Set up a Machine Shop
In this How-to we’re going to guide you through all the steps to set up a Machine Shop. Learn about machines, expertise, how to find a space, get your equipment, find customers and connect to the Precious Plastic Universe.
Step 1-3: Intro
Step 4-9: Learn
Step 10-16: Set up
Step 17-22: Run
Step 23-25: Share —
Step 1 - Role in the Precious Plastic Universe
Now about your Role:
Machine Shops provide machines, parts and moulds to individuals and recycling workspaces within the Precious Plastic Universe.
Machine Shops should also reach out to Community Points to connect with the local Precious Plastic community and maybe get help finding people who need machines and parts.
Step 2 - Outcomes
Your hardware and services can be purchased by different workspaces and individuals from the recycling community on the Bazar.
Step 3 - Is this for you?
On top of providing machines and parts to workspaces and maintain them, Machine Shops also have to establish relationships with the industrial network of their area to procure material and supplies of specific components.
And last but not least, a certain degree of organisation is required as you will probably have to work as a team in a very connected environment.
Step 4 - Learn about Precious Plastic
If you haven’t already, dig our website, community platform and Bazar to have a deep understanding of the project.
Also, make sure to check the Universe chapter to fully understand how the Precious Plastic Universe works.
Step 5 - Check out your area
Make sure not to jam the local network - if there are already many Machine Shops nearby, you may want to collaborate and specialise in one area (assembling, welding, maintenance etc..).
Step 6 - Find a Community Point near you
They know the ins and outs of your local network. They can help you in multiple ways but they generally have a very in-depth overview of local Precious Plastic spaces, people, useful shops, resources and can help you with planning out your project. Have a look on the Map if there is one near you.
Step 7 - Get on Discord
Introduce yourself, say hi in your country channel and start to discover the different channels where people go deep into specific topics (building, collection, design etc..)
Join the Discord:
Step 8 - Different expertises
Depending on your project you will manage a team of assemblers, welders, electricians, mould makers and machining experts.
Step 9 - Machine Shop services
Assembling: Putting together machines using high precision measurement tools, a small lathe or milling machine for adjustments.
Welding: Making the machines’ frames. A semi-professional MIG/MAG and a dedicated area will do the job.
Electrician: Cabling and installing the electric box. To adapt the machine to specific configurations, troubleshooting and to ensure full safety a professional level is required.
Mould Making: Creating precise aluminium moulds with a CNC machine.
Machining: Offering professional-level lathe and milling for manufacturing shredder axis and the main extrusion parts.
Step 10 - Action Plan
To help you plan we’ve made a tool called the Action Plan that helps you to craft your mission, understand your customers, revenue streams, costs and much more. With this tool, you should get a step closer to create a successful project.
Find the Action Plan in the Download Kit or learn more in the Academy
Step 11 - Workspace Calculator
It is important at this stage to make a serious estimation of how much it will cost you to set up and run your workspace. Otherwise, you might run out of money halfway. The Workspace Calculator is a spreadsheet that helps you do just that.
Find the Workspace Calculator in the Download Kit or learn more in the Academy:
Step 12 - Business Plan Template
This template helps you to talk the business language and should help you access the necessary money to begin.
For more explanation check out the video in the Academy:
Step 13 - Assemble a team
Step 14 - Get the machines
It’s time to procure your equipment, in the tools list from the Download Kit, we provide the list of basics tools and machines you will need for starting a Machine Shop.
We recommend investing in good quality machines. If you want to reduce your investment, keep an eye on second-hand markets, you might find proper machinery for decent prices. They will generally keep their value, last longer, and will be easier to repair due to parts availability, so the investment will eventually pay off.
If you want to run a specialised Machine Shop or expand its capabilities, you might need to upgrade it depending on your needs.
Step 15 - Build the workspace
A “dusty” area where you will cut, drill grind, weld etc. dedicated to heavy messy jobs. Ventilation is a must here.
And a "clean" area where you carry out assembling and electricity cabling. Here you can also dedicate space to neatly store parts and components.
Ideally, you also have a "ventilation" area for paint jobs (sand blasting and painting).
Step 16 - Build partnerships
For this, the project manager needs to set up connections with the local industrial network to find partners that can provide reliable orders at acceptable prices. Ordering regularly or in bulk will help to maintain the prices low.
If parts are not available locally at reasonable prices, make sure to check the Precious Plastic Bazar: Some other Machine Shop might specialise into specific components and sell them, saving you precious time and money.
Step 17 - Buy in bulk
We don’t recommend to accept orders/payments and then buy in bulk, this could result in delayed shipping and angry customers. If you do want to take this approach make sure to mention it before you sell, to prepare everyone for longer waiting times and keep your customers happy :)
Step 18 - Build in series
Step 19 - Other specialists
Try to map out machining specialists, lasercut and waterjet services, mould makers, CNC gurus and shops selling specific components. These are very specialised sectors that can offer you high precision, better prices and less hassle.
Also make sure to note and keep together all the contacts you find. Makes it easier for you to get back to them and also easier to share with your team and your local recycling network.
Step 20 - Sell
Put them on the Precious Plastic Bazar to access an audience that is already interested in recycled products. You could alternatively also try to sell the machines locally but this might be a little harder.
*try to avoid shipping machines across the planet as this increases CO2 pollution
Step 21 - Create your profile
Step 22 - Create How-tos!
Make sure to only create How-tos for your best processes and techniques, no tryouts or one-offs. This can also help you create a name for yourself in the Precious Plastic community.
Step 23 - Learn and improve together
Step 24 - Good things take time
You’re changing the world.
Step 25 - Download and start!
You're a hero!
In this download package you will find all the files you need to set up your Machine Shop.
Download and start your recycling journey!
👉 https://cutt.ly/starterkit-machine 👈
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