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Production Sharing?

Posted: Wed, Feb 28 2007, 11:57PM
by Robert Williams
I would like to know if there is anyone out there who has used \"Production Sharing\"? If you have I would like how many item and how often? Do you have any advice to help the process go smoothly?

For those of you who do \"production sharing\" what are reasonable timelines lines or turnaround time on projects. Do you quote by the job or by machine hours?


Posted: Thu, Mar 01 2007, 7:42AM
by DaleKern

I used production sharing and am quite happy with the whole experience. I plan to use it for all large jobs going forward - you just can't beat it. The key for me was finding the right production sharing shop. In my case the closest shop didn't work out, as the owner/operator was too busy and not real responsive. I contacted another member (Michael Murray, who is active on this forum, and I think that is the key to success. The production sharing members that are also active on this forum understand where newbies like me are coming from and can help alot. I would highly recommend working with one of the active members of this forum. The nice thing is the production sharing shop doesn't have to be local anyway as the cut parts can be palletized and truck shipped anywhere.

The bottom line is to strike up a conversation with a production sharing shop either via email or phone and see if you think it would work. It might be best to try a small job first to make sure your expectations are met, but usually you can email a job file to the production sharing shop and they can recommend changes to make the process work out for both parties. Mike gave me confidence it wasn't a problem, so I used a medium size kitchen as the trial job. I did not have to re-cut one part. The job went together extremely well, leaving me with the new job of scraping off the labels from all the exposed parts (a little heat helps...). I handled that single handedly (literally!-).

Give it a try. If you are like me you will find you will bid larger, more complex jobs with the confidence you have \"access\" to a CNC router; it opens up huge possibilities to a one man shop like mine.

Good luck,


Posted: Thu, Mar 01 2007, 8:03AM
by DanEpps
Well said Dale! Thermwood (and Mike) should use your post as a testimonial for Production Sharing. :D

Posted: Thu, Mar 01 2007, 8:27AM
by Michael S Murray
Hey Robert,
Most of us cut by the sheet I am sure, and I promise it is for much less than you can cut that same sheet up for on the saw, no matter your labor cost. Another factor is that it is complete when you take it from the machine, and the accuracy is amazing.
One thing you will need to pay attention to is the accuracy of the information you put in your drawings, they need to be exactly what you want as this is what the machine will give you. There is no cabinetmaker down the line questioning your cut list!!
As far as time line, allow a little extra for your first job or two because there will be a learning curve in handling files and possibly making a few minor changes to make your project a little more router friendly.
One thing I might mention here is to design your cabinet shelving with 5mm holes on 32mm centers, this takes advantage of our drills banks that some of us have on our machines. This drills multiple holes at a time versus one at a time for 1/4 holes. Another thing to watch for is desingning your joinery to avoid as many flip ops as you can, sometimes that is a very simple thing, other times it can not be avoided..
Hope this helps,

Dale, thanks for the comments, those labels can be a bear after they been on for a few days! We use a thin putty knife and that seems to work rather well. Hope to see you soon and I will buy lunch this time, and you can have extra toppings or double meat if you want!! Nothing but the best for my cutting customers. :D :D

Posted: Thu, Mar 01 2007, 9:29PM
by BillHightower
I would like to share my experience with production sharing. I have a rather large dental office project scheduled for this fall. I called two local production sharing shops multiple times and never got a call back. Both shops are listed on the Thermwood producton sharing list.

I then emailed Bill Rutherford at North Woods Manufacturing. Bill was very responsive and helpful. He even emailed me a couple of cabinets that had been designed for a dental office so I could see the kind of work that he does. I am definitely going to use Bill for this job and hopefully for many more. I was surprised to learn that the shipping is pretty reasonable after the first 500 pounds.

Bill is a great guy and you should give him a try. As for the other two shops, I wonder why they bother to sign up for Production Sharing if they have no intention of providing the service.

Bill Hightower

Posted: Fri, Mar 02 2007, 7:14AM
by Bill Rutherford
To add to what others have already said, we have a number of customers that we machine for. In a lot of cases it has allowed our customers to take on larger jobs then they would normally consider. It also allows them to put out a better finished product for two reasons. One is the precise fit of parts that come off of the router, the second is that instead of putting time in on a table saw cutting cabinet sides they can concentrate their time on things like trim and finishing; the things that truly make a difference.

One of the things I always recommend to someone considering production sharing is to get the shop that will be machining the parts involved early in the process. Once you have designed a couple of cabinet files send them to the machining shop for review, that way if there are any changes they can be made before the entire job is created. It is very important to make sure the shop that will be machining your parts reviews your files prior to actually machining them. This can help avoid some of the simple problems caused by programming errors.

I would encourage you to give production sharing a try, I think you will be very happy.

Posted: Sat, Mar 03 2007, 5:12PM
by justin mason
this is a very encouraging topic,
I just hit 1 year on my own with the new business ( 1 man shop ) , I have had almost every job cut on a thermwood router, using production sharing, 45 minutes away.
and to support the accuracy of the router, the user friendly ecab program,
the supportive ecabers, the guys who offer production sharing, etc.....
anyway, the ecab program and production sharing are the foundation for my whole opperation.
I highly recomend production sharing, to any size shop.

Posted: Sun, Mar 04 2007, 9:48PM
by Robert Williams
Thanks for everyone for the information it has been very informative and helpful.