FEELER: Fab requests

KChurch86 Jan 3, 2013

  1. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Alright guys and gals, I'm sharing this ONLY in the VIP section so please keep it quiet elsewhere.

    Having said that...

    I'm miserable at my job. I still like the work, but I'm sick of all the bull that goes along with it. I'm sick of my boss, my manager, and the way the shop is being run. I want out. Problem is: Life. Now is not a good time for me to drop a job that pays well, is 8 miles from my house, and has almost unlimited overtime opportunity; plus the opportunity to use the machines on my own time to fix or make my own stuff. The pros still outweigh the cons, but it's really getting to be neck and neck.

    Once the photo of the t-case shift knob I traded to Dave went around, I had a huge showing of interest here (and elsewhere). That knob was just a quick and dirty manually-turned and polished piece that I whipped up in some spare time early one morning at work. It was plain, simple, and not perfect. I have since come up with a few re-designs of t-case shift knobs, along with MT knobs, and I've come up with a much more presentable design.

    Then there's the battery tie down and iron cross wing nuts that I made for my own rig. I had a couple guys saying they'd like one, how much, etc.

    All that interest got me thinking about just how many things like that I could really make, and the list is pretty big - and still growing. Not everything is X-related. So I told my wife Allisonn all about this, and she thinks it's great. We've been talking and working out the logistics of me starting my own shop for quite some time now, and it's starting to look more and more like it could actually happen.

    Biggest hurdle right now is the money. There isn't much you can do to start a business without some coin. Allisonn mentioned starting a fundly.com account, which I think could be a great way to go about trying to get this done.


    NO, I'm not asking for your donations. DON'T send me money.


    What I am asking for is your ideas. What would YOU like to see made out of billet aluminum? Keep in mind, it doesn't have to be Xterra-related, or even vehicle-related.

    Want some shift knobs? Battery tie down? Valve covers? Oil fill cap? Got an old hot rod you want a custom air cleaner cover for? Maybe a custom emblem? Want an air cleaner assembly for your Harley? Maybe you're really into RC cars and trucks and you want to beef up your steering and suspension components?

    Let loose with your suggestions. What do you want to see made out of billet aluminum?


    I'll be taking note of your suggestions and using this thread to gauge interest. IF I feel there's enough interest, I'll be unleashing this thread onto the general public of XN. If I continue to see growth in interest, I'll ask around some other forums that I'm a member of, family, friends, Facebook, etc. If I get enough interest from all of those places, I'll look into starting a fundly.com account and take it from there.
     
    drbandkgb likes this.
  2. Roadwarrior

    Roadwarrior Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Probably in class..
    I think something like a phone case would be awesome. I would love one for my tablet. You could make them in two pieces and they slide together.. Or lock somehow
     
  3. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    Follow your dreams and be careful of the naysayers. How does billet aluminum stand up to heat? Moisture? etc...
     
  4. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I was thinking hardcases as well. My Droid X2 case by Trident is great and all, but it's plastic and already has 2 cracks. An aluminum one wouldn't be that hard to reproduce.

    I'd try to do all my work with 6061-T6 aluminum, unless a part required added strength or rigidity, I'd go with a different grade.

    6061 has a tensile strength of more than 40,000 PSI, a shear strength of 30,000 PSI, and a melting point of 1,000 - 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Water won't hurt it at all. It will corrode when exposed to salt and/or harsh chemicals, but that can be prevented with anodizing. Aluminum anodizing is actually a pretty inexpensive process.
     
  5. Xterraforce

    Xterraforce <img src="http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u7/ra Founding Member

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    Starting out on your own is a lot harder than most people think at first but it sounds like you're doing the right thing and planning ahead instead of just jumping into it. One thing that came to mind reading this was something probably difficult and impractical but I'm into R/C a bit and would love to have an Xterra body for one of my 1:10 crawlers. I'm sure making that from aluminum would be pretty hard to do and maybe not such a good idea or they'd already be making them from it. Good luck with whatever path you choose. It sucks to have to go to work each day where you're not happy.
     
  6. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I agree, that'd be difficult to do with a CNC mill - it's more of a molding job. A vacuum mold machine would be ideal, if you had a small scale Xterra to mold from.

    [video=youtube;CoGlznbGuZ8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoGlznbGuZ8[/video]
     
  7. AZhiAZiAM

    AZhiAZiAM Suspension Lift

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    you know i'd take a battery cover
     
  8. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    You know how I feel about this ;)

    KC fab :)

    I need to get my knob on lol... Maybe this weekend.. Could you do a smal XN logo in it? Maybe do a license plat holder?
    It could be cool to do the Xterra Nation with double sided tape for a replacement badge... Like my storm troopers deal..
     
  9. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    This is a great idea Church! I think all of your potential ideas are good. I'll think on it and see if I can come up with any ideas. :)

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  10. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Haha, yep you're on the list.

