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: 2019
Jul 5, 2019

The Elements of a Machine Shop: Coffee, Coolant, Oil, and FIRE! 

Swiss Lathe Update? 

“I have both crashed it and set it on fire” - Grimsmo

About the fire…it wasn’t THAT bad

Folks from the manufacturer of Grimsmo’s Mist Collector reassure Grimsmo that the machine is usually completely fine after a small fire like that. 


“You don’t want to talk about crashing your machine, but this is a safe place” - Grimsmo 

Is a Swiss worth the risk? 

Despite the fire, Grimsmo still thinks he might have been better off if he got the Swiss before his conventional lathe. 

Breaking down the pros and cons to buying a Swiss before a conventional lathe

“The swiss is a little more complicated” - Grimsmo 

“But when has that ever stopped you” - Saunders

Grimsmo moves onto the second part he’ll have made on his Swiss lathe: spacers for the knives

How do I get started as a machine shop? 

Saunders answers this question by differentiating between simply selling a product, and running a business. 

“Think about how your work affects your customers!” - Saunders 

Making your services more convenient, and improving customer service, pushes you PAST the competition. 

“It’s easy to do, but it’s easier not to do. That’s why so many people don’t do it” - Grimsmo

“If you have to have an excuse, that’s your problem. Not your customer’s problem” - Saunders

Learn more about this topic in the book How to Win Friends and Influence People

Saunders thanks the audience; his wife is doing great! And is even back to work! 

Check out the NYC CNC Hermle video

And it was ALL a dream

You can be a machinist and a dreamer at the same time. You just might dream about different things. Saunders, for example, gets a killer deal at an auction on a machine!! his dream 

In the DC area on July 18? Come to the Air and Space Museum!

Saunders will be there hanging out and watching a demonstration. More details in this episode.

Jun 28, 2019


Breaking the Silence on Project Egress!

This "Top Secret" mission is a collaborative, maker-inspired, project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Saunders shares his crazy story about what the project is, why it's so important, how it ties into his renewed passion for 5-axis machining, and why he's ready to get a "real" lathe!

If you want to meet up and see the project, swing by the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 18th!

Collet Bushing Drama

Old Red, White, and Blue won't provide the proper sized thread,
so he turns to the Swiss for an answer instead.

Until the custom collet bushing arrives, the Tornos is a chucker lathe. Although there were some concerns about long stickout and tool deflection, surprisingly, the Tornos is STILL dead nuts!


Click Image Below to See Post

Swiss Training Continues
The Tornos has made over 500 parts so far! By making what is essentially a dowel pin, Grimsmo's learning how components of the machine work together. Also, his familiarity with FANUC control on the Nakamura comes in handy.

Can I Get Your Digits?
Instead of 4 digits, the Swiss has 5....meaning Grimsmo
can move the machine in increments of ten millionths!

So you're in the market to buy a machine but before you do,
there are considerations you may not have thought about! Check out Guide to Buying CNC Machines.

Don't Judge an Endmill by its Coating!
A while back, Saunders mentioned his preference for owning uncoated endmills to avoid having material-specific tools. In theory, this makes sense but Laurens steps in to set Saunders straight! Sure, the coating is something to consider but there are other characteristics such as the edge grind on the flutes and relief that are MUCH more important.

Jun 21, 2019

Easy as 1-2-3! 

It's easy to commit to recording this podcast every week when you love it! 

“This is one of my favorite things to do each week” - Saunders

“This podcast is a safe space for us to brag OR complain” - Grimsmo

Even after so many episodes, the podcast’s format remains the same: two buddies gush over machining, the challenges that come along with it, and running a business.

The Swiss Lathe TURNS into a conventional lathe (for now)

A fluke in the order for guide bushing delays the Swiss Lathe from being used to its full potential for almost a month.  

Not to fear, it will still be making chips! Grimsmo explains how.

Keep it clean. 

With such a small space, Grimsmo is finding it hard to keep the shop clean and organized. Saunders and Grimsmo talk shop organization and maintenance. 

Should YOU be worried about someone copying your idea for a product?

Saunders and Grimsmo discuss this, how they’ve handled this question in the past, and how making the right call on this issue can help your business thrive.

“I’ve never been worried about a copy because people are buying a brand from us” - Grimsmo

Check out the book Blue Ocean Shift for further discussion of this topic.


