Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Ultimate Underground Manufacturing Facility

I am putting together a list of items I want for my shop.

I have been looking at prices for equipment to start a small manufacturing operation.

Based on what I have seen, One could put together a advanced shop, and I mean really advanced one, for around 10k dollars that would have cost easily 500k dollars 10years ago.

To start:

3D printer.

I would go with one of the new DLP printers that is now down to $600 from the $5000 it was in 2013.

This machine I would use for making finished items and metal casting molds.

I would also consider a larger machine like a FDM machine for some of the other types of plastic.

CNC Mill. 3040 or 6090. 

I recently purchased a rather high grade CNC from China that will be about $1500 when finished. It used 20mm guides vs the 16mm of the cheaper Rattm motor machines, and since I bought the parts seperately, I got over sized stepper motors, bigger spindle (1.5kw) and the bells and whistles.

It will handle even steel if using certain machining techniques.

k40 aka 3020 40 watt CO2 laser.

Prices of these are down to $375 plus shipping.  My last one was $525 delivered FedEx.

Drill press.

A cheap harbor freight drill press. Mine was $60 on sale.

Metal Foundry

Metal foundry to cast aluminum, bronze, brass or copper is only about $400 which includes the crucibles.  Electric, not the charcoal design.

Add in work bench, a couple cheap computers, hand tools and you have everything you need.

If for example one was to make firearms, you could use this list of items and be capable of making pretty much every part you need except maybe the barrell.


Matt said...

A Wazer would be on my list. Still in development and not scheduled to ship until December 2017, but a desktop-sized waterjet cutter that uses pulverized garnet as the abrasive is intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Disagree on the 3D printer front. While it's cool that we're seeing cheaper resin printers, resin parts are not usable for load-bearing at this time. You want one of those 400x400 FDM printers that Monoprice will soon be selling for $800 assembled, and maybe upgrade it so it can do PETG and Nylon.

I would also argue that a 20ton or 40ton hydraulic press is basically a necessity if you want to do anything with sheet metal.

I am less impressed with the CO2 laser, and would prefer a decent steel-working lathe instead.

admin said...

The resin printer is for investment cast molds.

My co2 laser, gets a heavy workout in the shop. It paid for itself with just one job that took about 15 work hours. With shipping I can get one for $525 now. It's absolutely crazy the low prices

Yes also a FDM machine is on the list, but with the other tools I can build my own FDM machine in house. However I would not go beyond a 8x8 inch machine. I have built 14x16 inch machines before, but the large size was pretty much a waste as there is a practical limit to the largest FDM PLA part you can make woot going to carbon fiber filament.

I was one of the early experimenters with some of the exotic filaments like polycarbonate. I find that PLA still works for 90% of what I need and the other 10% I can invest cast.

brentg said...

What do you think about the pros/cons in building your own CNC like ( some found in openbuilds vs buying a 6090 from china?

Can one be diy built that is worth it in high quality output or is it not worth the time/savings?

Thanks - love the site! brentg

admin said...

I spent a ton of time learning how to build and building countless different CNC routers over the last few years. It is a good education, but if you are not in the business of making, servicing, or selling the CNC machines themselves and need something that works, I will have to say that the 6090 with good linear guides (not the rattm motors crap) is probably the least hassle and least cost when you consider all the other parts that go into the machine and the wasted practice materials.

The prices for these aluminum mills have come down a lot and really let's face it, a china aluminum CNC mill is about as complicated as a good kitchen blender.

Regarding open builds machines. Hey are OK but after building several, I don't think they are up for the job to really do serious work. I certainly would not use it to carve stone.

Unknown said...

Extremely educational post! There is a great deal of data here that can help any business begin with a fruitful informal communication fight!