    Get your knob on, Dave. :D

    As far as engraving goes, most anything is possible. The hardest part about it is getting the art/drawing/logo into the machine, or getting it into the right format so the machine can use it.

    I was also thinking license plate mounts, they could easily have built-in plate lights too. Also winch fairleads (non-roller type) would be simple and a nice place to add custom engraving..."This piece adds 50 horsepower", or your rig's name, or your favorite motto, etc. etc. Same thing with a replacement badge for your hood or hatch (but a stick on, so you could put it anywhere if you wanted) that could have "Xterra Nation", your rig name, "XN Ser. #00001" etc.

    Thank you sir! I await hearing your ideas :D
     
  11. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    I know some one was making replacement badges for the 2nd gen a while back and they were the zombie outbreak ones. Something like that woukd be cool. I'd like to see the licence plate mounts with leds. Especially for those of us with aftermarket bumpers. Also what about switches or switch plates for our lights and whatever else us xers put in our trucks. Maybe one specific to the first gens and one for second gens as well. Make them fit a specific spot like under our stereos. Ill keep on it and see what else I can come up with. ;)

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  12. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I like the switch plate idea a lot, and already have an idea/design in mind. Hmm... :)

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  13. Macland

    Macland Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I like your enthusiasm man. I'm thinking that doing the x stuff and special requests would be a good way to make some extra scratch, but I don't personality think it would be sustainable for a full time job. I think if you wanted to start your own shop then having local customers like the business you work for would have more longevity. If you decide to jump in head long you ought to check with a banker you trust for financing options as well (machinery, supplies, payroll, etc.)

    The license plate cover is something I've wanted for my x but haven't found anything I like. I'd be down for one of those and a battery tie down.
     
  14. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    I'd be interrested in one of those and a battery tie down. Also what about knobs for the ac, fan ect...

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  15. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I feel ya man, if the little stuff can get me up and going, then my own product line could sustain me. There are a couple fields in which I have ideas for complete new products and complete product lines.

    Knobs for HVAC and 4x4 controls all depend on how they mount and how the switch shaft is designed, but I bet it could be done.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  16. Macland

    Macland Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    It sounds like you've got a firm grasp on the how top and great ideas so I know you can do it man! Does your company provide insurance?
     
  17. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    When you say "your company", do you mean Poplar Hill Machine or do you mean Church Fab?

    PHM does but I don't use it. Church Fab is privately insured.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  18. Macland

    Macland Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I meant the place you work. For a lot of people insurance from their employer is a deal breaker for branching out.
     
  19. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    That's what I figured you were getting at. I'm not tied to this anchor in any way :)

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  20. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    A battery box. I need one for the rear storage/power distribution project.
    A connection for CAI to filter housing (stock and aftermarket.) I think this would be a huge seller.
     
  21. xterror04

    xterror04 Site sponsor Founding Member

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    So do you have the means of making some of this at your current job? Maybe you start there making some extra $ and then save up until you can get the machines and a client base, the hardest thing is getting a few returning big customers one you have a few down then you can feel more comfortable on your own,

    I'd just hate if you quit your job sold 50 shift knobs them buisness dried up but if you could get something where your had a customer where you made small plaques or something for where they order 30 a month or something then you'd be set and also would be able to get a small buisness loan

    I guess the long and short of it is try and build a cleint base you have a small one with us x'ers but that's probably not enough to be steady income
     
  22. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Greg (shoot, that IS your name, right? Sorry if I'm thinking of someone else) I think battery boxes are a cool idea but a CNC mill isn't really the right tool for a big box like that. The amount of scrap produced would be immense. A multi-piece box that bolted together would be doable and would produce far less scrap, but 5 pieces of aluminum bolted together aren't as good as a solid box. As of right now I can't weld, so making the 5 pieces and welding them together wouldn't be a viable option right away either. Still, it's something to look at.


    And Luke, I agree; little trinkets like knobs and tie downs wouldn't be cost-effective or enough to support the entire operation. I would probably make many of the same parts useable on another application - Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Dodge, Chevy, etc. A shift knob is a shift knob, the only difference is the threads on the shaft. A battery tie down is a pretty universal piece as well.

    I have experience from my past job in making firearms accessories and parts, I could produce risers, grips, sights, forearms, all the non "gun" parts (according to law) without needing special licensing to produce them.

    Even from my current job, there are clients that I know we are beating up over prices for simple jobs that anyone could make at home on a manual lathe or Bridgeport. If I wanted, I could undercut the current cost and almost guarantee I'd get a long-time customer out of it. I wouldn't want to fall back on doing something like that, but it's an option.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  23. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    Yes my name is Greg...lol
    So let me understand... your process starts out with a solid block then removes the extra to end up w/ the final product? If so then ignore me to this point cause I'm not helping...lol
     
  24. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Haha, cool.

    Yes, I'd be starting with solid blanks of aluminum and cutting material away until I got the shape/size where I wanted it. I could take a 10"x8"x8" block and turn it into a battery box with 1/4" thick walls, but that would be extremely wasteful. A chunk of aluminum that size would cost hundreds and the time needed to mill all that material out would be hours.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  25. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Here is what I would do..

