The ultimate machine shop

The ultimate machine shop

Gambit
Gambit

February 19th, 2012, 6:25 pm #1

Evil sunday question - if you had 10 million dollars, what would you have in your machine shop?
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Nighthawke
Nighthawke

February 19th, 2012, 6:53 pm #2

An 5-axis overhead gantry router dominating the garage, similar to the one Scaled Composites uses. One end of the shop would have a 15' diameter, 25' deep industrial autoclave to take even the biggest composite pieces in. And then the 5-axis composite laydown machine to wrap the mandrels in carbon strips.

I think that will be enough, hm?
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Russ Kepler
Russ Kepler

February 19th, 2012, 7:38 pm #3

Evil sunday question - if you had 10 million dollars, what would you have in your machine shop?
A 30x60 shop in the middle of 4 square miles of nothing but trees and grass. Might put the house next door.
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Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

February 19th, 2012, 11:07 pm #4

Evil sunday question - if you had 10 million dollars, what would you have in your machine shop?
That's a pretty open-ended question.

If I had $10M, I'd never work again, and would fill the shop with toys. I already have most of the machines I've ever wanted- with a couple of notable exceptions- so the money would go towards a bigger shop, better support (like native 3-phase rather than rotary converters) and of course the projects themselves.

Now, if you clarify the statement and say something like, you have a $10M budget to get a machine shop together to produce a marketable product, that's different. But then, you'd also need to clarify what product. Few paintball products, for example, would need a Wire EDM.

Or, does the question assume starting from scratch (no machines or tools at all) and what you, personally, would blow the cash on? In other words, what you want, not necessarily what you need for a business or specific product?

In that case, I'd bank $9M or so, in whatever investment instruments would provide me a decent yearly income from interest or dividends. Even just a normal savings account at 2.5% interest would be almost a quarter-million a year.

I'd then use the other mil to build a big shop- like 60 x 100' or even 80 x 120'. I already have a shop roughly a sixth that size, and it's stuffed to the freakin' gills.

Said shop would be on about 10 acres or more, and all the monthly bills would be automatically taken care of through the interest.

Besides the machinery I already have, I would add a large lathe, like a big American Pacemaker, or a Dean Smith & Grace or a LeBlond. Also a larger vertical mill, like a 10x52 with a 40-taper spindle, plus a large horizontal like a big 50-taper Cincinnatti. All well-tooled of course, with various arbors, collets, vises and cutters.

A large radial drill, probably some sort of CNC VMC with a tool changer, bigger welders (my TIG is actually a bit undersized) and probably a bunch of automotive machines, like cylinder head surfacers, boring bars, a line-hone, etc.

Depending on how much money I had left- the building and land would have eaten half that million so far- I might spring for a waterjet, plaz table and CNC lathe too. The rest would be spent outfitting the place with work carts, tool chests, parts cabinets, ethernet, a car lift and a small apartment over in the corner.

Doc.
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Bubbachomp
Bubbachomp

February 20th, 2012, 12:56 am #5

What about the 10 ton P&H overhead crane?
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Doc Nickel
Doc Nickel

February 20th, 2012, 2:57 am #6

... Like how I'd have a room dedicated to just welding and grinding, so the smoke, grit and slag wouldn't contaminate the rest of the shop.

And, for that matter, a room just for the machine-tool grinders, like the surface grinder and whatnot. Again, so the grit wouldn't contaminate the rest of the machines.

Or all the sheetmetal stuff- box and pan brakes, one of each size Beverly shear, a nice Pexto stomp shear, bead rollers, shrinker/stretchers, a Kraftformer or similar hammer, etc.

Or the blacksmithing area, with two or three forges of various sizes, half a dozen anvils, a 25 and a 50 pound Little Giant, swage blocks, etc.

A clean room for assembling engines and transmissions, a big pallet rack and a forklift to store palletized hardware, and maybe off in one corner, a set of old lineshaft-driven machinery just 'cause I think it'd be cool.

Indoor heated storage for the best cars, outdoor covered storage for the daily drivers, lots of sheds for storage...

And yes, I could do it all- everything I've mentioned- for a million or less.

Doc.
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Someone
Someone

February 20th, 2012, 3:53 am #7

A Minion.

The problem with a big shop is keeping it clean. There are also all sorts of tedious, routine operations which someone with minimal training can do and would free up some of your time. Think about changing parts out in the CNC lathe.

A minion at $15/hour, 40 hours per week, multiplier of 1.5 for benefits, would run in the neighborhood of $47,000 per year. At $20/hr, that goes to $63,000. A basic henchman at $10/hr is only $35,000 per year.

