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  #1  
Old 06-30-2020, 09:31 AM
JKelley9 JKelley9 is offline
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Location: Murfreesboro, TN
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Hello everyone,

I have been cruising the forums off and on for some time and decided to make a post introducing myself.

My name is Jason, and have been a fan of CNC machines for some time, but never developed CAD skills until now.

I have worked for 7 years as an Analyst for a major corporation and due to the ongoing issues this year and lack of sales of our product for the past few years I began to worry about job security (our other plants laid off 1/3 of workforce already).

So, it is time to take the risk and start something I can enjoy. I suppose the biggest questions for anyone is making a sustainable profit.

Second would be what product? My thoughts on this is to just make anything I feel falls within my scope of current skill and for an acceptable profit until it gets big enough to focus on specific items.

Being a new business, I just don't see it being feasible to be too picky at first (as long as there is profit).

I think the Panther may be my future purchase. Already working on leveling my backyard for creating the slab for garage/workshop construction

What are your thoughts? I'll attach some photos of random things i made (taken by cell phone to send to friends, so image quality inferior).


images include a cabinet door, guitar, and a pet ramp (WIP).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20200630_074720.jpg (97.1 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200619_150135_01.jpg (107.3 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200628_123818.jpg (95.3 KB, 28 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2020, 10:22 AM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
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The most rewarding business-business I have found for my shop is subcontract work for other makers; chair seat carving, charcuterie boards, architectural reproduction pieces, etc. That's worked for me, but I also have had no desire to go up against established businesses for signage, cabinets, etc. I do those things under commission of course, but on my terms and at my prices. Selling stuff on ETSY has been nearly a bust because there are just too many makers, many of which are willing to practically give their work away.

The bottom line...you need to find your niche.

BTW, I'm building guitars, too. Selling them and actually making a profit is equally a challenge because even with CNC involved, there is a huge amount of hand labor to bring even one instrument to "ready to sell".
__________________
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Jim Becker

SR-44 (2018), 1.7kw spindle, Performance Premium, USB, Keypad, T-Slot table (y-axis configuration), WinCNC, VCarve Pro upgraded to Aspire

Non CNC stuff...

SCM/Minimax - slider/JP/BS
Festool "a good collection"
Stubby - lathe
Oneida Cyclone
more...

Retired from full time work in the telecom industry 9/2017
Commission work for equestrian tack storage and other custom furniture and cabinetry
Located Bucks County PA
http://bvww.us
bvww.etsy.com
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2020, 06:06 PM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Dallas, GA
Posts: 38
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Welcome to the forum... I purchased my first machine last Aug. and just starting to feel I'm starting to benefit from it. Lots of "gifts" made in order to learn how to figure out the coding as well as lots of dust and scrapes made learning what I have thus far...

I've sold a few things on etsy but doing it only as to learn the machine and so forth.. I don't see myself selling enough to really do it to cover my overhead and machine, et... I have a full time cabinet shop to keep going but it is fun to make things and sell them on the side.

I'm starting to get a few projects cutting pieces for others that are paying decent dollars.. the more I do the better I get, the more I can advertise... the better I get the more work I feel I can do. I have a 3 year game plan so I didn't expect to go from zero to 100 overnight.

As guitars go, I have someone who is wanting me to work with them to make a few.. only the bodies but still have some figuring out and such to do as I only have Vcarve and there's contours and such to do.. time to pick a few brains here to help me on that as well...
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Bruce Jeansonne
decorativecabinets@comcast.net
CAMaster Panther 508
Laser Engraver
Hurricane Vacuum
WinCNC and VCarve Pro
https://www.facebook.com/decorativecabinets/
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  #4  
Old 06-30-2020, 08:45 PM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,610
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Bruce, the molding tool path can be your friend for a lot of contouring operations on guitar bodies...and it's faster than a 3D toolpath, too. I use them for belly cuts and other edge contouring...this body was contoured entirely with the molding toolpath followed by a little manual work.







__________________
---
Jim Becker

SR-44 (2018), 1.7kw spindle, Performance Premium, USB, Keypad, T-Slot table (y-axis configuration), WinCNC, VCarve Pro upgraded to Aspire

Non CNC stuff...

