Things are chugging along, more or less the same as always. Thought I would update on a few things.
Sales are steady, with 10,000 packages being shipped since opening the store 7 years ago. Only about 10% are from the store with the majority going via other sales channels. If things stay the same all will be well. There have been no price increases for about 6 years. None are planned. Every time one of my costs go up I find some way to offset it. I am on my 3rd packing supplier because of this.
Shipping is very challenging, and it has simply eliminated overseas sales. Go to E-bay and you will see a host of items being sold from Asia with free shipping. Some items as cheap as $1. Try to return said item and the cost is $22.50. The government subsidizes their shipping. Some times you just have to admit defeat and dust yourself off and move on. This problem has no solution.
Machines are running as good as possible. There was some relay issues that caused me some grief but things are smooth currently.
The die assemble is going to be replaced. It has pounded out over 100,000 parts and is now out of square. One side is down .060" from the other. This results in mis-aligned parts.
It is going to cost some money and time but this has to be fixed. I am replacing the existing die, and making it perfectly flat with more re-enforcement to prevent future damage. Being slammed together with 28 tons of force hundreds of thousands of times I guess will tend to bend things a bit.
In addition, a new die is being designed and built. This one is going to increase the working space available from 4" X 6" to a whopping 8.5" X 12". The amount of plastic injected can not be increased, but the flexibility in part positioning and size is going to be a huge improvement. This die is going to accommodate 1/8" ejector pins and 1/4" ejector pins. Waiting on materials to show up at the door any day to make this a reality.
The primary driver for this new die is this all consuming distraction/challenge.
From a business perspective, it seems to make sense to look for different types of products to create. The gaming industry is very crowded with better run and better equipped companies pouring out a flood of products. I posted in this Dakka thread and it explains things pretty well. dakka link
I have been a life long fan of classic American cars and there are 3 that I want to make for slot car racing. It is going to take a slide action mold for this and thus the spending of large amounts of money to buy hardened bushings, springs, and pins. The mold pictured is the back of the wheels for the car design.
As usual, failure is the best teacher. I made this mold for a guy, and now I have to make the whole thing over again. (sorry Andrew).
The bottom door for the shipping container will not fill with plastic. The reason is because I put it on the wrong way. I did not notice that one door is inset and therefore thinner than the other. I filled the thinner part first. This does not work. The plastic fills in and cools before the thicker side gets filled. If you flood it with hot plastic it might work, but the thick side will get sinkholes as it cools. You have to flow from thick to thin. It is a shame because he did some stellar work designing it.
Making figures is on the back burner for a while again. Although I ran some tests with the EDM machine and it was very promising. The only problem is that it is the slowest process I have ever seen. It sparks and cooks like a mad scientist lab but after hours of smoke and fire it has managed to drill a hole .01" deep. Something that could have been done on a drill press in seconds with a lot less cost and drama. But it is the fact it can drill a face shaped hole that makes it unique.
The shop overall is in the best shape it has been in years. I purchased a label maker and it seems to motivate a person to label stuff and put it away. So things are organized and in place instead of the usual post-tornado look.
And this was very fortunate, because a visitor stopped by. The goal of creating a maker space is going to finally happen, and not because of me. makerspace
The leader of the board of directors spent an hour or so visiting. This is a legit maker space, with a funding grant and actual grown ups running it. The building has 6000 amps of 3 phase electricity!!!!!
I think a Tesla coil built there could arc to the moon. Although I will not be suggesting that right at first, instead trying to stick to more practical projects like time machines and re-animation of dead tissue.
They are non-profit so no howling swarms of tax collectors to fend off, and they are INSURED. In addition, there will be free legal advice from Penn-State from their small business start up help called Launch Pad. There will be conference rooms and the chance to network with other locals. This is scheduled to open on January and I am hoping to secure a position on the technical committee. There is a good chance that the space will someday include plastic injection molding equipment for the members to use. After seeing my workshop the director seemed very keen to replicate it for the maker space.
So this is really good news if it comes to pass. The only unfortunate thing is that this maker space is going to be a slow process because of government involvement. I am just glad to finally see one in our area.
So that is where we are on this fine fall day. I will post some pics and updates if anything of note occurs.