Hey everyone.I wasn't sure if I should have stuck this on an existing thread or start a new one?I didn't want it to "get lost" in a thread,so I thought it best to start anew,so here it goes.Anyway, I wanted to get some feedback from as many as I can in here,because this is what I have been planning/wanting to do for a long,long time.I only wish I would have jumped on it sooner when the economy was in better shape and I had more money at my disposal.
So, I was wanting to know what kind of interest there might,or will be having armature parts made for some of you,or those who are interested?I'm in the midst of getting a couple of machines.I have a small Logan lathe,but it needs some work/TLC and to be tooled up some. I'm looking at another mill right now,but it might prove too pricey.I haven't received word on a price as of yet.
The machinery itself might not be too great of an expense with the exception of the mill(yet to be determined),the cost of freight and tooling. Tooling (good tooling) is very expensive,not to mention turning these buggers on.Even on a 220 outlet,which is where "cost/what to charge" comes into play.I'm certainly not into over charging or taking advantage of others,especially in here. However,one has to understand the expense of of running mills and lathes and there needs to be a reasonable fee to cover the expenses.
Many shops charge a flat "set up fee" just for turing the power on and puttting someone on a machine to machine parts which tends to be fairly steep.I looked into it at one time (out of curiosity) just to have some S.S ball bearings drilled and it was $600 before anyone actually did anything (which didn't include the time/labor calculated in).I think the labor was estimated in the vacinity of $400 per hr.I'm pretty sure I can do way better than that.
My machinist skills are "good",but not great.I'm not as proficiant as I was say...10-14 years ago when all I did day in and day out was make parts/projects on a Southbend and Bridgeport all day long 5 days a week.I've also never machined an armature(yet),and there is an art and skill to that as many of you know.
What I have been wanting to do for a long time was design/machine puppets and armatures/joints (drill out ball bearings,make ball/socket,hinge and collet joints),make custom (or basic/generic)supporting rigs,or tools that are used in stop-motion, or for machining armature parts for others such as "jigs&fixtures" for some of you out there who have mini mills or just a drill press and other miscelaneous/custome parts/projects.Basically my main idea was to do that.
I was curious to know how many of you out there would be interested in a service such as that?I'm not sure how much business I'd get,or if many of you would want or be interested in it?I'm not trying to steel anyone's thunder away,and I know that many of you are on a budget(the same as me).There's dozens of ways to design an armature (armature parts/joints) that don't have to cost thousands of dollars.Plus,I'm in here to learn the same as you and to help others if can.
Nothing is set in stone yet,and I'm a ways from getting a shop space together,so don't jump the gun yet.I'm just looking to hear from others in here,get some feed back and opinions on this for right now. This would certainly help me in any decision making and give me an idea of where to spring board to.Opinions,ideas,suggestions would be greatly appreciated on this matter.
Good luck with setting up the workshop!
I am also in the UK, but here's a thought or two (apologies if it is blindingly obvious): The best thing is to be able to offer something that no one else does, or to improve on existing stuff, either by doing it better or cheaper.
I am making up my own armatures using stock components, and would agree with Will that the Animation Toolkit joints are good and reasonably priced. I did try to make my own joints, but they took ages and were really rough without having the proper machinery.
The ball stems from Stopmotionshop are a neat new idea, to avoid having to braze balls etc.
I have just spent a silly amount of money on some small pieces of metal that I know I can't make myself, the connectors for some quadruped armatures. These are just 10mm dia x 15mm cylinders of stainless with a bunch of threaded holes in them (about $19 each). And some that are 8mm dia x 5mm with four 3mm tapped holes (about $7). I would think that there might be scope for these sorts of components, but it might be very repetitive (shouldn't be too hard for an animator!) and not very rewarding.... The same shop (Animation Supplies) has some lovely hands at about $60 a pair...ouch!
Finally, the hardest thing to do is to be honest about all your costs when pricing work. I have a friend who pretty much bankrupted himself by failing to cost in all the overheads for his business. He fell for the illusion that if he was working he must be making money. Caveat vendor!
I wish you the best with your enterprise.