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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    18

    Default Next Big Purchase?

    Hi guys. I started a small metal shop in my garage and am going to be doing some welding and fabrication work for people.

    so far in my garage i have:

    60 gallon air compressor
    30 tonne shop press with home built 20" brake attachment
    diversion 180 TIG Machine
    Millermatic 175 MIG Machine
    Miller 375 Plasma cutter with circle guides and roller guides
    4' x 8' table
    king canada drill press
    Busy Bee sander
    King 7" x 12" bandsaw

    I am hoping to sell my old eagle talon race car for around $6000 and im looking to buy something that will really make my shop stand out and up my capabilities.

    some things i had in mind are:

    Small plasma table
    Iron worker
    milling machine.

    any ideas for my next piece of equiptment?

    i am not sure what kind of work i will be doing yet but i want to start building some custom car parts to kind of "get my name out there"

    thanks
    Last edited by jaden; 11-29-2012 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Salem, NJ
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jaden View Post
    i am not sure what kind of work i will be doing yet but
    Here is the key word, But!

    I started my business with the mindset of doing Wrought Iron railings/gates for the next 30 years, and I had to start with:

    Trailblazer 302g,
    Hand tools
    Portable tig outfit
    MM 210
    Torch Set
    Chop Saw
    Crappy as can be 42"x90" 5/16" tick bend steel table top on a 2" sq tube frame
    Harbor Freight Metal bender (the one you can bend 2 x 1/4" flatbar)
    Personal truck
    21x32 shop at parent house - low ceiling


    I now do mostly stainless steel in the food industry and have:
    Trailblazer 302g - same
    Dynasty 200 DX
    Invision 352 MPA Plus
    MM 210 - same
    3x Passport plus
    Maxstar 150 STH
    Miller plasma 875 - spur of moment purchase needed asap
    South Bend 17" Lathe
    Bridgeport
    2x 4'x8' x 1" thick tables - used dealer $500 each yeah
    Kalamazoo Band saw H9AW
    Torch Outfit
    42x60 Garage with 25' ceiling
    2009 Chevy dually 3500
    Wachs pipe/tube cutter
    Hougan Drill
    4' box and pan brake
    20 ton press
    2005 JCB 520 boom lift
    2646E3 JLG Scissor Lift
    Plumbing set-up
    Electrical tools
    Pipe threaders
    High Pressure Black Seal
    80 gal 7.5 HP air compressor
    carbon arc for equipment


    As you can see, I grew a ton by myself in 6 1/2 years but only the welders, trucks, and jcb are new or less the 10 years old. Good deals are best found when you DON'T need it. I don't buy things unless they are a great deal and some good deals, I rarely buy I need!

    Here are some things I learned for price staring out:
    Hougan drill + Plasma cutter > Ironworker - you can build drilling jigs for alum and s/s
    Make friends at welding supplier, I got Maxstar 150 STH for under cost because of last year model
    Know what you need, not what you want
    Get to know people at used machinery places - they can usually tell you whats good/bad
    I needed a forklift that could handle 4-5k lbs but I needed it to work in mud, and I needed a skid steer. SO I bought the JCB 520 which does both, saved over $10,000


    Hopefully this helps in your purchases.
    Last edited by Country Metals; 11-29-2012 at 11:25 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Well i have a couple questions. How did you get started? I have put up adds in my local newspaper which have been up for about a month now and i havent had one call yet?

    also is the drill you are referring to... it basically does the same thing as a mill? it looks neat but are the attachments and the drill expensive? I was looking at a mill system by King Industrial

    http://www.kingcanada.com/Products.htm?CD=36&ID=21355

    for $1400.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    WY...armpit of U.S.A.
    Posts
    659

    Default

    Hougans are mag drills. Much easier to lift a mag drill to the top of a section of steel than it is to lift an ungainly piece of steel weighing Gawd only knows how much onto a drill press table. Looking through the list of tools and tooling it appears that Country Metals is using a Bridgeport for milling duties.
    Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
    Miller DialArc 250
    Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
    Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
    Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
    Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
    South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
    Logan 7" shaper
    Ellis 3000 band saw
    Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
    Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
    3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
    Lots of dust bunnies
    Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Tracy, CA
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Forget the newspaper and phone books. I wasted over $10,000 with these advertising mediums over the years and never made it back. Most people just go online when they want something. Use CraigsList and Google Places.

    I also have a rule...... Don't buy it if it's not going to make you money.
    Trailblazer® 302 Air Pak™
    Miller Dynasty® 350
    Millermatic 350P Aluminum
    Millermatic® 252
    Syncrowave 351

    SuitCase® X-TREME™ 12VS

    Multimatic™ 200
    Millermatic® 211 Auto-Set™ w/MVP™
    XR-Aluma Pro Gun
    Diversion™ 180

    Spectrum® 625 X-TREME™

    Thermal Dynamics® Cutmaster® 52
    Victor Oxy/Acetylene Set

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    16919 Pole Rd. Brethren, MI 49619
    Posts
    4,383

    Default

    i follow that more than I used to, I would impulse some things or "need" it really more than I did although some pieces worked out eventually. I would pocket the money and buy as needed when practical, simple things first. If you cant help yourself treat to a new clamp or extra walmart grinder to save change out time. Leave the big ticket items till you cant do without.