Here in Texas, the $10 henchman would be mostly cleaning, while the $15 minion would be considered semi-skilled labor. Your labor market may vary.
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Webwolf
Webwolf

February 20th, 2012, 6:14 am #8

Evil sunday question - if you had 10 million dollars, what would you have in your machine shop?
Which is not insignificant. At some point in time in the past ten years, it's been everything from CNC mills, lathes, wire EDM, all manner of screw machines, laser cutters, waterjet cutters, CNC sheetmetal benders, and so forth.

So in the end, I'd bank the 9 mil, and buy:

A Bridgeport manual mill.
A Hardinge turret lathe.
Two saws, one bandsaw, the other automatic.

And then buy the other machines as I need 'em.

Hey, I said I'd love to have the other machines! Not that I'd actually buy them! If they're not working, they're just sitting there gathering dust! =P
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 20th, 2012, 6:42 am #9

A Minion.

The problem with a big shop is keeping it clean. There are also all sorts of tedious, routine operations which someone with minimal training can do and would free up some of your time. Think about changing parts out in the CNC lathe.

A minion at $15/hour, 40 hours per week, multiplier of 1.5 for benefits, would run in the neighborhood of $47,000 per year. At $20/hr, that goes to $63,000. A basic henchman at $10/hr is only $35,000 per year.

Here in Texas, the $10 henchman would be mostly cleaning, while the $15 minion would be considered semi-skilled labor. Your labor market may vary.
If I were using the $10 mil to start up a for-profit production company, yes, you set aside X amount to cover payroll for a certain time period.

But if it were me, again, I'd never work another day in my life. At least, not for a paycheck...

In that case, with a trust fund or some kind of investment portfolio paying the day-to-day bills and leaving some left over to live on (and I could live very well on just $50 or $80K a year, to say nothing of $200K+) the taxes and whatnot would get tricky trying to pay a helper/employee, if you weren't running an actual business.

Doc.
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Stu Friedberg
Stu Friedberg

February 20th, 2012, 8:22 am #10

Evil sunday question - if you had 10 million dollars, what would you have in your machine shop?
Well, my current 672 square feet isn't big enough to hold all the stuff I could already afford, so with that much money, I'd move to a larger shop with a few minimum features: a real loading dock with good highway access, ceiling high enough to allow a storage mezzanine, 200A+ of three-phase, 5ton+ bridge crane covering the entire machine area, a separately ventilated space for grinding, blasting and spraying.

The existing machine list is a decent start for the sort of work I do:
  • Precision Matthews 16x40 engine lathe (2009)</li>
  • Hardinge DSM-59 small hand turret lathe (1960s)</li>
  • VanNorman #28A mill (a beefy #2 or a runty #3, 1956)</li>
  • Nichols toolroom hand mill (dunno, 1960s?)</li>
  • Cincinnati #2 tool&cutter grinder (1943, rebuilt in 1992-93)</li>
  • Ellis 1600 miter bandsaw (2011)</li>
  • Jet 8201 14" vertical bandsaw (2011)</li>
  • Jet (?) 20" drill press (1988?)</li>
All that stuff would come over to the new shop.

I would unhesitatingly add:
  • 6x12 or 6x18 surface grinder</li>
  • 50ton hydraulic press</li>
  • 15"+ optical comparator (have an 8" MicroVue)</li>
  • Pratt&Whitney B-6 vertical shaper</li>
  • heated ultrasonic wash bank</li>
  • larger vertical bandsaw (to replace the Jet)</li>
  • 3'x4' or larger granite surface plate</li>
That would fill some existing holes and weaknesses. It would be nice to have another couple of mills and a larger lathe:
  • #3 horizontal (the VN isn't optimum for the "use your mill as a lathe" trick)</li>
  • #2 vertical (better than Bridgeport)</li>
  • 24x80 (to swing 14" over the crossslide)</li>
Along the way, I might add:
  • 24" toolroom (tilting table) shaper</li>
  • Fellows model 7 or 8 series gear shaper</li>
There are at least two additional directions I'd like to go. First, I'd like some CNC capability, as all my current stuff is full manual.
  • smallish VMC like the Fanuc Robodrill</li>
  • smallish bar-fed turn/mill machine</li>
Then, I'd add some metalforming capability:
  • 45-60ton hydraulic press brake and tooling</li>
  • 48" 16ga box and pan brake</li>
  • 48" 16ga shear</li>
  • 6" 16ga notcher</li>
  • 50ton OBI press and a half-dozen die sets</li>
  • 50ton metalworker</li>
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