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Custom machined parts

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mheintz, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    I have an oddly shaped, plastic control cavity cover, which I will be replacing with a brass cover, and I have been looking for a machine shop that would create a single, custom part. Any ideas?

    I came across: http://www.emachineshop.com/. I have not used them yet, and I don't know whether it's worthwhile. But they look interesting...
  2. Perfectly worthwhile if you want a gross of them. The first one will cost you about $150 though!
  3. sgt.floyd


    Dec 5, 2004
    I just (10 min ago) finished ordering a non musical part from these guys. This is the sixth part I've spec'd out and had them make 3 of. For the most part the peices look good. The first ones we got were pretty bad, but acceptable - about a month later we got another set of the same part, but this time it looked exactly like we wanted it. I thought it was a mistake, so I called to make sure we weren't goning to get charged twice, and to see if I needed to send them back or anything. The lady on the phone said it was a re-make, apparently sometimes some sub-standard parts make it out, and they re-make them and send them off. We didn't call or anything.

    It was a little slow, but the peices looked pretty good. The peice I just ordered, I was interested in getting it faster, so I sent the drawings to a local shop. The price they quoted me was ~ 3x more than doing it with emachineshop.

    It's kinda weird, when you click the order, you get a conformation e-mail and basically never hear from them again. The parts just show up in the mail.
  4. I've designed and priced 5 items with emachine but couldn't find the right balance between a quantity I actually could use without waste and the overall run cost. Small parts were only affordable in 100+ quantities and by the time I could get a quantity down to something manageable, the price skyrocketed. Considering that my submissions were very simple and were required for prototyping only, I couldn't justify the costs of any of the pieces I priced. Even simple flat cut aluminum plate items required an order of several dozen to approach the price of what I can acquire locally for 1 or 2 pieces.
  5. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I spent almost an hour trying to make the little braille things for my logo with their software before I realized they can't do 3D spheres. That was a let down but I found some rivets later that were super cheap and worked perfectly. I keep wanting to try them out but it seems like everything I need doesn't work out well with their setup.
  6. Scott, the company I work for specializes in ADA signage and we've got these little clear sphere's that we use for braille identification. They're small but If you wanna try a handful of these let me know and I'll pop you a bunch.
  7. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Where should I be looking for for 1 or 2 piece runs?

    Gotta love NYC. 100 places to get turkish coffee just around the corner, but when I'm looking for flexible ebony veneer or fabrication, nothing.
  8. If you are only doing flat cut stuff - the sort of thing a CNC router can do - there are a couple of angles to work. First, most decent sized sign companies are using CNC routers to do work these days. Contacting one of them for this service could prove fruitful. As long as they won't have to do anything other than place your part (file) in with the rest of the cutting file, they won't make a fuss generally. Pricing won't be as high as a machinist and might only be charged on an hourly basis.

    The other angle is to contact some of the CNC machine vendors in your area. They know their clientele and usually are quick to recommend someone from their list they know can do your work. The ticket here is that they know all of the "little" guys that have the machinery. These will be the ones that are small businesses without advertising or hobbyists that would be willing to do small stuff on a per job basis.

    Don't forget to include the waterjet when you look for cutting machines. These are more precise, have a finer resolution and can cut thicker and harder materials than CNC routers. You've seen a waterjet on "American Chopper". Vinnie runs it and he produces most of the plate pieces they use on their bikes.

    Hope this helps
  9. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Hambone, many thanks. You'll be happy to know that I've already Tru-oiled my fingerboard and machine bolted my neck with 10-24 hex drive screws based on your previous posts. I'll take a look around and let you know what I find.

    Incidentally, big fan of American Chopper!
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I just had to pop in here and say.... you're really a great information resource!

    Thanks a lot for all your surprisingly diverse, always helpful knowledge...

    People like you are what makes TalkBass a great place to hang out.
  11. Well, thank you very much. That's quite nice. :)

    but don't be fooled... :eyebrow:

    Sometimes it can be a curse to have a head that remembers stuff. Not iimportant stuff like where to be at 2:00 tomorrow but things like how many balls are in the chain of the pen on the left of the large desk in the lobby of the Tarpon Springs FL US Post Office - you know, that kinda stuff. If I'm of ANY help you should thank your lucky stars that I take an interest in this subject and can somehow explain it because for the life of me, I can't tell you where I'm supposed to be at 2pm tomorrow :rolleyes: :scowl:
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Been there. Am that.
  13. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    You can use the old cover to make a template out of MDF
    and the double stick tape the brass the template.
    Then cut it close with a bandsaw and trim it flush at
    the router table.

    Here is a few shots of my wood cavity covers that I put a copper
    plate on the back of for support.
  14. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
  15. mheintz


    Nov 18, 2004
    Just for the hell of it, I finally tried to design a control cavity cover using the emachineshop software. The lowest price for a single order was $108! Cliff, I did not find a way to export jpegs for posting on the web, but you can take a screen capture (on a PC, just hit the print screen button) and crop the picture. You won't lose any quality.

    For a prototype, I also thought of another crude method for fashioning a cover with readily available tools. (Did I emphasize crude?) If you already have a template, you can cut sheet metal using avian clips. You can affix multiple sheets for thickness. Tweak the shape with a file. Deburr with a fine flat file or a sharpening stone. And finally drill holes for the screws. Advantages over other methods? Well, at least, it's incredibly cheap and can be done with supplies from Home Depot. Did I mention crude?