    As a rule, when I am doing one off I try to make do, when I start doing production or repetition then I start thinking tools. You got to be realistic about crap you are rarely going to do again. There is a time to dig a ditch, there is a time to go to the trouble to rent, there is a time to buy, whil it seems like a bit of work at the time sometimes its cheaper to dig a little.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Salem, NJ
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jaden View Post
    I was looking at a mill system by King Industrial
    That to me is too much money since I bought my bridgeport used for $2,000, some tooling. No digital readout. Learn to read, then learn to be fast!

    You could basically turn a hougan/mag drill into a drill press, you just build a custom stand and that set-up works extremely well when drilling out 2x2 tube steel and angle iron.

    A way I started was to go directly to shops that could want the work like a machine shop and do a very small job for free just to get in. I do not pay for advertising, only word of mouth and miles on my boots hitting the pavement. I did design my own website myself which mainly landed my first huge account. The name of the game is not pushing another company out, it is being there when they get pist off at the current contractor and you being remembered.

    There is a difference is knowing what your doing, and doing what you know. I have had a lot of jobs where the maintenance staff is working next to me on something I have never done before and they say, its a good thing we called you because we had no idea what to do.

    Having a great background helps as well. I am not a stand around kind of person, get in, get done, BS later. As a teenager I use to go work for people for free+lunch just to learn what they were doing and how I can do it later in life.

    My first full year I made $3,000 after expenses and taxes.... Second year was around $7,000, The third year is when I started making enough to live.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Salem, NJ
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    If you cant help yourself treat to a new clamp or extra walmart grinder to save change out time. Leave the big ticket items till you cant do without.

    As a rule, when I am doing one off I try to make do, when I start doing production or repetition then I start thinking tools.
    Buy at a reasonable price, and like Sberry said, indulge from time to time.

    I have over 50 vise grip clamps, yeah that's a lot. I did not buy vise grip brand. I did not buy cheapo brand, I found some in 2 packs, clamps w/ pads at tractor supply for $10 that were thick steel and some at a store in a flea market that were points, not pads for $7 each. They all still work great years later. But every time I went into tractor supply, I would buy another 2 pack.

    I also only buy Metabo grinders, they are expensive but a local welding supplier sells them on a deal once a year, buy 100 grinding wheels and get the grinder free. Its not the greatest deal of the century, but you save quite a bit. I have never killed a metabo grinder in 10 years. I also have 9 grinders because I have 1 set in truck, 1 set in shop, each set comprised of 1 grinder wheel, 1 sander, 1 wire wheel, 1 cutoff wheel + tungsten 120 grit sanding wheel in shop.
    Last edited by Country Metals; 11-29-2012 at 06:30 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    18

    Default

    alright well here is the situation i am in now. I have a guy who wants to buy some manifolds for around $450. x4pcs I have $175 in materials leaving me with $275 prophet. if i go and get the flanges cut i assume that would cost me around $150 per unit (2 flanges) cutting down my prophets greatly.

    i plan on doing a lot of custom automotive like this to get me started and i will be needing a fair amount of flanges. i have access to a full size sheer and break if needed (i would have to pay $50/hr to use them) but i have no way of cutting the flanges and making them look decent.

    what tool would accomplish this for me the best? my plasma cutter isent big enough to cut 1/2" aluminum.

    should i be looking into a mill? and if thats my best option what should i be looking for in the mill?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,847

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jaden View Post
    alright well here is the situation i am in now. I have a guy who wants to buy some manifolds for around $450. x4pcs I have $175 in materials leaving me with $275 prophet. if i go and get the flanges cut i assume that would cost me around $150 per unit (2 flanges) cutting down my prophets greatly.

    i plan on doing a lot of custom automotive like this to get me started and i will be needing a fair amount of flanges. i have access to a full size sheer and break if needed (i would have to pay $50/hr to use them) but i have no way of cutting the flanges and making them look decent.

    what tool would accomplish this for me the best? my plasma cutter isent big enough to cut 1/2" aluminum.

    should i be looking into a mill? and if thats my best option what should i be looking for in the mill?
    I would say find someone who can waterjet cut them. Trying to make intricate shapes on a mill is time consuming unless it's a cnc machine. Then it will be a big up front expense & do you know how to program one? Even if you own a machine you still have a labor cost to make the parts.

    Most big ticket machines need to be run a lot to make it profitable. To use a high dollar machine a few hours & then let it sit until the next time is not smart business.
    MM250
    Trailblazer 250g
    22a feeder
    Lincoln ac/dc 225
    Victor O/A
    MM200 black face
    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
    Arco roto-phase model M
    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
    Miller spectrum 875
    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
    Syncrowave 250
    RCCS-14

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