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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Feb 5, 2021


  • Trusting Instincts
  • Social proof for marketing and branding
  • Creative Fixturing and Workholding
  • Grimsmo and Saunders Approved Tools!
  • Good reasons to outsource things beyond the scope of your business
  • Xometry Pay - Solving Collection of past due accounts for businesses?
  • Prusas, 3D printed 1/4" Royal Collet for sub spindle & Gauge Housings




Jan 29, 2021



  • Ordering Lathe Material - Purchasing/procurement
  • Finances in Business
  • What makes you happy?
  • Growing a business in 3 stages
  • Lathe talk
  • Past due accounts receivables?
  • Creating your own cnc machine?
Jan 22, 2021


  • Saunders on feeling overwhelmed and a defining moment at Pierson Workholding.
  • Can daily tasks actually KILL your business?
  • "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." - James Clear
  • Marketing 
  • Business accounting
  • Tool life for lathe parting inserts
Jan 15, 2021


  • Saunders is starting 2021 off great with their ERP system and staying busy with orders.
  • Saunders also tells us about his broken tool on the lathe.


  • Grimsmo has been getting their Okamoto surface grinder up and running and it has been awesome!
  • The big news out of Grimsmo is that the Rask is back! They have been hard at work for almost 4 years to bring back the Rask.


Jan 8, 2021


  • Grimsmo starts us off with a smooth lead in
  • SMW Product Demand Increases & The Struggle to Reduce Lead Time 
  • Super Helpful Tools & Gadgets (Scales & Pallet Jacks)
  • Precision 
    • Abbe's Principle
    • The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

    • A Crazy Metrology Question on the NYCCNC Forum
  • Toolpath & Product Improvements
    • Reliable Processes VS. Cycle Time
    • Using templates for easier programming
  • Conventional VS. Climb Milling
Jan 1, 2021

2020 has been a wild year, and we are sure you are tired of hearing about it by now. But here at the Business of Machining we decide to reflect on the positives. Thank you to everyone for being with us throughout this year!


Grimsmo has found a solution to lift very heavy objects within their shop without the need of a forklift. It takes them back to the old Volvo days in the garage. Saunders is playing with a Vortex cold air gun and is having a literal blast.

Dec 25, 2020


- Podcast Feedback & Developing a Consistent Opening Statment
- Strategy: Learning Your Customer Base & SEO
- Email from Brewery | ERP VS Wiki
- Covid Hits Close to Home at SMW
- Staffing A Growing Business & The Concert Mindset
- Recycling Chips: The Need for a Compactor

Dec 18, 2020

Grimsmo makes a big move and purchased a Okamoto surface grinder! Saunders' offers his input and general advice on purchasing new machinery. The boys talk about the potential of using "Slack" in their respective companies. This could help bridge the gap between consumer and company and it is worth looking at.


Saunders has started to step away from his ERP system "LEX" to let his team run it. While Grimsmo works very very hard to get shipping Rasks before the end of the year, how exciting!

Dec 11, 2020

Business of Machining has now reached it's 200th episode! That's 3.84 years of "private" conversations about manufacturing and growing small businesses. 

A sincere thank you to the listeners out there--or as we've lovingly dubbed them, "parking lot circlers." In the past 4 years, this podcast has been downloaded over 1 million times! 



- The importance of authenticity

- Detailed trips down memory lane for both Grimsmo Knives and Saunders Machine Works.  

- Mental Health & Tony Hseih 

Dec 4, 2020

Saunders & Grimsmo are ending of the year with expansion! Both shops are on similar growth paths in their respective shops. Grimsmo has hired on Pierre to help boost production, while Saunders has hired 3 people around his shop.


Grimsmo's surface grinder should be here in a couple of weeks! Which means they have to make some room for it and figure out how to bring it into the work flow.


