If I didn't have all these tools and had it to do over I'd buy a CNC, edgbander and a hinge machine. Outsource doors and forget the rest. The most amount of money made is, not, being a full service shop.
Pete pretty much nailed it. Get a used CNC, edgebander, hinge press, Sliding table saw etc.. Outsource everything you can, Doors/drawers etc.. I was in your shoes 4 years ago with almost no money to invest. Now were doing 40 some kitchens a year out of a 5000sq ft room with 3 guys...
The old iron woodworking stuff is great, but if your trying to make a living and not a hobby you need to automate as much as possible. Don't get me wrong, the Oliver stuff is really nice, I have a bunch of MOAK equipment that is terrific as well. But that stuff rarely gets turned on by comparison to the cnc equipment.
I don't have a cnc router but my buddy's shop does and I let him do certain things for me on it. I've watched it operate several times and here is my question that might help Frank with his question.
I've watched my buddy cut cabinet parts on his and as far as speed goes isn't a table saw faster? Granted the cnc takes all the work out of it but while I've watched seems like I could have had the parts cut and stacked by the time the router got done cutting. Nothing is as accurate as a cnc, and I have him make parts that have something fancy or a certain feature that would be hard to do on my tools but as far as cabinet parts? Keep in mind that I'm speaking from my lack of knowledge and asking a question not making a declaration.
Mike, in a nutshell, no. The cnc continues to operate while you are doing something else. I can run my cnc and the saw at the same time. (depends on the parts) I can make a bathroom run, talk on the phone or answer a few questions while the machine is continuing to make product. Same is true for my saw. While it is running I can collect scrap and dispose of it, or stack parts, or other little things that need doing, all the while the machine continues to cut. You'd wear yourself out trying to keep up with a machine every day. It's kind of like before you got a fork lift and then after. A few sheets don't all that much time but...
REAL BIG addition to the time and labor save of a CNC is the custom parts, radius, forms, handicap legs and a host of Money makers the thing produces, Steve Spurrier Resigned as Head Ball Coach At USC this week later this AM I will show you how fast you can turn that into a Buck when requested.
If you have good software you save time on design and limit mistakes. Our CNC machine paid for itself within a year. It also made our "sawing operation" less complex. It takes very little training to run a CNC. If our main operator is out we can still run at full capacity.
I'll agree with the posters above. We bought a used CNC in April, followed closely by a high end miter box and Tiger Stop. The learning curve on the CNC was steep (and the software expensive) but it has unquestionably revolutionized my business. We have always outsourced doors and dovetail boxes and now we have the boxes done so fast we are waiting for the doors to arrive to complete!
The one thing I can't emphasize enough is the "cost" of learning to use the machine to it's full potential and efficiency- that can't be underestimated but it is MORE than worth it in the end.
Why get a used CNC as has been suggested? I import CNC machines from China and upgrade the electronics. I am able to offer new CNC machines at used prices. For less than the cost of a used pickup truck you can have a precise CNC machine to complement any small shop.
We have all forgotten to ask what kind of work he does?
But that being said, it makes the point that there are few to no reasons not to purchase a CNC whether its being used for kitchens , passage doors or furniture . It is like adding an employee, buy a solid machine that you can rely on. Like the employee, you will get what you pay for. I love my biesse and the support provided. But not sure you'll find one for 40k. We fill empty machine time by running parts for other shops in our area and have started making wooden components for other people as well. Most recently guitar work has been added on and is been alot of fun!
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