"One Perfect Part at a Time"


Getting Hot – But Not

ER16 Collet Box

I haven’t moved as fast as I intended on the live steam projects. Again, just too many irons on the fire. Excuses are easy.

My little Taig Machine business has greatly picked up in the last month. I know why, it’s the new ball-screw mill. I might have the most sales for Taig for September. Taig doesn’t know why, but I must have done something correctly. I know I have been re-stocking and placing orders as one, if not THE busiest months for me with the RDS store.

I do have a workshop CNC project. I have to make a bunch more of the 1” wrenches for use on the Taig mill spindle. The 6061 T6 aluminum is on order. The wrenches have become a popular accessory. Many customers buy just one but it takes two for me to change tools in the collet. One wrench on the spindle and one on the collet. I might offer a slight discount for a set of two rather than sell them individually. But first I have to make more!

As I write this I have my 3D printer running, making ER16 collet boxes. They are a really nice way to keep those small ER16 collets in order. The Taig set is not supplied with any type of permanent holder or storage box. The boxes are selling good.

Decent weather (temperature) has come back to Texas. That makes working in the shop much nicer. That’s what I considered for getting back to the live steam work, comfortable working conditions.

New Store Blog

I have just added a new blog as part of The Hobbyist Machine Store.

I have been posting store info here in this blog for some time. There is a category for THMStore.  but now with the new blog connected directly to the Store, I have a better place to post when I am talking about something commercial in my store. My intent is to keep this blog more on topic with what I do just for myself in my personal projects.

I will reference between the two blogs as necessary, but the Store blog will be more customer/product oriented. You will notice the Store Blog enjoys the security of the SSL certificate with the actual store website. Not really useful for a blog, but the SSL is there and you will know no one can track your password to log in.

The new site is totally undeveloped at this point as far as entries, but I am making some changes in the business and I plan to have a lot of the changes  documented in the blog as I move forward.

Gearing Down

I am driven to make some changes in my “The Hobbyist Machine Store” e-Commerce business. If you are not new to my postings, you know I have been running that business for about seven years as a fairly low key sideline to my real profession as an energy management engineer.

Life changes and so does business in that period of time. I sold a lot of replacement gears for the Asian mini-mill and mini lathe. There was and is a sort of cult following for those machines. I was in on it too. I never broke any gears on my machines but there is a significant number of owners who have.

I hooked up with a supplier that could afford to make the large investment in a large purchase (actually several) of steel gears to replace the plastic ones used in the design. The new gears are not made by the machine manufacturers but an independent gear maker. To keep the unit manufacturing and shipping cost down, large  orders are required. The last big order took nearly a year to be made and delivered. There was some moisture in the packing boxes from storing and shipping that length of time and the surface finish process had changed on the gears. The gears were fine, but my supplier didn’t like the low priority service from the maker and how long he had his money tied up in the order.

Replacement gear sales have always been slow and somewhat inconsistent. They sell in short bursts, perhaps because a mention in a machinist forum from time to time. About mid way we started supplying the gears to another retail source. Also multiple quantity overseas sales help move inventory. The problem has been that as my main sales item, the turnover of the… Continue reading

Proxxon Returns

Last November (2011) I shut down the Proxxon line from The Hobbyist Machine Store. This was probably poor timing being just before Christmas. However, the constant inquiry about the PD400 lathe for almost a year with zero sales was not something that was productive.

I have decided to list Proxxon products again at the store but not the PD400 lathe. Nothing at all wrong with Proxxon products. I like them and use them myself. I have some small inventory but I have decided not to stock the large items. I’ll let the wholesaler do that.

I am offering free shipping on Proxxon until June 1, 2012.  After that I will see if I can continue the offer.

A Change at THMStore

The change is THMS is going to manufacturer many of the products it sells. The Hobbyist’s Machine Shop will be refined and improved as necessary into a higher volume work shop in order to enable production runs of some finely crafted products we have long considered making. These products will then be offered for sale through our e-commerce store or perhaps regional sales representatives.

The Hobbyist Machine Store (THMS) is an Internet e-business. The initial mission statement of the business was to provide replacement steel gears for the popular Asian made mini lathe and mini mills. THMS next expanded its mission statement to include supplying small machine tools, accessories and powered hand tools to any hobbyist constructing precision projects in their personal workshops. THMS does not cater to just the machinist hobby, but to any kind of hobbyist who requires small high quality machine tools for their workshops.

The original plan put THMS into limited competition with other Internet and catalog based small tool providers. I have stated on these pages, it is not the intention of THMS to be yet another supplier of lookalike goods. We never intend to become a large discount supplier of common brand tools and machines, just competing on price.

I have been considering making this THMS mission statement “adjustment” for more than a year. I can’t call it a change of mission as this direction has always been a part of my long range strategy. A change in emphasis may be a better description. The emphasis to produce and market my own products.

THM Store will continue to offer, as long as there are orders, the high quality products that are not readily available through other channels. One example is the excellent Proxxon PD400 metric mini lathe and accessories, imported from Germany. We will… Continue reading

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