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  #1  
Old Tue 18 March 2008, 07:52
funkalicious
Just call me: Andy
 
Burlington,VT
United States of America
How are you earning an income with your MechMate?

All the talk here is about building a machine. I am amazed by the skill and generosity of the forum members.
But my question, I am intrigued with owning building and the possibility of building a business around this machine.

So My question to the group, what are you making, how has the Mechmate/ Cnc Routing affected your business. Is anyone else interested in writing a business plan, based on this machine/ technology, that would enable a builder to quickly pay for their investment?

Thanks, Andy
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  #2  
Old Tue 18 March 2008, 14:01
Richards
Just call me: Mike
 
South Jordan, UT
United States of America
The price of the Mechmate is insignificant compared to other costs in running a business. If you are familiar with break-even analysis and spreadsheets, you can quickly see for yourself that the cost of a machine which has a total cost of about $7,500 (depending on what you use and how you build it) is the very least of the costs of running a CNC related business.

If you haven't run a break-even analysis on your (proposed) business, send me an e-mail, and I'll send you a sample OpenOfficeCalc spreadsheet that you can use as a template for your own business. The figures in the sample sheet are mostly ficticious, but they are related to actual costs that you might expect if you live in my part of the United States. (If you don't have OpenOffice software, just do a Google search for OpenOffice and then download the software.)

I typically run a break-even analysis every time that I get a "great" idea. It helps me to realize how hard it is to make a few dollars.
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  #3  
Old Wed 19 March 2008, 00:31
hennie
Just call me: Hennie #23
 
Roodepoort JHB
South Africa
If You Run A Business Where You Manufacture A Lot Of Components
And It Revolves Around Using Manual Labour You Will Save A Lot Of $$$ As The Machine Is Doing The Work For You Faster With Minimal Rejects And With Less Manual Labour. Will Probably Have A Saving Of Wages For 5 Peaple Depending On Your Trade.( Machines Don`t Get Sick Or Have Hangovers On Monday`s And Stop Work Early On A Friday )
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  #4  
Old Wed 19 March 2008, 10:39
ekdenton
Just call me: Ed #8
 
Alamogordo, NM
United States of America
I haven't finished mine yet so I can't say what works after it is actually producing a final product but one way to make money initially is this:

Start a business, if you haven't already. One of the good things about owning a business(either sole proprietorship or corporation) is that you can write the cost of the MechMate if you decide to build one, off your income taxes.

Even any wood that gets ruined for whatever reason, save the reciept and throw the ruined piece of wood into the woodstove and write it off your taxes also.
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  #5  
Old Wed 19 March 2008, 11:43
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Woodstove?
How about air conditioning help? I haven't seen a heater/stove in years
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  #6  
Old Wed 19 March 2008, 12:46
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
My ShopBot/MechMate/CNCrouter foray started as a potential business for son Sean as he was finishing school. Didn't do a business plan, but had a vision of offering a CNC board cutting service in the same way that I was having steel sheets cuts by a laser-cutting service center. The first 3 - 4 years were not really profitable, for many reasons, one of the biggest was that the market was sceptical as to how it could benefit them. (Now that most designers are working in CAD, the market can see that CNC cutting is the natural progression from CAD).

The strategy now is simple: "Don't compete with your clients". Sean's strength is his CNC cutting machines - he does not sand, paint, assemble, finish. His clients are strong on sanding/painting/assembling. Clients want to be able to e-mail their designs out to someone else, and go and collect the cut parts the next day. Sean's business (www.camcraftsa.com) is doing very well now, 7 years down the line. Not an overnight success story, but that is not what matters to us - it was a business built from scratch and Sean's immersion into the adult business world.

Where does this story take us......
Well, I don't think a MechMate by itself is an automatic key to unlock riches. It doesn't replace marketing and building up a customer base. You still have to allow time for doing the books, paying the wages, ordering materials, checking on quality and the dozen other things involved in running a business.
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  #7  
Old Thu 20 March 2008, 07:40
Richards
Just call me: Mike
 
South Jordan, UT
United States of America
Several of you have asked for a copy of the break-even analysis spreadsheet. I'm attaching a zipped file to this post. Assuming that you're familiar with simple spreadsheets, just take a look at the various data cells and you should be able to see how it works. If you have questions, send me an email (miker@xmission.com) and I'll try to help.
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File Type: zip break_even.zip (11.4 KB, 413 views)
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  #8  
Old Thu 20 March 2008, 10:44
digger
Just call me: Milosh #113
 
Toronto
Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richards View Post
Several of you have asked for a copy of the break-even analysis spreadsheet. I'm attaching a zipped file to this post. Assuming that you're familiar with simple spreadsheets, just take a look at the various data cells and you should be able to see how it works. If you have questions, send me an email (miker@xmission.com) and I'll try to help.
Mike,

Thanks a lot for offering this file.

