Author Topic: A new arrival at the Factory 400  (Read 7237 times)

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Offline rx8pilot

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A new arrival at the Factory 400
« on: November 19, 2017, 02:09:28 am »
Sometimes - an EE lab needs some heavy hardware. With the money I saved after winning the Keysight 'Test To Impress' contest - I purchased (financed) a number of other things. Like a new CNC milling machine to round out the capabilities.

This is fun. A whole factory in a garage. A bit tight, but it works and I cannot beat the commute.

https://youtu.be/Ls82wasotFU
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 
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Online Dubbie

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 03:55:28 am »
Jealous!
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 05:51:25 am »
Impressive.  Most impressive.

If I'm ever in your neighbourhood - I'll have to drop in!  (But not for too long  :D )
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 09:46:04 am »
That's awesome - but I'm curious. Why a mill and not a 3d printer?

Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 09:50:46 am »
An impressive machine! How will it be earning its keep?
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 10:02:04 am »
That's awesome - but I'm curious. Why a mill and not a 3d printer?
Why would you invest in a rapidly evolving and hugely expensive technology when you have a proven technology that produces excellent parts?
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 10:18:20 am »
I understand if you don't like talking numbers, but I would love to know a ballpark figure what something like that costs to purchase and run.
 

Online wraper

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 10:29:40 am »
That's awesome - but I'm curious. Why a mill and not a 3d printer?
3D printers which can make production quality parts are way more expensive than an excellent mill. And they are much slower as well.
 

Offline cgroen

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 01:20:48 pm »
Sometimes - an EE lab needs some heavy hardware. With the money I saved after winning the Keysight 'Test To Impress' contest - I purchased (financed) a number of other things. Like a new CNC milling machine to round out the capabilities.

This is fun. A whole factory in a garage. A bit tight, but it works and I cannot beat the commute.

https://youtu.be/Ls82wasotFU

Very very nice rx8, and very good video, love the enthusiasm :) Can easily understand the joy of peeling the plastic of the screen/keyboard  8)
Best of luck with the business!
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 05:22:29 pm »
That's awesome - but I'm curious. Why a mill and not a 3d printer?

3D printers are cool and fun for plastic, low volume, poor surface finish parts with no fine features like threads. The machines that can do metal start at a higher (significantly higher) cost, and still have the limitations of being extremely slow, poor surface finish, and inabillity to deal with any reasonable precision. Critical surfaces will have to be post machined and threads cut on a traditional CNC mill in the end.

3D printing has made huge gains, but still MILES from replacing a mill for hi precision parts made in quantities greater than a dozen.

An impressive machine! How will it be earning its keep?

This machine has 3 missions:
  • Make my production parts - usually in small batches of around 25pcs.
  • Work through prototypes and concepts synchronized with my schedule
  • Make tools and fixtures for assembly

The 'production parts' is kinda funny and a big reason I purchased this machine. My business is too small to be considered production by other shops, so I get lumped into prototyping job shops. This is expensive and very slow. Veeeeerrrrryyyy slow.

Prototyping should always (IMHO) be integrated with engineering because that is when many of the secret problems are revealed. When I personally machine a part - I start noticing problems as soon as I begin programming and setup. Little tiny details that can save time, make the part stronger, recognizing tolerancing issues with the design, etc. Some of my designs may function just fine, but require difficult tolerances to be held which is a big disadvantage when producing the parts. I can change the design as I am machining it and get immediate feedback about how well the changes are working or if they are messing something else up.

Tools and fixtures are remarkably critical to my success. I am constantly needing 1-off parts to hold, align, sort, repair, etc. all sorts of things. SMT tape holders, Arbor press fixtures for thread inserts, special crimpers, PCB holders for my oven. All of those need metal parts machined with considerable precision so they are not an option for 3D printing. Tools and fixtures equal SPEED and QUALITY for me. With the right assembly tools, I can assemble faster and with greater finished quality. For example, a snap-on cover for an LCD screen made out our Delrin is a great way to prevent damage to the fresh screen while the assembly is being handled. Very simple things make a big difference.

« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 11:31:14 pm by rx8pilot »
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 
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Offline Specmaster

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2017, 10:45:59 pm »
Couldn't agree more with you and also of course, there's only one person to blame when things don't go according to plan which even speeds things up because you don't have to endure the blame culture, just grin and get on with it, well done you. The big downside is, and it can be a real big one this, yes you don't cant beat the commute each day, but then you will find that you will working all kinds of hours that most people would not put up with. The reason being that the work is always there, the pressure to meet deadlines etc increases tenfold when you work for yourself and at home. You need to have discipline for it to work effectively. 
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Offline nctnico

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2017, 10:57:21 pm »
@rx8pilot: First of all I like the style of your videos. IMHO you have a talent for it just like Dave has.

