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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Oct 2, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 25, 2020

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


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


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


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

Sep 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Sep 11, 2020

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

Sep 4, 2020


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

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

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

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

Saunders Machine Works Careers

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

Click Image Below For Full Post!

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

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

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

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


Other Topics

Aug 28, 2020

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

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

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

Aug 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

Phase 3 - Implementing & Evaluating Processes

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

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

Check out Seneca Woodworking YouTube Channel Here!

Click Photo Below to View Post!

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


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

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

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

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

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

Aug 14, 2020

This weeks episode is about smart business decisions. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the race of buying new equipment. But its always a good idea to take a step back and make sure it is the right decision. Make sure you are the best tool in your shop and that the machines you purchase will be a good fit. 


Saunders gives some great info on zero point fixturing and how to mange fixture offsets. While Grimsmo is on the edge of getting their Eumach machines running.

Aug 7, 2020

Grimsmo paints a beautiful picture of his family vacation thus far. A couple of spy-thriller books, canoes, campfires, and marshmallows will take the place of machine hum for now. Just make sure to stay away from "Snake Island!"


Does taking breaks decrease productivity? According to Forbes and many other studies, it has the opposite effect. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to exhaustion and burn out.  If that's you, it's time to Kit Kat!

Parenting & Entrepreneurship
Kids grow up in the blink of an eye and if you don't want to miss it, don't! Balancing time between being an entrepreneur and a parent can be tricky. Is it more about quality time rather than quantity? Elon Musk, what do you have to say about this?

Admiration for childhood energy, imagination, and carefree attitude stems a tangential but relevant debate topic: Is it better to follow dreams and passions or find a line of work that produces income?

The Depths
Grimsmo declares an insightful statement about life and expectations. Are you the person who needs to be away from the computer and phone to recharge or are you the one who would rather not? However you relate, keep Grimsmo's point in mind.

3 weeks have passed. LEX (the newest name for the custom-built ERP system thanks to Jonathan George) was born. Saunders shares the progress SMW has made in this short period of time. Bar codes, inventory, emergency inventory, job scheduling, purchase orders, and receiving are all necessary components of a high functioning manufacturing business. GERP, which stands for Grimsmo ERP may have started as a joke but this acronym has staying power! GERP's come a long way in the last few weeks in terms of development with a heavy emphasis on inventory and job scheduling.

New Face and New 5th Axis Project
By the time you read or hear this 182th podcast episode, a new intern will have started at SMW!
Saunders details an upcoming project that coincides perfectly with phases 3 & 4 of rebuilding the shop.

Lockwood AU Class on NYCCNC

MetalQuest's INDEX MS40-8
If you haven't heard of MetalQuest, you can watch the tour here.
If you're into reducing your machining time by 7/8ths, rigidity, thermal stability, and impeccable surface finishes, this is for you! Scott Harms, President of MetalQuest, and Saunders are working on a remote video collaboration to show this incredible machine and its capabilities.



Jul 31, 2020

It is so easy to overlook the aspect of marketing your business. The fact of that matter is that if you can bring the consumer as close as you can to the business, than they have a special attachment. Look at what Saunders' & Grimsmo are both doing on YouTube as an example. They are breaking down that barrier and creating a consumer attachment like no other. That is valuable no matter what type of business you run. This episode is all about the strategies of marketing yourself and business.

Jul 24, 2020

While Saunders and his team are busy implementing external phases of re-structuring SMW, Grimsmo's recognizing internal phases of intense creativity that eventually give way to productivity. Grimsmo and Saunders discuss their respective phases in comparison to shops that are further along in development.

Visit These Pivotal Shops Via Video Tour:

S&H Tour
Grimsmo Knives Miltera Tour
SMW Miltera Tour
MetalQuest Tour

Do the hustle! (thoughtfully)
While the word "hustle" sounds like hell on wheels, Mike from Miltera has a different type. He puts ample consideration into resource allocation--and it's not just about material, tools, or machines.

Totally Unexpected Benefits of ERP
You might think ERP is a numbers and organization game but Saunders sees something much bigger and abstract happening to the SMW team.

Grimsmo's EUMACHS---D.O.A.?
The Heidenhain control tech has come! When he opened the panel, it was WAY more than Deja Vu. Grimsmo talks plans for the twins and a plan if the plan doesn't go to plan. Next, maintenance techs are scheduled to perform the 100-point inspection.

