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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Mar 1, 2019

When high production is vital to your business, planning ahead for down time when employees are down for the count could make or break.

Although Skye thought he escaped the illness that overpowered his co-workers...he spoke too soon.  Angelo steps up to the plate.


After Saunders tours Superb Industries, Inc., the Moore Jig Grinder poses a challenging question. How can you incorporate skilled labor into a process sheet?

Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker's Man....How Many Backups Should You Have on Hand?

Having doubles of EVERYTHING is not feasible so that means careful decisions about which replacement items you keep. Lead time, cost, and cash flow are just a few!


Big Kaiser goes haywire, causing SMW to begrudgingly scrap an expensive part. While troubleshooting, Saunders has his finger on it but is none the wiser.


Grimsmo arrives to a flashing red light and a broken 1/8" flat 4-flute end mill--and this isn't the first time.  When it comes to machining the tabs off of SAGA clips, this tool isn't cutting it (pun intended).

Kyocera Insert Update: 

After blowing close to one insert per part, the problem is solved. Now, GK can get 200 + parts out of one insert!


From Swissish thoughts to full Swishish, Grimsmo's zeroing in on the machine GK needs.

In addition to the UMC-750, Saunders makes another purchase that will be a game changer.

Feb 22, 2019

Maximizing use of the Mill

Grimsmo’s mill was STILL running when he came in this morning! That is one. Great. First.

On top of that, last week was the highest week ever for production at the Grimsmo shop.

“You keep saying that!” - Saunders

Apparently record breaking is the new norm, and Grimsmo is still trying to produce even more.

Saunders’ reminder

  • Reminders can increase production! Sometimes it’s just a small forgotten step in a process that got in the way of producing more. Pro Tip: Set a reminder for that step  
  • While you’re at it, set reminders for yourself so you stay on track with who you’re trying to become


“Your spindle is only ever down for a pallet change” - Grimsmo

Book Recommendation!

Do you love history and machining? Freedom’s Forge could be a great pick for you! It dives deep into the history of WWII, while also taking technology and available machines into the equation. Plus, Saunders highly recommends it.

Check it out here.

The ULTIMATE machine buying guide

Check out the NYC CNC website for important information and tips on financing your machine, and how to find the right one for your needs.

“Most people don’t mind paying for something, they just don’t want to pay for it if someone else didn’t pay for it or got a better deal” - Saunders

Pro tip:

“It only matters what goes into the loan documents in the end” - Saunders

Tidying Up, Saunders Style

Saunders doesn’t regret purging the workshop of unnecessary stuff for one second.

Are YOU ready to binge shop tours?

  • Superb Industries Shop Tour Coming Soon! While you’re waiting, check out @adam_the_machinist on Instagram.
  • Also check out the Fabrisonic video tour on Saunders’ Youtube channel
  • And look out for shop tour videos based on the 2 week binge of tours Saunders will be doing in the next couple weeks.


The time has come for the Saga Sign-Up List to go LIVE! Grimsmo launched it this past weekend as a link on his Instagram bio. More information about the pen will go up on the website soon. For now, you can learn more about the Grimsmo custom pen by checking out the Saga Saturday videos

So, real talk. When is the swiss lathe coming?

Grimsmo and Saunders discuss the need for a swiss lathe in the Grimsmo shop now that producing pens consistently is becoming more imminent.

“I just don’t want to spend a ton of money on bells and whistles I don’t need” - Grimsmo

And it’s also a matter of the machine fitting in the shop. But that's a question for another time. 

Feb 15, 2019

Proud Machining Moments Hit Home
Sometimes you only need an upward glance to find comfort and strength. 

Click Image Below to See the IG Post:


#Throwback #NeverForget

An epic Lakeshore order is a testament to how far you've come but the past is never too distant.
The Taig ER-16 spindle and some cheap double-sided end mills conjure up fond memories of the early days.


Saunders discusses the emotional impact of a "major curve ball."
This health concern causes terror and confusion, but one thing is clear: it puts life into perspective.

"It's not a sprint. It's a marathon."


