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Machine shops a Dying breed

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Does anyone care that most Mom and Pop Machine shops are disappearing?

Las Vegas has lost many in the last few years, No one is taking over for these Old timers Sad really.

I am not looking forward to the day when I need something machined and have to ship my stuff hope I never see that day.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know exactly what you mean.
I wonder how many are being put out of business or new start ups stopped by just the fact of permitting from state and local laws. I myself was prevented from opening a shop in a Building I own outright on my own property because of zoning.
They changed my zoning without notice.
 

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I have to make an 7 to 8 hour round trip to get my part"s to a machine shop where I trust their work.
The local shop's that were any good have went out of business and the other one's can't do half way decent work.
I took my block to a well known race shop in Norman Oklahoma and they told me I needed a new block because the guy could not get the block plug's out.
I got it home and had all the plug's out in 20 minute's.
The mechine shop I use now is a one man operation but he does excellent work if you don't mind getting in line because he is snowed under all the time.
The bad thing is he can't find any younger guy's who want to work [and learn] so when he retire's I don't know what I will do for good work.
Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Greg
I am in same boat almost I have a 4 hr round trip myself.
I use to use Tom Lucito in Tulsa oklahoma when I lived their "Lucito machine" I don't know if hes still in business? I also used Moritz machine Moritz was ok but I got better work out of Lucito!
Tom is a great guy old school I worked for him off and on in his one man shop as a side gig to my full time job back 20 plus years ago when his son was going to engineering classes and racing Sprint cars on weekends.
He and I built some great engines together that still run great to this day!

I miss him and his shop he was a great friend.

The Shop I use now and for the last 20 years in Las Vegas nv does good work but must be checked thoroughly as the owner is older and ailing and he doesnt watch the staff and check their work as closly as he used too. he has asked me to run the shop numerous times but I cant afford the cut in pay he also wants to sell out but I cant afford what he needs for the place.
Hes now trying to build it up bringing in CNC equipment to get his Kids to take it over Great idea but in reality only one of them is really has his heart in it, I really hope the kids make a good run of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know about the state of the industry though My Machinist has no shortage of work or customers but yet cant keep people and Like I tell him charge more pay people better give more benefits and he says people wont pay and he has a hard time collecting on parts now as people don't pay on time he sits on stuff for months to years taking up floor space he doesn't have.

People definitely wouldn't like the place if I ran it good work or not !
Works done on time Pay your bill on time pick your junk up on time! MOM and Pop cant afford the BS!
 

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I don't know about the state of the industry though My Machinist has no shortage of work or customers but yet cant keep people and Like I tell him charge more pay people better give more benefits and he says people wont pay and he has a hard time collecting on parts now as people don't pay on time he sits on stuff for months to years taking up floor space he doesn't have.

People definitely wouldn't like the place if I ran it good work or not !
Works done on time Pay your bill on time pick your junk up on time! MOM and Pop cant afford the BS!
I've been watching this scenario for a while now. Seems all the folks I see at car shows and meets are 60 and over so the customers are aging and so aren't the machine shop owners. Same group. I have two good shops and they are very busy. Not sure who, if anyone will take them over when the the current owners decide to retire and try to sell out. I'm hesitant to get into another significant project since all my contacts and support shops are diminishing.
 

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I don't know about the state of the industry though My Machinist has no shortage of work or customers but yet cant keep people and Like I tell him charge more pay people better give more benefits and he says people wont pay and he has a hard time collecting on parts now as people don't pay on time he sits on stuff for months to years taking up floor space he doesn't have.

People definitely wouldn't like the place if I ran it good work or not !
Works done on time Pay your bill on time pick your junk up on time! MOM and Pop cant afford the BS!
You probably hit the nail on the head here. Being a good machinist, but a poor business model. Charge more, big deposit, scrap it in a few weeks and pay the help better with benefits
 

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This is a real problem everywhere. I know it is in the Greensboro, NC area. Dealerships don't rebuild engines any more. They just install crate engines. So, the demand for machine work has dropped and the old owners are retiring or worse. This is going to make it impossible to build a street rod with a hemi, nailhead or other old engine going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is a real problem everywhere. I know it is in the Greensboro, NC area. Dealerships don't rebuild engines any more. They just install crate engines. So, the demand for machine work has dropped and the old owners are retiring or worse. This is going to make it impossible to build a street rod with a hemi, nailhead or other old engine going forward.
Steeler ships never rebuild engines they always install a factory rebuild or a new crate engine so they were never a factor in the conversation, No the conversation comes down to local shop doing valve jobs and the occasional rebuild and the local Hot Rodder / Racer and with all the city's loosing their race tracks again Machine shops loose business. Were is the incentive for them? Soon your local repair shop will only instal parts available from Orileys or Autozone Napa and the like.
 

