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least common denominator
 
scottmandue's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: San Pedro,CA
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Work from home,signage-graphics?

Retiring next year and looking for some kind of job/small business to keep me from turning into a couch potato.

At work we have a 3D printer we have been playing around with, wondering if I could buy one of those and make some kind of business out of that... maybe making small obsolete parts for cars/motorcycles? I am following a website that has a bunch of information on 3D printers/scanners and still collecting data.

We also have a graphic shop with a huge printer for making banners/signage. I have seen people working out of their garage doing simple banners (happy birthday, welcome home, grand opening,etc.) so pretty sure that market is flooded but talking to the graphics guys they make substrate printers, maybe I could make a biz out of printing wood signage?

Just brainstorming at this point, anyone know of someone doing something similar?
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Old 07-21-2018, 09:45 AM
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No doubt there is a business there. Even the sign banners. I have trouble finding anyone that will do a small job. Once someone gets somewhat established they only want the big job so can't be bothered with the little ones. It was such a problem I ended up buying a small vinyl plotter. Worked great for many years until Microsoft moved away from win 98. Can't get software updates any longer.

Even CNC.

Last edited by drcoastline; 07-21-2018 at 09:58 AM..
Old 07-21-2018, 09:56 AM
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least common denominator
 
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Join Date: Aug 2001
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I still need to do a lot more research, I know there is going to be a pretty big investment. I hear you can get etching heads for the 3D printers... maybe another shingle I can hang on my door?

There just so happens to be a graphic arts convention in town in a few weeks, going to look into attending.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:10 AM
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My wife does this, she was stay at home mom while raising our daughter. We are currently relocating and building her a new shop at out other home.

She was doing work for an international company involved in the skiing industry working from home originally. This company did almost all signage and advertising at American ski resorts. Even did a lot for the Corvette factory race team in their first event at the 24 Hours of La Mans over 20 years ago.

Now she does just small jobs. She has a lot of fun, no pressure and accounts for her own time. Not a lot of money due to her part time effort but could still make a lot if she wanted to.

The small quick jobs from word of mouth is enough and the customers do not need a lot of lead time.

When we are permanently relocated she is also thinking of laser etching as well.
There seems to be some market in it.

I also should mention she is a super talented Stained Glass artist but that market is limited and she only occasionally gets involved with that these days.

The small vehicle graphics and banners will be her main effort. Easy and small footprint. Keeps the mind sharp and inventory down.

Terry
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:34 AM
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The Stick
 
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Have some friends that do printing and laser engraving out of their home. They have been doing this for a very long time. Have another that does large format printing and mounting out of his garage.

Have some ideas for a 3D printer, but just too busy with a 9-5 job to do anything with them. Think that once I started the industry would say why didn't we think of that and start doing it themselves.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:37 PM
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If you get into printing research the equipment and supplies.

A lot of that stuff has a shelf life and you can easily find yourself upside down if not generating enough business to run through them before they have to be tossed.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:16 PM
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least common denominator
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
My wife does this, she was stay at home mom while raising our daughter. We are currently relocating and building her a new shop at out other home.

She was doing work for an international company involved in the skiing industry working from home originally. This company did almost all signage and advertising at American ski resorts. Even did a lot for the Corvette factory race team in their first event at the 24 Hours of La Mans over 20 years ago.

Now she does just small jobs. She has a lot of fun, no pressure and accounts for her own time. Not a lot of money due to her part time effort but could still make a lot if she wanted to.

The small quick jobs from word of mouth is enough and the customers do not need a lot of lead time.

When we are permanently relocated she is also thinking of laser etching as well.
There seems to be some market in it.

I also should mention she is a super talented Stained Glass artist but that market is limited and she only occasionally gets involved with that these days.

The small vehicle graphics and banners will be her main effort. Easy and small footprint. Keeps the mind sharp and inventory down.

Terry
May I ask what computer and software she is using for that?

I signed up for the convention in Long Beach and there will be everything form etching to graphics and even T-Shirts. I signed up for a couple free classes, should be interesting.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:43 PM
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Scott, my friend prints T shirt part time out of his garage. That equipment is cheap if you are willing to start up with just a few silk screens and do the graphics on the computer. Move up as you generate more business. That's kinda another type of printing and graphics. He hammers the small clubs or local schools around his neighborhood. They always need T shirts, for their sports teams and clubs. He knows that those people needs shirts but don't want to go and get them done so my friend go to them.
Old 07-21-2018, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drcoastline View Post
No doubt there is a business there. Even the sign banners. I have trouble finding anyone that will do a small job. Once someone gets somewhat established they only want the big job so can't be bothered with the little ones. It was such a problem I ended up buying a small vinyl plotter. Worked great for many years until Microsoft moved away from win 98. Can't get software updates any longer.