Although entrepreneurs are driven by behavioral economics such as fear, convictions and outside interactions, at the end of the day, it's decision time. The Johns discuss how their ideas and plans have evolved.


Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in WWII

Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World


CASH CRUNCH: How cash flow management can affect your business decisions.

Goals are easy to declare BUT they ignore the actions between.


Feb 8, 2019

The Pen and Knife Balance

With limited machines, Grimsmo is always trying to balance knife and pen production. Sometimes he has to get creative.

Saunders and Grimsmo talk tools, and creative solutions to achieve Grimsmo’s high standards.

“That would work, but it wouldn’t be the finish I want” - Grimsmo

Sometimes the solutions are simple.

“We both figured out at the same time that the live tool needed to go’s just one of those little things that takes forever to figure out” - Grimsmo

SMW Bought a 5 - Axis!

It’s a Haas UMC-750, and Saunders signed the paper work for it last week. It should be delivered in about 2 - 3 weeks (so soon!). Look out for the video on Saunders’ YouTube channel.  To make space, they would also move the other machines around a little.

“You’ve got your high-end cell, and your training cell” - Grimsmo

Pro-tip: You don’t want too big of a machine because it makes it very difficult to get to a small part, so you have to solve that by lifting the part up high off the table.

Interested in getting trained in 5-Axis machining? Keep following Saunders for updates on potential classes.

“I’ve always been more interested in showing what you can do with a machine, rather than showing what you can’t do with a machine” - Saunders

Grimsmo’s Future 5 - Axis

“I would get a palletized version...Rob Lockwood sold me on the idea” - Grimsmo.

Listen to the episode with Rob Lockwood as a guest! It’s episode 93 of this podcast.

“I try to push the boundaries for accuracy, not so much for power” - Grimsmo

Failed Lean "Fixes"

Collaborative video between Grimsmo, Saunders, and Jay Pierson. 

Where have YOU tried to go lean, and it just didn’t work out?

3D Printing without heat...Can it be done?

Saunders tours a revolutionary 3D Printing company called Fabri Sonic.

“You can put electronics in your 3D printed part!” - Saunders


  • The Snippet Tool on every windows computer. It’s so small, but helps SO much.
  • Creating a keyboard shortcut in your phone to fill out your hashtags automatically.

At the end, Grimsmo and Saunders get into measurement techniques, and solving problems by probing. Saunders mentions that he learned a great technique from Edge Precision’s YouTube channel!

Feb 1, 2019

It's cold. It's winter. Who cares? Moving on.

This episode is a hodgepodge of entrepreneurial and philosophical gold nuggets.
From Maslow's Hierarchy to epoxy floors, the Johns cover it all.

Even IF we are in a doesn't matter!

Machinist's Philosophies
After watching the Joe Rogan podcast episode featuring David Goggins, Saunders is particularly fired up!

Joe Rogan + David Goggins Podcast Episodes


Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurial Love
It's normal to get down but maybe you have to get down to get back up. Without overcoming struggle, you can't get a sense of accomplishment.

Jan 25, 2019

Getting Social In 2019, and sharing reality!

Grimsmo starts to post Instagram stories daily. Bonus: We get more info on the upcoming Saga Pen!

BUT Saunders and Grimsmo agree that they don’t need to stay up-to-date on everything all the time.

“Use Instagram the way that works for you...we’re not just going for clicks and views, we’re trying to build a community of people who care, and want to see what we’re doing” - Grimsmo

Example of a Reality Check: In Grimsmo’s latest video, Jo mentions that we’re using the old tumbler a little more than the new tumbler lately. And that’s just a reality.

Saunders guest stars in another podcast! It’s called The Edge with Bantam Tools

This company is now owned by Bre Pettis, one of the owners of NYC Resistor, and the 3D printer company, MakerBot. 

Growing Pains = Long Term Gains

To think about hiring, you’ve gotta think about firing

Saunders and Grimsmo talk about the difficulties of being an entrepreneur.