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Yes it's sad they are really needed.
I'm lucky 10 min from my place there is an excellent machine shop. They do 90 % performance work. They have an engine dyno some real nice equipment and they do top notch work. 2 guys been in business over 40 yrs. Nice guys down to earth you can talk to them. One of the guys is having medical issues that's going to be tough on the other guy if he leaves. They are Bombed with work .
 

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My local machine shop of choice was run by a aging man in his 70's. It was a small shop and one man show. He had more work than he could possibly handle. Sometimes it took six months to get my heads or blocks back. It was however high quality work, never a comeback. Unfortunatly he had multiple strokes and closed up the shop. Very sad, he was a good guy.
When he was open, due to some customers thinking he was a storage site for their engine parts, he implimented a 90 day pick up / payment after notice of completion of work. If you did not pay and pick up your stuff, after 90 days he owned it and sold it to recover his costs. This worked very well.
One of the biggest issues is that the older machine shop guys had so much experience and knowledge and they are retireing and dying off. This leaves a gap in finding a reliable shop that does quality work.
 

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My local machine shop of choice was run by a aging man in his 70's. It was a small shop and one man show. He had more work than he could possibly handle. Sometimes it took six months to get my heads or blocks back. It was however high quality work, never a comeback. Unfortunatly he had multiple strokes and closed up the shop. Very sad, he was a good guy.
When he was open, due to some customers thinking he was a storage site for their engine parts, he implimented a 90 day pick up / payment after notice of completion of work. If you did not pay and pick up your stuff, after 90 days he owned it and sold it to recover his costs. This worked very well.
One of the biggest issues is that the older machine shop guys had so much experience and knowledge and they are retireing and dying off. This leaves a gap in finding a reliable shop that does quality work.
Need some young blood with pride and good work ethics to take over some shops. I'm afraid most can't afford the initial cost. Be nice for some to get in and work for these places learn the business. Hope it can happen. It's much needed. Ernie.
 

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Had to drive 4 hours one way to get to a shop that would use a torque plate on my last engine. Called about a dozen shops and nobody would do it. Most didn't even have one. Local shop flat refuses to use one even though he has the tool. Claims it takes too much time and nobody will pay for it. I said I would pay for the extra time, but then he said you don't need it. I commented that even if that was so, I was paying for it so what did it matter to him. Then he said "Ain't got time to fool with that crap". Soooo, it was time for a long drive.

Local guy is the only machine shop around here. The few times I've used him, it literally took many months to get my parts back.

The shop I used for the torque plate job was ran by an older gentleman that was training his grandson to do the work. The grandson took my job, listened to what I wanted and then did the work with his grandfathers oversight. Shop appeared to be well equipped, too. Even had a 5 axis mill for head porting. Yes it cost more to use the torque plate, but I paid for it with no questions. Got my parts back in about 2 weeks and they were great. Zero decked and bored like I wanted. I'll use him again if he stays in business.

There may be some hope for the future, but the shops will be few and far between.
 

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Had to drive 4 hours one way to get to a shop that would use a torque plate on my last engine. Called about a dozen shops and nobody would do it. Most didn't even have one. Local shop flat refuses to use one even though he has the tool. Claims it takes too much time and nobody will pay for it. I said I would pay for the extra time, but then he said you don't need it. I commented that even if that was so, I was paying for it so what did it matter to him. Then he said "Ain't got time to fool with that crap". Soooo, it was time for a long drive.

Local guy is the only machine shop around here. The few times I've used him, it literally took many months to get my parts back.

The shop I used for the torque plate job was ran by an older gentleman that was training his grandson to do the work. The grandson took my job, listened to what I wanted and then did the work with his grandfathers oversight. Shop appeared to be well equipped, too. Even had a 5 axis mill for head porting. Yes it cost more to use the torque plate, but I paid for it with no questions. Got my parts back in about 2 weeks and they were great. Zero decked and bored like I wanted. I'll use him again if he stays in business.

