yall
 
Check with your power company about how big a system they will let you have if its going to be grid tied. Around here they won't let you install more solar than like 110% of your annual usage. That could be an issue if you want to put it in before you start heavily using the mill.

I'd also pour a better foundation before getting that machine. Concrete is cheap, and you don't want to spend a bunch of time trying to troubleshoot some weird issue that turns out to be caused by the machine moving around on a crappy foundation.

Don't forget about the cost of CAD/CAM, particularly if you're getting a 5-axis machine. Unless you plan on going down the... black flag route (which has its own issues) its going to eat a bunch of your budget.
 
I get extra splinters and swollen knees from work and you get batteries…..
If you take that micron and sell it you can get a haas….
Happy birthday
they were going to dispose of them after testing... its not customer grade stuff, but plenty enough for me! will require a decent amount of work to get them working, but nothing my friends and i cant handle.
thank you!
 
Check with your power company about how big a system they will let you have if its going to be grid tied. Around here they won't let you install more solar than like 110% of your annual usage. That could be an issue if you want to put it in before you start heavily using the mill.

I'd also pour a better foundation before getting that machine. Concrete is cheap, and you don't want to spend a bunch of time trying to troubleshoot some weird issue that turns out to be caused by the machine moving around on a crappy foundation.

Don't forget about the cost of CAD/CAM, particularly if you're getting a 5-axis machine. Unless you plan on going down the... black flag route (which has its own issues) its going to eat a bunch of your budget.
good points, will check. if its that big of a deal, i'll leave it isolated, fuck the grid!

no comment on software...
 
the other big task is power: property only has single phase 220 which just wont do. and phase converters are 100% out of the question, so is running 3 phase to the property. i'm pretty sure i have a solution that will work great - i have ~500KWH worth of batteries from work, the intent is to build a small room for the batteries to protect them from the elements, get a 3phase hybrid inverter and a BUNCH of solar panels.
this is the inverter i'm looking at, ~$13k

and at least 20kw worth of solar panels to start with, then add more as i need.
You don't want a phase converter to make 3 phase from single phase.... But you want umpteen thousands of dollars in solar cells and an inverter to make 3 phase.....
and that is ok for you ?

That sounds like an insane plan, if you want to get a shop running and make money. You will be dead and buried before you get your investment back for all that not needed solar stuff. I don't think you want a money making shop, I think the Californians have brain washed you. Best of luck in your quest.

-Doozer
 
You don't want a phase converter to make 3 phase from single phase.... But you want umpteen thousands of dollars in solar cells and an inverter to make 3 phase.....
and that is ok for you ?

That sounds like an insane plan, if you want to get a shop running and make money. You will be dead and buried before you get your investment back for all that not needed solar stuff. I don't think you want a money making shop, I think the Californians have brain washed you. Best of luck in your quest.

-Doozer
there's only so much you can get out of a phase converter. i have maybe 50 amps of single phase 220v coming to the shop. wtf am i gonna be able to power with that? do tell me...

25kw worth of solar panels is ~4k with shipping. my normal house electricity bill is ~250/month average. with a machine running its gonna be at least double.
at that rate, 3 years to pay back the panels and inverter. show me where/how i'm wrong.
 
there's only so much you can get out of a phase converter. i have maybe 50 amps of single phase 220v coming to the shop. wtf am i gonna be able to power with that? do tell me...

25kw worth of solar panels is ~4k with shipping. my normal house electricity bill is ~250/month average. with a machine running its gonna be at least double.
at that rate, 3 years to pay back the panels and inverter. show me where/how i'm wrong.
I can run an 8hp main motor plus a 2 hp feed motor off that. 5hp start/10hp run RPC. Surely you have more than 50 amp 240V service entering the property? Messing about with solar to power machine tools is highly unlikely to ever pay for itself.
 
I can run an 8hp main motor plus a 2 hp feed motor off that. 5hp start/10hp run RPC. Surely you have more than 50 amp 240V service entering the property? Messing about with solar to power machine tools is highly unlikely to ever pay for itself.
thats nowhere near enough to run the equipment i'm looking to run. of course i have more than 50 amps entering the property, but i dont want to rob my house of power to run the shop.
solar on its own = absolutely, i agree its not a good alternative. but solar+tons of storage, which i have, is a completely different story.
 
Hey Empower:
Congratulations on taking the first steps to making your dream a reality...I'm rooting for your success!
Like others have posted, I will be green with envy when you get that Mikron.

Like others have also posted, I'd be digging a local foundation for the machine as early as possible.
When my business partner (at the time) bought his Haas UMC 750 we poured a local foundation that was 3 feet thick with lots of rebar and it cost about 5 grand to do so in Canada in 2014.

He had problems with the machine as soon as he commissioned it and Haas (of course) blamed the foundation.
There was pushback and much indecent screaming, but ultimately they could not deny that their crappy machine was the issue...not that monster foundation.
Ultimately all was sorted out and the peace of mind KNOWING the foundation couldn't be the issue saved a lot of screwing around and a lot of finger pointing too.
I remain convinced it made for a better machine too...lagging the machine to that monster block of concrete made it into a "Super Haas" and he was able eventually to dial it in to the point where you can build a credible injection mold on it, and that's typically +/- 0.0005" work or better.

