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Thread: Desktop CNC -opinion

  1. #21
    Insider Pump Scout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    That sounds like an insane number, and it is, but then I look around at the $500,000 I have invested in what I am doing here, and the importance of keeping it all going, the insane costs of having a business and overheads, and that is the reality of a choice to do a one off instead of to run production, and to work on more products that I can realistically sell 100+ of.
    And you're still worlds ahead of some places/companies that won't run a good idea if they don't think they'll sell 50k of them.

  2. #22
    Insider ElPanda's Avatar
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    what Simon said

    the vast majority of paintball players simply cannot afford custom work at a professional level, and frankly most of them would be highly confused as to why it costs what it does

    the custom work that I do is either for myself or friends, or for projects that really get stuck in my head that I would get personal satisfaction out of completing
    ABET accredited level II machinist - CNC Programmer - Mechanical Engineering Technologist
    Rio Grande Inc.

  3. #23
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    Don't forget community college classes, too... When I was on my brief foray into robotics and PLC programming the lab down the hall was amazing... get in good with the prof and time on the machines with your own tooling suddenly becomes an option.

  4. #24
    Insider HipboyScott's Avatar
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    TechShop and other makerspaces are great options for those with lots of patience and time and have something they can run in, do work on, and run out. You are gonna be hard pressed to setup a project and have all day (if not a few days) to do your cutting work.

    Running machines in college, that was a constant problem, especially when you were trying to fixture something and that alone took hours. Now, with good design and fixtures and everything else MAYBE you could in-n-out a CNC job if it was broken down enough and the machines were kept square for you.

    For an example of something I recently did with the Sherline, here's a Tiberius T8.1 body I lightened.



    The fillet on the back was done by hand with files, but everything else was machined on the little unit.

    That sherline is soon going to get an aluminum sheet enclosure (once my CNC router table is finished) and then CNC steppers and a controller added for full 3-axis g-code cutting. It will let me do little projects like that frame on repeat without a lot of time spent counting handle rotations and what-not. As I said, I wouldn't be able to make that slide-frame from scratch: but for modding work, bonzo-presto: you've got a decent little unit.

    I concur that the Sherline lathes are going to realistically max out at around 1" DIA parts. Which, for most all paintball applications is sufficient: you can make lots of reg parts, bolts, valves, etc within that limitation.

    The lathe I has is already setup for CNC but I need a controller to run it, and without a spindle encoder I have no way to automate threading, stuck using the geared thread-cutting attachments manually. But that's a small problem in the grand scope.
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    Last edited by HipboyScott; 11-13-2014 at 05:28 PM.

  5. #25
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    Part of the "problem" that paintball players seem to have is that they love to move in and out of equipment every couple months/years/whenever. It's not really a problem per-se, but I think that's the thing that puts a damper on the custom end of things more than anything else from a logistical standpoint. Spending a couple hundred hamsters to get a unique custom modification isn't out of the range for many people already playing the game, but the custom equipment only holds value to the original owner (or a limited set of followers) and at this point people know there's little point in spending $1800 on a marker just to sell it for slightly-more-than-resale in like 2 years or less.

    That's part of the problem that I myself have. I end up with a huge pile of stuff that I keep for the sake of having it...I only play like twice a year but don't want to give up anything that I own or anything that I modify to an appreciable point. It's not an issue of cost (or cost lost) but rather the fact that the cool unique part ends up in the hands of somebody else who doesn't truly appreciate it. If the new owner DOES indeed appreciate it then they would pay the cost for it no problem! But most people aren't interested and would prefer to get a more typical marker, then sell and get something else next year, again and again.

    Back in the day (like around the turn of the last century) people were super eager to upgrade and modify their parts. Granted the factory/stock items were worse and begged modification, but it seemed like people were more apt to pay for the work then keep playing with that same unique marker for years and years. Skipping ahead to now, those guys are the old timers that still use 90's Angels, brick Shockers, classic mags, etc. Even if they don't use them, they're often still in a box somewhere. But the value is the same as any current-day midrange electro marker from present market.

    Anyway, speaking strictly in terms of representative prices, I don't have a problem doing milling for people but they have to supply the CAD data for it. For me the milling is the easiest part, but I'm not an artist so the modeling side takes too long. The ultimate price for just that machining work depends entirely on the amount of detail...large open contours take less time than tiny fine details. There's a certain threshold where a project's time doubles. lol
    The only way I'm able to justify low prices on that sort of thing is to piggyback it onto the production jobs. Some of the upfront time is saved, but of course not all..

  6. #26
    Junior Member m98custom1212's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    Everything to do with CNC is expensive (he says looking at a quote for a new CNC mill that is nearly $100,000!)

