Business of Machining

John Grimsmo of Grimsmo Knives and John Saunders of NYC CNC discuss their success, struggles, goals and more as machinists, business owners and entrepreneurs.
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Business of Machining




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Now displaying: April, 2019
Apr 26, 2019

Talking Growth and the Entrepreneur Mindset

Having a team doesn’t mean you’re not an entrepreneur anymore. You still have to clean those toilets!

Check out “The E-Myth”

“When you live it it’s not cliche at all” - Saunders


Grimsmo is more and more comfortable with delegating tasks, which is awesome! But don't worry, he is still around to help whenever his team needs him.

Hear about what Grimsmo’s been up to, and what local day trips he’s had lately (hint: true to Grimsmo’s nature, the trips involve machine shops)

“You’ve gotta live in the clouds AND the dirt” - Gary Vee

Translation: keep dreaming, but also keep working.

“If you’re never in the clouds, you suffocate” - Saunders

Forkin’ Around

Saunders loses an old friend: his forklift. Grimsmo and Saunders also talk about the potential horrors of neglecting workplace safety.

“it’s like driving past a car crash, you can’t NOT look” - Saunders (QotD: Does that make him morbid?)

Should Grimsmo write off his pen clip probs?

The Johns discuss the problems that Grimsmo is having with machining his pen clips, and problem solving strategies in general. If this problem isn’t fixed, Grimsmo might have trouble nailing down a sustainable workflow for the part.

Apr 19, 2019

The Joint Open House - 8 Years Strong
Grimsmo remembers how he felt when he first went to a trade show: out of place. 

Tip from a veteran attendee: "Form relationships, ask questions, be direct, and make it happen." Not only was this event an internal pat on the back, you could say that Skye's big wish has been granted or rather, GRANITED.

After visiting Kern, Grimsmo's wheels are turning. It's just a matter of time before he figures out how to dress the lapping plate full Grimsmo style.

You know you're a machininst when the only tattoo you would ever consider is an inch to micron conversion table.

Mountains to Ski and Mountains of Footage
The guys brought home TONS of footage from their Euro trip, so
stay tuned for all of the awesome tours to come from Tornos, Hermle, Kern, and more!

TACrafted Tour - A bright young man with a bright future
Click the image below to watch!

Sometimes what you're looking for might be right under your nose, or in Grimsmo's case, a block away. After a quick meeting with his realtor, he might have zeroed in on a potential new shop! When considering a larger space, it's important to allow for growth without over committing.

Saunders is a guest on the Welding Tips and Tricks Podcast
While covering the subject of ROI, the importance of CASH FLOW BUDGETS or live budgeting becomes clear. Sure, numbers matter BUT there are many non-monetary ways in which a capital purchase can be justified.


Spring Tease a.k.a Pending Summer
The season change is welcome BUT that means rising temperatures
are soon to follow. A/C is an expensive purchase but it's important for SMW to have a comfortable working environment for employees and trainees as well. It's up to Saunders to figure out how to minimize the operating costs while maximizing its benefit.


"Make it once, make it right, and then make it the best.

                                                                          - Grimsmo



The SAGA pocket clips are the last component needed to make 100+ SWEET PENS!


SMW Workflow Woes
Having all fixture plate models in a master file isn't ideal BUT neither is having an individual file for each. The possible solution might introduce more error.

Apr 12, 2019

The Grimsmo Team is headed to a local machine show!

The Joint Open House

Participants include: Elliott Matsuura, SST, Ferro Technique, and DMG Mori.

It will give Grimsmo and his team a chance to ask lots of questions, and learn new things. There’s a lot of small tooling reps there, so it’s a good chance to make new connections as well as build current relationships.

“I’m actually kind of jealous” - Saunders

How to Maintain Tool LIfe

PLUS Learn about automation in tool maintenance!

In Germany, the machine knows when it needs to warm up and runs the warm up program so you don’t have to think about it.

The Johns discuss their trip to Europe

Saunders was there for 2 weeks, and Grimsmo for four days

Look out for the factory tour of Kern and Tornos on YouTube (COMING SOON!!)