“I hired too quickly, and I fired too slowly. The problem with having a bottom performer on your team is that he/she gets all the attention, when the second worst performer flies under the radar” - An inspiring entrepreneur Saunders is quoting

“Being an entrepreneur is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, yet all of my best friends are entrepreneurs” - Grimsmo

Great example from The Eagles Biopic on Netflix

What did it feel like when the band broke up? “It was a terrible relief” - Don Henley

Even when there’s no specific problems with the team, as an entrepreneur, it’s still necessary to constantly be thinking about the future (which includes the future of employees).

Saunders and the Mobile Desk

Saunders gets a backup battery for his computer, and sets everything up to be movable. Now he can move his office, into a quieter space.

Let’s talk about finance! Growth eats cash for breakfast!

“I haven’t yet felt the benefits of running a profitable business” - Grimsmo

Saunders and Grimsmo discuss how to regard the finances as accurately as possible.

“Most businesses fail not because of lack of profitability, but because of cash flow”

The Saga: Almost a Year in the Making

The Grimsmo Shop seizes every chance they get to make pen parts when the lathe isn’t making knife parts.

Grimsmo talks about Angelo’s strategies to tighten those tolerances on the super small parts of the pen.

The pens will be sold through the Maker’s Choice list, but it’s not live yet. Subscribe to Grimsmo’s Instagram and YouTube for updates on this.

Lathe is running well, and Grimsmo adjusted the SFM! What is SFM? There’s a video for that.

Saunders has a question for the audience!

The big fan is great for cooling the air, but we want a better climate control system for the summer.

“I wanna buy a beer for an HVAC guy!” - Saunders

ALARM! Wrong tool in spindle

Grimsmo had two pallets alarm out at one custom code that he had put in. It helps protect his tools and his parts with one warning called “wrong tool in spindle”

Jan 18, 2019

Spoke Too Soon. 

Last week's episode featured Great Mood Grimsmo. He was in high spirits only to find Norseman fixture alignment issues that would plague the team for the remainder of the week. He and Angelo wade through the GD&T lake to find the variance and formulate a possible solution that involves changing the probe tip from 6mm to 2mm. 

Click the Photo to View Post!


For Saunders, Monday morning bestows some thorn-in-your-side gifts. A letter from the bank creates strained relations, a Fusion 360 glitch causes Manual NC to malfunction, and an RFQ response from a vendor that results in a purchase, except they left out one TINY detail.


As more machinists open their shops to viewers via social media and YouTube, big name companies recognize the potential benefits. The landscape of the machining industry is evolving.  While proprietary information is still kept confidential, more businesses are warming up to visitors and sharing. To boot, long gone are the days when the idea of having 2 Renishaw probes on the same machine seemed cray-cray.

What makes the BEST WEEK EVER? Hint: It includes the National Tooling and Machining Association and ZEISS.

Processing Post Processing
If you want to get started on Post Processing, check out the videos on the NYC CNC page HERE.

Spooky Sounds and Stethoscopes: Solved.
The strange noise emitted from the VF-2SS in episode 100 has disappeared. Was it a major issue or a simple fix?

You know what really GRINDS my gears? Quality Control.
Quality and lead time issues with outside vendors provoke questions. Saunders has reservations about bringing a particular process in-house but keeps an open mind to solutions.
Don'tcha wish you had a Bourdelais around the corner?

Jan 11, 2019

This episode is a good mix of strategic philosophy and technical discussions. Stay tuned for talks about how to stay motivated AND motivate your team at the same time! Such is the life of an entrepreneur. The Johns will also talk troubleshooting, and favorite tools.

Pass it on

Grimsmo fixed the pass link on the Maker’s Choice “Congrats” e-mail, and now people can pass the purchase link along quickly if they don’t want it. Without that link working, it takes 24 hours for turnover!

What do you want in a knife?

Grimsmo adds a short survey to the Maker’s Choice system so people on the list can answer a few questions and help the Grimsmo team tailor knives to the market.

But this raises the question “how do you differentiate between valuable and non-valuable feedback?”

Grimsmo’s systems may be improved, but he’s not finished yet! Saunders and Grimsmo discuss how to integrate knife customization back into the Grimsmo business model.

