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  #1  
Old Sun 14 February 2010, 17:17
garycnc
Just call me: Gary Crystal Beach
 
Ontario
Canada
MechMate - Are complete MechMates for sale in Ontario Canada?

I have an old PRT96 Shopbot circa 2000. I don't do much with it as it leaves a lot to be desired, especially the archaic programming and slow, wiggly cuts on corners.

I am not a handy person and had this machine installed for me.

There is absolutely no way that I could ever build something like this.

BUT, I would really like to have one. AND I'm sure that lots of others would too, especially considering what Shopbot charges for delivery to our northern climes!

I believe that Gerald would be glad to have a builder / reseller in Ontario Canada. As an aside a manual could easily be created for resale on Gerald's website as the prototyping goes ahead.

If anyone who has the expertise to do this and would like a partner to do the big picture stuff please respond on this forum.

Thanks

Gary
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  #2  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 09:48
bradm
Just call me: Brad #10
 
Somerville(MA)
United States of America
I won't speak for Gerald, he's pretty good at doing that himself.

However, as a back of the envelope business planning sketch:

$5,000 in materials plus 1 month of labor per machine competing with an established $12,000 competitor strikes me as a challenging business to launch. I do think you could get those costs way down with experience, but you probably have to get to volumes measured in dozens to make it support a builder, salesperson/manager, and a reasonable licensing fee to the designer and/or donation to the supporting community. Alternatively, you might make it fly one at a time by shooting for the $20k price point as a bespoke item , but you'll have a bit of extra engineering to do to both optimize for good synthetic benchmark numbers, and to add enough extra bling to support the price.

Gary, I'll make the blatant assumptions that since you say you aren't handy, and yet you have a Shopbot and an interest in a MechMate, you do have design, materials sourcing and project management skills. Perhaps you should explore what the costs of having small shops in your area produce the subassemblies of the MM would be. If the ballpark numbers are reasonable, and you reach a design rights agreement with Gerald, you may find it possible to get an expert in to help with final assembly and tuning.
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  #3  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:01
Art
Just call me: Art #2
 
Lancaster,Texas
United States of America
MechMate commercial build

If you have the background in metal working, Mach3, electronics and computer skills you have the potential to make extra money and posibility a living by building and retailing the MechMate. $5000 in materals seems to be a reasonable estamate and probably 200 hours of labor after the first one. I really enjoyed the build and have considered building them as a source of extra income. I belive I could produce 4 a year as a part time job and sell them via Craig list in the Dallas area for $12K to $17K. I have several major advantages that few have. I have 1000 square feet of shop space at home, all the tools needed, skills and all paid for. If you have to hire people to work for you then you face major increase in cost of manufacturing. For someone facing retirement then this could be an excelent source of extra money and a lot of fun. If you try this as a source of a living the fun could rapidly disapear in the struggle to meet monthly expences.
My business of custom woodturning, www.turningaround.org , produces excelent extra income and a lot of fun especialy as that it is not a necessary living income but is mad money.
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  #4  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:22
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Just a note here, has anyone put any thought into the support side of the business? Building the machine is one thing, but to provide timely service to the customer is another thing entirely. Yes I know the forum here is great, but people when the purchase something, want a resolution to a problem when they call the purchaser. I have custom built many computers for people as favors, and every time I have done that I have spent more hours helping them out of problems they have created than I ever did building the computer in the first place.
All I mean to say hear that unless you are just selling these as an AS IS type of thing, service and support must be figured into the costs as well.
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  #5  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:44
riesvantwisk
Just call me: Ries #46
 
Quito
Ecuador
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To add to Heath his response,

don't forget about the legal issues here.
At least in holland, you need to make very sure that your commercial sale applies to all legal obligations from electrical installation to mechanical.

If somebody gets injured on the machine and the investigation points to a flaw in your machine, then you end up in trouble as a responsible business.

So you need to see what your possibilities are in this area and what the law says about building these machines.

Every time I get visitors near my machine they like to hang around, literally putting there hands on the V rails or gantry.
What if the machine drives over there hands, who is is responsible? Me, the machine operator, should the machine have any added 'WARNING DANGER' stickers?, should I make a stopper, electronic or not that stops the machine or a protection so there hand is pushed away so it doesn't ride over there hands? Should it make a sound when it's moving? Local laws will tell, but might add quite a bit of cost to the machine to make it commercial approved...... I think

Anybody do have any experiences with that? What do the shopbot owners do...