Top 10 List for entrepreneurs


Saunders' describes how "Lex" is formatted. Going in depth about the benefits of an ERP system when it just works. Grimsmo and Saunders talk in depth about pride. Pride often gets confused with arrogance, but letting the pride replace arrogance is a step we all need to think about.

Nov 27, 2020


  • Auctions, Warranties, and Riggers
  • Is Saving Money the Ultimate Purchase Factor?
  • Developing Decision Making Framework
  • Formalizing the Interview Process
  • Tom Lipton's Test Jig
  • Pierre - New to GK Team

  • SMW Phase 5 of Shop Overhaul
  • Machine Modifications for Chip Evacuation & Larger Coolant Tanks
  • Water & Coolant Delivery System Update
  • Vendors and Relationships
  • DLC Coating
  • Sandvik QS Holder
Nov 20, 2020

The boys have been crazy busy this week. Saunders' and his team have developed a little bit of a safe word around the shop. PINEAPPLE! This signifies that the person is safe. For example, if you hear a loud bang or somebody drops something and hear the safe word. Than you know that person is ok! Its actually a very good idea especially when you have a lot of ground to cover or a lot of employees. Saunders' also visited the Grob machine manufacturing facility in Ohio! He said that he had an awesome time and learned a lot while he was there.


"Confidence is a superpower" - Robin Renzetti

The boys also touch on quality control methods. This is especially important in both Grimsmo & Saunders' shops because of the attention to detail needed for both products. Grimsmo is also buying an Okamoto surface grinder! This is a machine that was thought about for a long while and they are finally pulling the trigger.

Nov 13, 2020

Today the Johns are reppin' each other by sporting SMW and GK tees. 

Grimsmo Knives Tee


  • Orange Vise Tour
  • Grimsmo's Next Machines
  • Process for Pressing Bearings into Bearing Cages
  • Surface Grinding Machines - CNC or Manual?
  • Air Compressors & Sound Proofing
  • Tasks - Batching VS. Whack-A-Mole
  • Organizational Chart - G Suite Alias Emails
  • SMW is Hiring! SMW Careers


Nov 6, 2020

Have you ever had such a premium custom table experience that ruined every other table in the world for you? Well Saunders has! He is loving the MakerPipe table systems to make some custom solutions for his shop. You can find Makerpipe here.


Both Grimsmo and Saunders are falling more in love with the idea of full ERP integration in their respective shops. Grimsmo especially are looking to get very creative with "GERP".


Saunders needs a new air compressor while John reminisces about the old shops compressor that would constantly be yelling in the background.


Both shops are looking at expanding the team! Saunders is considering hiring a marketing strategist while Grimsmo had two working interviews with some great potential team members! Things are looking great but we are going to need a bigger boat!


Grimsmo has a new book he has been reading called "E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World-Class Company".

The book is a must read for any business owner big or small to teach some essential habits and disciplines.

Oct 30, 2020


Machining Verbiage
The new rule is that when running machines, you add "ING" to the end of the machine brand name to create a new CNC-centric gerund.
Acceptable examples are:


Just when you think it's dialed, you hit the lights and leave the shop only to be welcomed in the morning by 200-300 scrapped parts.

Grimsmo shares this one minor detail that derailed the entire lights-out process. Saunders points out that evaluating problems further up stream is worth doing!

The ST-20Y is set to run the one and done, dialed process for SMW diamond pins but the lathe insert broke on the 2nd pin. And that's not all. Not only was the insert blown, the parting blade took a huge crap! Luckily, Saunders had back up blades on hand, right? WRONG! 

With similar experiences being shared between them, they embark on an in-depth conversation about tool life management, tool counting, macro variables, and Q parameters. The question remains: how do you incorporate these into your shop operations successfully?

