I was curious what everyone who has more experience with these machines thoughts would be about the long term viability of a portable CNC business? I live close to a weekend flea market that is outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter and was debating pros and cons of setting up a booth there to help get me more local sales. I have an enclosed trailer so would it be as simple as pushing my work table into the trailer, roll it out at the flea market, resurface my waste board for flatness, ???, and profit? Basically would have various premade items and the cnc would be mainly for custom engraving work on site for the customer. Would have to run everything off of a generator and assuming machine noise would be an issue as well. If I enclose the machine and don’t run any dust collection could I mitigate the noise and the generator would be the loudest piece of the puzzle? Also any idea how well electronics and hardware would hold up over time being loaded/unloaded and riding in a trailer roughly 30 miles each week?
I like the concept and have thought about that very thing myself. I’m just not sure how the machine would hold up over the rigors of transportation week in and week out. I’m also curious as to what other, more experienced users have to say.
How long do you expect each project to take? I would think that would be the real issue. I’m not sure how long people would want to wait. Also how many jobs you could do in a day. As for the 1f all it would take is to have a welder make up a rigid steel frame with no flex.
I think Casey is spot-on regarding his comments. Unless you limited the on-the-spot deliveries to pre-made blanks you already had cut out (names or house numbers, etc.) that could be done relatively quickly, I think most custom work wouldn’t be practical in that environment. But as Casey pointed out, the mere presence of the machine running there would generate questions & probable business.
I could be wrong, lol, I have been once before, but I think most people will think that it’s neat to watch it work. But you need to get people to commit to placing an order. If you can’t give them a finished sign before they leave the show I think a lot of people will just want to do it but will move on to the next thing that pops into their head once they walk away. People have a short attention span.
I think if you could figure out what sells and then make up blanks ready to go I think you would get the most sales. For example, if at a craft show that’s mostly thing like sewing, signs were popular. You could make up blanks with stuff like a fancy border, maybe an image of sewing needles or embroidery, and a phrase like “XXXX sewing shop” (where XXXX is blank). That way all you needed to do was a v-carve of their name. You could then have images on a laptop of custom stuff and so if someone wanted something different you could do that after the show and ship it to them. I would think themes like birds, flowers, and specific crafts would be big sellers.
I would think personalized signs would go over pretty well. Stick with premade blanks and VCarving which is quick. As for the machine, I would think about a metal frame then you should have no issues with flexing and movement. Put the machine in an enclosure with a big viewing window so customers can see it in action.
For noise, I have seen some vendors running a honda generator that hardly makes any noise. You only need a vacuum to clean up the mess after carving.
Good luck sounds like a great plan.
I’ve been one who has found ease in spending someone else’s money. Therefor, I would think the Machinest would make a more serviceable portable. The Woodworker is large and heavy, and in the long term would suffer from constant flexing and movement. I also doubt that it could be quickly setup to a firm level base. I assume you would be doing mostly customization of already made carved products, which would most likely could be done by the Machinest. So buy 2 machines and maybe ONEFinity will consider giving me a commission on the sale. Lastly I wish you success.
Just keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there that see this sort of thing done (while-u-wait signs, novelty items etc) and think that just because you can churn out a carved sign in 30 mins or so, they might baulk at the price you are charging for such an item when it only takes less than half an hour, it may be hard to justify the price to the consumer.
Good point. All they will see for their money is the time that went into sticking their name on, and likely not all the prep work and investment in time, material, and equipment that preceded it.
Hey Fireman41, hey Bob,
I believe you should not underestimate that a CNC router is a robot that does the work for you - at least that’s the impression people get when you show one at work and are standing aside. I think people are more likely to give you a lot of money for something that you have carved yourself while exuding a lot of sweat, i.e. better to buy a shaving horse or a carving bench and a set of gouges than to show a robot that does the work for you .
Good idea. Have a bunch of your boards on display and for sale, plus one or two you are ‘sweating over’ putting on the finishing touches manually.
Keep the 95% completed boards back in the shop and take orders. Tell them quality takes time and the soonest you could have it ready (without a rush order) is in 9 days. But, for a little more, you will drop everything and get right on it as soon as you get back to the shop and maybe have it out in less than 6 days.
Exactly, and back in the workshop, your CNCs are lined up and finish all of the orders on the same day and you go to the beach surfing for a week until delivery.