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Forum topic by buck_cpa posted 09-17-2014 02:12 PM 1707 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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buck_cpa

147 posts in 1353 days


09-17-2014 02:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cnc business plan business

I’m looking to buy a 5-axis CNC to carve some custom chairs I have in sketchup. I have a few questions/comments for anyone who has experience with CNC machines:

1. If my business plan is a disaster, is there a decent secondary market for the CNC machine?
2. Thoughts on general demand for $2,000 custom chairs/rockers – I want to produce maloof-style carved rockers, chairs, and Windsor chairs.

I’m looking at a $25k investment – machine, training, software, contingencies, and first bulk purchase of wood.

Any advise/comments/horror stories are very much welcome.

Thanks


12 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23189 posts in 2333 days


#1 posted 09-17-2014 02:15 PM

You might could make signs on the side until you develop other products. Who knows? You might enjoy making signs.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2597 days


#2 posted 09-17-2014 02:49 PM

1) How are you getting a 5 axis CNC and software for $25,000?

2) Have you ever used or programmed a 5 axis router? Have you ever had your parts cut on one?

My belief is that you almost never buy a CNC to start a business. You buy one to make an existing business more efficient.
If your business fails, the machine won’t automatically start making money. It’s up to you to find work to keep the machine busy. Not always an easy task.

I also believe that 5 axis machines have very specific uses. Due to their high costs, they need to make specific high dollar parts that can’t be made other ways to actually make money.

Other than a Shopbot 5 axis, which is I believe in the $50K range plus software, a 5 axis router will typically start in the $200,000 plus range. So It’s important to know how you’re getting one for $25K. If it’s a used machine, you can easily spend $10-20K in parts if it has issues. Since it’s so cheap, this would be a major concern.

I would think that you could make the parts on a 4 axis machine for much less money. You might need some jigs or fixtures for certain operations, but you’d probably need jigs and fixtures to hold your parts on the CNC as well.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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Ger21

1047 posts in 2597 days


#3 posted 09-17-2014 03:42 PM


2. Thoughts on general demand for $2,000 custom chairs/rockers – I want to produce maloof-style carved rockers, chairs, and Windsor chairs.

The market for those types of items is very small. And it’s not something you can easily jump into and be successful. Typically, it takes many years of building high quality products to build up a good reputation, and get the word out to potential customers.
Also, at that price, the products need to be of exceptional quality. If you haven’t built these types of products before, it can take months or years to perfect your designs and building techniques to get your products to the quality level they need to be at.

Just my 2 cents.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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rick1955

258 posts in 897 days


#4 posted 09-17-2014 04:24 PM

http://sammaloofwoodworker.com/woodstudio.html
Maloof Studio’s is still in business. Don’t they would think much of your plan. I don’t think have thought this out at all. Do you actually have any business, woodworking, design, CNC experience??

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View buck_cpa's profile

buck_cpa

147 posts in 1353 days


#5 posted 09-17-2014 04:43 PM

Great questions Rick.

I have business experience. I’m CPA in public practice for last 8 years. I have a business degree and a MBA. I am hobby woodworker, former computer programmer, website developer, and cad user.

This is part of my research/idea phase. I appreciate the skepticism.

I wonder what the maloof studio thinks about any business idea that might compete with them.

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 3013 days


#6 posted 09-17-2014 05:00 PM

I would not recommend starting out in debt to a machine without any form of business going. We just added a 3 axis machine from an Auction. I had shipping and set up cost and I feel we ended up with a sweet deal, but at the end of it all, I still had a very fair amount of money invested. But we invested cash that was profits from ongoing business we had generated through time and growth.

I would agree with Ger21, add a CNC to a business to increase efficiency rather than start out with a CNC. I love buying from auctions, and some of the auctions I go to have nice large CNC machines. A recent auction, the shop was second generation, been open for several several years. The second generation owner way over spent on his CNC, and now he is closed and folks like me picked through what was left of him. My point is, a CNC can help you when bought at the right time and armed with good knowledge, but on the other side of the coin a CNC can be a business’ downfall if purchased without proper knowledge or at the wrong time.

-- .

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1835 days


#7 posted 09-17-2014 05:08 PM

I don’t think the Maloof studio sees a maloof-style CNC’d chair as competition. People who can afford to, and are waiting to, wait in line to pay 10’s of thousands of dollars for a hand-made chair are not about to get out of line because someone offered them a $2k computer-made knockoff.

That’s kind of like someone with millions of dollars buying a fake Gucci bag for $10 out of a cardboard box on the sidewalk in NYC because it was cheaper than the real one in the store.

It’s not to say people won’t pay $2k for the imitation product, it’s just to say that the people waiting for chairs from the Maloof studio most likely won’t.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View rick1955's profile

rick1955

258 posts in 897 days


#8 posted 09-17-2014 05:13 PM

Competition is one thing but your plan sounds like downright theft! It would be one thing to say “Comtemporary Rocking Chairs” but “Maloof” style Rockers. Study up on Thomas Moser…
http://www.amazon.com/Thos-Moser-Artistry-Wood-Thomas/dp/0811836118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410973913&sr=8-1&keywords=thomas+moser

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

View buck_cpa's profile

buck_cpa

147 posts in 1353 days


#9 posted 09-17-2014 05:21 PM

I was using “maloof-style” as a reference to give you an idea. My chairs are not the same exact dimensions, materials, or even overall shape and flow. I’m not looking to replicate anything – just use varied influences to build an economical comfortable chair.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3208 days


#10 posted 09-17-2014 05:23 PM


I don t think the Maloof studio sees a maloof-style CNC d chair as competition. People who can afford to, and are waiting to, wait in line to pay 10 s of thousands of dollars for a hand-made chair are not about to get out of line because someone offered them a $2k computer-made knockoff.

- BinghamtonEd


If Sam was still alive – I would agree with you.

But it is less clear what the waiting list/competition is, now that you are buying a Maloof Rocker that Sam will not have ever touched or looked at.
The reason they went for 45K, is the man, and the cachet – - just like your Gucci example.

Fact is there is no more “ORIGINAL” or “REAL” Maloof rockers. Sams boys just have more experience and original templates and equipment.

So indeed, someone cranking out Sams design on a CNC flooding the market with rapid machine produced chairs…. is likely to be frowned upon. I would EXPECT a lawsuit from the Maloof foundation. Sam was OK with imitation… but once you go mass production… that rises above the guy selling a few chairs a year at Art shows.

EDIT – - I see Buck posted while I was typing….

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3389 posts in 1639 days


#11 posted 09-17-2014 07:41 PM

Never thought that CNC stuff is really expensive!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

904 posts in 1502 days


#12 posted 09-17-2014 08:09 PM

I’d be one that would say if you have the money for a router, then get one. I don’t know about a five axis, but a 3 axis router can quickly pay for itself doing part cutout. It’s the one machine in the cabinet shop I work for that has paid for itself many times over. Now of course it does depend on how much business you can drum up, so don’t blame me if you don’t make it….

I noticed that Legacy CNC mills have the rotary axis and three axis designs that can make furniture. They designed a chair project just to show that it can be done, and sent out a booklet on it just recently. Showed the Explorer in there. It’d be worth a call…

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

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