If you are looking to source a new product that will need to be manufactured in a machine shop, here are a list of things that you may want to take into account.

Where to Manufacture – Many see it as the end goal to manufacture their products in machine shops overseas. We hear so often of manufacturing rates being so low in foreign machine shops that the thought of manufacturing within the U.S. seems antiquated. While for extremely large quantities and still only certain products this is the case, do not under estimate the manufacturing capabilities of U.S. based machine shops and keep in mind the benefits of staying within the U.S. While foreign machine shops can have lower rates, you need to take into account communication, shipping times, quality, and reliability. Many U.S. factories, both big and small have found clever ways of keeping costs to a minimum, for example the cost of running a fully automated machine shop in the U.S. is almost exactly the same as running one overseas. The benefits are that you can communicate easily, and do not have to deal with overseas shipping.

Minimum Orders – Depending on the types of machines used in the machine shops you are pricing out, you will find different minimum orders. For example if you are doing a quick single prototype from a hand drawing you will most likely be looking for a skilled professional who is experienced on an engine lathe, or mill. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are looking source an existing product that has just increased sales to 100,000 or more parts a year, you will be looking for faster machines that will require a large investment for initial setup.

Research Ahead of Time - While machine shops will have a great deal of input on what type of tool paths to use and material selection, the more you know beforehand the better off you will be. A machine shop will be much more likely to deal with smaller than usual quantities if their initial investment is smaller. If you can come to them with a material selected and easy to understand drawings, your chances of finding a good machine shop are much higher.

It can be difficult to Find a Machine Shop, especially to get quotes from multiple machine shops. It can also be very time consuming. You must do your research to know what the current rates are and how your shops compare.

Finding - There are methods to save time and money on finding a manufacturer while ensuring you find the best deal for your money and a perfect fit for your product. There are directories and lists to search through. There are also manufacturing related forums and blogs to post on. There are also sites that allow you to post your job and allow machine shops to bid on your job.