A Touchy Subject
Saunders highlights a major drawback for hobby-grade benchtop machines like the SmartCarb, Pocket NC, and Tormach xsTech. He proposes a great way to stop touching tools off constantly.

Rasking for a Friend
Rasks are progressing slowly but they're still progressing. After feeling some burnout from the self-imposed July 1 deadline, Grimsmo's ready to outsource fixture components!

During the phase 1 purge, Saunders finds a special blank that reminds him about how he used to source material back in the New York suburb days. Grimsmo discloses a sourcing material story you won't believe. Having up front, explicit delivery, care, and spec instructions are of utmost importance. Accepting material that doesn't meet your standards is hurting your business!

How to Source Material

SMW Pallet Jack FAIL
While googling and watching videos to find solutions is wonderful and can work, other times, it's about physically trying it out.

GK's Getting SHIFTY in here.
One of Grimsmo's employees has move on--to another department. Find out who and why on this episode of Business of Machining!

Jul 17, 2020

This podcast has always shown both sides of the business of machining. This week is no different. Saunders' & Grimsmo are both building out sweet central coolant systems. Saunders' is building out A.L.E.X which is their in house ERP system. Saunder's may have had a little bump with his swiss lathe, very veeeerrrrry slowly but everything is all good!

Jul 10, 2020


  • Shop Operations
  • Shop Organization
  • Quality Control & AQL (Acceptable Quantity Limit)
  • Rask Progress
  • Zero-Point Fixturing 
  • Machine Probing (Eumachs, Fanuc Robodrill, DATRON Neo)

Refining Shop Operations & Organization
No longer is the conversation about product and process respectively. The Johns are now at a point where both are inextricably linked. Saunders talks shop revamp, QC, SMW custom ERP (ALEX), and DOITS (Days Off In The Shop).
It's not enough to just make parts. Having refined and dialed in processes that are simple and effective are key to long-term success.

Also, SCREW GOALS. Go for bite-size, actionable steps instead! Saunders outlines 3 phases full of small actionable tasks that will benefit the business and products. Both of these hosts have discussed lots of ideas and theories, but something's changed. The podcast may be all talk but outside of this hour confine, there's less talk, more doing.

Boiling Point

Both hosts find themselves boiling for different reasons. One has to do with QC and another has to do with A/C.  Saunders provides the best analogy for part quality during production runs: the frog in boiling water. With a shout out to Jake Yates from Yates Precision, Saunders is now combining AQL (Acceptable Quantity Limit) and an acrylic stroke of genius from Alex (the person, not the ERP system). In these sweltering temperatures, Monday can't come soon enough for the GK team!

Deadlines Come and Go
Grimsmo may not have made the July 1st deadline for having a completed Rask but the gains made weren't in vain. The deadline simulated an external driving force to keep him focused and driven. He delights in his newfound comfort with running the KERN. Not only are the pallet changers something that make him smile, he's also demanding that zero-point fixturing be used on EVERY machine.

Cut Bait?
Eumachs sat in storage for 6 months and have been in the shop for another 6 months. Grimsmo knows it's time to get service techs to inspect and repair. If push comes to shove, he may end up having to cut his losses and move forward but he remains hopeful that these will soon be dedicated foam cutting machines.

This isn't about getting into someone's personal business....or is it? Eumachs lack of probing summons Saunders' experience with the Fanuc Robodrill, which has neither a spindle or tool probe (video coming soon). The workflow incorporates a Speroni Tool Presetter and Haimer, which works well but nothing---and I mean nothing compares to DATRON's VacuCard and camera-assisted probing. NOTHING.

The Future of Hand Coding
Saunders and Grimsmo ponder about the future of manufacturing. With the advents between CAM and high speed machining, it's difficult to envision a world where hand coding remains ubiquitous.

Grimsmo Holmes
GK is perusing and investigating processes to determine the lowest hanging, high yield fruit to increase production and he's sitting on a smoking gun solution that he can do immediately!


Jul 3, 2020

Being in a position of leadership is a tough thing to learn. John & John go in depth about not only leading people in the proper direction but to also be a good leader to yourself. Grimsmo has been holding a super tight timeline to get Rask's back online while Saunders talks "Nuking" the shop. The boys mention an article here about "The soul of a new machine" By Tracey Kidder.

