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: November, 2018
Nov 30, 2018

It feels like winter in Canada (brrr), but America just had their thanksgiving weekend! Just remember, big data collection never takes a vacation.

Directed Marketing is WEIRD

Big box stores, like Target, have to stay ahead of the competition and now (in the digital age), that involves marketing to individuals. But even stores that collect big data can fail if they don’t use it properly; Target failed in Canada!

“The store’s called Target because everyone’s a target” - Grimsmo’s dad joke of the day #DJOTD

These days, it’s necessary to be a little more aggressive with marketing, but is GK or NYC CNC ever going to get into it?

The NYC CNC website is getting REVAMPED

They will be phasing out paid memberships, and bringing NYC CNC content (videos, articles etc.) back to the open open source world. Saunders is really excited about paying it forward through his website. BUT there’s a catch. “Pro-articles” are still behind a padlock. You have to give your name, e-mail address, and a little information about yourself if you want access to those. It’s NYC CNC’s own way of getting to know its customers a little better.

Saunders and Grimsmo talk about their friendship, and how far they should push each other. the Grimsmo Shop

The lathe has been running almost non-stop for the last two weeks. Yay! Sometimes it goes for a while without being used. That’s mainly because knife parts are a priority, but pens are coming soon and they are going to keep the lathe SUPER busy.  

Saunders and Grimsmo discuss other ways Grimsmo can use the lathe.

“Things you need to do before buying a new machining center” - the title of the article that Saunders is working on

In this article, he’s going to cover what to ask, be aware of, how to buy, what not to buy, what to negotiate when buying a new machine, details to think about, financing options, and much more. Listen to this episode, and you might just hear a little of the advice before the article gets out.

“You don’t ask you don’t get. I mean, that’s the rules of life right there” - Grimsmo

Videos Coming Soon to a YouTube channel near you!

  • Keep an eye out for a Haas “Tips and Tricks” video on Saunders’ channel
  • Grimsmo’s working on prepping the fixtures that Amish made for him, and getting clamps made. There’ll be a video on that today (Friday)!

Saunders (feels like he) is in a whole new shop!

The shop has been rearranged to maximize productivity and efficiency. They are also working on a final purge and getting rid of things they don’t need. Saunders is going to continue to reorganize today, as well as set up his new Energy Recovery Ventilator, which is an awesome air filtration system.  


Next week, we’re going to talk about new years goals!

Here’s a little teaser:

Saunders is thinking that he wants to work on being more “in control”, and have a more calm, cool, and collected sort of mentality going into the new year.

Nov 23, 2018

Verbal agreements feel warm and fuzzy at first but have nasty side effects. While it feels awkward to request a written agreement from a friend or a service provider you've worked with before, be assured; there are far worse consequences.

"Free is the most expensive price you could ever pay for something."
Offering "blem" products at a discount to the public initially sounded like the obvious thing to do; however, when customers started relying on blems instead of purchasing a full priced product, it robs your business.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...including an Urban Technical Gear pen. That means, someone's in the market for a new pen--eagerly awaiting the commencement of SAGA production.

Nerding Out Level: Business Operation
The guys discuss the benefits of FREIGHT SHIPPING.

Alarm Bells
The anodizer discovers corrosion on the fixture plates.
Will the plates be saved? More importantly, can the
SMW team solve the mystery?

After a day-long bearing cage setup, GK is rearing
and ready to make tons of them...but there's a problem:
Tiny way oil tank runs out way too fast.
Production screeches to a halt during the night and at daybreak, with half of the expected quantity in hand, the guys formulate possible solutions for keeping that oil level in check.

Linear Scales and Servo PID Loops
Anyone know how it works? Saunders is curious to find out whether
the scales or the servo's loops take precedence.

If you think procurement is the same as purchasing, think again.
Grimsmo continues to utilize ProShop for purchase orders while
Saunders scratches his head at his current kanban problem.

Nov 16, 2018


Welcome to Autodesk University

With a focus on Fusion and Manufacturing

Special guest for this episode: Rob Awesome Lockwood!

Here is the link of the event Grimsmo, Saunders, and Rob Lockwood were at. 

It's time for Grimsmo and Saunders to head to class for four days straight of learning, inspiration, and a little bit of teaching.  

In this episode, we catch Saunders, Grimsmo, and Lockwood in the thick of the event in Las Vegas, and hear their thoughts on the courses they've attended so far and what they think of popular topics of the event.

“It’s wonderful to meet the architects of [Fusion 360]” - Saunders

Featured classes: 

  • 101 Tips on Fusion 360 - Maximize the number of features you know about, and use, on Fusion 360 (especially helpful for the self-taught machinist)

“The self-taught Fusion experience means that we’re probably missing out on some key functions that would make our lives easier” - Grimsmo

"The most valuable stuff that I've gotten is the underpinning stuff of fusion" - Lockwood

  • Under the hood of Fusion 360 - Keep your sketches light weight!
  • Utilize Macro Programming and Probing to Make More Parts, Better - Taught by Grimsmo
  • Speeds and Feeds - Taught by Saunders
  • CAM with Generative - Overview by Lockwood
  • Design Thinking with Fusion 360 - Jeff Smith (@blaster701 on Instagram). Saunders loved this class! It got him to think more about designing with intent. 

