Captain - There be WHALES in here

Leo Voisine

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Just a little quickie.

First off - I did not make the two shorter whales, but I did make the other 5 whales.

There actually is SOME CNC work here, but also a lot of Hand? work. Dremel, belt sander, hand saw, rock hammer, screwdriver, paint brushes, hand sanding, ROS 40 grit, and some other stuff.

I have 39 Gb of files that I will turn into a video so I can share the technical details of the process. Some of which may be of interest to someone.

It's incredible the amount of work I put into these things.


Whale-1.jpgWhale-2.jpgWhale-3.jpg
 

Leo Voisine

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East Freeetown, Massachusetts
Nice looking POD. That is a lot of work I hope it is profitable for ya.
Programming was about 15 minutes.
Initial setup is about 10 min.
About 1 hour on the CNC, including changing cutters 3 times
Internal to CNC machine time ----- Sanding, distressing is about 15-20 min
Painting time for 4 at a time is about 15-20 min. for all 3 coats of paint
Finishing buffing is about 10 minutes for all 4.

I am pretty sure my expected labor rate will be met with the sale of these whales.

I never said it was a LOT of work, but shhhh, don't tell anyone.
 

Leo Voisine

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I used a 2x10 from Lowes. Cut material 24". Whale is 23" Material cost is about $3.00 Paint cost about $1.00-$2.00. Just to recoup material cost I need to get $5.00 per whale. Figure 1.5 hours labor plus $5.00 material.

I don't own the models so I really cannot sell them outright - YET. This entire exercise is for my client. 1) to teach him how to minimize the work he puts into making his whales. He sells them all over our area, including Nantucket, Marthas Vinyard, Cape Cod, Newport Rhode Island and of course SE Mass. I KNOW he will buy them from me. My point is to teach him how to do it and minimize his labor cost. After all, that IS what a manufacturing engineer does.

Secondly, I want his models. He owns them, and they are his intellectual property. I also plan to make a 31" Seahorse for him. Again, it's HIS model.

He pays me to create the programs, prove them out in his shop and teach him how to do the work.

Currently, he buys a lot of stuff from a guy that makes these with a chain saw, but the guy is a bit unreliable, getting older and slowing down. The artist is extremely good at what he does. The 2 smaller whales that I did not make in the picture are in fact from the artist. You have seen chain saw artists before. My client also makes some on his own stuff. He does not have the skills to artistically paint, or use the CNC machine the way I know how. So, my worth is in skill, knowledge, experience and ability to teach.

My plan is to GIVE him the 4 whales and the 1 or 2 seahorses I make for the rights to use the 2 whale models and the 1 seahorse model for my own gain. Barter - if you will. That's a value of a couple of hundred dollars.

After that, I can make and sell. I will promise not to sell in competition with him.

The bigger whale in the back IS my whale, mostly hand made, but shape cut on the CNC. That one is for a different client. Definitely making money on that one.
 

Ted Calver

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Good plan and kudos to you for trying to respect his intellectual property. Of course, if you design a stylized whale in a different configuration it would be your intellectual property...?
 

Ryan Mooney

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Figure 1.5 hours labor plus $5.00 material.
Which is why I never understood the "materials * x" costing :)

My point is to teach him how to do it and minimize his labor cost. After all, that IS what a manufacturing engineer does.
That actually sounds pretty fun in sort of the abstract sense. The actual amount of fun likely varies depending on the specifics :)
 

Leo Voisine

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Which is why I never understood the "materials * x" costing :)



That actually sounds pretty fun in sort of the abstract sense. The actual amount of fun likely varies depending on the specifics :)
Ryan,

I have been taught to sell on "value", and I do that. It is also a good idea to measure the cost to make sure that time and material is equal to or less than - value. I do have a value associated with my labor. I think of it as a minimum. I do NOT sell by materials * X --- That is NOT a good business practice. Most of the time I will double the material cost then add my labor. After all, I do go the store, transport, shop, research and all that on material. Therefore, value has been added to the material. The real cost of material is more than what is shown on the receipt. My labor rate is higher than my hourly rate that I was making as an engineer.

It IS certainly challenging to get to a place whereas you can achieve a "reasonable" labor rate. YES, it IS possible. Min wage does not cut the mustard.

Now there IS a reasonable argument to the material x 2 strategy. In publication 528 of the IRS, they DO describe a situation whereas the hobbyist will sell at cost or even at a loss - for the love of the process. That IS legit, as long as that is a decision that has been thought out and accepted.

My thought is that I WANT to be profitable, and earn a respectable wage. It's a challenge that I seek and desire to achieve. No, it's not everybodys cup of tea, but it is mine. Part of my hobby - is to achieve it.

Soo - that means finding a way to do it, even if it means making a product that you don't necessarily choose to do. It certainly does challenge us to learn more. One of the reasons I sell stuff is to have customers expand my envelope. Maybe what we "want" to make just is not profitable.

If I make and sell earrings for $12.00 a pair, I am making about $150.00 per hour. I will - but it's not my first choice in product. The whales are more fun, and they are profitable, but not as much as earrings. I did a painting job recently and got paid well over $100/hr. I don't love painting, but the money was nice.

YES - I enjoy it. It has it's days, not always fun. Some days are no fun at all, but I take the good with the bad. Overall it IS rewarding. I like challenges, I like solving problems, I like helping people and I like getting paid. I guess I am a little demented, strange, weird but I am happy. It keeps me going. I see a lot of older retired guys spending their days at McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts shooting the breeze, drinking coffee and reminiscing about the good old days. That is NOT me.

BTW - my client is 77 years old and has never touched a CNC machine in his live.
 

Ryan Mooney

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If I make and sell earrings for $12.00 a pair, I am making about $150.00 per hour.
Counting in overhead for small stuff like that has always been harder for me, I suspect it gets easier with practice and experience to build on. It's kind of a hard tradeoff on the calculation. It's easier to know the base costs on small stuff but the overhead of selling. etc.. can be more variable whereas the base cost on larger stuff is more variable.

I'll agree 100% on the value theory, in concept, in practice its a tricky value to calculate. Value is a bit situational so determining the actual value for a given situation is an interesting exercise. It's a bit pop-psych but I thought Poundstones book on the matter was somewhat useful for helping me get my head around it (if nothing else it helped me re-baseline my own intuitions on the perception of value for a given <thing> and determine when that perception might be being manipulated).

I've done quite a few things for free, I'll do that rather than take less than something approaching fair value. At the very least its then clear that it's a donation and not an actual expression of my expected remuneration :) It also gives me an out if I'm not inclined to continue which is perhaps more useful at the moment when I'm pretty much precluded from doing real outside work by my employment contract.
 
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