15-Year-Old Builds His Business With a Tormach PCNC 440

Stone Hendrickson started making things at an early age. His uncle got him into archery at around 10- or 11-years old, and his interest in manufacturing spawned very quickly.

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CNC for the “Now Economy"

As many brick-and-mortar stores are seeing sales drift online and websites like Kickstarter are helping to decide where the market is headed, personal manufacturing has moved from the wave of the future to a tool of production. The “Now Economy” has produced consumers that expect their goods to be high-quality and arrive quickly, which can sometimes be a challenge for traditional manufacturers. That’s why the era of start-ups inside and outside of Silicon Valley has been a booming success. At first, the “now economy” was limited to services and digital goods (ebooks, Uber rides, apps, etc.), but the culture has bled into tangible items as well. Small-run and/or custom manufacturing have emerged as the best choices for most consumers. Though, Walmart still has an empire, the market is changing. For quite some time, Tormach customers have been using their machines for customized and short-run manufacturing in industries that have long been relegated to goliath manufacturing organizations. Mike Ko, who has used a PCNC 1100 at KFx Medical Corporation, said back in 2011, “Both the hardware and the software have been dropping in price and rising in capability, ease-of-use, and quality. On the hardware side, the development of the Tormach PCNC machine is one of the first capable and affordable CNC machines.” Another extension of the Now Economy arrives at highly-custom components for one-of-a-kind applications. For instance, Adam Summers uses his PCNC 1100 to replicate biology in an attempt to understand the function of certain structures within fish – certainly not an off-the-shelf venture – while also making custom brackets and enclosures to interact and record his biological subjects. Reinhard Valle approaches customization in a more commercial sense with his personalized putters. Using input from customers, as well as his PCNC 770, Reinhard Putters makes functional and balanced golf clubs with an artful twist. Nate Kossak of Ideas Squared has taken this small-run manufacturing idea to the community. “We are proponents of ‘neighborhood manufacturing,’ and we’re trying to offer a place where the community can fulfill their low to medium manufacturing needs,” he explains. “We achieve this by providing a place where people can do some of the manufacturing on their own.” Often, major manufacturing partnerships are still needed to develop billion-dollar companies, but those cumbersome organizations are beginning to feel the heat from start-up companies that are enabled through personal machining and manufacturing. While some small organizations will still only look to be bought out by the bigger players, many start-ups are seeing light of real profits without selling out. Thanks to more accessible tools that enable ideas, the next Apple or GE could be in your neighbor’s garage.

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From Gears to Golf Clubs – Customized Production with a Tormach PCNC 770

Manufacturing customized or short-run parts can be expensive, which is why the old models for production relied on easily repeatable parts and cost-reduction through volume. We’re now in an era where customization and personalization are less luxury and more expectation. This opens a new opportunity for small-business shops and many are taking advantage of short-run and customized products market via Tormach mills.

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Makers on the Move: PCNC Components Hit the Street in the RoamBoard Electric Skateboard

With an engineering background, an established career in the aerospace and medical industries and power tools, Rob Green is no stranger to the machine shop.

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Game On! Small CNC Brings Laser Tag into the Light

Playing laser tag for the past seventeen years, Tom Baker of Lafayette, Indiana has turned a teenage hobby into a successful business—all while innovating the future of the game.

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Making Mountain Bike Components

Since this Customer Showcase Story was was written Nov 25, 2009, Precision Cycling Components (PCC) has "reached an agreement with TH Industries, manufacturer of Full Speed Ahead (FSA), Gravity, and Vision Brand components, to grant them an exclusive world-wide license to our design." Inventor of the of the All Mountain Post (AMP), an adjustable bicycle seat raised and lowered through a handlebar-mounted lever, Jim Brennan of Precision Cycling Components used a Series I PCNC 1100 to innovate in the mountain bike industry.

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