Milosh
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  #9  
Old Sun 30 March 2008, 06:20
myozman
Just call me: Mike #16
 
Demotte,IN
United States of America
Labor

I know everyone is in a different area, but what kinda labor rates are you charging for work done on your machine? Do you have a standard base rate, for the machine and the computer time? I have not talked to another wood shop with cnc machines. Just trying to get a feel on where to start. I did talk to a couple of local sign businesses that would be interested if they had something to show there customers.

MIKE
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  #10  
Old Sun 30 March 2008, 21:21
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Orlando...going rates from the "other CNC" vendors.
if client supplies material.
$110 to $145 per machine run hour, including set up time and material handling.
45/hr for computer CAM/CAD time'
2 to 4 dollars per cut sheet charge for tooling. THIS greatly depends on size and linear inch of cut of parts on sheet.


Of course, there is always...."yeah, I can do that for you....20 bucks" customer too.

3D sculpting is a negotiated rate.
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  #11  
Old Mon 07 April 2008, 10:40
Hugo Carradini
Just call me: Hugo
 
Pto. Ordaz
Venezuela
Building a profitable business with a MechMate

Hello guys.
I know you all like photos so there goes my first commercial work i made for an small airline called RUTACA. They ask me to cut their logo for installing in some doors and office entries. The owner was very pleased with the finish of the cut. I just got the skeleton of the work. I will post the letters soon when they paint them and installed
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File Type: jpg Imagen 881.jpg (83.2 KB, 1944 views)
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  #12  
Old Mon 07 April 2008, 11:16
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Often the scrap pieces are the most interesting!

We have people buying the scrap panels, screwing them together with hinges and making room divider/screens from them.
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  #13  
Old Mon 07 April 2008, 14:18
Hugo Carradini
Just call me: Hugo
 
Pto. Ordaz
Venezuela
Yes, I was thinking that some times, even the sacrifice board could be turn in an interesting and artistic panel . It is just a mater or imagination.
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  #14  
Old Tue 08 April 2008, 05:43
Jason Marsha
Just call me: Jason
 
B'Town
Barbados
Its good to see that the money is rolling in Hugo. Not sure if signs are as expensive in Venezuela as they are here in Barbados but with some more jobs like this one and your baby should have paid for itself.

Jason
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  #15  
Old Tue 08 April 2008, 06:25
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
If you have those jobs for 40 hours per week, you could pay your MechMate build costs in under a month.....no?
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  #16  
Old Tue 08 April 2008, 19:55
Hugo Carradini
Just call me: Hugo
 
Pto. Ordaz
Venezuela
Hello Jason. Nice to hear you. A lot of time has happened since your good advice about the bits I should start with. It is just like in that marvelous Island where you live. Publicity people pays ten times better then carpenters shop down here .
Gerald you are right, this machine can pay it self in very short time. I am very interested in organize an efficient cutting and engraving service.
You gave me the opportunity to build in five month the type of machine that I spend five years before trying to build. Again my deep respect for you.
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  #17  
Old Wed 09 April 2008, 00:34
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo Carradini View Post
Publicity people pays ten times better then carpenters shop down here .
I think that is true everywhere. The other people that pay well are décor designers for franchised stores or restaurants (mass-produced "unique" counters, fittings, etc) and the movie set builders with too much money and too little time.
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  #18  
Old Sun 13 April 2008, 14:00
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
....hey! I'm a movie set builder! "with too little money budgeted with even shorter time frame" Thank goodness I have a MM to take up the slack in the shop Funny, I had to run back to the shop to draft, laminate and Mill out 4 custom surrounds on saturday night at 3am. 1 person - 3 hours (10 minutes of that was CNC time) If done the old way it would have been an 8 hr shift. I wish my employees were as reliable as "big blue".
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  #19  
Old Sun 28 September 2008, 17:20
lunaj76
Just call me: Justin #24
 
Littleton, (Colorado)
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to lunaj76
Starting a cnc routing business with a mechmate?

Hi,

This question is purposed to those of you building a business around your Mechmate. I am thinking about starting a business like Camcraft here in Colorado. Can some of you with exsperience in this area please, give me some direction as to where to start looking at the fundamentals that are involved in running a business of this type. Example: business models, and expected profit and loss. I have no idea what a cnc routing services business looks like on paper.

Thanks,

Justin
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  #20  
Old Sun 28 September 2008, 19:14
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Justin,
My advice is not advice, but suggestions.
Go to the local Barnes and Noble, Borders or bookstore....buy a book or two on starting your own business and what's required to run a business.
Market your idea locally to see if you can build a sustainable income around your "service". Run the financial prospectus with a very reputable and trustworthy Tax, CPA or experienced business owner to see if your able to become profitable after Overhead, rent, payroll, taxes, hidden costs, etc. IF all those look good based on your startup cost's of building a TOOL like the Mechmate - then move forward.

The CNC business is a lot like a Metal Machine shop, just out of wood.

