finding a machine shop



finding a machine shop

Postby grumpyvette » October 2nd, 2008, 3:02 pm

HOW to find a decent machine shop
THATS SIMPLE
GO TO THE LOCAL DRAG STRIP with a PAD and pen,
I don,t know about all areas but here in south/central Florida we have access to all the listed types of metal supply,dealers, welding equipment supply and machine shops, within 45 min-1 hour drive Id need, but of course you'll find there's several options in each category of who you want to deal with and the skill levels and parts selection and prices all vary a great deal between shops.
the best route is to take the time and effort to meet and talk to several dozen experienced racers at a local shop,the problem is that theres always a few local incompetent and/or unskilled machine shops and over priced scam artists in most areas
places that either don,t do quality work or don,t do the work at all, or do it very badly..
[b]it is always helps to post your location,when posting questions, at least the city & state your located in because theres a good chance an experienced hobbyist or mechanic on this site may be reading this, located local to you, who is willing to help either for free or at low cost! or at least post advices and places to get parts locally

ask every guy with a car running 11-12 seconds or faster
ASK these questions and in this order,
(1)WHO WOULD YOU AVOID IN A MACHINE SHOP
(2)WHO WOULD YOU SUGGEST IN A MACHINE SHOP
(3) where can you purchase metal and welding supplies

There is local shop where I am that has had to change names 4 times and at least on paper owners three times in the last 15 years because they specialize in shoddy work and charging for work thats either not done or very poorly done. no one I know would trust them to gap a spark plug yet they still get unsuspecting customers because they are located near several auto parts stores. A good rule to follow is go where the faster racers go when they need work done because they are usually knowledgeable, and to keep their business, the machine-shop must be experienced and reasonably well equipped and stay busy enough because of their reputation.
take notes, and compare all your answers you'll see a pattern emerge after 8-10 guys (MINIMUM) answer your questions, and don,t bother talking to any car with a huge machine shop stickers on the doors ,as the obvious sponsor, because you know who they will recommend, they want someone else paying for their parts besides the cars owner, what you want to do is talk to the regular guys running the faster self financed cars.
theres also the machine shop I generally deal with, they have had the same owners and machinists for at least the last 20 years or so , and constantly have work stacked up, if you don,t get a specific date promised , IN WRITING ON YOUR RECEIPT, and DON,T PAY MORE THAN 1/3 up front, I can assure you it will take them a bit longer than you expect, but at least the works done correctly

machine shop services are priced very differently throughout the country. Your best bet is to talk to people in your area to find out which shops have the best reputations, for doing quality work at a fair price. Then pick two or three shops that are reasonable close (within an hours drive) that have good recommendations and go visit them for a brief question and answer session to get a feel for the shop . After talking to the machinist for a few minutes, and getting a basic price list and asking what type of major machinery they have you will have a good idea of who you want to send your work to, who can do a good job and whos full of BULLSSST. Remember though, good machinists are hard to find, and youll rarely find a good machinist working in a small shop at the rear of an auto parts store, look for real automotive machine shops with an established track record and reputation to uphold .
[/b]


keep in mind your not looking for the guys that will make your car FAST as much as your looking for who can be trusted NOT to screw up your parts, and guys in the machine shop who can both follow instructions on repairs, and make valid suggestions and mods you’ve selected to do ,and those machine shops where the machinist will take the time and effort to advise you and do the job correctly and you also need to know who is doing sub-standard work, and should be avoided, that’s why both questions and in that order
remember to ask
(1)WHO WOULD YOU AVOID IN A MACHINE SHOP
(2)WHO WOULD YOU SUGGEST IN A MACHINE SHOP
take notes, and get at least 8-10 recommendations on several different nites at the track, from guys with the 11-10 second cars


and remember many guys who have slower cars than the 11 second bracket generally are using mostly bolt on and go parts with little use for a quality machine shops skills, but once you get into the more extensive mods machine work becomes critical to your success
that’s EXACTLY why I do all the work possible on my cars and engines....WHY I’ve collected thousands of dollars in tools and done years of research...
I got soooooooo... tired and pissed off from dealing with scammers, thieves and morons who were in business too collect money from the CLUELESS masses of guys that won’t or don’t take the time and effort to find out what actually needs to be done and exactly how its supposed to be accomplished
and finding out that a huge percentage of the mechanics/garages and machine shops were at least partly staffed with guys who knew less and cared FAR less about doing the job correctly than I could ever comprehend, If your going to BE in business you might THINK you’ll want to build a good reputation and look for repeat business, but all to frequently they are in it for a quick buck and screw the results or customers

