We broke ground recently on our new 19,000 square foot facility. This fall we expect to occupy greatly expanded training and R&D facilities, along with much larger manufacturing space. Our office will expand to accommodate 42 staff members, a 75% increase in office space. We’ll be talking more about the facility and there will be photos as the walls go up and the building starts to take shape over the next few months.
It still seems like just a short while ago that I had machine prototypes in my garage, with my wife worrying what the neighbors were thinking. Ed Korn and I developed the original idea and incorporated Tormach in 2002, but the first mill was not sold until late in 2005. By then the neighbors had seen semitrailers unloading mysterious crates for more than three years. Pretty long hours were spent since 2002, keeping a day job while developing prototypes and testing machines, controls, tooling and more. I was also grateful to engineering friends, most of whom offered free engineering consulting. More than a few beers were consumed while we talked about what a small CNC mill should really be like.
Early in 2006 I moved out of the basement office and sublet a partial suite in a nearby commercial space. By the end of 2006 Tormach had five employees and more customers than we expected.
In 2007 (less than a year after we moved into of the half suite) we rented two suites in the same building, adding wiring and building walls to create offices for a dozen people, a workshop/training area, and an R&D space. A 2010 blog post documents our further expansion, taking up a third suite for a total of 7500 sq feet. Since then we’ve added new products, a lot more employees and improved our training curriculum. Last year we added even more space for overflow warehousing and an R&D center, but it still wasn’t enough. The rented facility was great for the first seven years, but we knew it was time to move.
I’m excited that we’ve created good jobs for 25 people, but that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. We’ve shipped thousands of machines now and a very significant portion of those machines are assisting inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Our business has been helping other businesses get started. The fact that we have lowered the cost of entry for quality manufacturing equipment is what has allowed more people to get their businesses going. They can get started earlier, with less capital at risk, and get to market sooner.
My own story, inventing a product in my garage while holding down a day job, is being repeated hundreds of times throughout the country with the assistance of a Tormach machine. My garage products were the Tormach Tooling System (TTS) and the PCNC 1100 mill. The products that others are developing with our tools range from antique reproductions to the latest cutting-edge technologies. We’ve had reports of PCNC developed equipment going to the bottom of the ocean as well as into orbit.
It’s been a great ride, but I keep feeling that we’re just getting started. People have been following the development of the Tormach lathe, but that’s only one of the products in the pipeline. Whether you’re an old codger machinist or Internet hipster maker, if you like to make things in your workshop, I think you’re going to like what Tormach will be offering in the future.