“Don’t paint the future with the past. You have a lot more maturity now when it comes to your ability to run product through the shop” - Saunders

The Saga Continues…

The Grimsmo pen is still in the works, and getting prettier by the day. But at 32 rockwell, is the new material for the button and slider too soft? Skye gets assigned the task of clicking the pen all day to find out.

What’s your favorite tool?

Saunders: ¼ inch end mills FTW! There are so many reasons why they’re great!

A well versed fellow from Helical Solutions visits the SMW shop and breaks down just how unique end mills really are. Saunders also toured Helical Solutions’ shop! Check it out on Youtube!

Grimsmo’s favorite tool? The Leica Microscope. It’s used all day every day at the Grimsmo Shop, and knives just couldn’t be made the same without it.

For those of you who are going to ask about Grimsmo’s Lathe Insert Tool that he mentioned:

VBMT 110302PSF AH725

Slow and steady does not always win the race (if you’re a machinist)

“That’s a classic example of how you think you’re gonna be safer and smarter by going slower and easier, but it doesn’t always mean that” - Saunders

How much is too much lifestyle creep?

“I know there’s life style creep, but I just don’t feel bad about it” - Saunders’ friend

There’s a difference between treating yourself, and spoiling yourself. 

Crush it! 

Jan 4, 2019

Happy 2019!
The guys elaborate on the first time they met in person at the 2015 Tormach Open House.
Did Grimsmo inadvertently set a precedent when he purchased his first vertical machining center before having a shop to fit it?

The guys get caught up in festivities, family, and friends. This time of year reminds us to cherish time with our loved ones, to reflect, and to ring in the new year with a zest for life.

Tom Lipton's sobering words hit home and leave Grimsmo with goosebumps. Check out the post HERE

The Saunders family takes off to D.C. for an impromptu vacation. While visiting museums, he finds himself in awe!

Preventative Maintenance Talks
Be a good machinist by taking care of your machines!

10 Things YOU Can Improve for 2019

Spooky Sounds and Stethoscopes
The VF2 is making a weird noise, so it's time to get to the bottom of it. Could it be a rotary union coupler issue?

Knife Parts Stocked? 


Sayonara, Kyocera Inserts?
Previously, the SAGA clips decimated insert after insert BUT WHY!?
Angelo and Grimsmo pour through the code to find the place where
old habits die hard. They are pumped to see if adjusting the SFM will solve the problem! Stay tuned for an update!

Find out which machine Grimsmo's got his eye AND a quote on!

Dec 28, 2018

Last podcast episode of the year!

BUT how important is the calendar year anyway when you’re constantly trying to achieve your goals?

“I’m already living in 2019” - Saunders

2018 THEME OF THE YEAR: STRESS (and how to cope)

Saunders went through some of the older episodes, and apparently the Johns talked about this a lot.

“I’m okay stressing about the future. I’m not okay stressing about the present” - Saunders


“If you’re stressing about the present, it means you’re doing something wrong or you need to do something” - Grimsmo

Are you ever satisfied when you’re committed to continual growth?

Saunders debates between a vertical spindle or a CMM, but there’s always another thing that will make your business more effective. Just remember that the things you really really wanted last year have now become a part of the regular process flow.   

2018 Quote of the Year! (from a previous episode that Saunders dug up)

“Did we have fun? If not, we die” - Grimsmo

Should work be fun?

Thanks Eleanor, but fun sure makes it easier!

“There is something to be said for diving into your work, but loving your work makes it that much easier” - Grimsmo

Check out the book Saunders mentions!

Warren Buffett’s bio Snowball

Shifting Pens to Priority at the Grimsmo Shop

Knives have been a priority for a long time, Grimsmo struggles with taking the time he needs to get pens MOVING! At least there’s no doubt that the pen needs to be a staple product.

SO, time to get Swissish...

Saunders: “Dude, you NEED a Swiss Lathe!”

Grimsmo needs a Swiss Lathe for pen parts.

THE E-MYTH REVISITED (Revisited by Grimsmo, that is)

Going 100 PERCENT into the new year!

Episode 100 will come out then. For now, what’s your legacy?

Dec 21, 2018

Down for the Count
An illness drags Grimsmo home to recuperate for a few days.
Did it have a negative effect on GK production?

