For the Love of CNC: The John Saunders Story
Many Tormach customers know John Saunders, in fact there are many that know Tormach because of John Saunders and his YouTube channel, NYC CNC.
Saunders started his path to CNC machining by sleeping next to his mill in a one-bedroom apartment in New York. He began machining parts for others for fun, when his eyes turned to Tormach. “It’s all I wanted,” he explains. “This thing [the PCNC 1100] was a monster machine for me.”
After some convincing, Saunders and his wife moved out of Manhattan to the suburbs “specifically to get a Tormach machine.” The move and his new PCNC 1100 saw a massive growth in his following on YouTube and the NYC CNC channel, but he also started doing shop work. “Here was a small residential house in New York with a tiny factory inside. We made thousands of products on the 1100 that I still use today. And this was all while doing a day-job.”
Since then, Saunders has moved back to his hometown in Ohio and grown his businesses. NYC CNC is still a successful (and growing) YouTube channel that beginner and veteran machinists enjoy, but Saunders Machine Works has also taken off.
Saunders now has an employee, Jarod, and see regular shop work and partnerships, on top of his multiple video posts every week.
“We’re definitely not what you would think of as a traditional machine shop. I spend a lot of my time doing the YouTube videos. I really enjoy doing them.” Saunders explains. Beyond just the YouTube videos and shop work, Saunders also uses his two PCNC 440s to teach a CNC class. “The channel has grown quite a bit in popularity, and really, that’s our source of traffic for the training classes and job shop stuff.”
Saunders doesn’t consider himself a professional machinist and credits much of his success to just doing it. “If I had grown up as a machinist, I think that I never would have been where I am now,” he explains. “When I bought my first mill – a Taig – the engineer that we had hired to help us, told us not to buy a CNC machine because we wouldn’t be able to run it.”
What seems to excite Saunders more than his booming business is the ability to just make things and learn. “It’s great that we now have things like Fusion 360 and Tormach, as well as things like Kickstarter and Facebook where you can push out products and knowledge, and learn everything you need to learn is on YouTube… it’s an awesome era to be in.”
Saunders fits the profile of a common Tormach customer – somebody with little experience machining, but a want to just make things. Now, he’s looking to keep expanding his many metalworking business ventures while keeping up with his YouTube channel. He says, “I usually tell people that I’m not a machinist, I’m just a guy who happens to run machines, and I love it.”