Thursday, August 27, 2015

Like A Real Factory

Yesterday was a milestone for ScopeRoller: I had two operatives at work simultaneously.  The teenager who lives across the road was unsure if he would be available, so I hired one of my readers to help.  One was turning acetal down to diameter on the lathe, while the other was drilling, tapping,  and assembling orders.  At some point, I am going to have to start collecting and paying payrioll taxes.  I've never done that before and I am not entirely sure of what to do.  There's a couple at church who used to run a cookware shop, and I will ask them.

I had planned to start making the interior part of the design by turning aluminum rod to size, then cutting 30 degree slices of it with the chop saw, but my first experience trying to do that makes  think I will stick with acetal.  Blades won't last.  I think I will also upgrade my lathe to CNC.  I can tell the computer to remove .010" per pass, which on acetal will be quite risk-free.  Start it up and come back when it is down to the right diameter.

UPDATE: More orders rolling in.  It's hard to keep raw materials in stock!


  1. Consider investing in a decent used metal cutting vertical bandsaw.

    This would give you the option of cutting down various sizes of raw material to a workable size. This can be a cost savings. Look for one that has the built-in blade welder, so you can buy blades by the roll, and cut/weld to fit the machine. This is usually much cheaper than buying ready-made blades, besides giving the ability to repair a broken blade.

    Wood saws are different, besides the blade, but I'm not familiar with them, so don't know the details. Plus, in a pinch, you can cut wood with a metal saw.

  2. IANAL, but you might want to check with one before getting too involved with on-site employees. That might put your side business into a category that conflicts with your zoning regs. Or insurance. Or other gov regs. Employees move you into a whole different world in lots of ways. Do the research now, not after some bureaucrat/functionary decides to make your life miserable.

  3. Will has a good point(s), but I'll add:

    To have legitimate employees, you first need an Employer ID number, which you get by simple application to the IRS. This allows you to perform withholding of expected taxes and forward them to the IRS. You will fill out a 940 form every quarter to file those taxes. You will also need Workers Compensation Insurance on your employees, this is handled by your State, but the actual purchase/payment might be to/through a private insurance company. This varies by State.

    Those are the biggies.

    You may well be able to get away with having an employee or 2 at your home, depending on the locals. I know for a fact that our township in Michigan has probably a couple hundred home-based businesses, some with several employees. Not all are conforming to the "official" regulations, but let's face it: if a business had to conform from the very beginning, most would never get started. Your existing business might be "illegal". In such cases, as long as you are discreet and there's not a lot of traffic in and out of your drive, you could slide by for a very long time.

  4. I support what Will and Jim say. Just because the couple at church have done this before doesn't mean they did it right, and your situation may have enough differences that following "this is how I did it" can just get you in trouble, as happened in a case I worked on (If we ever meet face-to-face I'll tell you about the employer who flew by the seat of his pants untill he met an employee who knew what the employment laws really said).