“Don’t ask your friends and family for feedback!” - Saunders

You want feedback from the context of the market in which your product will be sold. 

Speeds and Feeds

Saunders and his team gear up to launch their biggest project yet: redefining how the machining world consumes and learns speeds and feeds!

Sign up to be notified about the beta launch HERE

How to create a system that is beyond yourself and your personal calendar

Having a business means involving your team in process changes, and system implementation. Saunders and Grimsmo brainstorm ideas on how to do this. 

That’s SO metal, man.

Discussion of different types of metal. Which metal works for your project?

Jun 14, 2019

Saunders and his team gear up to launch their biggest project yet: redefining how the machining world consumes and learns speeds and feeds!
Sign up to be notified about the beta launch HERE!

BladeShow Brain Blur
Erik & Jo (pronounced Yo) drive the tail of the dragon on the way to the most important show of the year. Although booth decor might not be their forte, who needs a fancy booth when you go #fullgrimsmo? Still reeling from the deep conversations in the pit, the fun, the excitement, and the "in-person refreshers," Grimsmo returns with the warm fuzzies and deep gratitude. A few days later, he's clear, motivated, and ready to hit the ground running with ideas inspired by the show's synergistic effect.

What EDC items are in your pockets? Is it a knife, pen, flashlight, a tape measure--maybe that's only a Jimmy Diresta thing.... No matter what you carry, those items need to be tough!

"I've been really wanting to take a SAGA and just kinda throw it down the road and see what happens."- Grimsmo in reference to testing the durability of his pens.

Don't worry, if you ever suddenly get the urge to chuck your SAGA down the street, don't worry! Replacement parts will be available.

Grimsmo was asked to do a full-on pocket dump at BladeShow! Find the video HERE on BEST DAMN EDC's Channel! 

Not only are we talking about pants pockets, we're also talking about tool changer pockets. Although Grimsmo got a steal of a deal on used Eumach machines from Miltera, time will tell if it's going to be more money and hassle than it's worth.

Sometimes you have to take a gamble! Despite knowing there's a chance that the Eumachs might might blow up in his face literally and financially, there'a also a chance that it could be AMAZING!

GrimsGROW Knives
It's definitely time to get a new shop but how can you get a jump on planning the layout if you haven't locked down a building yet?

With the eventual return of the Rask, you know the Linda Wheel Saga must also return! The team is ahead on Norseman production thanks to Angelo and now they're using downtime to improve the process and sift through the nitty gritty details to get a proper GK blade finish.

Jun 7, 2019

Saunders pushes through the pain of a bowling injury. He's still tough enough to make parts on his new 5-axis machine! And there's SO MUCH to learn about it. 

Saunders wants to work on the 6th side of a part with his 5-axis, and then eventually tab it off

Let's start a tab. 

Saunders gives some tips on how to tab off a part, and what he's learned since starting to play with his 5-axis.

"Filing is not great, scotch brite wheels work but it’s not the best. The trick is just to get really good at tabbing" - Saunders

QoftD: How are X and Y handled by the post?

Learn more about this in Saunders' recent video


Meanwhile, there should be a better way in Fusion to do tool orientation. 

“I would absolutely consider a 2 or 300 tool machine now” - Saunders

More and more Swissish everyday

Grimsmo is getting the Swiss lathe all set up, and it's bringing the team closer together (quite literally)

"The shop is TIGHT" - Grimsmo 

“In the ideal shop you never have to say excuse me” - Angelo

The Grimsmo shop is running out of floor space, but everyone is being a good sport and is excited about the new machine!

More to come once Grimsmo translates the french manual that came with one of the components of the machine...or maybe he'll just get an English one. 

Fun Fact: Grimsmo’s Swiss lathe was made in the Tornos factory in Taiwan. Up until that factory was planted, Tornos had really only been in Switzerland land and, after 150 years of being in the same location, the CEO says "It was SO nice to start from scratch!" 

Prune the beautiful tree that is your machine shop.

“A purge every once in a while is not enough, I want to be pruning the tree and regularly cleaning things out” - Saunders

Swiss Lathe timeline

  • Schedule application engineers for mid to late next week, which should coincide with tooling getting delivered
  • Then make some chips!!