    Back in 2000 (so 14 years ago) I did a one off CNC gun body for a friend that costed out at around $3,000 of work. That included the CAD and programming, but not the machine time. It was run on an X-Mag blank on AGDE's machine so they didn't charge the machine time as they were selling the gun, and the guy buying it was a good customer of theirs and friend of mine.

    The going rate for CAD for a paintball gun body design goes from anywhere from $500-$15,000 depending on who it is doing the work and who they are charging. That's just the CAD. Back in the early 2000's when I was doing Intimidators I would charge $2,000-$3,000 for a new cosmetic gun design.

    Any time I have used someone else's CAD (no disrespect meant) it's been an issue and I have had to fix things. Typically if you aren't doing the checking until the first one is cut you have wasted your programming time and your machine time if something is wrong, and your first body. Maybe a fixture too. So you check it up front the best you can, but that takes hours of work. It's a trade off.

    A small custom shop that is good enough to do what you need on a one off body is going to be $125+ an hour. Maybe significantly more. Not unusual for a great shop with advanced equipment to want significantly more. I personally would never touch a project on a one off body that I couldn't replace.

    Any time I have cut even a custom engraved body, it's never taken me less than 4-5 hours. That's programming, set up, toolpath verification in air, running on a scrap body (if possible) running slow on the actual body with offsets so to not fuck it up, and then adjusting depth to cut it nicely, sometimes running the engraving 3-4 times to get it perfect. On several occasions with 4th axis or even 5 axis engraving I have screwed up slightly, and enough that it scrapped a body

    That's on gun bodies I designed, I made, and I have fixtures for.

    I can't charge for that as it's just too expensive, so I only ever do it for friends or as a gift, and I pretty much regret it every time I take on such a project. It's always more of an issue than it should be.

    And then there is the opportunity cost of not working on a production item, and since the mill is running non stop right now (hence why I have quotes for more machines) the cost of lost production as I am taking the time to make a one off.

    Obviously the point of the machines, and the software etc. is to run a viable business from them.

    I have many people ask me to run "one off's" or something custom or to "just go wild and do whatever you want" on a single body, and the reality is after costing it out and working out the value to the company, if I am not charging around $15,000 for such a project it simply doesn't make sense to take it on, and I should be working on my other production items instead.

    That sounds like an insane number, and it is, but then I look around at the $500,000 I have invested in what I am doing here, and the importance of keeping it all going, the insane costs of having a business and overheads, and that is the reality of a choice to do a one off instead of to run production, and to work on more products that I can realistically sell 100+ of.

    There are people that will charge you far less, and do a great job, but they are typically doing it for fun, on someone else's equipment and not running it as their full time job/business.

    As much as I would love to run more one off jobs or individual custom jobs, I know that I couldn't survive as a business based upon what the market would pay for the work.

    And that is why you can't/don't find many companies willing to take on the jobs.
    You sumed up why I don't do custom work for anyone anymore and if and if I want to it's 50% down before I start

    I stopped doing work for friends also. Takes way to long and complain on top of it.
    Last edited by m98custom1212; 11-16-2014 at 12:32 AM.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by PBSteve View Post
    See, I had no idea this existed. THIS IS AWESOME.

    Do you have any suggestions for learning CAM/g-code? Are there resources out there you've heard good things about or had good experience with?

    How about things to look out for when buying equipment? Any recommendations for smaller CNC machines?

    Googling around I found this resource:

    http://www.cnczone.com/forums/teache...machining.html
    That is really cool!! I really want to learn, but I feel like it is a bit of a steep learning curve for something that would be a hobby

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by d0cwho View Post
    That is really cool!! I really want to learn, but I feel like it is a bit of a steep learning curve for something that would be a hobby
    It's really not that bad for anyone who is technical, which obviously you are. Take a look into it. You may find you get hooked. It is certainly amazing to be able to realize your dreams. It's what got me hooked on CAD and then CNC machining. There aremany of us here that will help you also.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    It's really not that bad for anyone who is technical, which obviously you are. Take a look into it. You may find you get hooked. It is certainly amazing to be able to realize your dreams. It's what got me hooked on CAD and then CNC machining. There aremany of us here that will help you also.
    I definitely wouldn't consider myself technical haha...this forum has been incredible in helping me understand the technical details of paintball design. I at least want to teach myself CAD so I can bring some of my ideas to life. Maybe I'll learn the machining side, but baby steps at this point haha

  10. #30
    Insider TierOneJeff's Avatar
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    Yeah see I know CAD (from architecture) and some 3D, but the CNC side seems so far out of my understanding to be a whole other language. So I feel d0c's pain.

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