More on-topic.. I definitely see the advantages of being able to do a lot of stuff yourself at your own place. I've spend the last couple of days in the shed milling & drilling to put some (very low volume) products together. Still I'd like to keep the manual labour stuff to a minimum. I'm an engineer and not a worker at a manufacturing plant so if I can outsource then I outsource. I usually have 50 lasercut front panels made even if I only need 10 immediately.
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Offline Mickster

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 11:26:40 pm »
Thanks for the great video, following on from the first three.
I have just moved house and have a tinkering garage for the first time, which is located beneath the house, so should be nice and cool in the summer.
When I saw your first few Factory 400 TM videos, I thought "Damn, that guy has a lot of space, albeit crowded"
Got the tape measure out today and found I have about the same square footage.
Just need to find a way to produce the funds, to fit it out with all the nice kit that we all drool over.
I'm pleased that you are producing these videos and, as stated already, you have a knack for them, please keep it up.
Best wishes for your future endeavors.
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 12:02:24 am »
Couldn't agree more with you and also of course, there's only one person to blame when things don't go according to plan which even speeds things up because you don't have to endure the blame culture, just grin and get on with it, well done you. The big downside is, and it can be a real big one this, yes you don't cant beat the commute each day, but then you will find that you will working all kinds of hours that most people would not put up with. The reason being that the work is always there, the pressure to meet deadlines etc increases tenfold when you work for yourself and at home. You need to have discipline for it to work effectively.

1k posts! Cool.

Time management is easily the biggest challenge. Overall, I have worked out a sustainable approach although it is still too many hours. Sometimes - I just turn off the lights and leave. Consequences be damned.

My little business peaked at about 13-14 employees and we had about 6k square feet of space - I became a manager at that point. I learned that we needed commodity products or I needed to shrink if I wanted to do the specialty stuff. At least at the time, business was really unstable. Over the last few years, I have been able to stabilize and get some more predictible work. Now, I am not sure I want to go back to having a full size business. Small is good for the life I am after. It does have some serious drawbacks, but I think I can put a cork in those issues over the next few months. If successful - I should have some time to live life a little. I want time more than I want money.

Thanks for the great video, following on from the first three.
I have just moved house and have a tinkering garage for the first time, which is located beneath the house, so should be nice and cool in the summer.
When I saw your first few Factory 400 TM videos, I thought "Damn, that guy has a lot of space, albeit crowded"
Got the tape measure out today and found I have about the same square footage.
Just need to find a way to produce the funds, to fit it out with all the nice kit that we all drool over.
I'm pleased that you are producing these videos and, as stated already, you have a knack for them, please keep it up.
Best wishes for your future endeavors.

When I started this current iteration of the business - I had ZERO money. Negative, in fact, with some non-trival debt. Just as I was going to shut the whole thing down and get a day job - I purchased a Rigol scope with a credit card and got crackin' on a new product. Sold a few, purchased little bits, here and there.....soldiering, microscope, SMT oven, shelves, etc.etc. I really wanted this to work and spent nights and weekends manually assembling PCB's to earn enough money to buy more gear. Each purchase has been critically examined to be a money generating item - every single piece. Lot's of eBay too buying fixer-uppers like my pick and place - that baby took 6 months to revive into a working system. One of the big turning points was winning the big scope from Keysight. That event provided a stunning opportunity for me to jump into a whole new level of electronics that have more commercial value. I chased a few jobs and got them because I had the gear to make it happen. Of course, I spent countless hours studying high speed digital design and experimenting. I built a few new designs  that are making money so I decided to round out the capability with the new CNC machine. The Keysight scope win is directly tied to the expansion of my skills and business. A stunning stroke of luck that I hope will make all those that helped proud.

I already spent 10 years owning and operating a few CNC machines, so this project does not have much of a learning curve. With that said, starting from scratch is an insane amount of details and decisions. The machine is the big part that is easy to see, but the little bits and pieces are what makes it useful.

With all that said - it starts with tinkering and a desire to do something cool. If it is not obvious - I love what I do and especially love learning new things. It took years to build up a marketable set of skills and equipment commercially but remember I sold relative trinkets in the beginning to make some tracks.

@rx8pilot: First of all I like the style of your videos. IMHO you have a talent for it just like Dave has.

More on-topic.. I definitely see the advantages of being able to do a lot of stuff yourself at your own place. I've spend the last couple of days in the shed milling & drilling to put some (very low volume) products together. Still I'd like to keep the manual labour stuff to a minimum. I'm an engineer and not a worker at a manufacturing plant so if I can outsource then I outsource. I usually have 50 lasercut front panels made even if I only need 10 immediately.