Links mentioned in the podcast:

The Digital Refractometer

Proportional Mixer for Coolant and Soluble Oil

Speeds and Feed Class with Saunders

Also in this episode:

  • Don't flood your shop, leave your car keys on the "off" switch
  • Grimsmo moves the air compressor through his tight shop. "I should've done it a long time ago!" - Grimsmo
  • Grimsmo buys a second coolant/oil drum, and Saunders buys his first one
  • How rotary unions work 

Grimsmo’s got blade show this weekend!

Catch him and his team at booth 952. 


May 31, 2019

For over a year and a half, Saunders and his team have been pouring themselves into a new business venture!
John considers this "the biggest thing he's ever done" and rightfully so.
The goal: redefining the way the machining world consumes and learns speeds & feeds.

Click HERE to be notified when the beta launches!

Pearly Whites
Using the tried, true, cheap, and beloved superglue workholding technique, Grimsmo was finally able to machine those mother-of-pearl inlays for knife #1000!
After that, it's off to BladeShow with the other knives, pens, and coins....wait, did you say coins!? This year, Grimsmo's chipping in a little extra awesome token of appreciation.

Click Image Below to Watch NORSEMAN 1000! - Shop Life 013

Tornos - Yeah, I got time for that.
Grimsmo's comfortable with the pace of the Tornos setup.
With fire surpression installed, next on the list is the
60,000 RPM electric spindle, 2000 psi chip blaster, routing the lines for coolant, and tooling. You know what they say; slow is smooth, smooth is fast!

Activating Tool Coatings with Temperature
When a manufacturer gives S&F recommendations, the variance can be pretty wide.
Saunders wants to figure out how to improve tool life on an OSG  A tap. Is running it at 35-40 SFM fast enough to make use of the tool coating?

Hard Wired Hustler
If your ultimate goal isn't sipping a fruity drink on Cabo beach, that's okay!
Many entrepreneurs seek to find a path to freedom in terms of time and money but to others, that's pure boredom.

Hustle Good, Hustle Bad?
What's your definition of hustle and grind? This phrase carries conflicting ideas. On one hand, society idealizes those who push themselves to the brink and on the other, it means if you're NOT frantic and exhausted, you're inadequate and lazy. These concepts cause an internal struggle between expectations and reality so, it's not about whether or not you should's about HUSTLING THE RIGHT WAY. 

Speaking of the right way to hustle, what would Jay Pierson Say?
When you're trying to find a solution or advice, it's helpful to
think about how those you admire most would respond.


If you want to get ahead of your competition, click HERE to watch Jay Pierson's IG video where he stresses the importance of doing things others won't do AND how freeing up time for himself and his employees has allowed his business to improve!


May 24, 2019

You won’t be driving around in a parking lot for this episode, folks. It’s our shortest one EVER! Grimsmo's got some swiss lathe installation guys in this morning, and sometimes the work day starts earlier than 9am 

Grimsmo Recieves his Tornos Swiss Lathe

The Grimsmo workshop has changed. There is now a new machine behind Grimsmo, and lots of set up to do.

About the Lathe:

  • Tornos GT13
  • Has space for LOTS of tools
  • Relatively smooth delivery and set up. Fits where it was supposed to
  • It will take about two weeks for it to be ready to play with, and that’s okay
  • The bar feeder is on the left, whereas a Citizen lathe is backwards

Saunders’ Surgeon Mentality

Strategy to keep you clear headed, patient, and focused on the task at hand. Rushing will just end up causing more problems in the end. 

Question of the Day: How do you stay focused while remaining available to help?

Saunders gives some good advice on this topic

Check out Tim Ferris for more advice on how to focus 

Lean goes wrong?

Is there room for some fat in a company’s diet?

This is the theme of a potential video that might be done in collaboration with Jay Pierson. Saunders gives a little teaser.

JitBit App

Get your computer to automatically do things for you.

Fanuc Tip

Colorization > Comparison

PSA: Saunders and Grimsmo learn about the comparison view on Fusion. It’s a fun little tool, and something that both the Johns will be playing with. Let us know if you’ve heard of it before, and how you use it!

May 17, 2019


BLADESHOW 2019 is just shy of 3 weeks away and GK is ready.
On their 8th year of attendance, something is different.

The usual 2-week, frantic crunch to stock up on product IS NOWHERE IN SIGHT. Not only do they have knives and SAGA pens ready, the 1776 American Independence knife is nearly finished aside from some final engraving!