Forget textbooks---except the one Grimsmo is a true FAN...uc (I mean, fan of)

Fanuc CNC Custom Macros: Programming Resources for Fanuc Custom Macro B Users 

Machines Personified
Remember the poetic interpretation of Mars Rover's final message to NASA? While the rover never explicitly said, "My battery is low and it's getting dark," that partially humanistic phrase still managed to evoke a tinge of sadness for many. Why? We have a long history of personifying everything under, and including, the sun. In a strange way, machines have their own temperaments, quirks, likes, and dislikes--and that might be why it feels kind of sad leaving them alone in the dark.

Fusion 360 - Team Hubs & Documented Bug
The guys discuss migrating to Team Hubs and the importance of a local back-up copy of data. By the skin of his teeth, Grimsmo saves his butt by using Instagram to approximate the date of the correct version of a specific file. During a livestream, Saunders stumbles across a bug that is driving EVERYONE insane! Finally, Grimsmo discusses how one tiny checked boxed beside, "Make Sharp Corners" has been life changing! Click here for the HSS Spline Shaft Tool Video that incorporates spring passes + make sharp corners for awesome results.

ProvenCut Part Series
Saunders announces a new addition to ProvenCut that makes it more than just a library! Now, you can find parts similar to what you want to machine, select the machine and type of material, use the mouse to hover over the part to see which types of operations were used, and more! The first part being added to the series is a T-nut and there will be many more to come! 

All parts have been made and now the only things left are final tweaks for the surface finish, fit, and solving the 5-10% lock-stick issue. Grinding is all systems go. The blades are now the best they've ever been!

Rebuilding The Shop - Custom Tables and Benches for Organization
For Saunders, rebuilding the shop has been in progress for several months now but it's still like a breath of fresh air! He's excited to meet up with someone from Maker Pipe who's offered to help with custom solutions to get SMW to the next level!

Oct 23, 2020

John & John go over the never ending struggle of the classic make vs buy scenario. This time they are talking about making a custom shipping table to help speed up Saunders' work flow. Grimsmo has a Canadian version called FlexPipe.


Saunders' has been doing some WORK when it comes to Automatic Brix reading of coolant systems. He has been using a digital refractometer that you can find two versions of them here.


Atago PAL-1


John Grimsmo is still struggling with the Kern. It has been full of little victories and bigger issues. Luckily Angelo had a good idea that helped solve a grinding problem!

Oct 16, 2020

Solopreneurs, Robots & Payloads, ERP + Inventory Tracking, Brix, Automated Coolant Distribution, and MORE!

Business of Machining Podcast = The Manufacturing Entrepreneurcast

You CAN Be The Crazy Guy In Your Garage Forever!
The idea of expanding beyond oneself or even becoming self-employed isn't enticing to everyone---and that's okay! Grimsmo reflects on his evolution from solopreneur to entrepreneur and Saunders shares an experience with an electrician who likes his gig just the way it is.

Speaking of Solopreneurs, check out this shop update with
Adam Demuth, an incredible machinist who made the shift from a 9-5 to being self-employed. If you're not into stress but want to run a business, Adam's zen-rific perspective on entrepreneurship is perfect for you! Also, check out the Precision Microcast hosted by Adam and Joshua Hacko from Nicholas Hacko Watchmaker!

Lockwood Begs to Differ
Idealizing the infallibility of robots is nice and all but Rob's administering a heavy dose of truth!

"Why are we not better at this already!?" 
Saunders is disappointed in our lack of progress when it comes to payload issues for FANUC robot arms. Not to worry, 5th Axis is working on it! Check out their videos here!

THIS SUCKS! (but it will be worth it)
During Phase 3/4 of Nuking the Shop, Saunders faces the fact that all material and supplies must be removed from the racking and the team will have to start from square one. While discussing one of their new favorite topics, tracking inventory, we learn that the Johns are taking different approaches when it comes to quantities!

BRIX, The Holy Crap Scenario, and "Screw This, I'm Goin' Home!"

The guys outline the specifics of their automated coolant delivery systems and air lines. They discuss solenoids, refractometers, ball valves with external motors, IoT (internet of things), Mixtrons, and MORE! They share progress, plans, and solutions to problems. Find out what Grimsmo means by "The Holy Crap Scenario" and the situation that made him throw in the towel, so-to-speak.