There may be some hope for the future, but the shops will be few and far between.
Let's ope. Ernie.
 

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Ok. 5 reasons below.

First reason is that the modern engine can't be machined/sleeved or it is more cost preventive to buy a new block/shortblock.

Second reason is that most junk since the 90's is designed to run for 10 years and be crushed. You have things like thin frames/unibodies, "never need to be serviced" transmissions, and just ton of plastic failure prone parts that will send that thing to be crushed far before the engine needs to be machined.

Third is the cost and space required to run a old school shop. Even a well organized setup is going to take up around a 20x20-30 space. You need to set all those blocks somewhere. You need the power required and unless you have the contracts it is a big gamble how long till/if you see a profit.
Then you have things like foam structured 3d printed metal right around the corner(getting cheaper). This combined with 3d cnc machining allows for limitless options as far as blocks are concerned. Want a 16 cylinder auto union engine from the 30's or a v4 engine for your triumph? Stuff is crazy expensive currently. But the prices are coming down allowing much more then just a old school engine machine shop can do for a similar investment while using less floor space.


Forth reason is all the junk cams, lifters, electronic parts, variances in tolerences in things like rocker springs, and just "made cheaper" stuff that if you/the person putting your engine together is not comparing the old to the new to check if the new stuff is hardened etc the new stuff can go in and wear out or destroy that engine in a short time.


Last reason is that it often is cheaper to get a good used engine then build one. I am stockpiling LM7's currently and will be for several years.

I could build one LM7 have the thing all machined for new bearings and get a few goodies added along the way bumping up the compression to make it a 100,000 mile engine capable of 550hp on e85. Cost me around $3500 and 3 months downtime most days of the week.

OR

I can run one $350 180k engine for 20,000 miles pushing that thing to 550hp with a bit of boost until a ring closes or rocker explodes then grab another $350 engine and after a weekend/week to gapping the rings and slapping on some new gaskets be back to driving the thing.

I am choosing the 2nd much cheaper, much faster, less need to baby the engine option. Most people choose this option or a crate engine then building a engine.
 

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Let's ope. Ernie.
Hope.
Ok. 5 reasons below.

First reason is that the modern engine can't be machined/sleeved or it is more cost preventive to buy a new block/shortblock.

Second reason is that most junk since the 90's is designed to run for 10 years and be crushed. You have things like thin frames/unibodies, "never need to be serviced" transmissions, and just ton of plastic failure prone parts that will send that thing to be crushed far before the engine needs to be machined.

Third is the cost and space required to run a old school shop. Even a well organized setup is going to take up around a 20x20-30 space. You need to set all those blocks somewhere. You need the power required and unless you have the contracts it is a big gamble how long till/if you see a profit.
Then you have things like foam structured 3d printed metal right around the corner(getting cheaper). This combined with 3d cnc machining allows for limitless options as far as blocks are concerned. Want a 16 cylinder auto union engine from the 30's or a v4 engine for your triumph? Stuff is crazy expensive currently. But the prices are coming down allowing much more then just a old school engine machine shop can do for a similar investment while using less floor space.


Forth reason is all the junk cams, lifters, electronic parts, variances in tolerences in things like rocker springs, and just "made cheaper" stuff that if you/the person putting your engine together is not comparing the old to the new to check if the new stuff is hardened etc the new stuff can go in and wear out or destroy that engine in a short time.


Last reason is that it often is cheaper to get a good used engine then build one. I am stockpiling LM7's currently and will be for several years.

I could build one LM7 have the thing all machined for new bearings and get a few goodies added along the way bumping up the compression to make it a 100,000 mile engine capable of 550hp on e85. Cost me around $3500 and 3 months downtime most days of the week.

OR

I can run one $350 180k engine for 20,000 miles pushing that thing to 550hp with a bit of boost until a ring closes or rocker explodes then grab another $350 engine and after a weekend/week to gapping the rings and slapping on some new gaskets be back to driving the thing.

I am choosing the 2nd much cheaper, much faster, less need to baby the engine option. Most people choose this option or a crate engine then building a engine.
So what are you saying there is no call for them.?. Every one I know has more work than they can handle
 
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