**You know you're a machinist when you measure time by trade show events.**

A New Business Diagnostic
If your company is growing, there's an important question to ask yourself: How does our business appear to a new hire? Are the roles, departments, and protocols clearly defined? Not only can this question give an outside perspective, it can also help you assess and diagnose problem areas.

Suffering for Success?
Hollywood has left no industry unscathed when it comes to dramatic portrayals. The question is, how much has it impacted your expectations?  Just because you're not endlessly toiling away in a dank, dark shop fraught with impossible odds doesn't mean you're not hustling. Let's call it "grinding smarter, not harder."

The Million Dollar Question: HOW DO I GET MY BUSINESS STARTED?
Data Tracking & Mentorship
Shortly after Barry was hired as the GK accountant, production significantly improved--and that's not a coincidence! Grimsmo stresses the importance of tracking data. More specifically, how much product you need to produce to stay consistent.

Saunders recommends checking out SCORE, the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors.

Technically, there isn't a right or wrong way to get started; however, there are ways to increase chances of success. Avoiding debt as much as possible continues to be at the top of the list. Plus, Saunders announces that CHIP BREAKS will be making a come back in the near future!

We just want to know...does the 6000lbs INCLUDE the Fanuc manuals or is that an additional 6000lbs? Since it's Friday, enjoy this IG post of Grimsmo's new Tornos!


Don't forget to use this promo code to get your Fusion 360 Academy pass for $99 (HALF OFF!).


If you enjoy this podcast or it has helped you, please share it with others!


May 10, 2019

Survival Mode
Although this term is usually in reference to stress, this time it's literal. Saunders gears up for a lesson in bushcraft.

Routine Maintenance - Like a Boss?
Learning the inner workings of a machine is just as important as learning the inner workings of your brain. 

Could Grimsmo's nightly walks and new to-do list system be paying off? For the past week, the team's been busting out SAGA pocket clips like nobody's business!

Click Image Below to See Post.

Check your to-do list and watch the David Allen TED Talk <--click here!

Badge It Up
Saunders marvels at Grimsmo's Dura Vertical sticker collection. Speaking of stickers, SMW just stickered and shipped a box to Blackforest, Germany containing a Robin Renzetti-inspired, modified, lathe tool-post.

Click Image Below to See Video.

Robin Renzetti: THE SOLID TOOL POST MOUNT <--click here to watch

Intricacies of 5-Axis Machining
Saunders delves into the specifics of the first UMC-750 5-axis part including the material, workholding, toolpaths, CAMplete, tooling, and how part of it KICKED HIS BUTT.

Wax, Wane, and Lightning Bolt
Sometimes you don't realize your excitement and passion has waned until you suddenly get a jolt. Having 100% adoration for your profession 100% of the time is nothing to be guilty about---IT'S NORMAL!

Grimsmo: BTW, I crashed the lathe last week.

Saunders: You're just going to casually throw that in there 27 minutes into the podcast!?

Grimsmolocks & The Precious Real Estate
Still on the hunt for a new shop, square footage is tricky to determine for a growing company. He doesn't want a space that's too big; he wants a space that's JUUST right.

Fly on the Wall (well, kinda)
Saunders wishes he could shadow Grimsmo for a day, but only if he didn't know he was there. The question is, will a set of headphones and a laptop make him inconspicuous enough?

N2(1) WUT?
GK is getting into cryogenics so they can freeze themselves and wake up in the future---j/k (at least about the freezing themselves part). Get the scoop on how and why they use cryo at GK!

The 1776 American Independence knife is about to be engraved with some 13 colony action for its BLADESHOW debut.

If you're in the neighborhood, come say hi!

May 3, 2019

Topics of Discussion:

People are different, but the Johns have more than just their name in common. They also think too much.

“Everyone thinks they’re normal” - Saunders

How else are people different?

  • Extraversion vs. Introversion
  • Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts
  • To-Do List Writing Methods. Ex. Make a video for future you! Then set up a reminder to watch it.

“At the end of the day, doing is what gets things done” - Grimsmo

Episode Golden Nuggets:

Power (of) Walking

Grimsmo gets some exercise to clear his head, and get some time out of the windowless shop.

The FORCE of Chill

Don’t be frantic. Be the ultimate “single-tasker”, and focus like a surgeon.

Outcomes, Actions

"What will it look like to me when it’s done? - Grimsmo  

Define the outcome, and take practical steps to NAIL IT.

