A CNC machine can be your ticket to a world of innovative, boundary-pushing manufacturing opportunities, but only if you know how to leverage this asset to earn cash effectively.
To that end, here are a few tips that should help you to generate revenue with whatever type of CNC equipment you have at your disposal.
You can turn a profit in less time if your CNC machine is second hand as opposed to brand new. Just as you might opt for a used bandsaw to cut costs, you can also find affordably priced examples of lathes, milling machines and many other types of kit.
It is also worth noting that as well as recouping your upfront costs quicker if you buy CNC machines second hand, you will also not be sacrificing anything in terms of performance or compatibility. These machines tend to be fairly future-proof, or at least eminently upgradable so that your creative urges and commercial ambitions are not stifled by your frugality.
CNC machines can achieve all sorts of things, depending on the software they use and the tooling they offer. In many cases the only limit will be your imagination, which means you need to think carefully about what to make.
It is best to study the market in your area, work out if there are any niches that have yet to be exploited and aim to fill them so that new clients come running to you once your business is on its feet.
For example, if there are lots of small firms nearby, setting up a signage production workshop using a CNC router to create compelling, unique signs and advertisements for other organizations in the region could be sensible.
Likewise if there are large industries in close proximity, such as automakers or aerospace firms, you could establish yourself as a specialist producer of small-scale, high precision CNC part runs.
You might even use computer-controlled equipment to cater to the bespoke furniture market in a town or city that is currently underserved in this arena.
In short, researching the market in advance rather than going in blind is the best way to make money with a CNC machine.
One thing that many CNC-oriented businesses overlook is the need to promote their products and services. It is especially easy to become complacent if you are lucky enough to win a major contract quickly and then assume that the new clients will continue to come flooding in without requiring any effort in the future.
Leveraging digital marketing tools is one of the best ways to build your brand, raise your profile and court clients that have yet to encounter your business elsewhere.
At the very least you will need a well-made website, perhaps with integrated ordering features so that customers from other parts of the country or even the world can request your services. Today having a presence on social media is also a must-have, and posting regular content updates will ensure that your CNC machining efforts are translated into a sustainable business.
The final way to guarantee a decent living from running a CNC business is to specialize in the production of parts and products made from a particular material. While this may shrink your potential pool of clients, it will mean that those who do need your services will be willing to pay more for them.
Once again this all comes down to market research and gauging demand appropriately before you take the plunge. Keep your head screwed on, establish realistic aims and you should be on the right track.