For sure - I fully expect to use the milling maching to make a pilot run while I outsource a larger batch than I want to make in the garage. All machine shops are too slow for me and when I give them mroe time - the price goes down. Also - if I mill the first 50-100 parts I can optimize the design and approach to manufacturing so the outsources parts are streamlined for production.
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline Mickster

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2017, 01:04:28 am »
I'm relatively new around these parts, so please forgive me for not knowing your history.
From what I have seen of your input here, it appears to be very positive and straight to the point, which I like to see.
For those of us who do not know, could you elaborate a little on the type of products you will be making in Factory 400 TM please?

Kind regards.
 

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2017, 01:54:24 am »
Why a new machine and not a used one ?
..and what did it cost ?
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2017, 02:36:10 am »
Why a new machine and not a used one ?
..and what did it cost ?

I looked at the whole range of options - from the low-end of Tormach and a Chinese company called Skyfire. Too many limitations to count on for a paycheck. I looked at a bunch of used machines as well and actually got pretty close to buying one that was close by. In the end - I was very interested in the latest updates that Haas has introduced in the last year or so. For a long time, they only offer small incremental improvements, but the latest models did a bit better than that.

The control is all new which was sorely needed. I spent 10 years with what they now call the 'Classic Control' and it was like a time machine going back to 1985. The new one has all the same buttons and the basic operation has not changed, but they added a pile of productivity features in networking, ability to embed graphics and video in the program to help set up the machine.

They also just recently started offering some excellent hardware upgrades for this model - 15,000rpm, 15hp, much better enclosure and door to keep coolant inside, a mist collector keeps the whole shop from being covered in oily coolant residue, chip auger improvements to get the chips out automatically, much better lighting, and some others. Those upgrades all add up to a faster machine that requires less of my time.

On top of that - they were offering great deals and fantastic financing. They were able to deliver in 2 weeks, set it up and come by next week for advanced training on the new features and macro programming. All in all, it was a fairly easy choice. I needed it to work the minute it was delivered without any excuses. A used machine can go either way. I purchased a used Haas VF3 in 2012 and missed a few things during the inspection.

The machine itself was about $60k - about $20k of that is options/delivery/tax. Then another $20k for all the other bits and pieces. I had the option of going considerably lower cost, but as the purchase price goes down and the tooling gets cheaper - I spend more time with the machine and the end quality will suffer. I tried early on to 'be cheap' and it almost always cost me $10 when I 'saved' $1 on something - missed deadlines, missed jobs, lost weekends and family vacations. The reality of a machine shop is that the fun never really stops...you are always short something or breaking tools. Special measuring devices can eat your lunch too - but you have to have them.

On this one - I went with a loaded machine and excellent tooling and workholding with the intention of setting up and making parts fast.
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2017, 03:12:47 am »
Time is money.

I was also curious as to the difference between the Minimill and the Super Minimill - so I checked out the Haas site.  The parameters that stood out to me was double the movement speed and a significant increase in cutting speed.  As well was increased spindle power and maximum speed - but reduced torque(?).

Again ... Time is money.

I am also a fan of an intimate development cycle.  Keeping it small and cross-discipline allows just what you have described - where integrated adjustments happen in unison, taking into consideration all the parameters - from front panel layout to every corner of the product.... all just mooshing around in one skull.

I had the same philosophy in software development.  By having control from end-to-end, you could manage the whole process and ensure every decision was considered in context for an optimum result for the end user - and quickly.  I have also experienced the "vertical integration" method - and while this compartmentalised approach does offer a high level of expertise within each compartment - the communication between them is painful, slow and required inordinate effort to ensure what was passed was complete, accurate and unambiguous.  In short, it was the perfect place to wash your hands in a stuff-up.

I look forward to more from Factory 400  :)
 

Online xrunner

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2017, 03:25:10 am »
Thanks for the video. You are obviously a person dedicated to success and won't stop until you achieve your goals.

I salute you.  :-+
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2017, 05:19:44 am »
Time is money.

I was also curious as to the difference between the Minimill and the Super Minimill - so I checked out the Haas site.  The parameters that stood out to me was double the movement speed and a significant increase in cutting speed.  As well was increased spindle power and maximum speed - but reduced torque(?).

The *Super* part of the minimill is indeed about speed - the movement is faster, faster tool changes, faster spindle speed, and higher horsepower. The overall speed that one can make parts can never be faster than the slowest part of the system. Many people think that they get a fast machine and they will automatically gain productivity - this is not entirely true. You cannot be fast without a fast machine but a fast machine is only one of many elements. For example, if you put me in the fastest Indy car ever developed - I still won't win the race. In fact, I would probably crash.  :--

The entire system has to be efficient. The tools, the tool holders, the workholding (vises and part clamps), the programming, order of operations, coolant system, and a thousand other parameters all add up to production speed. In my case, it is not about making massive numbers of parts. It is more about minimizing how much of my time it takes to make a small number of parts. In reality - the machine will only run about 10 days per month but I intend to get 20 days of parts in that amount of time.