Book recommendations:

The E-Myth

Getting Things Done

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Rocket fuel by Gino Wickman

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'.

Mar 22, 2019

Let the podcast go on!

Saunders may have lost his voice, but that’s not stopping these two from putting out another episode.

Get ready, goal set, go!

Grimsmo is hitting lots of goals lately. The team averaged their ideal daily production number for the ENTIRE month of March!

Grimsmo is also on his final steps of purchasing a Swiss Lathe! Learn more about its specs and the steps Grimsmo is taking to prepare for his Swiss in this episode.

Upcoming goals in the Grimsmo shop:

  • Get a new shop!
  • 5-Axis, baby

How to Negotiate

It’s not all about getting a lower price! There’s lots of valuable add-ons or conveniences that you can push for. If you’re the customer, you’re in a position of power! Grimsmo talks about what he negotiated for when shopping for his Swiss, and shares some strategies.

Note: Building relationships with distributors HELPS!


Customer service isn’t everything, but it’s the company’s first impression

“They just make it so easy to buy from them, and their product is quality, so why not!” - Grimsmo

Saunders makes a point for the distributor model

“Sales forces are a relic of the past” - Saunders

What to expect when you’re expecting a Swiss Lathe

Grimsmo researches necessary tooling, and preparations he has to make for his new Swiss Lathe. Watch out for a video on Grimsmo’s YouTube channel where he goes into this more!

Lapping machine vs. a great end mill in a great machine?

Grimsmo talks about tools for getting that perfect mirror finish that the Grimsmo team is quickly becoming known for. 

“That is the full-Grimsmo machine!” - Grimsmo

BOM goes international!

Saunders is visiting some machine shops around Europe, and Grimsmo tags along to check out the Kern Factory in Germany, and Tornos in Switzerland. While they’re at it, they plan on taping a BOM episode in Germany.

Mar 15, 2019

Word of the day:


In other words, Saunders has his 5-axis Haas machine, and he’s spending some time lately getting to know it and CAMplete. He talks about his 5-axis starter kit, and moving up to technology that seemed almost unreachable before.

AND it’s helping Grimsmo thaw to the idea of learning more about 5-axis machines himself.

Becoming Swissish ROUND 2!

Grimsmo talks about his trip to Elliott Matsuura to check out some Swiss Lathes (one of which might just be purchased by the next podcast episode)

It's all about design, baby 

The Johns discuss which design programs they use for their machines, and which ones to use with Swiss Lathes.

Bonus at Matsuura:

THEY HAD A ROUGHNESS TESTER! While Grimsmo visits, he gets to check out the roughness of his blades and handles. In this episode he lets us know the EXACT measurements.

Grimsmo bought an Ultrasonic Cleaner, and Skye approves.

“I wash the parts with water afterwards, and they’re cleaner than I could have gotten them before [having the Ultrasonic]” - Skye

Want to learn more about different kinds of cleaners? Saunders mentions this Wikipedia article as a great resource:

Ultrasonic Cleaning

The Johns finish off this episode with talk of other cleaning supplies, cleaning methods, and a couple more notes on Swiss Lathes. Stay tuned.

Mar 8, 2019

A Stone's Throw Away
The parallels in the lives of Grimsmo and Saunders are uncanny to say the least. Both get the chance to clear their heads--one on Lake Ontario and the other on Lake Erie.

Full Steam Ahead
During one of the most emotional weeks of his life, Saunders watches on Instagram as the UMC-750 and TM3 are delivered in his absence--and that's a beautiful thing. With a team he can rely on, he's been able to focus his attention on who needs it most: with his wife! We're happy to say Evonne's made it through surgery and on the road to recovery!

Grimsmo gives an occupational talk at a local school. By taking
a hands-on approach, he's creating memorable experiences that resonate with the younger generation.

Grimsmo knows exactly which part the Swiss lathe will play in shop production. In addition to tool holders, drill holders, and inserts, he plans to purchase a 60,000 rpm (not a typo) electric spindle to mill the torx pattern on the screws!

In last week's episode, Saunders suggested that Grimsmo try ramping down to solve a recurring tool problem. Did it work?

Phil asks a thought-provoking question about whether or not to alternate between OP1 and OP2 on a 5-axis machine tool with 10 pallets. Short answer: It depends.


Higbee Threads? Tell me more!
With the SAGA having threaded parts, this clearly the way to go FULL GRIMSMO!

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! 

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