Let's Talk Fusion

The three machinists discuss the changes Fusion could make, the changes they have made, and what the implications of these changes could mean for the software and the community.

“If everyone is doing it incorrectly, there's really a discussion to be had about changing the workflow” - Saunders

What's the hot topic of the conference? Generative Design

“Everyone’s talking about generative here” - Grimsmo

"Some of the designs look like when you see a whale carcass" - Lockwood

"What’s neat about [generative design] is, by definition, all of the results are manufacturable, technically” - Lockwood

"Ask me about singularity" 

- A quote Lockwood's conference badge

Saunders and Lockwood both give their definitions of Generative design in manufacturing, then the three of them discuss its implications. They also discuss the definition of singularity design for manufacturing. 

Psst...Miss the event but want to watch the classes anyway? 

Fear not! Lots of the classes were recorded and are online.

Fusion Payment Model

Fusion continues to offer the free version, but there is only one paid version now and it’s 500 dollars a year. These three believe it's a good value, and an easy to understand model

We may be talking about Fusion and manufacturing a lot, but don't forget...

"Autodesk is a giant company, and the world is a giant place, and our manufacturing sector is a small percentage of what they do" - Grimsmo

The conference is finished, and everyone's back home, but they are feeling more inspired than ever. 

What do YOU think?

  • How can a design software improve buildings of the future such as hospitals and schools?
Nov 9, 2018

Anodizing Paintball Guns, a Brochure, and a Parking Lot

Jay Pierson's story of past failure in his MHub speech conjures entrepreneurship jitters of 2010 for Grimsmo.
Failure is almost a pre-requisite for success and as a major industry player points out on the NYC CNC forum, "You first have to exist [in other people's minds]."

Click HERE to Watch Jay's Speech

Don't forget: the successful people you admire today
were once standing in your shoes.

[[]>-- Renaissance of Making IN THE MAKING --<[]]

Saunders is a guest speaker on the Bantam Tools Podcast episode with Bre Pettis, co-founder and former CEO of MakerBot, scheduled to air in a few months. They share entrepreneurial stories, philosophies, and discuss bringing opportunities to places where people can afford to innovate.

ERP Check-Up
Saunders thinks by sharing their experiences, more people
would be able to understand how an ERP could benefit them.

The Elephant in The Room - The Lathe Sits Idle
Grimsmo's got the software, the equipment, and the manpower to let go of control but he's clinging on for dear life. Are you running your business or is your business running you? Saunders expresses sincere and deep concern for the future of Grimsmo Knives. His advice: GO COLD TURKEY.

SMW Fixture Plates - A, B, O, K.
How can you easily explain differences between products without inadvertently implying something negative?

Autodesk University,  Las Vegas - Are your presentations ready? 

For both Johns, their presentations are great--at least in their heads. If you were listening to a speeds & feeds presentation,
what would you want to know?


Nov 2, 2018

Happy Halloween! Dry Ice anyone? It’s super cool! (pun intended) Check out this project another machinist did with dry ice.  

Grimsmo talks about the benefits of quenching your blades in dry ice after heat treat, and is working on a palette that will also improve the process. Saunders is also working with dry ice to blast parts.

Before you become a mad machinist for Halloween, maybe this solution will fix your mill:

Did your machine stop working? Grimsmo tried many different ways to fix his Mori, but in the end he just had to UN-press his emergency stop button...and turn his machine off and on about ten times.  

Keeping track of mistakes and solutions

It’s not just parts a machinist/entrepreneur needs to track, it’s also thought processes. Learn about how Saunders and Grimsmo use documents on their computers, and ERP software to keep track of everything going on in their shops and minds.


“It’s important to be able to easily search for the solution” - Saunders


Saunders is comparing different ERP softwares, so if you have implemented or used the small business ERP software from SAP, Oracle, or Odoo, Saunders wants to hear from you! You can contact him here.


The Grimsmo Team has a new addition to the shop: an Engis 24” plate lapping machine! No training required. Grimsmo and Saunders discuss the extent to which training is valuable for new machines. 

Check out Grimsmo’s Instagram for pics of the new machine, and stay tuned on their YouTube channel for a video all about it.


Saunders is clearing up the shop to make more room. His philosophy to help him get it done?

“If we’re not using it, it’s not making us happy, and it’s not part of our story, it goes” - Saunders

Jumping write into November

Grimsmo does not have a completed pen and it’s the end of October, BUT he still thinks he can get pens into production in November.

Save your business A LOT of money by thinking about exchange rates

The Grimsmo Team is 100% Canadian! But their customers aren’t, which means not all their banks should be either. Grimsmo shares the plan that he and Barry hatched to save money on the business by thinking about exchange rates, monthly costs, service fees, and product subscriptions.

“For every transaction through Shopify, we’re paying a percentage transactional fee” - Grimsmo

That’s all for now folks!