The machine features that add efficiency are sometimes not nearly as flashy as horsepower and travel speeds. Like the new filter that keeps the chips out of the coolant - that saves PILES of time manually maintaining the coolant. The electronic probes that automatically gauge the parts and tools not only save a pile of time, but they ensure the first very part is usually perfect. With traditional methods, a 2-3 of the first parts were scrapped as the machinist guessed their way through the setup. The ability to run programs directly from the network is awesome - I just up from my computer and the program is already in the machine ready to press the GO button. The mist collector saves huge amounts of time cleaning up coolant as well as keeping me from having to breathe it in all day.

Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2017, 06:28:23 am »
All those extra tasks can, indeed, add to the production time - but I've seen one or two instances where people have looked at the basic specs, aimed high and then cheaped out on the options only to cuss later.

You would seem to have done your homework quite thoroughly - and for the impact on your Balance Sheet, you can't afford not to be.  I bet now you're just hoping there hasn't been something you missed.  (Sorry)


The mist collector saves huge amounts of time cleaning up coolant as well as keeping me from having to breathe it in all day.
I shudder to think of the mess it would make in such a small area without it.


We anxiously await video of this mini beast in action...
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2017, 12:16:50 pm »

The machine itself was about $60k - about $20k of that is options/delivery/tax.
I was expecting more - I've seen a lot of Haas stuff on NYC CNC's channel & it looks very nice, though from what I can see, they seem to do a lot of "pay us to unlock an existing function" type stuff.
 
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Offline HighVoltage

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2017, 12:23:09 pm »
Really nice setup you have there.

I also had expected more $ for that.
But I guess the pressure form the china competition has reduced prices for every manufacturer, at least to a certain level.


 
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2017, 05:45:11 pm »
I was expecting more - I've seen a lot of Haas stuff on NYC CNC's channel & it looks very nice, though from what I can see, they seem to do a lot of "pay us to unlock an existing function" type stuff.
 

Haas is the Honda Civic of machine tool manufacturers - they make a pretty decent product that will get you were you need to go. They are far from the fastest, heaviest, best....but they are affordable. Perhaps the it's fair to say they are they low end of the high-end which likely accounts for their extraordinary success. They are really a great bang for the buck.

The Super Mini Mill is very close to the lowest cost machine they offer too - it is really small for most shops. Still, it can deal with just about any material you put in there but as the material gets harder, the speed diminishes below industrial needs pretty quick. 99% of what I do is small aluminum parts so this machine rips through that VERY fast. I still have the ability to make special 1-off steel tools for assembly when needed.

They still do the software locks on a lot of critical features which is annoying, but the base price is so low I understand. Until very recently, turning on Ethernet was $1500! Now it is included. The 'Super' models include some software options. I got the Renishaw probing system that also unlocks some important features as part of the package. The only software option I directly paid for was a feature they call 'High-Speed Machining' which is an algorithm that processes the G-code further ahead and matches it to the motion control. It allows very fine steps to be taken while still moving very fast. This is important for advanced roughing movements that are constructed of very short line segments as well as 3D surfacing.

If you added every available option on a Haas machine, you would find that it is still about half the cost of Okuma, Kitamura, or Mori DMG of similar size. The justification of those higher-end brands is their ability to cut tougher material, better accuracy, faster (in most cases), generally tougher machines.

I love the NYC CNC channel - John is always willing to show the audience when he makes a mistake which (in my opinion) is even more important than just seeing the successes. A great resource for sure.


Really nice setup you have there.

I also had expected more $ for that.
But I guess the pressure form the china competition has reduced prices for every manufacturer, at least to a certain level.


 
I don't think Chinese pressure has much to do with Haas pricing. They sell a HUGE number of machines in China so they can make cheap parts. Only very recently has there been any machines coming from China and they are all obscure and not well known. When Haas started, they just made rotary tables and I believe that was because Gene Haas was baffled by the cost of the industrial options of the day. So he made his own.....then a mill.....then a lathe.....the rest is history. He has always focused on keeping the cost under control. Partly by design and partly by the method of manufacturing. I took a tour of the factory a number of years ago - stunningly efficient. Every second is critically planned and nothing is wasted. Rather impressive.
Factory400 - the worlds smallest factory. https://www.youtube.com/c/Factory400
 

Offline Mickster

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Re: A new arrival at the Factory 400
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2017, 12:26:04 am »
+1 for John @ NYC CNC.
 


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