The Smoking Gun--I mean, Knife?
Grimsmo tackles the lowest hanging, highest yield fruit during his "days off in the shop"! A few episodes ago, Grimsmo knew the one thing he could do to increase production right away and he nailed it! Now, there's something nice--uh, Norse, that can run lights out on the Mori!

RUN FROM HERE - Running Code from A Certain Point
SMW is focusing heavily on developing reliable processes when it comes to posting code. While they used to run from the "Run From Here" feature, things have changed....





Oct 9, 2020

Grimsmo has made some glorious progress on the kern. They have finalized an auto grinding routine for Rask blades. While Saunders' and their team have been toying with the idea of buying a Horizontal machining center.


Saunders' also has some awesome upgrades he is adding to Proven Cut.


Oct 2, 2020


Grimsmo machines his own ER 16 collet for the KERN! Wait until you hear about how he made this monolithic-integral ER. All this talk about holding parts on center brings back a good ol' Memory with Marv. Saunders recounts an accuracy test for cylindricity on the KERN--Swarf VS. Polar Interpolation in Garmisch- Partenkirchen.

Threadmilling. Single Point or Proper Threadmills? Tool Standardization?
The guys dive into threadmilling and tooling up machines; including single point versus proper threadmills, tool deflection, and whether or not to buy or DIY Collets. Regardless, the process needs to be reliable AND no matter how magical the brand of machine, it's still subject to the laws of physics.

Click here for the Ultimate Guide to Threadmilling on NYCCNC (video and threadmilling calculator).

HEAR ME OUT: The Synergistic Effect of CNC Theory.
Saunders asks an interesting question, "Could the collets be made on the Nak?" At first it seems like an impossibility but with an open mind, new ways of thinking can lead to solutions you never could have imagined.

Cogsdill Diamond Burnishing Tool on the Tornos: YAY or NAY?
Grimsmo shares an update on the SAGA pen clips.

Saunders teases Grimsmo with the mind blowing video that's in the works. This Covid-friendly collaborative video about MetalQuest's INDEX MS40-8 will be about the harmony between machine capabilities and maximizing workflows. It's hard to imagine the back-work, which is all the more reason it MUST BE SHOWN! Get ready to reduce cycle time, increase output, balance cycle time between spindles, and more!

Covid and Manufacturing: BIG GIANTS FALL HARDER.
No one wants to speak too soon but there's been a sigh of relief that smaller manufacturing businesses haven't felt the same pain as the larger, often over-leveraged, companies. Seeing a "company consolidation" flyer in the mail for an aerospace company feels....weird.

Does Grimsmo regret the large financial risk he took with the KERN given how 2020 has panned out thus far?

A few episodes ago, Saunders called Grimsmo out for committing two cardinal sins of grinding. In order to make progress on the Rask, he decided to forego dressing and balancing the wheel before grinding the knife blade.
Maybe Grimsmo's method of madness was intentional all along or maybe it was pure luck that resulted in the perfect recipe. EITHER WAY, IT'S FANTASTIC!

Surface Finish Factors
You hear about tool deflection, speeds & feeds, material type, and machine kinematics but what about presenting an even chipload/tool pressure to the cutting tool? Devon Dupuis from Autodesk and Saunders are collaborating on an OUT OF THIS WORLD part that relies on getting that chef's kiss finish.

Random Ceratizit Clickbait
Sometimes the algorithm provides....
Check out this video showing a new facemill with a vacuum/suction feature.

ERP: Permanent Product and Material Location
A big part of implementing ERP is deciding where things will be stored. It might sound easy to have a permanent location for parts and material but Amazon outright rejects that logic. The key is to make sure the item can be located anywhere at anytime. 

The Johns wrap up this 190th episode with probing, tool break detection, and what's on tap for the day!