Now I realize you're not in the same situation...you'll be buying used, and a brand that's known to be good, but that peace of mind is awfully nice.
5 grand is small coin in the grand scheme of things, and as they say..."In for a penny, in for a pound".

So let us know when more stuff is happening to make the dream a reality.
Pictures will be nice, and machine pictures will help make us all a little envious.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
Hey Empower:
Congratulations on taking the first steps to making your dream a reality...I'm rooting for your success!
Like others have posted, I will be green with envy when you get that Mikron.

Like others have also posted, I'd be digging a local foundation for the machine as early as possible.
When my business partner (at the time) bought his Haas UMC 750 we poured a local foundation that was 3 feet thick with lots of rebar and it cost about 5 grand to do so in Canada in 2014.

He had problems with the machine as soon as he commissioned it and Haas (of course) blamed the foundation.
There was pushback and much indecent screaming, but ultimately they could not deny that their crappy machine was the issue...not that monster foundation.
Ultimately all was sorted out and the peace of mind KNOWING the foundation couldn't be the issue saved a lot of screwing around and a lot of finger pointing too.
I remain convinced it made for a better machine too...lagging the machine to that monster block of concrete made it into a "Super Haas" and he was able eventually to dial it in to the point where you can build a credible injection mold on it, and that's typically +/- 0.0005" work or better.

Now I realize you're not in the same situation...you'll be buying used, and a brand that's known to be good, but that peace of mind is awfully nice.
5 grand is small coin in the grand scheme of things, and as they say..."In for a penny, in for a pound".

So let us know when more stuff is happening to make the dream a reality.
Pictures will be nice, and machine pictures will help make us all a little envious.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
the 'gravity' of the situation is not lost on me. i think i'll try to make it work with the existing slab until i expand the shop. its currently so small, that it doesnt make sense to cut out just half of the pad and pour something thicker, at that point might as well repour the whole thing, at which point might as well build a bigger shed... you know what i mean?
prices from 2014 and today are WILDLY different. i'm betting it'd be at least 10k to pour a slab these days. actually just looked up, average price per yard is ~$150. 12x12' pad 1' thick would cost 9600 in just concrete, not including labor. given that this is a MUCH better designed machine than a haas, i'm pretty confident it'll do what i need it to do until i'm ready to expand the barn and then do a proper pour.
i'll take some shop pics of how it sits tonight for sure.
 
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there's only so much you can get out of a phase converter. i have maybe 50 amps of single phase 220v coming to the shop. wtf am i gonna be able to power with that?

Add another 200 amp panel right in your shop? When I bought my house it had a 200 amp panel and it was STUFFED. I found out I could install a 200+200 setup which left my original 200 amp panel intact but allowed me to pull another panel down in my shop. I have lived on that 200 amp budget since. My working concept is it's a one man shop. I don't have enough power to run all my machines at once, but I do have enough to run any one of them.

That electrical upgrade cost me something like $5000 in 1999. Probably $20k today? Gotta be cheaper than a massive solar installation, though.

I have nothing against solar. I wish I had a nice little field of polysilicon crystals generating me power to sell back to the grid. I wouldn't mind a few oil wells either, or a geothermal vent like they have in Iceland.

metalmagpie
 
I would run the slab you got. If it was 8" thick concrete it still doesn't mean what's underneath it was prepped right for machines on top. Get by with what you've got then build another 5k sq ft building off one of the sides and turn that building into your office.

I like the solar plan. I've had thoughts of doing the same. Phase perfect pricing/value is retarded.

And do realize machines aren't actually that picky about power. Power from the grid isn't that great. All CNC's do is rectify whatever power comes in to DC then use that for various tasks. If the voltage is too high or low or not enough amps the only way the machine knows is because it's drives monitor the voltages and have alarm setpoints.

One big, big thing you need to make sure of is that whatever inverter you choose to run from a battery bank can work 100% in both directions- Most all real cnc's use regen to stop the spindle and servos. They put tremendous energy back into the grid. A 30HP spindle is going to push 100 amps 240 3 phase into the grid. Can your inverter work backwards like that? Can your batteries absorb that?
 
Add another 200 amp panel right in your shop? When I bought my house it had a 200 amp panel and it was STUFFED. I found out I could install a 200+200 setup which left my original 200 amp panel intact but allowed me to pull another panel down in my shop. I have lived on that 200 amp budget since. My working concept is it's a one man shop. I don't have enough power to run all my machines at once, but I do have enough to run any one of them.

That electrical upgrade cost me something like $5000 in 1999. Probably $20k today? Gotta be cheaper than a massive solar installation, though.

I have nothing against solar. I wish I had a nice little field of polysilicon crystals generating me power to sell back to the grid. I wouldn't mind a few oil wells either, or a geothermal vent like they have in Iceland.

metalmagpie
actually my solar setup would be under 20k, and be powerful enough to run multiple machines at once.
 
