I used to work for a company that, in the beginning, carved their
own waxes but sent out for molds and casting. After a while the
hassles associated with the occasional bad mold, bad casting, and
long delays, led them to the wisdom of doing casting in house. They
still had their share of bad molds and bad castings but these could
be addressed immediately and a lot time and money was ultimately
I think now, in the CAD/CAM age, the same thing may possibly be
happening with producing models from CAD files. My business model was
one of doing the design work but letting someone else have the
headaches of RP/CAM financing, production, and maintenance. And it
seemed to work for a while. Now, however, with the problems of bad
models, bad molds, and long delays I, and others I know or know
about, I’m beginning to think in house CAM milling machine.
With the arrival of the “affordable” milling machine there seems to
be a familiar refrain in the justification/rationalisation song which
goes: “I’ll save a fortune doing my own models and besides, when I’m
not running my own I can take in outside work from other designers”.
I’m very curious as to whether or not either of these assumptions
are valid. Will a craftsperson save a fortune (having started out
spending one) in machining their own models? Is it that easy now? Do
the learning curves, production activities, and maintenance routines,
require a negligible amount of time?
And, secondly, will the craftsperson make a bundle putting their
machine’s idle time to profitable use cutting models for the rest of
I don’t know, but I’d like to hear what others - people with mills,
people who send files to people who have mills, and people who are
still using the various commercial service bureaus out there - think
about this topic.
I hope others are curious as well.
17 2nd St. East, Ste. 101
Kalispell, MT 59901