Jun 26, 2020

The Johns have been Business of Machining it for 4.38 years (3.38 years recorded to be exact).

ROI Envy
Sometimes you get a machine, crank out parts, and make money right away. Sometimes you have to invest time to develop reliable processes and workflows. Grimsmo reminds himself that the KERN is not a job shop machine.


Click Image Below for Full Post


The question is, "how do you cheat the KERN and push it beyond those limitations?" Although the machine is incredibly accurate, Grimsmo still has to chase tolerances. To him, that's proof it's not just about the brand of the machine, it's about tooling, the machining strategy, and various factors that come into play when making parts. Finding out those limitations is key to getting the most out of the machine tool.

When Saunders asked Marv if the Datron could outpace a KERN, the answer was revealed in this hilarious Instagram post. However, to Saunders, in terms of footprint, rigidity, and usability, the DATRON is pretty much a bite-size KERN.

Full Grimsmo Evolution
Grimsmo shares his story about trying to make a perfect carbide detent press with a PCD endmill. Sometimes entrepreneurs must be willing to bail on an idea or process that isn't working despite sunk time or costs. Full Grimsmo is starting to expand its meaning to more than just being in love with an idea.

Leadership Strategy and Tactics

The Johns discuss REGO-FIX, shink fit, and hydraulic tool holders. Saunders adds that moving away from the bootstrap mentality is tough but it is necessary in some cases. If you buy the beat-down, cheaper version of what you need, that may create a negative perception of the process or how the equipment should be cared for--and that could cost more than buying the new item!

TruePATH + CAMplete 
Grimsmo shares a "pucker moment" on the KERN. Saunders expresses his burning desire to have machine tool parameters set in CAM to avoid having to manually change them. While talking about TruePATH and CAMplete, the one thing they caution is to make sure you don't get used to ignoring the warnings!

JOHN: Cycle Start!

ST-20Y: "I'm sorry, John. I'm afraid I can't do that."

Saunders has a HAL 9000 moment where the lathe REFUSES to make a part! Let's just say it has to do with a spindle thermometer and a specific IF, THEN loop.

Scrapping Parts for Warm Ups - No Big Deal, Right?
As an entrepreneur, your attitude can push the business to unimaginable heights or it can blow up in your face. A seemingly innocuous approach to warming up a machine tool could end up translating to a major case of apathy and huge costs in wasted material for Grimsmo.

What do you do when the machine's been making great parts all day long? You stay at the shop until 4am and feed it! Fraser confirms that the Tornos didn't stop running from Friday morning until Saturday afternoon.

Saunders shares an urban legend about a machine at IBM 30-40 years ago that, once commissioned, NEVER turned off the spindle for the entire duration of the machine tool's life. IF ANYONE HAS HEARD OF THIS, E-Mail





Jun 19, 2020

"Making parts and growing a business are very similar, just on different time frames." This week is all about learning the sometimes harsh reality of running a business like this. Admitting to yourself that a mistake has been made and what you can do as a person and business owner to correct that. The boys dive into Fusion 360 and all about

Here are the links for this weeks reference material:

Leadership book:

Jun 12, 2020

CNC Manufacturing, Rigging Haas VF6ss Machines, Rasks, and a HARD Question You May Have Never Thought To Ask Yourself As An Entrepreneur!

"There are no PRIORITIES, only one PRIORITY."

During this weekly conversation about manufacturing, business, life balance, obstacles, solutions, and super technical, nerdy machining stuff, a lot is going on.

The SMW shop just got a little heavier. 45,000lbs to be exact. On Monday, twin Haas VF6ss machines arrived. Saunders shares his initial impression, what it was like for him and his team to rig the machines themselves, and the next steps in the process.

Proof that Everything is a Noodle
Since the machines arrived, that also meant the VM3 (SMW's first VMC) had to move. Now, the Z-axis automatic coolant switch needs some attention. They were able to get the machine leveled in thanks to two great videos: Haas video & AT-man Unlimited.

The ONE Thing
Grimsmo's been programming on the KERN but while trying to run a part yesterday, it didn't cooperate. Today, he's digging in to figure out why.
While thinking of the barrage of parts that eventually need to be made on the KERN, it's easy to get flustered and overwhelmed; however, Grimsmo has determined the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing he can do for Grimsmo Knives right now---and yer gonna love it.

