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Thread: Tinker toy and waste of money?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Foster View Post

    I'm not pulling the pin today.
    Need to see how Uncle Sam treats me with a refund
    That would depend upon how much you overpaid in. But yea...keep on looking into things and also keep your eyes open for a small used machine. They do come up from time to time from folks who are upgrading to larger or from folks who struggled to adapt or from folks who's priorities changed.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
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    Mar 2014
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    Iowa USA
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    We don't get refunds anymore, we pay.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  3. #18
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    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill George View Post
    We don't get refunds anymore, we pay.
    It's been decades since I/we have gotten "refunds"...by design. I shoot for almost flush, erring to owing slightly. I'm not interested in providing a no-interest load of my money. That maximizes "take-home" income throughout the year. Of course, recent changes have made things slightly wonky so adjustments have to be made to stay on target.

    We now return you to the great thread where we spend Larry's money.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #19
    If I found a used machine I would pull the pin, Jim.

    I've also been trying to consider the money making opportunities.
    What sells and how much

    I'm pretty rural here in western Pa.
    Sort of Appalachian.

    Even on YouTube no one says how much hey sell things for

  5. #20
    So many people have cncs and lasers and want them for a hobby they tend to sell things just to make a little cash. If they can buy the wood for $5 and can sell the finished piece for $15 they are happy. They don't consider the electricity, consumables used or their time. I've seen many that they have to actually be losing money and don't realize it. That makes it hard to sell things and make money. You have to come up with something different and targeting a specific crowd can help. Calculate machine time, finish time and all the consumables you use. Decide on how much you want to charge an hour for it and what it would have to be priced for those. Is it worth that or more to a buyer.

    Personally, I shoot for $75 an hour plus expenses. Some simple things that are easy I might drop to $50 and some might jump to $100. Everything that I make is directed to a specific crowd and is something that they can't just find anywhere. Targeting a specific crowd, I don't charge for design time because if I bother with doing it, I know there will be multiple people who will buy. That is something you learn by trial and error. If you just make generic engravings for the flea market don't expect to make much profit. Personalization and customizing is where it is at for me.

  6. #21
    Thanks for the advice, bobby.

  7. #22
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Having the machine is particularly helpful if you are already making things to sell if crafting is your thing...it can speed up production, add the ability to personalize, etc. and permit cutting things faster and easier when shapes get more complex, cutting down on the hand work. Time is money. And while the CNC is working on something, you can be working on something else, such as finishing what's already cut, etc. That's been an interesting aspect for me...my CNC machine is like having "someone else" working in the shop with me. But making and selling things isn't nirvana, either. There are too many folks willing to practically give stuff away and it makes getting good money for hard work a lot more difficult. The market is saturated with makers. While I still do make and sell some crafty things (enough to at least pay for my ETSY store fees) I've shifted more to cutting for others, making parts, templates, full items ready to finish, personalization and other one-off work. One example is a client who is a master at finding really interesting wood to use for charcuterie boards and who enjoys doing resin inlays. He doesn't have a shop, so I "make" the parts and cut the pockets for inlays for him. It pays well.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #23
    Thanks for that insight, Jim.

    Mant things to consider
    Last edited by Larry Foster; 01-18-2020 at 6:20 PM. Reason: Spelling

  9. #24
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    Stony Plain, AB CA
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    721
    Have you ever considered building your own? I built my first CNC over 15 years ago and have improved it over time and now have a 4 axis machine with a 30" x 60" working area which I recently added a laser to.
    Always drink upstream of the herd.

  10. #25
    Very briefly, Mike.
    I don't have a lot of skills in some of those areas.

    I'm not a very clever guy.

    I could see that saving some money and getting a lot more bang for my buck.

    Think I've seen plans mentioned for these things

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
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    402
    Quote Originally Posted by bobby milam View Post
    So many people have cncs and lasers and want them for a hobby they tend to sell things just to make a little cash. If they can buy the wood for $5 and can sell the finished piece for $15 they are happy. They don't consider the electricity, consumables used or their time. I've seen many that they have to actually be losing money and don't realize it. That makes it hard to sell things and make money. You have to come up with something different and targeting a specific crowd can help. Calculate machine time, finish time and all the consumables you use. Decide on how much you want to charge an hour for it and what it would have to be priced for those. Is it worth that or more to a buyer.

    Personally, I shoot for $75 an hour plus expenses. Some simple things that are easy I might drop to $50 and some might jump to $100. Everything that I make is directed to a specific crowd and is something that they can't just find anywhere. Targeting a specific crowd, I don't charge for design time because if I bother with doing it, I know there will be multiple people who will buy. That is something you learn by trial and error. If you just make generic engravings for the flea market don't expect to make much profit. Personalization and customizing is where it is at for me.
    I was thinking about these same things myself. I think you should decide why you really want the machine to begin with: for fun or profit. If for fun maybe it doesn’t matter much. If for profit, you need to find out if their is a market in your area (or online) and for what exactly. It doesn’t sound like people making “everything” are making much money. Maybe you could find a niche that needs filled, like personalized gift boxes for wine bottles. Craft shows could be a good way for you to “pick the brains” of other crafters to determine what their is a need for as well as for markets that are already saturated.

    And how will you market your work? Craft shows, word-of-mouth, online advertising of some kind?
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  12. #27
    Thanks for those points, Mark.

    As I sit here today, my initial thought was just to get something to fool around with

    Then, perhaps, make some small things that can piggy back on my wife's craft shows.

    I have started several businesses in my day.
    Some with more success than others.

    Not sure, at this stage, that I want to go all in, again.

    I've gotten a ton of good suggestions in this thread and I appreciate it all.

    While not definitive, I'm feeling I may want to try one of those 3018 little machines to get my feet wet designing and making some things.
    Some of those machines seem to review half decently from other hobbyists.

    But, if I found one at a price I could feel comfortable with additional capabilities I'd go that way.

    It's easier to have too much capability than not enough

  13. #28
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    One other small thought, Larry. One of the nice things about a small CNC machine is that even if you no longer have the space for a full shop, you can still keep going with the CNC machine for fun and enjoyment. So if you do find something you like within the budget you have, it can be with you for a long time.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #29
    Space is also a consideration in my current shop, Jim.
    Maybe I'll find a machine and a niche and make enough to build a bigger shop and a bigger machine

    One question.

    I'd love to find one that could use an offline controller instead of having a computer in the shed.
    Just load your gcode on a micro sd card.
    The little 3018s seem to be able to use one but haven't found anything bigger that will

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
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    I use a laptop for all my machines. The experts will tell you do not use laptops…. BS if you know what your doing remove all the bloatware, screen savers and power saving including USB sleep. FYI there is someone here on Facebook Marketplace selling what looks to be a newer 24x24 CNC router for $1,000.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

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