I wonder if it's sold as a kit, it might fall under different laws......

Ries
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  #6  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:50
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Also in most areas, you also need electrical certification. In Canada it is CSA, there is one for each country that is accepted. This certification may or may not be needed but you should check this as the product certification process can get expensive.
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  #7  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:55
riesvantwisk
Just call me: Ries #46
 
Quito
Ecuador
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Heath,

that's why I was wondering if the MM is sold as a kit, other laws do apply, after all... then the seller is not responsible anymore for the build but the buyer. it would just have all holes drilled and components included.

Ries
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  #8  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 11:58
domino11
Just call me: Heath
 
Cornwall, Ontario
Canada
Yes a kit might get around some of those problems as well. You also have to assemble a Shopbot as well, maybe there is more to that than just easy shipping.
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  #9  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 16:58
garycnc
Just call me: Gary Crystal Beach
 
Ontario
Canada
WOW, some very interesting concepts. I am amazed at the the amount of time to build a MechMate As I haven't gone through the whole set of plans and instructions I would have to assume that your comments are correct.

BUT when I look at the original SB machine that I had almost purchased completely made of unistrut and wheels and cables from a garage door opener I can't see the MechMate not working as a manufacturing organization. Yes there would be problems, hurdles and weird stuff to overcome, but it would be worth it, especially now when everyone in business is dying and the governments are all offering mammoth grants and interest free loans and free consultants.

I would be interested in hearing from MechMaters that have a completed unit.

I have considered the building of several assemblies to be sold as partial kits but I know from experience that this doesn't remove the legal responsibilities from the sell. I wanted to sell plans and components for a residential one story gravity operated water powered elevator so old folks could stay in their existing houses. The lawyers said that no matter what I would be responsible if anything happened regardless if a club or member organization was set up and a disclaimer or whatever by the purchaser wouldn't stand up in court.

Sorry for the long windedness.

Gerald has done a wonderful job that puts most professional, commercial companies to shame.

Thanks for the input,

Gary
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  #10  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 19:23
bradm
Just call me: Brad #10
 
Somerville(MA)
United States of America
Gary, anybody with a number next to their name (#2, #10, #46 ...) has a completed unit. The number is the serial number in order of completion. So you've heard from a few folks with completed units.

The things that take lots of time are:

- Cutting, jigging, and welding the base table. Clearly this could be more efficient even in a small job shop, and certainly if you got to a set of production jigs.
- Grinding the rails -or- drilling and tapping to mount premade rails. Again something that could be made efficient in a small job shop, especially with a custom setup for milling rather than grinding the rails.
- Building and testing the three major electronic/electric units (often combined): The motion control and PC interface piece, the spindle or router control, and the wiring, switches, and sensors on the machine (umbilical, basically).
- Disassembly, paint prep, paint, and reassembly. In a production mode, you could skip the initial assembly, etc.
- Tuning, shimming, and aligning everything. In single build environments, this is a big issue. This is likely to still be an issue in a production mode until you've got the first few machines completed.

Again, my thought is that you have to plan for making more than a few before break-even happens, and that's the challenge. Beyond that, the service and support issues then make the business challenge even greater.
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  #11  
Old Mon 15 February 2010, 20:22
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
We had a David Moore guy here that planned to build MM's for re-sale, (the story is picked up here). He even had a huge website with photos, options & prices. But, his plan must have gone wrong because he has stopped advertising his willingness to build MM copies. In his case, he did not have the support of the MM community, but I don't think that was the main factor in his failure. I think he failed because he wasn't experienced and knowledgeable about engineering and production (and thought that good old b***sh*t could make up for his failings)

Every time that someone asked me if they can produce MM's under licence for resale, I always knew that they hadn't built one yet. My stock answer was; build one first, show that you can produce quality and show that you can provide telephone support. Nobody took up my challenge as far as I know.
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  #12  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 07:49
blakekoehn
Just call me: Blake #47
 
Macon, MS
United States of America
I have given it some consideration to build and sell MMs. However for all the same reasons listed above I have decided to hold off on that idea for right now. Also I had watched some of the drama unfold with the David Moore guy and did not want any part of a reputation like he had.