    Start with your tc knobs. See if you can handle people asking for these and shipping them out in a timely manor.

    Then add to your line up.. This way you build your rep in the forum world.. You would be surprised how much people will spend. Those knobs would bring 35 or more.. Look at 4wheelparts. They sell stuff like that for big money.

    Rome was built in a day blaa blaa blaa but with the Internet you can go pretty quick.. Start with XN.. Cx.. Add a few on eBay.. And keep buying more equipment with your profits..

    That's how I have built a light bar empire lol
     
  26. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    ^^^ what he said.
     
  27. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    Can I get a job?


    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  28. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I do need a sales rep lol
     
  29. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    Hey I'm in sales now! Perfect!

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  30. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Just realized I failed to reply to the bolded part of this^

    I do, but not right at this moment. They're very willing to let you come in on your own time and use the machines to make your own stuff, so long as you don't break anything or disrupt a job that the machine is already set up for. I made an air cleaner cover for a coworker's Harley in an afternoon, my battery tie down and wing nuts in a morning, and Dave's t-case shift knob another morning.

    We're wicked busy right now, so there's no spare time to be found. Things are expected to slow down, it's a new year so all of our customers are on a buying-freeze while they sort their taxes and budget and whatnot. In a couple weeks I imagine we'll be cut back to 40 hour weeks and no shot at overtime. IF that happens, I want to try and get in there a couple Fridays and Saturdays and make knobs for those that requested them, and I'd like to do a couple more battery tie downs as well.

    More on this part:

    As long as my boss was cool with it (meaning keep it a secret from him) I'd continue working for him while doing my own thing on the side. Until I got a solid customer base, including a couple regular customers; I wouldn't try to rely on it as a sole source of income.

    What I really aught to do though is man up and talk it over with my boss. He's got a multi-million dollar business, and it all started with a single horizontal CNC mill in the garage of his house. Granted, he didn't have to deal with the money part of it, he's trust funded into it; but he still had to make a name for himself, get customers, KEEP customers, and continue to make profit while growing. If there's anybody close to me I could sit down and talk it all over with, it's him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  31. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Here's a sampling of my "non-work" work:

    Bottom of Dave's T-Case knob:

    [​IMG]

    Top of knob:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Coworker's Harley air cleaner:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And after black anodizing:

    [​IMG]


    Badge for my project ratrod bicycle:

    [​IMG]


    Battery tie down ("This piece adds 25HP and looks *****in' too!"):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And iron cross wing nuts for tie down:

    [​IMG]


    XN card-style bottle opener:

    [​IMG]


    Christmas ornament:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  32. Timrich

    Timrich Super Duper Moderator Founding Member

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    I'm diggin that battery tie down...:D

    Sent from my Galaxy S III
     
  33. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    Same here... I'd order 2 tie downs and maybe a shifter knob.
     
  34. ymbhonk

    ymbhonk First Fill-Up (of many)

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    It would be cool to get a paper weight Xterra that was built up.


    Sent from my iPhone
     
  35. NMTerras

    NMTerras Suspension Lift

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    You go church!
    If you want to make a go of it you'll want to appeal to as wide a segment of the public as possible as efficiently as possible. In other words, you've got to find a go-to object(s) you can make easily and quickly which a lot of people are going to want. The Xmas ornaments are intriguing, as are cases for screens. Keep thinking outside the box.
    Also, I'll take a TC knob, manual shifter knob, a battery tie-down and a license plate frame... :)
     
  36. TKDx00

    TKDx00 Lockers Installed Founding Member

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    You do plate frames too?!?! Got a pic, I might want 1.
     
  37. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    Thanks man!

    :D

    That'd be a project for sure. I did make a a pen holder/business card holder/paper weight for a kid I used to work with. An Xterra would be difficult but it's a possibility.

    Exactly! The more industries I can branch out into, the better. That's what's so great about CNC mills, you can make just about anything. Doesn't necessarily have to be made from metal either, you can CNC plastics, phenolic material, fiberglass, lots of stuff that gets used in a wide range of applications.

    I haven't made any yet, but I have a couple designs in mind. A friend needs one for his project Dakota street rod. I plan to try and get it done for him soon, if I do manage to get it done I'll take pics for sure.

    I really just need to sit down and draw these things in Mastercam, then I can show you all what I've got in mind (and not to sound "that way", but also what I'm capable of).

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  38. AZhiAZiAM

    AZhiAZiAM Suspension Lift

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    i'd take a battery tie down if it had an X on it :D mine flops all over the place
     
  39. KChurch86

    KChurch86 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

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    I can put whatever you want on them :D

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2
     
  40. NMTerras

    NMTerras Suspension Lift

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    I actually desperately need a battery tie down. I will pay monies, and put church fab HP on terra
     

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