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Thinking about opening a shop!!!

If that's true, and you're good with people like you say, you're losing money every day you don't have a couple of machines in your garage.

A 200A 208/240 home system is enough to feed a RPC or Phase-Perfect, and you're off and running.

You can run a VF-1 or Brother, along with a small 6-8" chuck turning center, saw, air compressor. The electrician will tell you that you can't, but that's whey you're here on PM.



In my greater region, I can't remember the last time a new machine shop opened up. A couple opened in the 2000's, but that's been decades.

Regardless, there's plenty of work to go around in the U.S. Prices can be cheap on commodity-level machining work, but that's just how it is. Everything in capitalism is bloody competitive!

All it takes is one or two good customers to get a good start. Especially since you can focus on their work, they will be thrilled to get quick turnarounds.

Make a list of potential customers in your region you will visit and ask for a chance to bid on work. Then as you get close to getting going, go see them, see what kind of help they may need. Don't just ask for work, ask how you can help solve an issue or make something easier for them.

ToolCat
That is very encouraging, I was afraid I'll have to start with a mini lathe or mill because of power limits. You know those tiny ones, table top ones, i call them Baby Lathe. I mean they can be great for a certain type of product, but are very limited.
I know few people in an industry, who could possibly supply me some work or at least refer to some other places that could use some help from me. Probably time to start making calls, and figuring out what is needed out there.
Also I just spoke with one of my coworkers, her husband owns a shop, and I guess there's a lot of work he has been turned down due to lack of capacity, or quantities are too low. Guess where am I'll be heading to next week? lol. Getting a tour of his shop, and see what kind of work he could supply to me?
Either way, I guess I just need to figure the demand and the machines I can fit in a garage that could support that demand. then figure out how to get them and of I go.
The more info I'm digging out the more I'm getting encouraged to get started here.
 
I was afraid I'll have to start with a mini lathe or mill because of power limits.

Figuring out power limits is sort of a tricky thing. If you ask an electrician or a phase converter company, they will do the math on the maximum possible current draw. They will tell you that no less than this rating is possible. In reality, you can run 5 hp machines off of 50 amps of 220v and still have enough power for everything else. My 3hp cnc knee mill runs all day on a 15 Amp 220v breaker without any issues at all. Heck, my a/c unit draws more amperage than that.
 
Figuring out power limits is sort of a tricky thing. If you ask an electrician or a phase converter company, they will do the math on the maximum possible current draw. They will tell you that no less than this rating is possible. In reality, you can run 5 hp machines off of 50 amps of 220v and still have enough power for everything else. My 3hp cnc knee mill runs all day on a 15 Amp 220v breaker without any issues at all. Heck, my a/c unit draws more amperage than that.
Guess who I'll be contacting soon, once i get closer to execution of the plan!!!
I hope you don't mind, sounds like you know what you are talking about.
 
I work at home with a 200 amp service with no issues, but the demand on that service adds up to way more than 200 amps. All in amps, 110 heatpump, 30 dryer, 40 water heater, 30 well pump, 70 to shop for a Brother and Kitamura drill tap mills, 5hp compressor, electric heat, plus normal house needs. I have never thrown a breaker.

I think in general the cheaper you start the slower you start but you have to pay the bills. I started out too cheap and it really hamstrung me. Things didn't start working out until I started making my own products. Keep in mind getting a product ready to sell is less than half the work but it is real nice to have them sell themselves on your website and all you have to do is ship.
The dryer and hot water are constant loads when running. The motors on the heat pump, well pump, and shop tools do not draw the amps listed on their breakers when running. They only draw max loads for a fraction of a second when the motor starts. That leaves a lot of amps for other uses.
 
Read Wheelieking's shop thread. All 286 pages of it.

 
I'm here to learn. I have been employee long enough, with a little to no feel of an accomplishment. I mean yes I went from a Temp employee Packer/Floor Sweeper, to a Lead Programmer/New Product Development, In between I did all sort of other roles too, Department Supervisor, Set-up Lead Person, CNC Programmer, etc. I could go finish up my degree and grow higher in a company, but I have an absolute ZERO interests in it. I left a supervisor position because of all the corporate bulls**t i had go through each and every day, instead of just worrying about running my department.
I'm here to gather up ideas, I'll find work, and like you say a Profitable Work.
If you really want to see if you can do this, the test is easy. You say you have worked for big companies. I am sure they have salesmen. Get a salesman's job for a year or so and see if you can sell work. If so, opening your own shop will be a success. If you are unsuccessful selling, you have your answer.
 
Read Wheelieking's shop thread. All 286 pages of it.

Will do, seems to be interesting one.
 
If you really want to see if you can do this, the test is easy. You say you have worked for big companies. I am sure they have salesmen. Get a salesman's job for a year or so and see if you can sell work. If so, opening your own shop will be a success. If you are unsuccessful selling, you have your answer.
Might be an option, never thought of it that way. Will have to think about it.
 