Urban Survival Gear: The Chapstick of Pens
Apparently, this pen has magical features not listed in the description. It vanishes but only reappears once replaced!

Check Out Tactile Turn Pens HERE

Deep Cuts
Grimsmo gets his FIRST custom knife from Brad Southard, complete with sweet engraved surprises. Buying a part of the story is the best way to support small makers!

Check out Brad's Knives HERE 

Husky Style Toolbox Finds a Home
After purchasing the new toolbox, no one was sure
where to put it but don't worry...Angelo's got this.

Fellow Entrepreneur Frustration
While growth is the epitome of success for most companies,
they risk spreading themselves too wide, leaving their original specialty to suffer.

"Quality isn't a light switch." - Rob Lockwood

LEAN GONE WILD. Could it be a thing?
Saunders entertains the idea of a video about lean shop improvements gone wrong.
Hey, what can I say? Sometimes Kaizen foam gets out of control!

Dialing in the 2019 Direction
Saunders films a new YouTube channel intro that defines specific areas of focus for the new year.  Stay tuned for its upcoming release on January 1st, 2019!

Relishing the Two-Pallet Run
After burning the midnight oil to fine tune the CAM, Grimsmo's tandem pallets are ready for a test!
Before you get gung ho about tombstones and pallets...there are a few things to consider. Array storage probing, anyone?

Siri's Kryptonite
Saunders points out the utility of recording voice notes; however, you may want to forego the transcription.

Small Improvements. Big Impact.
Saunders is pairing down. Smaller desk, less clutter, one monitor instead of 2 AND Jared's gettin' a new PC.
Check out the popular NYC CNC Article on What Computer to Purchase for Fusion 360!

Screwed Up in a Good Way
GK is building up knife part inventory so SAGA production can commence.
Fun Fact: Each knife has 7 screws!

Does The Canadian Dream include a Swiss Lathe?
Analyzing downside risk causes Grimsmo to approach a new machine tool with extreme caution.

'MURICA Serial No. 1776
With thoughts of American independence on his mind, Grimsmo's coming up with something awesome for the 1776 knife.

Next Week's Episode
The guys will rummage through 2018 podcasts.
The past is close, yet so far away.

Dec 14, 2018

Starts off on a SUPER positive note: “We’ve got the recipe down!”

The team is taking initiative, and making projects their own.

“You need the best guy to come up with the process. Then it’s trainable, it’s a recipe.” - Grimsmo

Healthy shops, happy team

Do your machines need filters?

Where are we at in the SAGA of the Saga Pen?

“Priorities, man” - Grimsmo

Knives are the first priority, and the lathe has been running non-stop for the past few weeks in the Grimsmo shop. That’s awesome! But it means there’s less lathe time for pen parts (which are entirely made on the lathe).

Saunders’ Challenge: What spindle to buy next? Check out Saunders’ December shop update! It breaks down how to budget, and what time of year is best to buy.  


Grimsmo is successfully running two pallets(!!) at a time now on his mill, but getting this to work was no cake walk.

Among the casualties: a Cogsdill Tool

“I was so worried about the programming side of it, that I didn’t worry about the mechanical side” - Grimsmo

Your tolerance is inTENTH!


The Johns talk machining and getting their tolerances down to tenths.

Sad news: factory closing the doors after 100 years of operation

  • 100,000 sq/ft factory closes down
  • Saunders goes across the street to say goodbye, learn, and check out the auction

Back to the company

The Supfina fine grinding machine is no longer happening for Grimsmo. BUT Nifty Bar upped their game and meets the Grimsmo standard in grinding! Could this be better?

Questions raised: 

Q: Can an FAQ make up for a subroutine?

A: On a shopify website, perhaps!


Tune in to hear Saunders’ and Grimsmo’s 2019 goals!

Sneak peak:

Grimsmo: Get a new fixture installed to allow a four pallet setup

Saunders: Work steadily on improving the Shopify website

Dec 7, 2018

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE...where you might get a little misty-eyed.
The cycle has ended; the coolant is off so WHY is the foam still growing!?
With no through-spindle coolant and small ER collets, Grimsmo's got no explanation for the extreme coolant atomization--annoying problem but fun to say!


