Building a shop

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by shinyedges, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Hey fellas and ladies


    I'm in the purchasing phase of making a small cnc shop to make knives. I'm a cnc programmer/machinist by trade and have that end of what I'll need covered. I am humbly asking for opinions on the other parts of this shop that I'll need. Every part of the knives will be made in my shop, heat treatment will likely start at Peters but will eventually be done in house.

    Hit me with suggestions on what equipment you think would be best for my shop. Feel free to ask questions if you need specific information to better offer a suggestion. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    A selection of goods files, a good belt grinder...
     
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  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Make the shop twice as big as you think you need ... maybe three times as big.

    CNC will only go so far, so you will have to still do a lot of knifemaking work.

    A good belt grinder, disc grinder, surface grinder, drill press, metal and wood cutting bandsaws, welder, etc. are pretty much essential in a full time shop. The list is much larger, but that is a start. HT can be sent out.
     
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  4. Aidenag

    Aidenag

    289
    Apr 16, 2009
    Really need more info on what your making, and the process of said making to know what you will need. you forging? stock removal? trying to do as much as possible via CNC?
     
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  5. Randydb

    Randydb Basic Member Basic Member

    991
    Sep 27, 2014
    It's been pretty eye opening getting to see Caribou Knives set up near me. Their bread and butter is making knives for the food processing industry but also will make almost anything you want from carving tools, to mass produced blanks to custom knives. Their laser cutter is housed in a shipping container and their main shop is a converted detached garage. Main office is in the basement of the house. They have everything stored and organized and ready to go in as few steps as possible...both physically and process wise. I didn't get a close look at their sharpener but as far as I could see it was two belt grinders that overlapped and did both sides of the blade in one pull. Heat treat day is Wednesdays and they will HT for me too. Soooooo....I would say you also want to look into operations that have that process part of the game figured out too. Understanding how to be efficient and what tools make you efficient is important. I just spent 5 hours hand sanding imperfections on 4 knives I am making. I am no where near understanding efficiency at the moment!
     
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  6. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    CNC will be used for as much as possible, 3D milling can do a lot but not everything. I'm looking for info on professional belt grinders and set ups and anything anyone has to add.
     
  7. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    I will check them out, and yea, streamlined processes take time to work out. Trying to learn as much as I can from anyone willing to bestow some knowledge to help shorten the time it takes to get there.
     
  8. Dominick Maone

    Dominick Maone

    62
    Oct 14, 2018
    Check out this guy if you have not on youtube. He makes one model and tries to make it as efficiently as possible. https://www.youtube.com/user/aaronmarkgough
    Grimsmo Knives also has a ton of videos on their processes. They make everything in house for their folders and pens.
     
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  9. Flatlander bowie

    Flatlander bowie

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Maybe find someone with a water jet to blast out blanks so you can save on that. Water jet beats CNC mill for blasting out profiles blanks ready for cnc.
    If I was investing for a full on shop I would look at the TW90 or Black Fox One grinders.
    With a cnc mill and proper knowledge a surface grinder, drill and manual mill become secondary until you need to do something and the CNC is in the middle of a run, would have to have the fixture changed out, and you need it soon. So manual drill press or small knee mill would be awesome.
     
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  10. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Or a Reeder Grinder ... very well built, lower cost, and sturdier than a TW90.
     
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  11. Flatlander bowie

    Flatlander bowie

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    Also, full time machinist here, what machine you looking at?
     
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  12. Flatlander bowie

    Flatlander bowie

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    I always forget ther Reeder, mostly cause I've never had a chance to use one.
    Stacy is a wealth of info and opinion is better than mine. I'm just a pup.
     
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  13. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Originally looking at haas because they are affordable, but some solid advice is steering me towards used mori seiki if I can find them. I spent a few years on a dmg mori and they are great, but expensive.
     
  14. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Thank you Stacy and everyone else for the advice
     
  15. Flatlander bowie

    Flatlander bowie

    17
    Jun 23, 2020
    I run a Haas tm2p alot and it's a good machine. If you looked at it get the Renshaw set up. 100% worth it for setting tools, changing fixtures and dialing in 1 off parts.
    The Mori machines are beasts but I haven't ran one for 20 years so my experience is limited. Remember, I'm sure you know, tooling cost as much as the machine in the long run. Especially for cutting blade steel. I would set back several thousand just for end mills and drills. Do you have a good tooling rep?
    Also, are you planning to do this full time or just after work?
     
  16. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    my last shop had 15 haas machines and they did good. Plus they have excellent service. Yea, tooling is very expensive, im glad i learned how to machine on the companies dime lol

    I'll start off the shop doing shit on the weekends and after work and move to full time when everything is up and running and ready to produce.
     
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  17. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    There are a bunch of really too notch machines out there for knife makers.

    In my opinion there are really two that rise above the rest. The TW-90 (https://traviswuertz.com/?product=tw-90-knife-grinder) and the Northridge tool grinder (http://www.northridgetool.com/).
    I don't own either, I just can't justify the expense for a hobby. I have a Reeder (https://reederproducts.com/) which I think is an awesome grinder! There are lots of options out there for grinders. Just remember to buy the one that has ALL the features that you want/need (you want and need variable speed). Buy once, cry once, as they say!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  18. ShannonSteelLabs

    ShannonSteelLabs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 9, 2015
    For a grinder go with Northridge tool.
    Pricey but absolutely the best.
    They run about 4k fully loaded. But worth every penny.

    I remember you talking about this previously and am stoked to hear you are back on it.

    Do you plan on fully machining the blades from bar or plate stock? Or do you plan on getting blanks water jet to spec then doing final machining?
     
  19. shinyedges

    shinyedges Unfaltering Love & Undeviating Will Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Hey Colin glad to see you around! Hope you've been well.

    I'll pick up a small water jet to do my own and then machine them. I want to keep as much as I can under my roof.
     
  20. ShannonSteelLabs

    ShannonSteelLabs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 9, 2015
    Awesome. I'm sure they have some smaller units that would work well for that.

    I've been great. Made a big move and some life changes!
    Still working on how to move my shop. But it looks promising.

    Also I still have that prototype for you. Once I'm up and grinding I'll get it ground.
     

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