However if someone would like me to custom build them a MM I would jump at the chance. Ontario is a long ways from Mississippi though.
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  #13  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 09:43
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Keep in mind the user agreement. Building machines for resell is something everyone agrees to NOT do without prior approval.

http://www.mechmate.com/useragreement.html

Service and support is a big issue when it comes to building these machines. We can all build one to use and think we can do this for others. But the reality is that most of us do not have the time or ability to tie up on supporting other than our own machines. We typically build them not only because they are great machines, but to save money.

I have some plans and thoughts to work through with the Brand going forward and at this point will not be allowing commercial use of the system or plans for building machines for resell.

Mike
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  #14  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 09:48
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Building MM's at low volumes is very unlikely to be profitable. Sure, you could build it for less (and better) than a ShopBot, but not if you add in your hours (and overheads) at minimum wage. ShopBot makes a profit because of their volumes and their buying power.
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  #15  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 10:10
PEU
Just call me: Pablo
 
Buenos Aires
Argentina
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalHead View Post
I have some plans and thoughts to work through with the Brand going forward and at this point will not be allowing commercial use of the system or plans for building machines for resell.

Mike


Please correct me if Im wrong, this means that if I build a MM as I plan to do, I won't be allowed to use it to cut parts for 3rd parties for a profit?
What happens with the units already doing this?

Thanks!!
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  #16  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 11:09
oopz
Just call me: oopz
 
Stockholm
Sweden
Building A Mechmate AND deliver wood/plastic/etc..work to customer..!

Please correct me if I'm wrong, the agrement means that if I(you) build a MM as stated in plans.

"... I won't be allowed to use it to cut parts for 3rd parties for a profit? What happens with the units already doing this?.."

From how I understand the agreement/licence between YOU an Mechmate.
- you can build the complete machine for YOUR use..
- you can deliver what costumers desire and that (your) machine CAN deliver.. and you can get payment from the/these costumers THATS GooD TO !!!

BUT u cant in any way sell/licence the MACHINE or the design parts as if it was yours- in ANY WAY!! The only one to do THAT OR change this is Mechmate them self...!!!!!

SO continue to deliver to your customers a lot AND often.. with your own DIY-built machine!

/oops
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  #17  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 11:10
riesvantwisk
Just call me: Ries #46
 
Quito
Ecuador
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Pablo,

I think mike used some confusing wording, I think he is trying to say that commercial use of the build plans is not allowed. That means you cannot build Mechmate kits or complete systems for re-sell. Obvious you can build a mechmate with the current plans for yourself or company to build a business around. So cutting on your machine for third parties is perfectly allowed.

Ries
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  #18  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 13:12
PEU
Just call me: Pablo
 
Buenos Aires
Argentina
ahhhhhhh! (air returning to lungs)

No, I don't plan to sell mechmates, I plan to use the one I need till I need to build one more due to the overwhelming amount of job I will get

Thanks for the clarification
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  #19  
Old Thu 18 February 2010, 21:07
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
Sorry for the confusion - Making money with the machine is what we all want to do .

Just not making money selling MechMates to others.

Mike
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  #20  
Old Fri 19 February 2010, 04:43
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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GARY.... not to drift or « repeat » what DOMINO & other are trying to make you see and said, but many here ( me included) will be supportive if ever you decide to take the plunge and make your own !
Complexes…sure…. but not complicated and as so many example to support this, defiantly not impossible for anyone/everyone !. Amazing what can be done with some clear determination even if at start no knowledge in any of this !
Good luck, amicalement, Robert
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  #21  
Old Fri 19 February 2010, 05:15
MetalHead
Just call me: Mike
 
Columbiana AL
United States of America
I think the hardest choice to make is to actually start. But once you do we are all here to help!!!
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  #22  
Old Fri 19 February 2010, 06:48
garycnc
Just call me: Gary Crystal Beach
 
Ontario
Canada
Well, I think that my question has been answered and then some. I appreciate the the sentiment and think that if I were ever to build a machine it would be a MechMate.

Thanks to Harold for ALL he's done and good luck to Mike with his future endeavours.

Gary
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