Even CNC.
DR, check out Signblazer Elements. Runs under newer windows, with old cutters.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:03 PM
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The Stick
 
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Met a guy in Dallas that makes buttons.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:20 PM
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Never left, but not right
 
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Scott, you've been dreaming and scheming for a time now. Anything you do and come out ahead money wise will take a LOT of time. Cottage businesses are, for the most part, hobbies that pay for themselves and that's it.

You want to make a certain amount of money on a regular basis? Keep working a job.
Old 07-22-2018, 09:01 AM
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least common denominator
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad911 View Post
DR, check out Signblazer Elements. Runs under newer windows, with old cutters.
I have worked on Widows machines for over two decades and now that they are 'leasing" their software was hoping to switching to apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
Scott, you've been dreaming and scheming for a time now. Anything you do and come out ahead money wise will take a LOT of time. Cottage businesses are, for the most part, hobbies that pay for themselves and that's it.

You want to make a certain amount of money on a regular basis? Keep working a job.
I have been with the state for 21 years, will get a pension and 90% of my medical covered when I retire.

So even though I am extremely lazy if I sit around the house and do nothing I'll be climbing the walls after a week or two.

I am looking at a lot of ideas (still have 6mo to a year to retirement), everything from applying to the Seattle Science center all the way down to flipping burgers or working at Home Depot.

I'm pretty computer literate and a little artsy fartsy so doing graphics seemed like a good fit... and I have worked under a boss my entire life and it would be nice to get away from that... but the flip side now you have to deal with clients.

I'm going the the graphics convention next week in Long Beach to just get an idea of what the startup costs are (hardware/software) if it is crazy expensive is is obviously a no go.
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1995 Miata Sold
1984 944 Sold
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Old 07-24-2018, 09:48 AM
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The Stick
 
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College room mates Dad retired. He was a food broker for Kraft/Heinz. Within a month his wife told him to get a job or a divorce she didn't care as long as he quit bugging her all day. He went to work in the bakery at the local grocery store and said he loved it.
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Old 07-24-2018, 10:54 AM
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Now in 993 land ...
 
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If it was me, I'd get a lift and work on cars. Flip a few a year. The upside is that you buy something when you are ready and you sell it when you are ready. No "taking orders" and having "deadlines".

I don't think I could make a ton of money without a dealer's license, just doing private sales (a few a year?) but if you chose your projects well (buy low!), you can make an extra 20k while driving some fun cars and having a good time researching projects, hanging out with other car guys etc.

NFW would I do anything close to a "service" business, including signs ...

G
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Old 07-24-2018, 10:12 PM
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least common denominator
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aigel View Post
If it was me, I'd get a lift and work on cars. Flip a few a year. The upside is that you buy something when you are ready and you sell it when you are ready. No "taking orders" and having "deadlines".

I don't think I could make a ton of money without a dealer's license, just doing private sales (a few a year?) but if you chose your projects well (buy low!), you can make an extra 20k while driving some fun cars and having a good time researching projects, hanging out with other car guys etc.

NFW would I do anything close to a "service" business, including signs ...

G
That is great if you love working on cars (for me working on cars is like doing plumbing, I hate it but I do it to save money). Add to that I hate buying and selling cars, my dad loved it but he was a salesman and I most certainly am not. When I wanted a car I would pick out a make and model of car I liked, gave dad the info, wrote him a check for what I wanted to pay... he would show up in a week with a car.
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1995 Miata Sold
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:55 AM
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Another idea is to contact a company/organisation that needs signs banners made up, such as local Parks Dept. Some place that doesn't have enough work to hire a full time person, but can get their stuff done in a timely and cost effective manner by you.
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Old 07-25-2018, 12:31 PM
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Hi Scott, she is running some older Windows machines. They are cheap to keep as we have a lot of spare parts and software to keep them running.

Software I think is CASmate and Corel running a Roland plotter. She has trimmed down the time spent during our current changes. When we settle in and see how much she still wants to do it will be time for an update.

The plotter she uses for vinyl, acid etching mask and heavy rubber sandblasting masking.

Terry
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Old 07-25-2018, 01:22 PM
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least common denominator
 
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Join Date: Aug 2001
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My dad ran a HVAC shop, bought all our sheet metal working equipment mostly from shops that were going out of business.

IF I think this might be something I want to get into it probably smarter to find someone getting out of the business and selling off their shop.
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1995 Miata Sold
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A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Old 07-25-2018, 01:58 PM
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