Making my own Screws, what a Screw Up

I used to wonder why, surrounded by the specialist equipment I need to make my workshop jobs easier, I seem to have less time than back when I was struggling with inadequate tools. Then my girlfriend pointed out that when you have the equipment, you take on jobs that previously you would have send somewhere else. Logic, right...

But this doesn't only mean things like spray painting, building your own wheels and pressing up crankshafts, where there is a worthwhile saving to be made. Last month I found myself in need of some outer cover screws for a motorcycle gearbox, from a old motorcycle which was never officially sold in Thailand and the manufacturer already stopped parts production.

While viewing the screws I had the idea that they were nothing special and I thought I'd save time making them by buying standard cheese-head stainless screws from a shop not far from me.
Thing is, I was planning to buy a couple of dozen and when I realized that they cost almost 60 THB each, I started to wonder and I decided perhaps I was being a bit extravagant. Better, surely, to buy a 150 THB bit of stainless steel bar and make the little screws myself, after all, how long can it take to knock out 20 screws?

Well I'll tell you. Obviously the first one takes the longest, because you have to sort out the tooling and set up the lathe, so we'll ignore that one. In fact, I made a few to get into the swing before setting the stopwatch, and the crushing answer is that each one took about six minutes of my time – and that doesn't include cutting or filing the screwdriver slot, which is likely to take another couple of minutes. Even if I accelerated to under six minutes each, that's only ten little screws per hour…

Realistically, I can probably make six ready to go with screwdriver slot in an hour. Six screws cost 360 THB from the shop who has them on stock, meaning that I am working for miserable 360 THB an hour – less, of course, 150 THB for the stainless steel bar.

I have to admit, it detracts a bit from the satisfaction of having made it myself when I realize how poorly I pay my staff, and salary negotiations are within a few weeks...Tag: Screws Business Mechanic Worker Employee Employer Technology Parts Equipment Manufacturer
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Flying Squirrel

Monday, 04 January 2016 @ 04:12 PM ICT
Happy New Year.

Sorry the first one does count. As for small batches set up time is always more than the actual manufacturing time. So you have to include the total time which bring you down to say 3 an hour? Costs almost that in a taxi for me to go to the nut and bolt shop on Rama 4 and back. Unless I was bored I would have simply paid the 60B each and ... Or bought regular steel ones and used coppercoat!
Edited on Monday, 04 January 2016 @ 04:13 PM ICT by Flying Squirrel


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