Good luck....
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  #21  
Old Sun 28 September 2008, 22:06
krabenaldt
Just call me: Kevin
 
Midland TX
United States of America
Start Part Time

If you are going to build a Mechmate, do your numbers by the cost of setting up a Mechmate without spindle, without dust collection, simple holddown schemes,etc. If you can afford to do the setup without jobs, then proceed on a part time basis. You will need to learn the machine and software, so you have a considerable amount of time involved in building the machine and learning it. I would not recommend that you invest all of your time and money on a full time basis before any income. Keep you day job.

If you decide later that a cnc business is not for you, I bet you can recover most if not all of your costs of the Mechmate setup, less you time investment.

The applications of cnc routing can be very open so you may not know all of the possibilities until you get into it.

Kevin
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  #22  
Old Mon 29 September 2008, 09:05
lunaj76
Just call me: Justin #24
 
Littleton, (Colorado)
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to lunaj76
Thanks for the advice

Thanks Guys,
I am building a Mechmate right now and have a small garage shop. What I mostly do now is trim work and making custom cabinets. I have experience with Autocad 2000 but no exsperience with cnc or cam. I am writing a business plan that involves just cnc routing. I like the comparison between a metal cutting business but for wood. There are shops here that just make cabinets and there are shops that just do signs. I guess I have to find out if a business that just does cnc routing is going to be viable for my demographic. Well, off to the book store and library.
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  #23  
Old Mon 29 September 2008, 10:41
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
When our son was trying to figure on a career after school, I suggested he start a CNC service center, for boards, similar to the CNC laser services that I was familiar with, for steel. I think the key ingredient in his success is to focus exclusively on his core strength - 2D CNC cutting of boards. Which means absolutely NO sanding, finishing, assembly, installation of anything! You cannot market your CNC cutting service to a cabinetmaker if you yourself are also making cabinets - then you are seen as a potential competitor and not as a supplier. He has the CNC machinery which his clients do not have. There are hundreds of cabinetmakers, toymakers, guitarmakers, signmakers, décorbuilders, etc. each cutting each other's throat because they all sand, finish, install.

It doesn't happen overnight. Our son's first 5 year's were not easy. That was spent building up a client base and reputation from scratch. You have to know how to keep your customers happy and your personality, ambition dedication and 70 hours /week is what is going to pull you through.
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  #24  
Old Mon 29 September 2008, 19:37
louisseville
Just call me: Louis
 
Columbia
United States of America
I think that the business side of wood cnc is just like any other sprecialty and only when people know you are out there can they use you. I once cut 100 radiused window boxes for the second story of a building. The boxes allowed the builder consistency and a fixed cost- something he was not going to get with a carpenter and a jig saw.

It would be to your advantage if your business model from the onset included these areas- complete documentation of the work, an evolving protfolio, and on the money side 50% up front, and 50% upon completion- no exceptions. As your volume grows and the same customers repeatedly come back- set them up for terms with a signed contract and outline your terms. (Expose yourself and investment slowly).
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  #25  
Old Mon 29 September 2008, 22:08
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Identify a couple of big clients that you would like to have, find out what they are making with bandsaws, jigsaws, handheld routers and templates. Make samples for them.

If your potential clients are only using a table saw and a thicknesser/planer, then you are not going to get them excited about using you as a CNC supplier.
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  #26  
Old Mon 29 September 2008, 22:32
lunaj76
Just call me: Justin #24
 
Littleton, (Colorado)
United States of America
Send a message via Skype™ to lunaj76
Thanks, for the feed back.
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  #27  
Old Wed 08 October 2008, 12:04
javeria
Just call me: Irfan #33
 
Bangalore
India
what can I charge for this in US / SouthAfrica

Hi folks,

Today I did this V carve on a bit of ply wood -the ply is 17 inch in dia and took 30 min to carve and 15 min to program.

How should I charge for this?

Btw this was done on another machine and not on a Mechmate.

RGDS
IRfan
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  #28  
Old Wed 08 October 2008, 12:21
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
In the region of US$20, based only on cutting time, without programming nor material supply. Programming is free most of the time.
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  #29  
Old Wed 08 October 2008, 12:22
javeria
Just call me: Irfan #33
 
Bangalore
India
Thankyou G'.
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  #30  
Old Fri 03 July 2009, 16:40
felix
Just call me: Yves
 
Québec
Canada
How are you earning an income with your MechMate?

The next few posts copied from other threads . . .

Hi all,

first many thanks to Gerald and others builders here for the excellent work that as been done here. (I'm addicted)

I'm kind of a Jack of all trade and master of none. Recently, I've started making furniture inspired by regional antiques for others (ie. not reproduction per say) in a very small shop outside the house. To small for a MM, at least for now and though I have access to our basement, I don't think it would be a good idea to build it there because I would have to break it appart to get it out eventually.

I understand the MM is a production grade machine and from what I've gathered so far, those who have build one are earning a living with it or at least it as paid for itself. I'd be happy with the later especially because I'd rather be doing creative work then production work by a very long shot.

So my question or dilema if you prefer would be: have you builder guys build your MM to increase production (and profit I assume) or was it an investment on a starting business as in build the machine first and find work for it after?

Thanks,
Yves
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