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I would run the slab you got. If it was 8" thick concrete it still doesn't mean what's underneath it was prepped right for machines on top. Get by with what you've got then build another 5k sq ft building off one of the sides and turn that building into your office.

I like the solar plan. I've had thoughts of doing the same. Phase perfect pricing/value is retarded.

And do realize machines aren't actually that picky about power. Power from the grid isn't that great. All CNC's do is rectify whatever power comes in to DC then use that for various tasks. If the voltage is too high or low or not enough amps the only way the machine knows is because it's drives monitor the voltages and have alarm setpoints.

One big, big thing you need to make sure of is that whatever inverter you choose to run from a battery bank can work 100% in both directions- Most all real cnc's use regen to stop the spindle and servos. They put tremendous energy back into the grid. A 30HP spindle is going to push 100 amps 240 3 phase into the grid. Can your inverter work backwards like that? Can your batteries absorb that?
good point! the batteries can take it no problem, will have to check on the inverter. thanks!

yeah i really think the solar+batteries is a no brainer, maybe people just arent aware of how robust a setup like this can be?
 
the 'gravity' of the situation is not lost on me. i think i'll try to make it work with the existing slab until i expand the shop. its currently so small, that it doesnt make sense to cut out just half of the pad and pour something thicker, at that point might as well repour the whole thing, at which point might as well build a bigger shed... you know what i mean?
prices from 2014 and today are WILDLY different. i'm betting it'd be at least 10k to pour a slab these days. actually just looked up, average price per yard is ~$150. 12x12' pad 1' thick would cost 9600 in just concrete, not including labor. given that this is a MUCH better designed machine than a haas, i'm pretty confident it'll do what i need it to do until i'm ready to expand the barn and then do a proper pour.
i'll take some shop pics of how it sits tonight for sure.
A 12' x 12' x 1' slab is 144 cf ÷ 27 cf/yd = 5.33 cu/yds x $150 cu/yd = $800
 
Having my own shop has been my goal/dream just about ever since i got into the machining trade roughly 8 years ago. i've had my own business doing custom fabrication over a decade ago, so not new to running my own business. Last year i bought a house with 5 acres and a 30x40' barn on the property after moving to Michigan from commiefornia, with the main driver for this place being the barn and land itself which is gorgeous.
The barn is wood frame, has a 5" concrete pad, and metal sheet exterior, no insulation currently. so that will be one of the first things to tackle, thinking spray foam - open to suggestions.
the other big task is power: property only has single phase 220 which just wont do. and phase converters are 100% out of the question, so is running 3 phase to the property. i'm pretty sure i have a solution that will work great - i have ~500KWH worth of batteries from work, the intent is to build a small room for the batteries to protect them from the elements, get a 3phase hybrid inverter and a BUNCH of solar panels.
this is the inverter i'm looking at, ~$13k
View attachment 433633

and at least 20kw worth of solar panels to start with, then add more as i need.
the idea is that solar will provide more than enough energy during the day, and store anything not used in the batteries, which will then get used at night etc. for dark/cloudy days, the grid 220v can charge up the batteries when i'm not doing anything.

Currently doing a little bit of side work at my job, and should have enough saved up in a few more months to buy my first machine, will most likely be a GF mikron (used). its a ~18k lb machine, i'm hoping 5" concrete should be enough, at least for starters. eventually the goal is to expand the barn to at least 2500sqft and if needed, will do a thicker concrete pour.
will keep my main job as long as i can, as it pays really well, but want to start this up off the ground as i go and slowly transition into full time when appropriate. i just turned 40 a few days ago, plan is by the time i'm 50, be able to move out into more remote area/state, ideally very close to mountains, and have enough to provide a reliable modest living for myself and my soon to be wife, maybe a kid or 2.

currently got a little john deere 120r with front loader, snow plow and forks, was gonna look into a backhoe attachment for it, but for 10k just for the attachment, i'm probably better off finding something used/standalone possibly as i'll need one around the property. gonna need to dig trenches for wiring etc, as well as hopefully do geothermal heating at the house at some point.

anyway, just wanted to get this kicked off, will post updates here as they come. questions and discussions are very welcome!
thank'yall

First off, this would be a better fit in the Member and Shop Photos section, so I'm going to move it there in a moment.

Next, definitely go for a bigger machine instead of a backhoe attachment for that little tractor. I have a JD x595 (slightly smaller predecessor to your 1023 or whichever 102x you've got) that I tweaked a little to get more hydraulic capacity out of it (loader will take near 1,000 pounds to full lift) and thought about putting a backhoe on it... Decided I'd rather look for a big machine, and am very glad that I did. I ended up with this for $8,500. It's ridiculously more capable than a backhoe attachment on a small tractor. I can *knock down* trees with this thing. I use the backhoe for ground work and rough grading, then precision finishing with the small tractor and a box blade. Excellent combo.

I use the backhoe for moving lathes and milling machines too, it can carry 12,000 pounds near ground level and 6,000 all the way up. Hoe can lift/crane around 4,000-5,000 pounds too, but never actually measured.

20230214_200333.jpg

20231130_154101.jpg
 
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