Saunders’ takeaways

  1. Learned about the European perspective in business. Cleanliness and organization is key!
  2. Saunders noticed that the companies they visited have a more fluid system of working with apprentices, and are connected better with schools do you inspire young people to get into manufacturing?

If they’re already interested in technology, it’s a breeze! Guess what, Manufacturing IS technology (which makes it sexy)

Keeping track without living to track

It’s SO difficult to keep track of purchasing and what we need

“Purchasing is kicking our butt right now” - Saunders

ProShop is doing a good job at the Grimsmo Shop. He has a list of what he’s waiting to get, and it gets checked off when it arrives.

Grimsmo Book Review

“Getting Things Done” - David Allen

This book isn’t for everyone, but it’s got some great ideas for every entrepreneur or busy person!

Core concept: every thought you have, write it down into a system you have in place.

How do you manage ALL the things you need to get done?

“If most of it doesn’t get done, life still goes on” - Grimsmo

“Ideas are worthless, it’s execution that matters” - Saunders

Apr 5, 2019

EUROTRIP 2019: A Dream Come True

First off, apologies for the missing podcast last week but it wasn't because they didn't try! With Laurens Wijnschenk-Mauritsz in tow, it was the prime opportunity to record. The problem? A sleepy cell phone!

Although Grimsmo's returned to Canada, Saunders is adamant, "There are more factories and I'm not leaving until I see them ALL!"

"Screw it, let's do it!" - Grimsmo
With only 6 days notice, a gentle nudge from Saunders, and help from Marv Gro, Grimsmo is able to arrange his flight and score incredible tours of TORNOS and KERN.

Before embarking on his trip, Grimsmo makes a pit-stop at Elliot-Matsurra to sign Swiss paperwork for the Tornos GT13!
For now, he's prepping for its arrival with coolant, tooling, and the 6' LNS bar feeder. He's also plans to use TISIS, a software that will aid in the programming process.


Oddly enough, when Saunders crosses the border from Austria to Switzerland, the appearance of a Mercedes station-wagon is almost prophetic. To Grimsmo's surprise, his hunks of metal for machining Norseman parts at Kern Microtechnik make it through security!

Factories and Machine Shops, BIG AND SMALL.
This trip isn't only about visiting the biggest names in the industry, it's also about seeing what's cookin' in the impressive home shops of Stefan Gotteswinter and TACrafted with Theo Assfalg.

After visiting 3DTechDraw in Amsterdam with Laurens, Saunders heads to Hermle in Stuttgart, Germany. Meanwhile, in Moutier, Switzerland, the birthplace of Swiss lathes, Marv and Grimsmo meet with Michael Hauser, CEO for an insiders view of Tornos; a company that holds customer support in high regard. They still make replacement parts for lathes that are over 100 years old! Now THAT's customer service!

Heidenhain: More than a great control for your machine.
We take for granted that we live in a world where measurements
are standardized. Back then, these guys were the ones making
copies of THE meter. In addition to manufacturing every single linear scale, Heidenhain might just be the definition of climate control.

Grimsmo and Marv machine a Norseman handle AND do some blade surfacing at Kern Microtechnik. 14+ hours later, it's time for the Johns to finally meet up. A late night with burgers, beers, and friends still reeling from the days' excitement turns into slap happy machinists making CAM jokes before getting some shut-eye.

KERN - The Best in the Land
The guys share their experiences at the uncontested BEST micro precision machine tool company in the world. Hitting sub-micron tolerances ADED means special care must be taken to thermally stabilize the machine tool. When cutting tools MUST be hand loaded because the resistance from the ATC motion could break the flutes...holy moly.

Finally, for Marv and Grimsmo, their trip ends with scenic views and gnarly ski slopes. On the last run, Marv challenges Grimsmo to a race.

Saunders moves onto the NTMA leg of his trip with Big Kaiser America, where he will soon visit Big Kaiser, Blaser, and Speroni.

Trips abroad certainly broaden the mind and bring a fresh new perspective and energy that is sometimes lost in the day-to-day minutiae. The more you know, the better 'cause the times they are A-changin'.