SCM/Minimax - slider/JP/BS
Festool "a good collection"
Stubby - lathe
Oneida Cyclone
more...

Retired from full time work in the telecom industry 9/2017
Commission work for equestrian tack storage and other custom furniture and cabinetry
Located Bucks County PA
http://bvww.us
bvww.etsy.com
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  #5  
Old 06-30-2020, 10:57 PM
JKelley9 JKelley9 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Posts: 5
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Thanks for the feedback!

There are quite a few projects I am going to work on at first. I have a few businesses already willing to hold business cards and former cabinet shop that's willing to assist getting started. I think I have a solution to advertising on a national scale.

If any of you have lathe experience with carving art, I'd like to know how. Probably could just youtube it and figure out i suppose.

So far, guitars seem fairly straightforward, just creating the form plane to shape the body can make you facepalm. Overall not bad. I did find a guy who made an add-in which you input specs and it auto creates the fretboard you want. I haven't used it in an actual design yet, but did trial it and works like a champ. 'Guitar Engine'.

Couple more shots of my first attempt at a guitar. body has a curve, but it's mild.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg guitar2.jpg (12.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg backguitar.jpg (11.4 KB, 7 views)
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  #6  
Old 07-01-2020, 05:48 AM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Dallas, GA
Posts: 38
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Thanks for the info Jim... I hadn't done anything as of yet with the molding part of Vcarve.. only the basics in cutting out, pocketing and V carving, etc.. Time to get back to YouTube!
__________________
Bruce Jeansonne
decorativecabinets@comcast.net
CAMaster Panther 508
Laser Engraver
Hurricane Vacuum
WinCNC and VCarve Pro
https://www.facebook.com/decorativecabinets/
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2020, 06:51 AM
T.R.MacMunn T.R.MacMunn is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Mtn.Grove Ontario
Posts: 2,337
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Mr. Kelley ...... not to throw water on your new fire, but what you're thinking of doing is most likely going to require more than a few months before you will see any real income. I'm not saying it can't be done, but many of us here were "doing what we do" already, before buying our CNCs. It's one thing to add efficiency to your processes, & yet another to start from scratch..... especially if you're unsure of the source of the itch.

I know some of the people on this forum personally. I'm pretty sure Jim McGrew made some pretty nice kitchens etc. before he got his CNC ..... he just added efficiency by purchasing his first one. Jim Becker has found a "niche" & I think he does well with his. Michael Mezalick did all sorts of restoration projects before he bought his CAMaster ....... again, the CNC just added efficiency & expanded his capabilities. Me? ...well, I made dimensional signs for 14 years, sandblasting & hand-carving, before breaking down & buying my Mini Cobra, which was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. It took the drudgery out of some jobs, expanded what I can do efficiently, & created opportunities I never dreamed of.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of guys buy a CNC here & assume they can make a living cutting 3D clipart on nice wood. Most didn't do so well.

This is not intended to discourage you. 20-some years ago, I built a "country store" here along the Trans-Canada Hwy that included the post-office, a convenience store, an art gallery, gift shop &, of course, my sign shop. 95% of the locals said "you are going to do so well" ....... they were just saying what they thought I wanted to hear. Well, I lost my arse on the venture .... in fact, the sign shop was the only part that was profitable. So ...point is, be careful. Do your homework. Somewhere in between the pessimism & the optimism is the realism, & don't be swayed by either.

If you can find a business that will sub out stuff they don't want to, or can't do themselves, that will get you to "break even, or close" , you'll survive. Combine that with the more creative stuff you can do when not cutting for them, & you'll prosper.
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TR
www.trmacsigns.com
CAMaster MC4836 named Jemima
Aspire 3.5
Mach3
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2020, 09:16 AM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKelley9 View Post
T

So far, guitars seem fairly straightforward, just creating the form plane to shape the body can make you facepalm. Overall not bad. I did find a guy who made an add-in which you input specs and it auto creates the fretboard you want. I haven't used it in an actual design yet, but did trial it and works like a champ. 'Guitar Engine'.
You also have the option of starting with existing guitar files, such as those from Alex Navarro. Those combined with readily available PDFs of classic designs will help you a lot with understanding guitar geometry which is simplest with Fender type designs and a bit more complicated with Gibson type designs, for example, because of neck angles, etc. I base my designs on Fender geometry for that reason to-date.
__________________
---
Jim Becker

SR-44 (2018), 1.7kw spindle, Performance Premium, USB, Keypad, T-Slot table (y-axis configuration), WinCNC, VCarve Pro upgraded to Aspire

Non CNC stuff...

