I’d like to come up with a reasonable (inclusive, but not anally-retentive) calculation of machining cost per hour to apply to woodworking projects and products I plan to sell. I’m starting with these (arbitrary) factors, and would welcome additions and adjustments:
I’m putting the expected life of my Onefinity Woodworker at 4000 hours, with a salvage value of $500. I’m including brush changes every 100 hours on the Makita Router with router replacement at 500 hours. I am guesstimating average tooling in hardwoods at about 20 hours before replacement (highly variable, I know) of bits. I am estimating 1000 hours on my Fein Turbo I dust collection with a salvage value of zero. I am reserving $1.00 per hour run time for maintenance and parts replacement on the Onefinity. I also have a kilowatt/hr figure for electricity, and an estimate for replacement spoilboards. Am I missing anything significant? Off base on my life span estimates? Looking forward to discussion…
I charge 1.25 per min for the first 30min, 1.00 per min from 30min-2hr, anything more is .75 per min. This is for machine time. I charge 20 an hour for design and setup with a 1/2hr min. Materials I usually mark up 20%. This all varies from project to project but generally this is what i go by to come up with a quote.
That’s what I do but there’s still the need for t-track bolts or other fasteners besides just the wood scraps. Also it’s good to have something ready for your first cuts - either double-sided tape or blue tape & CA glue (& I like accelerant - glue on the tape on the bed and accelerant on the tape on the material).
Thanks, JDog, for sharing. What you charge, though, isn’t necessarily what it cost you…those kinds of figures look like they are recovering wages, overhead, etc. in addition to machining cost. In terms of strictly the machine operation, I can’t imagine it costs $480 just to run the OF for 8 hours.
Very good points, CandL…I too am retired and as a hobbyist looking just to supplement income while not injuring anyone who does this for a living by deflating market value. My market area is soft (rural and highly price sensitive) and I will get work mostly because no one else around here has a CNC for woodworking. I intended this thread to focus on reasonable recovery of the CNC only - it resides in a dedicated woodworking shop long ago paid for that will remain heated/cooled/consuming resources whether the CNC is running or not; I don’t need the CNC to pay ANYTHING but for itself, tooling, and part-time, minimum-wage level income to me as a dabbler.
I don’t quibble at all at the rates cited by JDog as appropriate for earning a living. I just think those rates are paying for more than what I am concentrating on.
I think it would be hard to come up with an accurate number for a hobbyist who is only occasionally going to sell products. Theoretically the 1F should last a lot longer than 4000 hours. Where I work we use lots of stepper/ servo motors and they last a very long time. I’m sure ours are a higher quality but still I would guess that 50k hours is not unusual. We have some that have been in service for over 30 years now. The same with the lead screws. With minimal maintenance they should last a very long time. That really leaves just the controller which would most likely be damaged from a power spike.
So $1/hr should more than cover the actual cost of the 1F and a spindle (which I would upgrade to if I was going to do any amount of work I was going to sell). The spoilboard would have to be something based on the project. For example, if you were just doing a V carve where the surface of the board wasn’t going to be touched I wouldn’t add it into the cost of a project. However if the project required cuts through the work piece that would damage the spoilboard then I would have to guess at how many projects I could do before I would want to replace it. On top of that do you have the tools to buy full size sheets or are you going to need it cut by someone else.
Back when I ran a glass shop we just figured in a flat rate for shop time which included all the tools and other costs like heat and electricity. In this case I think I would go with $10/hr to cover everything but consumables and your labor. Both bits and labor would be harder. With time you’ll get a better feel for how long a bit can be used until dull. I have several of the Spektra bits that have a lot more than 20 hours on them. So maybe $2/hr for bit wear?
Then there’s labor. Are you doing this because it’s fun? If so then $10/hr may be more than enough. If I was doing it as a business I could see myself being north of where JDog is at. But that’s because my benchmark is how much do I get paid if I put an extra hour in at my real job. But since I’m doing this for fun I could see myself taking much longer to get a design just the way I want it.
The worst thing about something like this is you probably could make more profit just making custom V-carve signs on pine and selling them at craft shows than making much nicer pieces with high quality hardwood.
My rates do try to incorporate several factors including overhead, investment, skill level, learning curve, and what it takes to keep the lights on, but that is because the 1F is a major part of my business. My main work use to consist of building custom epoxy countertops and river tables so the 1F was an addition to what I was doing already. But over the last year it has quickly become more of the focus at my shop. Now I make more signs, carvings, and custom stuff than I ever did before. My main issue is sourcing materials at a decent price where I can keep the costs reasonable.
I’m kind of lucky that I have several small mills close by. One is a one man operation that just logs off of his family farm right here in town. He only sells kiln dried rough cut hardwood that grows around here. He’s usually about 20% less than the more commercial places and has 10s of thousands of board feet in stock. Without a jointer, planer, and table saw I probably would have to pay quite a bit more.
Last night I used my spoilboard bit to manually surface some walnut that I’m going to turn into a football shape serving tray with the Patriots logo and name inlayed into it (a gift). It’s a 2 3/8" diameter CMT bit that showed I need to dial in the front to back tramming as it left a small ridge. I made a finish pass on my planner. But once I dial in the 1F I probably could skip the planner. Once the inlay is done I’ll run it through my drum sander. I’m not sure how much I would have to charge to cover all the tools. On the one hand they cost a lot of money but on the other hand it only takes a couple of minutes of use on each tool and they save a lot of time. For example I can have rough cut wood cut and glued up ready for the 1F in probably 15 minutes.
No. Now that I have it I wouldn’t get rid of the drum sander. It’s more of a time saver over hand sanding. I have a 20" planer with carbide inserts that does a great job but even wood that comes off of that will get a couple passes through the drum sander. The last inlay project I did I set the inlay about 1/32" lower than the surrounding wood. I did a light pass through the planer first and then about 5 passed through the drum sander.
When I say inlay I’m not talking a v carve inlay. What I do is use a 1/8" bit to cut a pocket and then use a 1/32" to finish off the corners. For the current inlay project I bought some 1/16" dyed though and though maple veneer (which is why I can’t do a v carve inlay) for the red, blue, and white Pat’s logo. I could use the 1F to flatten the surface and finish it with a hand sander but the drum sander will do a better job. Also by using a spoilboard bit there’s a risk of damaging the inlay where the only risk with the drum sander is sanding too deep. But to take 1/16" off with the drum sander would be 10 passes or more.
Why use the 1F for that vs the planer? Was it too wide for your planer? My workflow is the other way. Planer then to the CNC (but I don’t have my 1F yet so not certain about the speed of flattening operations on the 1F vs Shopbot).
I’ve got a local mill near me too and for hardwoods he’s my go to source. I also have a hardwood dealer (sells finished boards) with a great supply of just about any kind of hardwood I could want. Both are way better than anything I can get at Woodcraft, big boxes or lumber yards.
I just wanted to try it. The proper use of a planer is to use it as a thicknesser. Before using the planer you need to flatten one side of the board. Putting it on the 1F is to make that flat edge. It’s like skipping the jointer. I shimmed the wood so it wouldn’t rock and then clamped it by the edges. Once glued up the wood was almost 20" wide, too wide for my jointer. I could have made a sled and used the planer but thought I would try the 1F.
This might be a bit obvious, but I have been caught by this before, remember to include the replacement cost of wood, not what you purchased it for weeks, months, years ago. Pretty volatile market around here at the moment.