301 Bunker Hill Drive

Aitkin, MN 56431

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(218) 927-2400

info@elemetmfg.com

5 Tips on How to Choose a Machine Shop

Good relationships are vital to the heart of all business. If you require a custom piece of machinery, you need to trust the shop that is in charge of manufacturing. Choosing a machine shop that is right for you can be the start of a valuable business relationship. 

With options available, it can be overwhelming to find a shop to meet your needs. The key to choosing the shop that’s right for you is setting your expectations first. 

In this blog post, you will find tips on choosing a machine shop that will put you first. Not only that, but you will have the machinery and skills needed to give you the product you deserve. 

Elemet Manufacturing specializes in metal turning services throughout the United States. Contact us today! 

machine shop

Choose a Machine Shop 

It is worth reiterating that any new business relationship should be researched and cautiously entered. Here are some of our tips to get the very best work available when looking for a reliable machine shop.

1. Reputation 

Good old-fashioned online reviews are an excellent way to begin your dive into a shop’s reputation. Not just paying attention to the rating given, but the comments left can also go a long way into giving you a peek into how they treat customers. 

It would help if you also remembered that one bad review out of several does not mean that you’ve found a lousy shop. You may want to research what clients they have had and possibly how long that relationship lasted. 

Longer relationships with customers can be a display of a great working relationship.

Word of mouth is also valuable. If you know someone that has used the shop you’re considering, ask them about their experience. You may also get to see firsthand the work completed. 

A high customer turnover rate or a lack of reviews can be a sign to proceed with caution. In most circumstances, clients will often want to praise good work. It’s a nod to the service received and a connection from one good business to another.

2 men watching CNC maching

2. Are their cards on the table?

When you have a meeting or consultation with the machine shop of your choice, you should be on the lookout for transparency. 

A good shop should share the following without hesitation: 

  • The shop’s failure rate and how they plan to fix errors. All shops have this rate, and owners should not hide it. 
  • Certifications: Certain skillsets and machine operations require certificates. Those should be available upon request. 
  • Have they dealt with a variance of projects and quantities in their shop?
  • They should have a plan on how to handle modifications if they are requested. 

No shop is perfect, and they should tell you how they deal with setbacks with production. Also, if they can do your job from start to finish. 

3. They have the right tools for your job.

Whatever your needs, the shop taking on your project should be able to do the job from start to finish. Before your initial meeting, consider researching the necessary machines for your job. 

Only doing part of the job and then going to another shop to finish can result in work that is not consistent and can waste time. It can also unknowingly increase your budget and draw out your timeline. Time is money, and needing both can throw a wrench into your plans. 

Upon your first meeting with the potential machine shop, they should tell you if your entire project can be completed in-house. 

4. Investing in the future and education are essential.

Shops that invest in their future plan on sticking around, often shown through certifications and having proper machinery. Having the correct credentials for machinists and up-to-date machinery shows they believe in their product.

Ask your contact what machines they have on the floor and if those same tools are used on the production and prototype runs. If they are not, then ask why and how does that change the product?

Certifications are also a good indicator of the priorities and quality of a shop. The certifications not only ensure that machinists know what they’re doing but that they will invest in their team.

5. Care and communication

No matter what the project or business, communication is vital. Going a step further, you should also feel that they care. The person set as your contact should be able to explain what is going on with your project at any time. 

If an issue arises, your representative should contact you promptly with how they will solve that issue. Online reviews and testimonials should speak to how well or poorly a shop has matters handled. 

The representative handling your project should also be well versed in what their shop offers. For example, Elemet offers laser and water jet cutting. Our representatives can explain the pros and cons of each as well as the differences

It is their job to guide you through the process of your project and provide transparency. In an ideal setting, this would include having one contact who knows your project. Having too many hands in the project can lead to confusion. 

male using machine shop tools

Putting it Together

As we’ve stated, choosing a machine shop isn’t a choice to be taken lightly. It’s a relationship that can last a long time, hopefully helping you invest in your ventures. 

Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works have joined forces to create Elemet Manufacturing. This merge has brought forward a shop that offers: 

  • Waterjet cutting
  • Welding 
  • CNC Machining
  • Metal fabrication and cutting services

Although we call Aitkin, Minnesota our home, we happily ship nationwide across the United States. Elemet Manufacturing has prided itself by specializing in precision work and putting our clients first. Contact us for a free quote; we can’t wait to work with you. 

 

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