Sep 25, 2020

The year 2020 has not been exactly how we have imagined it. But it is in full swing for both Saunders' and Grimsmo, especially in the ERP department. Saunders' is cooking with LEX and Grimsmo is full GERP ahead.


Both John's and their teams have worked hard to make it happen this year. It is a great teaching lesson for anyone to make the best of what you have. Focus on the things you actually have control over and take a step back.


Grimsmo on the other hand is not happy with their Qualichen 450 and will be switching back to 251 for the time being. Also grinding rask blades on the Kern has been amazing! Saunders also touches on adding Shapeoko fixture plates to his lineup.


NYCCNC has a great article on advice for buying a machine tool HERE:

Sep 18, 2020

This podcast is GOOD VENTING and BAD VENTING all things manufacturing and entrepreneurship.

Blade to the Grindstone
After taking Saunders's advice (perhaps a bit too literally) Grimsmo takes a Zedaro Miltera Endmill to a knife blade and ends up with an incredible surface finish but the grinding wheel was another story...

Throughout the talk of grit, mesh, and desired results, Grimsmo casually drops a bombshell---and Saunders calls him out immediately.

A prospective hire for SMW finds it surprising to see how much deburring is done inside the machine! The guys highlight the benefits of chamfers and creative ways they've used different types of endmills to get that beloved edge break.
Plus, Saunders shares his process for the SMW Diamond Dowel Pins, which come off the lathe a fully finished product.

Grimsmo laments the fact that he's using something a lot more simple than a Swarf toolpath but he knows the more simple, less exciting one still gets the job done. 

Without rhyme or reason, a national freight company adds limited access fees or lift gate fees that really aren't sustainable for SMW long term. Obviously, it's a problem that will need solving but how much action does it require? Saunders decided to take action based on an interesting strategy.

Saunders shares his thoughts on things he's learned about hiring people and buying machines.

Selecting multiple chains of a sketch or contour can be a hassle, especially if you want to use that same geometry for multiple operations. VIDEO COMING SOON!
Grimsmo's been learning better workflows, component structures, how to organize and lay out sketches all while keeping in mind future Grimsmo Knives employees.

Fixturing & Tooling Standardization
Grimsmo gives an update on the Norseman and while they're still able to make 6 knives daily, he's thinking about redesigning the fixture. The 2 long dovetail clamps on at each end causes the fixture to bow. The Johns discuss possible solutions and luckily, this is what SMW is all about!

Standardizing tooling doesn't sound exciting but once you've implemented it, it's like seeing something you can't unsee!

MINDS THEY ARE A CHANGIN'--and that's a good thing!
RoboDrill replacement was going to be a Haas DT-2 but another consideration is MUCH more important to SMW than the fast rigid tapping.





Sep 11, 2020

Overcoming obstacles is the foundation of life. But also one of the most important parts of running any type of business is being able to see an obstacle as a challenge and not a failure. This week on the business of machining podcast the John's talk all about making progress and continuing on moving forward. This includes getting the old machines running again and constantly finding new and improved ways on how to run the business and also create things!

Sep 4, 2020


This podcast has 186 episodes about the experience of two entrepreneurs improving their skills in their trade and learning how to create successful businesses.

"The day I stop learning is the day I fall asleep and never wake up." - Grimsmo

Entrepreneurship is a constant battle between delusion and self honesty. Justifying decisions is easy. Playing Devil's advocate is not. Knowing when to ride the wave of delusion and when to snap out of it? Now, that takes real skill. 

Looking For A Few Good Employees...
Both Saunders and Grimsmo are ready to bulk up their respective teams again!
Grimsmo Knives Careers

Saunders Machine Works Careers

Speaking of a few good employees, the latest addition to SMW is no longer a secret! @vince.fab is the new hobby machinist extrordinaire.

Click Image Below For Full Post!

Time to Buy more Pis. This is goin' down.
Grimsmo's got a case of GERP mode and Pi addiction. At least it's not a case of the Mondays...