I’ve seen machine shops throw ALUMINUM cylinder heads in a CAUSTIC SODA bath to clean them, I’ve seen MORONS try too charge me too torque plate hone a block, when they didn’t even know what a TORQUE PLATE WAS or OWN ANY that fit that family of engines, I’ve seen guys try to beat piston pins out of rods, guys who think a valve job is simply slapping grinding compound on a valve and using a drill to lap the valve into the seat, guys that charge for degreeing in a cam who don’t own a degree wheel or a dial indicator and think aligning dots on the cam drive is degreeing in a cam,.....I could go further but you get the IDEA, LEARN and DO as much as you can yourself, collect the tools and manuals you need, and join a few clubs and find the knowledgeable few guys that do their own work rather than pay exorbitant prices to shops and take their chances... you’ll be way ahead! and when FORCED to deal with machine shops, you need to write a detailed set of instructions listing exactly whats to be done, on each component and the prices and dates the works expected to be completed on, and do the required research to find the reliable machine shops in your area,BEFORE dealing with any of them

http://www.harborfreight.com/36-piece-1 ... 35121.html

Image

http://www.harborfreight.com/micro-engraver-98227.html
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http://www.harborfreight.com/electric-e ... 46099.html

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10363

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=11026&p=48766#p48766

some parts will need to be engraved
Image

before dropping any component off at a machine shop you take DETAILED CLEAR PICTURES from several angles, date those photos and have SEVERAL copy's made,...make sure you list parts supplied, in detail with pictures, of those parts, make a detailed list ALL work to be done and HAVE FIRM expected due dates and prices for work, LISTED on a signed receipt and have the machine shop sign the work order listing of all major parts, show him you have the spare pictures, have a list of parts thats detailed enough that casting numbers and vin numbers are listed ,try to get a picture of the machine shop guy you speak to also, and stamp blocks on the oil pan rail,cranks on the flywheel flange stamp heads lightly on the ends all with your ph# or other ID, that shows in the pictures, obviously NOT on precision machined surfaces in most cases.
youve got to accept the fact that mistakes get made, parts get screwed up, lost, stolen or swapped ,some people are crooks, etc. if you don,t have positive dated photographic proof of what you dropped off, the work agreed to the dates promised and a way to identify your parts from similar defective parts they might be swapped out for, your screwed if your forced to go to court to seek compensation
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: finding a machine shop

Postby grumpyvette » March 4th, 2009, 11:34 pm

before you go dropping off parts and run up a bill at any machine shop....
WHERE AND WHO did you check with?(that the shop does good work)
always check at the local tracks and take notes from at least 5 independent sources and limit that to guys with similar cars that are running at least low 12s, up to that approximate speed/et bolt on parts easily suffice, in most cars and the skill of the machinists is not that critical.
ok first step for future work,always get detailed proposals stating what work is to be done, what parts are to be used, who will supply and install the parts and all the costs of all materials and labor spelled out in detail along with where the parts are to be purchased and that all used components will be returned to the owner with a completion date, clearly stated. take lots of before and after pictures of the car, engine and components and demand a detailed work sheet.

this is one of the best investments you can make, watch this video it explains a good deal

http://www.themotorbookstore.com/resmchstvi.html

next NEVER drop parts or a car off with some lame B.S. like OK he will call when its done!!
and verify the works BEEN DONE!
marking components like heads ,cranks intakes with a small die stamp helps

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=800

the last 4 digits of your ss# on parts helps along with clear photos


OK, think it thru your about to speed hundreds if not thousands of dollars do you even know that new pistons you paid for WERE installed and was the assembly rebalanced?, do you have anything proving that he didn,t just install the new cam?, if you paid for a line hone, and boring the block, or a dozen other machine shop processes how do you know they were even done!, you sure won,t be the first guy to pay for work that was never done or done half assed, so know what your looking at, how parts are supposed to look and measure before and after they are worked on.
Ive seen guys charged for torque plate hone jobs and the shop doesn,t even own torque plates or a hone machine,

DON,T GET ALL IMPRESSED if the shop has a few fast cars,with their advertising stickers at the track, and never take only one or two racers word as the last word, on the subject,of who does good precise work,because, it might only be their (BUDDIES) that they take the time to do work correctly on,
ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS, TALK TO LOTS OF PEOPLE, you'll eventually find out which shops do quality work and which do sloppy or slipshod work, or take money and never do the work correctly at times


a machine shop that you can drop off parts, explain what you want done and then get those parts back in a timely manor and ,use , the resulting work,and that doesn,t require you to verify everything was done correctly is as rare, as an honest politician who won,t take bribes, or contributions.
every time I think Ive found a good machine shop , and drop my guard, and trust them , Ive usually got screwed, if not on the price, at least on the quality of work, I don,t mind paying for quality work, as long as I get exactly what I'm promised WHEN its expected at THE PRICE I WAS QUOTED
understand that time is money, but when you PAY to have something done, it should be done on time and at the quoted price and done correctly


the longer I build engines the more work Im forced to do personally

this thread below may interest you


viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2198

viewtopic.php?f=67&t=3555&p=9438&hilit=pictures+machine+shop#p9438
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: finding a machine shop