Agree,
Everyone is different, some drastically.

I do about the same for office stuff, I run around machines all day like Forust Gump.

I started with a house garage (600sq ft.) with 100 amps service, changed it to 200 amps($3500), through in 2 Haas MiniMills, off I went.

Depending on your area (not talking out in the boonies) you usually can get up to 400 amp service panel.

I was told if I wanted over 200, they would need to change things down stream, transformer probably, and I would have to pay for that.
They said I could get 3 phase ran from across a 3-4 lane road but it would be a lot of money(underground).
Didn't matter, didn't need it.
I built a shop on my property and the electric and gas company ran me separate lines and meters at no cost, said they see it as a ROI for a business. I could have upped my service to 400 amp for a cost but 200 was included. Not sure if I'll ever need 400.

I did ask about running 3 phase but where they had to come from was a few miles down the road and it was well over $100k to do so.

It seems like commercial 3 phase service is charged at a higher rate, everyone I've spoken to in commercial buildings pay around $1500+/month for electricity, my electric bill is within 10% of my houses bill every month, all year. Averaging $185/month.
 
Guess who I'll be contacting soon, once i get closer to execution of the plan!!!
I hope you don't mind, sounds like you know what you are talking about.

Sure, I don't mind. I'm no expert, although I do play one on the internet sometimes 😉

Really though, I'm just a guy learning as I go. I enjoy audiobooks and learning from others who are willing to share their *actual* experiences - rather than opinions.

I would start with a few weekends sorting through whatever may currently be in your workspace. Anything you don't need should be sorted sell / scrap / trash. Pallet racking or a shipping container for the rest. After that, find a good accountant who can help you set up an LLC (use a p.o. box, never your home address, not even temporarily) get a TIN #, open a bank account and who can guide you on write-off's for all the start up cost.

Next, insulation, good lighting, a fresh coat of paint, electrical subpanel and good air compressor. From there, you'll be ready to bring in a machine or two and start organizing your workspace.

People have and will disagree with me on this method but it is much easier to think when you're working in a nice, well lit, clean and orderly environment.

Keep an evening / night job (I still have mine) and just start forcing your way into the world of entrepreneurship. You never know who you will meet or where you will end up.
 
I built a shop on my property and the electric and gas company ran me separate lines and meters at no cost, said they see it as a ROI for a business. I could have upped my service to 400 amp for a cost but 200 was included. Not sure if I'll ever need 400.

I did ask about running 3 phase but where they had to come from was a few miles down the road and it was well over $100k to do so.

Yeah 3 phase under the road was $50k
It seems like commercial 3 phase service is charged at a higher rate, everyone I've spoken to in commercial buildings pay around $1500+/month for electricity, my electric bill is within 10% of my houses bill every month, all year. Averaging $185/month.
$1500!, What are those magic pixies? I only pay $110 in winter $275 in summer
and that's running 4 VMC's and a turning center, a screw compressor, drier, and we create a lot of humidity so I have three dehumidifiers.
and in the summer I have two 36k btu mini split ac units.
edit: and all the machines have large mist collectors.

At the injection molding shop I last worked we had 5 mills 2 turning centers, and 10 injection molding machines, and the power was only $2k
 
Read Wheelieking's shop thread. All 286 pages of it.

I agree!!!!!!! No one should go out on their own until they read this entire thread. Took me several weeks but well worth it.
 
If you haven't already found them, take a look at some of KPotter's older threads. He started his own product line, tools for Jewelry making, from nothing and has grown it into a nice business.
 
Nice! Shoot me a pm whenever you have them ready. I will be needing 2 double station vises for my vmc in a few months.
Mine are 2" and 3" aluminum production vises in both 2 and 8 station configurations. Their "unique" aspects are they are designed to be as cheap as possible while maintaining accuracy and the ends have dowel pin and threaded holes to bolt plates to for 4th axis work. The 8 station versions are 2 stations rotated every 90 degrees specifically for rotary work. You can hold them between a 4th and tailstock or perhaps bolt them directly to the 4th without a tailstock, which I still have to try out. I need them to replace custom fixtures for small parts production on the 4th. When I get some finished in a few weeks I will start a thread about them.

Here is a video of my prototype 2" 2 stations in action to help explain it. I can swap parts without removing them but on my single table mill I can swap them with around 15-20 seconds of spindle downtime for multiple ops.

 
If you haven't already found them, take a look at some of KPotter's older threads. He started his own product line, tools for Jewelry making, from nothing and has grown it into a nice business.
Not exactly.... He rode the coattails of the business in Santa Cruz that brought the urethane/hydraulic press forming process to the hobby jewelry making crowd.

He has gone beyond what the other company was into. The other company is now highly connected to Rio Grande jewelry supply.
 








 
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