Bar code scanning guns, charging stations, Raspberry Pi's, Linux, monitors, purchase orders, inventory, maintenance, making sure processes are anti-lazy, you name it, Grimsmo and Saunders discuss all things ERP and solutions to the new challenges they're facing.

Saunders shares a story about a chipped lathe insert, 23 bad parts, the bootstrapper mentality, and the struggle to challenge default thinking patterns.

Grimsmo leaves us hanging with a story about the 1/8" drill. Now we're all dying to know....WHERE IS IT!? 


Other Topics

Aug 28, 2020

What age did you get into CNC machining? This week we talk about the value of learning machining at a young age and the impact it has on the future. 

Grimsmo has gone full GERP, they have developed a wireless barcode scanner for their web base ERP system. Saunders talks all about reevaluating machine tool purchases and constantly improving.

Both shops are expanding. Grimsmo is hiring some machinists and Saunders is potentially looking at another worker for their shop as well!

Aug 21, 2020

The guys have been at this CNC machining thing for over a decade now and the amount of development in both shops in the past few months is surprising!

If you thought this was about face mills and decking parts, you're wrong. This is the first time the Johns have been able to video chat (reliably) during podcast recording in over a year all thanks to a sweet 220MB internet connection.

Grimsmo gets into detail about the Eumachs, while one is warming up its spindle, the other has a funky VFD issue and is about to have its spindle removed in order to reach the "tool unclamp" sensor. That being said, they're closer than ever to becoming a productive part of Grimsmo Knives!

Spoiled Rotten
When you go from the helm of a KERN to watching an old 2002 Eumach ramping up, things look...slow. Saunders is also spoiled by the lightning fast spindle and intuitive Next Control of the DATRON Neo.

Phase 3 - Implementing & Evaluating Processes

With the entire SMW team working on Phase 3 of rebuilding the shop, all eyes are focused on making processes easier, faster, and mistake proof. That, in turn, means it's time evaluate current machine tools and decide if they fit into the plan. Right now, the DATRON Neo is too much machine for what SMW needs and the FANUC RoboDrill (with its lack of probing and through-spindle coolant) just doesn't fit the shop right now, so it's time to let go and get the right machines!

3D Printed Poka-Yoke Hardware Counter Boxes
Based on Ryan Wenner's idea of counting trays, Saunders thought of a way to count mulitple pieces of hardware, minimize human error, and pour them into poly seal bags without spills. Lost Hardware 0; Saunders 1.

Check out Seneca Woodworking YouTube Channel Here!

Click Photo Below to View Post!

There's so much work to do and that means Grimsmo and Saunders need more hands on deck. Two interns; one from a local robotics team and the other from a machining program have massively increased the manpower since they began a few weeks ago. The third person, who shall remain a mystery for now will be zeroing in on the benchtop/hobby machines and pushing them to their limits! The goal is to add tons of new speeds and feeds data to ProvenCut!


KERN + Window Machining + Adding Additional Material To Serve As Workholding = YES.

Grimsmo was able to window machine the fixture for the Rask lockbar inserts and it's just--beautiful! The guys discuss fixturing, probing, updating tool wear offsets, custom tombstones, capto holders, livetooling, and more!

MariTool may not make HSK 40 holders BUT they do know exactly what to send with your order of toolholders. Something that goes really well with lathes....
BTW, MariTool, when all this Covid stuff gets better, would you be open for a visit? Asking for a friend!

CAPTO Tooling: Is Through-Spindle Coolant A Good Idea?
In theory, it sounds logical to buy Capto tools that have this functionality but there's a sticking point you may want to hear before taking the plunge!

Speaking Of Coolant, That Hose Is Lookin' Real Nice!
Angelo is overjoyed when "garden hose" sprayers are added to the machines. MORI? No garden hose? #UNSUBSCRIBE. Saunders and Grimsmo share their plans for a central coolant/water delivery system.

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