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musclecarnut
07-08-2011, 04:06 PM
A quick introduction:

I am a small machine shop owner that is looking to expand capabilities. Currently, I have the normal assortment of machining capabilities, such as manual milling and engine lathes, VMC's, CNC Lathe, Wire EDM, ect. A fairly well rounded shop, but nothing extraordinary.

Having this equipment in the shop, I didn't want to do much fabrication work. I maintain a fairly clean environment, and didn't want the fumes, grinding grit, ect in the shop around the machines.

I currently occupy 2/3 of a good size building, and now have the opportunity to occupy the other third at a reasonable cost. Real reasonable...about 3000 sq feet for $400 a month, fully insulated, heated well, ect. I told myself if it came available, it would be the perfect opportunity to expand into the fab/welding area, as it has a dividing wall to my shop area, ventilation, big overhead door and what not.

Competition in my area have both Machining and welding/fabrication, and I feel it is a hindrance on my business only offering the machining. SOOOO now is the time and place to venture.

Not wanting to go overboard buying equipment, tools, ect. I need to make some smart decisions. I know right off the bat I can't compete with the bigger shops doing large work. I want to start off on the right foot, get some small orders for average size work (not building ships here) and slowly invest in more equipment as the jobs warrant or profits say I can.

Cut to the chase. I need some guidance here on just starting out as far as what I need to just make a go at it. Obviously welders, benches, clamps, ect. But what would you list as say the "Top 10" purchases I should be looking at just starting out? Sizes too..say for a press brake, shear, ect. Whats minimal sizes you would get for run of the mill sheet metal work in a fabrication shop. Looking at used stuff of course. What I am kinda looking for is what I can do without, and what I would probably need when starting this up.

Hope you all can give me a little guidance, and look forward to your words of wisdom.

MAGNUMFORCE
07-08-2011, 04:12 PM
Hi there you dont state how many people you have working for you but with any expansion you will need a very good workforce that you can rely on that are going to be there when the orders start to come in this is much more important than what new tools to purchase. As far as tools go it all depends on what type of work you are going after ? But whatever the outcome good luck.

Ron Padilla
07-08-2011, 04:39 PM
your location would help as well,

musclecarnut
07-08-2011, 04:56 PM
Hi there you dont state how many people you have working for you but with any expansion you will need a very good workforce that you can rely on that are going to be there when the orders start to come in this is much more important than what new tools to purchase. As far as tools go it all depends on what type of work you are going after ? But whatever the outcome good luck.

I have 3 full time, and a couple part time employees. 2 of the full timers have some welding and fabrication background. I would plan on hiring 1 more, a man I know that has a good background, great leadership skills to run the area. We have already discussed some of this.

I know that this is a wide open topic, but just trying to get my head wrapped around what others feel is their most used machines and support equipment and maybe their background as it applies.

I guess I have an idea of the big ticket items, but I just need to think of the nickle and dime things, too. Of course, the big ticket items won't just appear, but need to be integrated IF things work out. Looking for a starting point per say.

Fat Bastard
07-08-2011, 05:17 PM
I look at questions like this and think I need to break it out into the base most forms then build it back up...so:

A way to cut material: saws grinders knives....
a way to weld it: mig stick tig oxy/fuel...
a way to shape it: mills grinders files...
a place to hold it while welding: the floor, a table, a lift, a cart......

Define them understand them then start looking for used paying not more than $0.50 on the dollar.


So to cut it we need to know what you will cut?
Saws, shears, ironworkers all powered and floor mounted, the same list powered and not hand tools.


I would take this same line of thinking to each process you want to be able to do.

I would also advise you to find fabrication work that is not already being done in the local area. If you can define the type of material you intend to fabricate of focus on fabricating this will tell you the size of the tooling you need to buy.

Most aluminum can be worked with wood working tools, steel can not.

Broccoli1
07-08-2011, 05:17 PM
3000sq ft costs me $3,000.00
:dizzy:

musclecarnut
07-08-2011, 05:41 PM
3000sq ft costs me $3,000.00
:dizzy:

A MONTH? :dizzy::dizzy:

My 9000 sq feet (with this additional space), + 800sq ft mezzanine will run me $1200 :cool2:

good climate controlled shop summer and winter. Hwy frontage with service road, and a huge lot for semi's to turn around in.

Things must be a little cheaper in BFE.

brucer
07-08-2011, 06:19 PM
the mold shop i worked for all we had was a syncrowave 350.. we did minimal grinding while reworking cores, cavities and cams.. usually we milled out heat checking, welded and remachined in the cnc mills. we also had a large oven for preheating and slow cooling, had a couple 4 1/2" grinders..

the machine shop i worked at when i was younger had a full blown fab shop. remembering off the top of my head, it had 2 employees working in the fab shop, 2-4x8 acorn tables, 4 mig welders 1 was a miller powersupply with wire feeder (think it was like 450amp), 2 older smaller miller's (think 350 amp and 250amp), and an older linde power supply with wire feeder... 2 tig welders dynasty 700,and a linde... the 2 power supplys and the dynasty 700 were off limits except for the 2 welders..

also had a large industrial chop saw, an ironworker, 25ton press, hypertherm plasma cutter,2 torch outfits, large sandblast cabinet, vibratory stress relief table parts that specifically had to be stress relieved).. had 2 vertical bandsaws, and an overhead crane..

had various grinders, i would say they had about half dozen 4 1/2" grinders and a couple 8 or 9 inch grinders

the stock rack was also located in the welding department and they handled receiving all new steel shipments and making sure it went in the correct racks.. the horizontal bandsaw was in the fab shop also.

brucer
07-08-2011, 06:19 PM
A MONTH? :dizzy::dizzy:

My 9000 sq feet (with this additional space), + 800sq ft mezzanine will run me $1200 :cool2:

good climate controlled shop summer and winter. Hwy frontage with service road, and a huge lot for semi's to turn around in.

Things must be a little cheaper in BFE.

yea look where hes located though..

musclecarnut
07-08-2011, 06:24 PM
yea look where hes located though..

So true...sometimes being in the sticks pays off :)

DSW
07-08-2011, 06:25 PM
As far as machines, it depends what you are planning to weld. If you are going to do steel, I'd look at a nice used multi process machine like an XMT304 cc/cv that will let you do stick, mig or DC tig with the right add ons. Not cheap, but it's less in the long run than several dedicated individual machines. If you are going to do tig, especially alum, I'd look for a nice used Syncrowave or equivilent, perferably in the 250 amp class or better with a watercooled torch. If you want to do moblie tig, then I'd look at the Dynasty 200dx.

As said your best bet is to look for a niche you can fill thats open in your area and hire people qualified to perform the work. Near me guys who have engine drives and will work on heavy equipment are a dime a dozen. Finding someone who can do specialty tig on site is a bit harder.

DanD78
07-08-2011, 08:15 PM
Are your looking at production work or fabrication/repair. One welding machine won't cover all metals so that will take some planning. Handy things that come to mind would be

Iron worker
Hydraulic press
Fork lift
Gantry or jib crane(s)
Cold saw or larger band saw
Steel inventory & Storage racks

You can always rent equipment until you figure out what you will really need

tortis
07-12-2011, 07:03 PM
A 4000sf ware house with 2000sf office space on the main drag here is $3500 a month.

wbolden
07-12-2011, 07:21 PM
What are you going to provide? fabrication repair, maybe production work there are a lot of variables involved in this area, I suggest you study and research very carefully what is needed in your particular area.
Good luck
wbolden:waving: