3 Years On

by IndependentMachine on April 7, 2015

As the saying goes: “Time flies when you are having fun.”  A little over 3 years ago, we decided that we wanted to take our freshly honed machining skills and open up our own shop.  Some would (actually some did) say that we were silly to start a job shop with no experience and at a time when all markets were just recovering from the recession.  We all had enough experience to know that the only boss we wanted was our customers and enough guts to give it a go. So, we headed down the path of creating what is now Independent Machine Works.

We met in the machine shop program at Laney College, 2 of us students, 1 a teaching assistant. The notion that we had no prior experience is not entirely true.  Patrick had co-owned a machining and fabrication shop prior to opening Independent; Mark worked in manufacturing environments for the past 20 years and Conn ran his own business for nearly a decade.

FirstLoad

HeartOfTheShop


Serendipity was on our side at the beginning as affordable rent and equipment came available within months of each other.  In April of 2012, we found the ideal 1000 square foot space and started moving in equipment we each had amassed prior.  In May, we landed a lathe, Bridgeport mill and a massive amount of supporting tooling for a remarkable price.  From there, we started getting to work and slowly grew the business.  It took most of 2012 to get our business set up and equipment in order, thus making 2013 the first year of really
making parts.

 

 

 

pinballParts01cubes01 knobFinal

 

 

 

cart03

As mentioned before, we brought in equipment from our past lives, most of which was for fabrication: welders, sheetmetal break and tubing benders to name a few. These allowed us to dabble in making assemblies that required different shapes and forms, complementing the machining tools described above.

What do we do with all of this stuff? As a job shop, individuals and companies come to us and say “Can you make this?” or “Can you fix that?”  We are constantly scratching our heads trying to figure out how to make the parts our customers request, with the tools that we have AND make a buck or two doing it. The work from day to day is never the same keeping things interesting and challenging.  It’s like playing with Erector sets and Lego’s as kids, but instead we are making the bits and pieces and screwing and snapping them together.

finalDetail01Motorcycle parts, hand railings, stainless steel deck  railings, architectural pieces, tools, coffee maker parts, 100  year old printing presses… the variety is great.

 

 

IMAG1089
cable rail 1

 

 

 

 

 

In 2013, we slowly grew and in 2014 we continued to grow more.  2014 saw a lot of change as well with the company shifting from 3 partners to 2. At the end of the year, our landlord offered us different space that was larger and included a detached office.  The 4th quarter turned out to be a good one and we took the plunge of more rent.

Which brings us to today.  We’ve settled into our new space, just landed our first contract with a large public agency and are raring to go with new projects in 2015.  Let us know if there is something that we can help you with.

heavy equipment to new shop New shop

 

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