Saunders notices an off-white tinge occurs sooner than it should but instead of replacing it and shrugging it off, he examines potential root causes.
Will sending samples reveal what's really going on?

Improving Shop Environment Quality for $200? Yes, please.
Saunders has been working to improve shop air quality.
Between the Big Ass Fan, the ERV, and the new Fan/Filter Modification from Grimsmo's new lapping machine video, it's like a breath of fresh air.

So far, it's working great but whether or not the charcoal filter
will clog remains to be seen.

Want to get an upgrade? Check out this NYCCNC page for a bill of materials.

Double Dose

AU Toronto pays Grimsmo a visit to talk Fusion 360. PLUS,
the Elliot Matsuura APS Engineer stops by to talk machine tools and custom codes!

What makes it Swissish?

There's some fuss on WhatsApp about the 
Tsugami SS327-5AX Swiss Lathe with B-Axis

Pallets? Check. Code? Please wait.
Grimsmo wants the code to complete for one pallet, rewind, move over, and start from the stop but there's one BIG problem: Fanuc and it's dinky memory size...

Come on, MAN.  It's 2018!  You can't even BUY memory that small anymore! 

To make matters worse, logic can't be used in the DNC side of memory which holds 2G (plenty of room).  So, that means 2-3 hours of alone time (hand coding) and the pallets should be good to go.  

Tune in to hear about Grimsmo's end of 2018 thoughts AND outlook for 2019!

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!

Oct 26, 2018

Shootin' the Breeze
Grimsmo and his son, Leif, pay Saunders a quick visit.
TURNS out, machining isn't the only thing he's precise about.
Saunders digs into his quality engineering obsession.

How to Win Friends & Influence People is a life-changing read. Do yourself a favor and get a copy by clicking HERE!

Family Heirlooms
Everyone says they look AND act like brothers,
so when Grimsmo becomes the owner of a sentimental
Kennedy toolbox, it just feels right.

Jack Roman from Tuff Writer Pens features GK
in his EDC (Every Day Carry) + Micro Manufacturing Documentary.
Tuff Writer Pens <<<<Click Here to Check Out Their Site!

Zeroing In
Grimsmo conducts interviews and narrows it down to 2 awesome candidates.

"Be careful the story you tell yourself" - Grimsmo
When a group of manufacturing class students visits GK,
his goal is to open minds. Believing in broad and stereotypical job titles could prevent you from finding your passion!

The End is Nigh
With the end of the year drawing closer, Saunders
embarks on restructuring the website.

We're Out of Potato Chips
Saunders receives a beta Smart Supply logistics locker and with it, the ERP mindset is back. This Allting "Vending Machine" won't be putting out snacks, but it will be a huge first step in the ERP direction.

Speaking of ERP...
Grimsmo admits he needs to involve his team
more when it comes to Pro Shop but the benefits
are already obvious.

Airpods: Lifestyle Creep or Lifestyle Keep?
Saunders FINALLY tries Airpods and they
live up to the hype. Now that his hands are free,
he gives a BIG thumbs up.

Click HERE to get a pair!

Machine Tool Design Fundamentals
Saunders wants to know more about machine tool design. Other than piecemeal conversations and venturing into the rabbit hole, he's not sure where he can get a comprehensive overview.

Pocket NC Tombstone project inspires a workholding solution: a lathe chuck SUBPLATE!
Stay tuned for the upcoming Wednesday Widget.


The United States of Steele
Alec Steele is selling everything and moving to the states
to start a shop!
"The future will be kind to him." - Saunders

Phenomenal Feedback
The shop tour videos are always fun for Saunders
but since he's considering a direction for the business and the channel, he's not sure how they fit in the grand scheme.
Grimsmo chimes in with a great suggestion.

Stay tuned for the video where we follow a crucial C-17 part
from Forging to finished AND the full length tour of Vahl, Inc!

Saunders has his AU bag packed with
Leif's hat and a Sandvik Boring Bar for Laurens.

Click HERE for AU Las Vegas Registration!