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

Living By The Modified Nike Slogan: Just Do It...NOW?
Saunders admits he's been a lot harder on himself lately when it comes to completing tasks from the infamous to-do list. For him, the list allows too much time for procrastination or some other negative emotional reaction. So, he sees it and does it immediately. The question is, is this sustainable and scalable?

Some entrepreneurs never consider when starting a business, they should put themselves as the head of R&D and hire in a boss that handles the day-to-day operations & management of the company. Pocket NC did just that!

Bring Back The Million Dollar Question
Grimsmo's surprising answer to the limitless question, "What would you do if someone gave your company a million dollars?"

MetalQuest left a lasting impression on Saunders. Behind the robots and machines is software and processes that culminate into one high functioning organizational system. On the same note, ALEX, the SMW custom inventory tracking, purchasing, & maintenance schedule software is evolving!

Click Image to Watch MetalQuest Tour

Jun 5, 2020

A very important message this week by Dale Carnegie on "How To Win Friends & Influence People". Saunders is also spending some valuable time getting ready for his two new VF6 machines. The boys talk about to do lists and being able to follow through and dealing with stress this week which is very important in not only in business but in life in general. They also dive into sales techniques and being in a leadership role. Grimsmo has been diving head first into learning tabbing on 5 axis parts.

May 29, 2020

"You're in the business of being in the business of a business!"


  • Leadership & Internalizing Advice
  • Self-Reflection & The Last Dance 
  • Grimsmo's Delegating & the Tornos
  • Lean Manufacturing 
  • ERP systems
  • Credit reference tips

Leadership & Advice
Making the plans, the decisions, and having to steer the ship without a detailed map has its own set of unique struggles. The Johns mull over the abstract concepts of feedback, advice, and how timing and experiences affect their ability to receive and process it. Conviction behind the advice turns out to be a key concept.

A Flowery Moment of Truth
Fresh as a peach on the couch watching The Last Dance (a documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls), Saunders finds himself doubting Michael's empty gas tank. While digging up a rose bush, Saunders gets hit with some serious self-awareness. Click here for NYC CNC's Movie Recommendation List.

Hardcore Machining Stuff...Well, Sort Of.
The Johns usually get into nitty gritty machining detail but today, they find themselves inevitably back on the subject of business. The deeper they get, these topics seem less and less mutually exclusive!

Delegating, Teaching, & Administering Responsibility
Last week, Skye took the reigns of the Tornos; Grimsmo's definitive proof that he's growing as the leader of Grimsmo Knives. While he admits that handing responsibility over is difficult, he's very happy and excited about what this means for the future. Not to mention, Skye is crushing it!

Click Image To See Full Post

Lean Manufacturing Has Nuance (just like everything else)

After a night of lights out machining, Grimsmo arrives to find an oil spill and that brings forth discourse about chip conveyors and possible solutions. Lean manufacturing can be tricky to pinpoint. Being proactive about potential problems is certainly a part of it but going overboard is easy.

The old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly applies here.

Even more, the solutions MUST be simple, scalable, and sustainable. In other words, "the juice must be worth the squeeze."

The Scope of Inventory Tracking
Part of entrepreneurship is defining the scope of problems your business can handle versus the problems it should handle. Conflicted about investing time to develop custom inventory and PO tracking software, Saunders reaches out to the lean master, Jay Pierson, and gets a surprising response. Kanban cards, bar codes, and simple PO generation are tossed around this theoretical ERP skull session.

Fusion 360 & Dr. Phil Experience (the awesome machinist, not talk-show host)
Stay tuned for in-depth adaptive CAM troubleshooting videos from NYC CNC. Speaking of Fusion 360, how the heck does Dr. Phil do that!?

Prompted by an IG story with "automate simple tasks" plastered on it, Saunders and Grimsmo can't help but marvel at Dr. Phil's ability to rapid prototype & machine complicated parts. Grimsmo's planning a YouTube video where they sift through his Fusion file--stay tuned! In the meantime, watch this incredible, free, Autodesk University Course by Dr. Phil on 5-Axis rapid prototyping.

Click Image Below For Dr. Phil's Awesome AU Course

Touch Points of Business - Interactions ARE Messages
Every interaction a client has with a business is considered a touch point. They can be anything from calling customer service to how easy it is to order products.