Postby joegagan » March 4th, 2009, 11:50 pm

grump, you've heard me tell my old stories, but your points here are absolutely correct.

when i was trying to squeeze the most bang out of my short block dollar, i talked to many racers, especially the dirt track racer guys at the time.

9 out of ten racers pointed me to one shop - they all said " the winning motors all come from 'XXX' shop. -- that was all i needed to hear. of course there were a half dozen engine shops in town that were more well known, mostly from advertising or builds for hobby guys who didn't really race their cars.

when i took my parts to XXX shop, they took the time to explain all the options, no pressure, no hype, then they built me a bottom end that held up like a mother and made a couple hundred passes + 30k road miles with no problem.

20 years later, i ran into the owner of the shop at a swap meet and thanked him for his great work.
Send a message to Washington, join SEMAsan ( http://www.semasan.com/main/main.aspx?I ... m/HomePage ), free membership. There is power in numbers, act now before any more more crap laws are passed. Vote the bums out in 2010!!!
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Re: finding a machine shop

Postby grumpyvette » March 11th, 2009, 5:30 pm

take several clear and detailed photos /pictures, of each & every part you supply,and mandate receipts or billing invoices from any parts the machine shop supplies, stating part number , brand and price, plus you need too stamp your parts with your phone number,get detailed receipts and have the shop sign and date the back of the pictures,and print a date the parts will be completed on and ready for pick-up, don,t fall for the old (vague, in about two weeks) you may be tempted to take as you deliver the parts, and get clearly written receipts [b]PLUS have work to be done, DATE listed in detail and with the expected prices and completion dates, with a easy to verify number like your phone number, on both the parts and receipts.
you need to write a detailed set of instructions listing exactly whats to be done, on each component and the prices and dates the works expected to be completed on.
[/b]
KEEP in mind if you don,t have a firm dated contract listing everything to be done and a FIRM due date when the parts are to be delivered, IF You paid in advance, the machine shop most likely spent the money, and now has no incentive to work on your stuff.

I had a buddy drop off boss 302 ford heads to a machine shop in Florida,the receipt stated 2 ford sbf heads to be decked and a valve job, and they returned 2 barrel WINSOR heads, he went to court and since he could not PROVE that the heads he dropped off at the shop were BOSS 302 heads he got screwed, and the shop got away with swapping heads on him
ALWAYS take the time and effort to get detailed receipts and pictures.

I had another buddy drop off BRODIX aluminum heads and some new hire moron dropped them in a caustic soda bath for degrease.to soak over night,..TOTAL LOSS, luckily he had detailed and clear before pictures, they were forced to buy him new heads, without clear pictures IM 100% sure they would have said the heads arrived in that condition

never be vague, in your list of whats to be done, and list specific DATES for completion,don,t except "in a week or so" have him write down a date, if he says 1-2 weeks,and two weeks is up on lets say "aug 12 2010" then have that date clearly listed, on the work order, as a firm commitment, your not trying to rush the guy or box him in as much as keep him from endlessly ignoring the work. and don,t for example list "DO VALVE JOB" list replace valve seals with type (XYZ) you prefer,ream or replace guides, cut valve seats ,three angles ,( list them) replace springs, listing installed height,spring load rates, spring bind height and make sure the spring seats machined ETC. back cut valves with 30 deg angle, etc. once you get into details theres far less area for confusion on the machine shops end as to pricing and whats to be expected, leaving far less room for arguments and the machine shop operator knows hes not dealing with some jerk that cant tell a valve guide from a lifter
IF they REPLACE parts INSIST on getting the original parts back at least long enough to inspect them.


BTW HERES RELATED INFO

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viewtopic.php?f=50&t=321&p=3007#p3007

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=3020&p=7961&hilit=finding+machine#p7961

viewtopic.php?f=52&t=401&p=7853&hilit=angle+milled#p7853

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=4718&p=12815&hilit=machine+photos#p12815

viewtopic.php?f=87&t=10408&p=43169#p43169
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Posts: 14105
Joined: September 14th, 2008, 1:40 pm
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