Oct 19, 2018

Grimsmo is putting pens write back into the game! He and Angelo had a nice long meeting where they made A TON of changes to the internal workings of the pens.

Curious about what changed? Watch out for new Saga Saturday videos coming again soon on Grimsmo’s YouTube channel!

Learning is great, and it’s even better if knowledge can be used right away! Saunders learns what a “living hinge” is (keep listening to find out), and he bought a Skyhook crane (which is also new territory for him).

Which would YOU choose? Red or Blue? And no, we’re not talking about pills.

“Welcome to the Loctite Episode!” - Grimsmo

The Johns discuss loctite, different variations you can get, and how its versatility makes it so AMAZING!

What does loctite do? Fills in all the gaps and gives you 100 percent thread. It prevents the start of the reverse rotation.

The Balance of Risk and Reward

There’s always a risk when you sit down with a mentor or someone in the field, but from Saunders’ experience, the good always outweighs the bad.

Saunders talks about his trip to New York. He did SO MUCH in the two days he was there, but especially enjoyed his tour of the VAHL shop. There will be a video of that, so keep an eye out on Saunders’ YouTube channel for the shop tour!

Take away from the trip? Saunders says it’s always great to get a little out of his comfort zone, but he has to reflect a little more before he knows exactly what lessons he's learned.

How do you measure lean?

Saunders and Grimsmo discuss what goals that have when they implement lean strategies into their workflow.

“Better results at the end of the day is all the matters” - Grimsmo

The machines Saunders has makes him: “parts , money and happy”

Workflow improvements?

Grimsmo uses UpWork a lot to get results, and now the shop is also considering a fine grinding machine that would cut down on lapping time.

Grimsmo is going to visit Saunders this weekend! It’s a great time for them to just hang out, and be dads together.

Oct 12, 2018

:: Solving a toolpath mystery ::

:: The John Saunders Turkey Machine ::

:: Don't judge a fish by how it climbs trees ::

Saunders asks himself, "What the heck ARE we?"
Does having multiple areas of specialty dilute
the business? After some revelatory conversations,
he's "zeroing" in on what it means to be SMW.

"Daddy, I'm trying to find John Saunders Turkey Machine Shop."
While enjoying the Canadian Thanksgiving festivities,
Grimsmo's daughter, Claire, is on the hunt for a hilarious
and totally under-rated video. Click The Image to Watch!

Often, words lose their meaning and need
updated to accurately reflect our ever-changing world.
By changing the suffix, the word "Marketing" gets new life.

The gradual arc on a GK knife handle goes from 1 line of G-code to 50, leaving behind noticeable facets that the guys have to buff out. Luckily, in this digital age, we can turn to the machining
community to ask for help!
Thanks to @laurenswijnschenk, the proverbial thorn in Grimsmo's side is gone. Check out his Instagram HERE!


First, pull over and open your laptop!
Have you ever used the "View Toolpath" feature in Fusion?
If you haven't, you aren't alone!

The NYC CNC full length IMTS video hasn't been published yet but here are some
shorter IMTS videos to tie you over!

Grimsmo Knives IMTS 2018 Day 1 - Becoming Swissish

Grimsmo Knives IMTS 2018 Day 2 - Small Booths

IMTS 2018 Top 10 CNC Machines

Their "We're Hiring" video has been released to the interwebs but
in order to be seriously considered, you MUST make a short video
about yourself! A deep conversation ensues about the art of hiring employees that you don't want to miss!

Click the Image to Watch!

Saunders is back in NYC, looking at a Mori Seiki SL-1A with FANUC control...but will the forklift have enough capacity to handle the instruction manuals?

Finally Got Some Green Tops!
Grimsmo gears up to try out Helical tools for the first time.

Oct 5, 2018

What processes work best for your shop?

Sometimes it’s as simple as wrapping green tape around material you’re not using or using google sheets more often, and other times it’s necessary to get creative with a new tool! BTW the Grimsmo shop has a band saw now.

“It all depends on your goals”- Grimsmo

If quantity is your goal, you focus on materials that make products faster. If your goal is quality, you have to invest in materials to make them top notch, but you should make sure it’s not taking any longer than it needs to.