For instance, at the mention of ordering material for the KERN, it's abundantly clear that Grimsmo has stumbled upon a negative touch point surrounding credit reference forms. Luckily, Saunders has great tips on how to handle it!

The Bigger Picture

Negative interactions with other businesses tend to make you look more closely at your own. There is a clear difference in companies that care about customer experience and ones that don't. Each interaction, whether positive or negative sends an important message about who you are and what you value.

May 22, 2020

John & John slowly start getting back to "normal". Grimsmo knives are starting to get back to full operations again after a 7 week shut down. The boys take this time to reflect about organizing and managing their time. Saunders' also dabbles in "S tools" for organizing tools.

Here are all the instagram links as mentioned this episode!


Ken @ zodiaceng


Rob Lockwood


Saunders Machine Works

John Grimsmo

May 15, 2020

Business of Machining: It may be simple and direct, but it's not forced or uncomfortable. BoM also happens to be a "subtle acronym" for Bill of Materials.


  • Naming businesses and products
  • Asking For Advice: The Student Mindset 
  • Processes - Scalability & Sustainability
  • Datron NEO - Sneeze Guards & ProvenCut
  • Parting Off: CNC Lathes

Grimsmo and Saunders discuss what it's like to name products and companies. The next time you hear Bashing Strawberries, you'll know exactly what they mean.

Discord Group Chat Provokes Good Conversation & Deeper Musings
We're all hardwired to find information that validates our belief system and discount anything that contradicts it.

However, when asking for advice, we must learn to put our biases aside. On that note, Saunders shares a fitting and humbling book excerpt about maintaining a student mindset.

How To Get Things Done Well - Sustainable & Scalable
Are you the technician focused on specific day-to-day tasks, the slightly unhinged company visionary, or somewhere in between? Determining where you are along this spectrum can help you determine the next steps in your business.

Datron NEO - How You Doin'?
Saunders discusses what it's been like the past few months with a Datron NEO. Everything from the work envelope compared to machine footprint, spindle speed, and an intuitive control, Datron NEO gets two thumbs up from SMW.
Hey Marv, if you're listening, can a Datron outpace a KERN?

Should You Increase SFM Just Because?
Grimsmo wants to leverage a higher SFM but there is never free lunch.

Saunders shoulda got a 5-C. Holding 1/4" thick mod vise washer between the main and subspindle for parting off doesn't leave any room. Having to take an additional finishing pass on the part isn't ideal. Although a 20 second pass seems like no big deal is it scalable and sustainable? NO.

Speaking of Sustainable...
Grimsmo kicks around the idea of making the one-and done SAGA part on the KERN instead of the NAK and other ways improve production.

HELP! It's Too Simple for Technology!
Saunders needs help from YOU! If you know what would work best to solve his camera + monitor woes, he's all ears.

May 8, 2020

John might have had a little hiccup on the Kern. A work piece flew out of the vise. Don't worry, everything is good! The Boys also had a great chat about managing tool inventory in a shop. With some great references and a video that can be found here. John & John also chat in length about 5 axis parts and the qwerks of Fusion 360!

May 1, 2020

CNC Lathes, Mills, Manufacturing & Small Business


  • CNC Lathe & Mill Trials and Errors
  • Subspindle Stabilization Solutions
  • 5-Axis Window Machining, Tabs, and Hot Glue
  • A Different Workholding Solution You Might Not Have Tried
  • Will the KERN make the Linda Wheel obsolete?
  • Dovetail Workholding Instills Confidence
  • Technician Time
  • Shedding The Bootstrap Mindset 

Saunders aims to avoid a post-machining deburr process for the square, tapered mod vise washers. He discusses the results of chamfering with the Harvey double-sided, double-angle cutter, using the subspindle and a 3D printed mandrel to stabilize the washer during part off, and a new idea that involves a 1" square collet.

Solutions Should Not Cause More Problems
When trying to improve machining strategies and workflow processes, make sure you're considering reliability, scalability, and poka-yoke. If the solution is clunky and prone to error, don't settle!