SCM/Minimax - slider/JP/BS
Festool "a good collection"
Stubby - lathe
Oneida Cyclone
more...

Retired from full time work in the telecom industry 9/2017
Commission work for equestrian tack storage and other custom furniture and cabinetry
Located Bucks County PA
http://bvww.us
bvww.etsy.com
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2020, 11:18 AM
JKelley9 JKelley9 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Posts: 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.R.MacMunn View Post
Mr. Kelley ...... not to throw water on your new fire, but what you're thinking of doing is most likely going to require more than a few months before you will see any real income. I'm not saying it can't be done, but many of us here were "doing what we do" already, before buying our CNCs. It's one thing to add efficiency to your processes, & yet another to start from scratch..... especially if you're unsure of the source of the itch.

I know some of the people on this forum personally. I'm pretty sure Jim McGrew made some pretty nice kitchens etc. before he got his CNC ..... he just added efficiency by purchasing his first one. Jim Becker has found a "niche" & I think he does well with his. Michael Mezalick did all sorts of restoration projects before he bought his CAMaster ....... again, the CNC just added efficiency & expanded his capabilities. Me? ...well, I made dimensional signs for 14 years, sandblasting & hand-carving, before breaking down & buying my Mini Cobra, which was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. It took the drudgery out of some jobs, expanded what I can do efficiently, & created opportunities I never dreamed of.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of guys buy a CNC here & assume they can make a living cutting 3D clipart on nice wood. Most didn't do so well.

This is not intended to discourage you. 20-some years ago, I built a "country store" here along the Trans-Canada Hwy that included the post-office, a convenience store, an art gallery, gift shop &, of course, my sign shop. 95% of the locals said "you are going to do so well" ....... they were just saying what they thought I wanted to hear. Well, I lost my arse on the venture .... in fact, the sign shop was the only part that was profitable. So ...point is, be careful. Do your homework. Somewhere in between the pessimism & the optimism is the realism, & don't be swayed by either.

If you can find a business that will sub out stuff they don't want to, or can't do themselves, that will get you to "break even, or close" , you'll survive. Combine that with the more creative stuff you can do when not cutting for them, & you'll prosper.
Hello T.R.,

thanks for the advice. I have created a business plan already and sourced potential marketing opportunities. Right now, I don't plan on making numerous businesses, I still have a full time job as well which will offset any issues starting I may occur. A few friends of mine are willing to help get everything going if needed.

I usually refer to myself as a realist, but I am also confident. I joined in 2018 to the forum looking into starting a business, but I wanted to get my skills up enough and be able to hit the floor running. This is now attainable (I may have hiccups, who knows). For practice I have looked up various CAD drawings and made objects along with their videos. Youtube has been an amazing tool for the learning aspect. This is the part I enjoy, and being able to turn an idea into a physical object is awesome.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
You also have the option of starting with existing guitar files, such as those from Alex Navarro. Those combined with readily available PDFs of classic designs will help you a lot with understanding guitar geometry which is simplest with Fender type designs and a bit more complicated with Gibson type designs, for example, because of neck angles, etc. I base my designs on Fender geometry for that reason to-date.
Hello Jim,

I will have to look up Alex and see. As a personal Preference, I tend to draw out my own as shown in the photos I posted (this also creates repetition and skillsets). I may get into strat and tele bodies, but that market is very saturated. In my mind, if I am drawing out more complicated designs (using sloped planes, forms, etc.), it can eliminate potential competition by creating a unique design. Not crazy designs, just something that is your own.

I don't think guitars in general are overly complicated after you understand how they work.

Here is one of my guitars (not my work):
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_5052fb[1945].jpg (59.6 KB, 18 views)
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2020, 11:54 AM
UglySign UglySign is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 106
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J,

That my friend is really nice & unique.
Character will set you apart... Good Luck.

Make one for Willie Nelson and you're golden

No seriously, nice work.
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