Tiny Tolerances

Grimsmo and Saunders discuss tolerances. They are a crazy important consideration, maybe even more important than we realize. How do you make sure your perfect parts are actually perfect?

Saunders asks himself questions like “What tolerances do I need?” as he plans his trip to NYC to look at a used FANUC 2-axis lathe.

The Journey: it never ends.

Saunders is inspired by Tony Robbins too! As the Johns discuss realistic goals from the next year, to the next TEN years, Saunders reminds Grimsmo of a Tony Robbins quote:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and they underestimate what they can do in a decade”

Everyone puts so much pressure on themselves over the course of a day, or a week or a month, but those little steps will lead to huge results. It just takes time.

“It has to grow organically for it to work, and it has to take ten years, and it has to be a struggle” - Grimsmo

Ask yourself: Where were YOU last year? It might make you feel pretty good.  

As a side note: Grimsmo’s hiring!

The official announcement was out on their YouTube channel Thursday Oct 3.

Hmmm...What should we buy next?

The Johns get Swissish (again) as they talk about how a Swiss Lathe works.

With the lapping machine being overused, a fine grinding machine is starting to look like a more real part of the future for the Grimsmo Shop.  

Fine grinding machine by Supfina:

Model that Grimsmo is considering:

Supfina Spiro F5

Keep an eye out!

Saunders is going to releasing a new product by the end of this year!

Sep 28, 2018

Get Well Soon, Grimsmo!
He might be under the weather but shop life waits for no one...

When you enjoy working, you have to be more
conscious of that sneaky little thing called burnout. You might not notice until it's too late!

Pride and Humility: The Balance
William breaks a toy at school.

Tony Robbins Total Immersion
Grimsmo and Meg attend a Tony Robbins event and return revitalized!
Love him or hate him the "I'm Not Your Guru" guru
has ways to break limiting thinking patterns and bestow clarity. Using a different framework makes critical decision-making easier.

As Saunders releases the first of many Johnny 5 videos, the negative nancies get their panties in a twist because of an estimated 2-year timeline. Rome wasn't built in a day...right?

Hesitation Parallels
Saunders has found THE microscope and a jib-crane solution but suffers a case of Paralysis by Analysis while actively fighting lifestyle creep.
From Grimsmo's last video (BACK FROM IMTS 2018!) he's STILL gotta order titanium round bar BUT this order entails more than clicking a button...

Sep 21, 2018

Are you ready to talk technology and tools from IMTS with Saunders and Grimsmo?

I hope so! Because this episode gets nice and technical

The Johns are back from IMTS, inspired, and ready to get back to hustling. They’re happy they can pick up where they left off because of their awesome employees holding down their respective forts while they were gone, and keeping up with the daily grind and processes.

“Make the process the expert” - Grimsmo

Thanks for coming out to the Manufacturing/Entrepreneurship Summit! It was a blast!

In this episode Grimsmo and Saunders reflect on the event and wrap it up with some final thoughts on certain questions that were asked during the Q and A period.

Teaser: Their favourite part of IMTS was talking to and learning from the people, and it’s amazing to see how many parallels there are between entrepreneurs’ stories.  

At the show there were plenty of machines of the future, but what about machines of their future? Still lots!

Grimsmo discusses Swiss Lathes and 5-Axis machining, and Saunders gives some tips on how to get the deepest of information about machines from company representatives at the show.

“It’s almost worth stretching the truth to get a deeper answer about a machine, even its based on a question about a fictional tool” - Saunders

Pro tip: Go to a machine show! Even if it's small, it’s a great place to meet like-minded people and get some answers first-hand.

Looking into a Microscope

Saunders debates getting a super cool microscope from Vision Engineering. Without the show, Saunders might never have found that company.

“Go outside your comfort zone and find something you never would have otherwise” - Saunders

Crush it this week!

Sep 14, 2018


Energy = Kinetic

People = Inspirational

Podcast = Straight, No Chaser


Experience IMTS as Saunders and Grimsmo as they meet people on their way to AB Tools.  BOOM. You're on the podcast!

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