5-Axis Window Machining, Tabs, and Hot Glue
While touring Stewart-Haas Racing (video coming soon), the decal crew asked the V.P. of Operations, Tony Frazier, if their machine shop could fashion an aluminum decal squeegee and Saunders offered to help! He gears up to record voice over for the entire process. Although it's not a technique that lends itself to automation, Grimsmo still wants to have that trick in his back pocket!

A Workholding Solution You Might Have Never Tried
Saunders shares an awesome workholding technique when it comes to machining parts that are difficult to hold AND it can also provide reliable machining datum for Op 2.

Technician Time
Covid-19 lockdown might have some silver lining after all. Without distractions, Grimsmo finds himself getting very comfortable with the KERN in terms of probing, measuring, pallet changing, mounting vises to pallets, and making incredible progress on the rask knife tombstone fixture. Perhaps when the lockdown is lifted, there will be a new rask in the offering!

If you're a veteran of this podcast, you already know about the "Linda Wheel." The Linda Wheel Arrives in all the way back in Episode 12. The question is, will the KERN render the Linda Wheel obsolete?

Dovetail Workholding FTW
Remember that scary block of 4140? Grimsmo's now sold on dovetail workholding!

Bootstrapper Mindset Holding You Back?
When you're a bootstrapper by nature, the problem is you're using limits to plan while your business is growing! While this mindset does serve a great purpose, the trick is to know when to use it and when to abandon it.


Apr 24, 2020

Things are going well for both Grimsmo & Saunders! Saunders relaunched their website and saw their highest sales week! While Grimsmo has been getting more comfortable on the kern! Saunders' brings up a quote from his friend, "Possession is 90% of ownership". The boys also talk about "When you're faced with a tough decision, always choose the option that gives the customer the most confidence." This is a vital aspect of running any business and they weigh in on their thoughts on it!

Apr 17, 2020

Buying, Running, and Building Successful Businesses Around CNC Machines.


  • ST-20Y is back in business
  • Tolerance Creep & Squeezing the Most Out Of Your Machine
  • Tornos Lovejoy coupler slips during production
  • GK Quarantine Vlogs - Second Nature Machining Tips and Tricks
  • Finding Center Lines On A Y-Axis Lathe
  • Fusion 360 NC Program Feature
  • Simplifying Lathe Workflow - Lockwood's WCS & Container Method in Fusion 360
  • Dovetail Workholding
  • KERN - Tooling in Groups & Fusion 360 Cloud Library

Although the world is changing, one thing remains constant: the love of CNC machining!

Saunders is ecstatic to be reunited with the ST-20Y AND he's taking notes on how to get the absolute best parts the machine can produce.

Contrary to popular belief, you can't just buy a KERN, input the code, and have amazing parts appear. According to Grimsmo, the machine brand will only get you so far and the rest depends on tweaking and improving your process, even just that tiny bit more.

While lifestyle creep is to be avoided if possible, tolerance creep is definitely something you need!

Lovejoy Coupler Slips During Production
The year-old Tornos has been opened up to be serviced by Elliot Matsuura's technician. The coupler that attaches the motor to the ball screw is specifically designed to slip so nothing is ruined in the event of a crash; however, since the servo motors contain the enocders themselves, the machine is not aware of a mechanical slip, meaning it'll keep making parts out of spec until you catch it.

Grimsmo and Saunders hash out details on finding the center line on Y-Axis lathes. Grimsmo knows the best way takes a little more work but it's perfect every time.

Saunders has a do-while loop while he runs a certain number of parts. He shares how he wants to use a variable to streamline his post processor. Other ways to streamline and improve workflow come from Rob Lockwood. By implementing Lockwood's container method for programming parts and using a repeatable WCS, G55 stays put and the lengthy NC instructions on checking and setting offsets are a thing of the past!

Click Here for a Video on Part Programming Using Lockwood's Method.

KERN - Setting Up, Tooling, & Planning
Grimsmo hasn't cut anything on special K for a while. Is he allowing fear to hold him back? With a large chunk of steel that could fall and damage the machine, he's not sure if he can trust dovetail workholding. 
Grimsmo shares how he wants the tools and sister tools to be organized and how he's using the Fusion 360 cloud library.

Up Your Confidence Bank
Each time you keep a promise to yourself, your confidence account gets a little raise. Although Saunders crashed the lathe, he didn't let shell-shock stop him from moving forward. The only way Grimsmo will get that raise is if he gets off this call and pushes cycle start!

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