111 episodes

Swarfcast is for listeners interested in the precision machining world. We interview owners of manufacturing companies, inventors, tooling experts, machine tool builders, robotics experts and whoever else we think our listeners/readers would find interesting..

Swarfcast Today's Machining World

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 4.0 • 1 Rating

Swarfcast is for listeners interested in the precision machining world. We interview owners of manufacturing companies, inventors, tooling experts, machine tool builders, robotics experts and whoever else we think our listeners/readers would find interesting..

    Using Blockchain in Manufacturing with Jim Regenor

    Using Blockchain in Manufacturing with Jim Regenor

    Today’s guest on the podcast is Jim Regenor, founder of Veritx, a company which helps clients dramatically reduce lead times and increases readiness for military and airline customers with blockchain technology.

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    With today’s 3-D printing technology parts can be produced on site so clients don’t need to wait for products to be sent by land or sea. All that needs to be sent is the digital information for how to produce the parts on site. Blockchain insures the digital information is correct.

    Main Points

    (3:30) Jim gives background on his company Veritx which he established in August of 2019. He characterizes the company’s product as “a digital parts catalog for regulated industries that reduces long lead times and increases readiness for military and airline customers.”

    (4:35) Jim talks about a proof of concept with the Department of Defense where blockchain could reduce the lead time for an F-15 part from 265 days down to 6 hours from order to delivery. He says that the United States military still uses some aircraft from as far back as the 1950s, so being able to deliver spare parts efficiently can be difficult when many of the original aerospace suppliers have gone out of business.





    Jim Regenor, founder of Veritx



    (8:00) Jim gives his background. He spent 31 years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He was on the Security Council for the Bush and Obama Administrations, and he also ran a large logistics operation, with 15 locations in 11 countries across three continents—many of them war zones. He said he was moving roughly 570,000 tons of cargo and about 2 million people a year, and found himself constantly needing spare parts.

    (9:25) After he got out of the Air Force, Jim ran the military aftermarket division at a Tier 1 aerospace company called Moog Aircraft Group. The company had acquired a 3-D Printing business in Michigan and realized that 3-D printing would become an enabler for digital 4.0 schema and how industries would interact. This led him to world of blockchain.

    (11:00) Jim says that 3-D printing coupled with blockchain enables what he calls the fourth modality of logistics. Instead of transporting physical parts by land or sea, digital information to make the parts is sent on the cloud. Then parts are manufactured on site with 3-D printing. Blockchain enables the information to be sent properly.

    (14:10) Jim characterizes blockchain as a distributed ledger. He gives an example of several people in a room in which one person owes another person 10 dollars. Every person records that 10 dollars is owed in their ledgers. If the person who owes money tries to lie and says he only owes 9 dollars, the people in the room have records to prove he lying. This concept means that information can be sent through a decentralized transparent system and cannot be corrupted. All records are transparent so that there is a consensus. For blockchain applications, sometimes hundreds or thousands of computers keep the ledger. This can be used to establish value for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but it can also work well for other applications such as logistics because it enables people to track the entire lineage of an asset.

    (17:20) Jim gives an example of Walmart using blockchain to track the supply chain of its lettuce from harvest to store shelves to combat the E. coli problem last year.

    (19:00) Jim says that many companies are using blockchain right now and data can be tracked with user interfaces. He says for the supply chain for aerospace blockchain records the entire process, starting with the initial requirements being sent to a designer. Then each stage such as the design of a part, manufacturing, quality control, etc. is recorded individually. Everything is transparent and correct, insuring a good final product. If people realize there is a design flaw,

    • 28 min
    Producing the Perfect Pen with Ian Schon

    Producing the Perfect Pen with Ian Schon

    Today’s podcast is the final segment of our season about companies who produce their own products.

    Our guest is Ian Schon, founder of Schon DSGN, a company that makes high quality metallic pens machined on Citizen CNC Swiss lathes. One of Ian’s core philosophies for the production and marketing of his pens is to tell the story of their creation.

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    The summer after Ian’s Freshman year at Boston University, he and his brothers bought a 1940s Clausing lathe on Craigslist and started machining all kinds of things in their parents’ garage, including his first pen. After graduating with a degree in engineering, Ian got a job as a product designer. He started his own company on the side, creating pens and watches, back in 2012. Two years ago, Ian finally started manufacturing pens and watches full time. He distributes his pens in stores all over the world. He also sells at pen shows and on his website.



    One of the defining aspects of Ian’s pens is that when you look at them you can see how they were made. The clothes are off. The full monty of the machining process is proudly on display for an onlooker to see. The pens are made of brass, copper, titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel, presented in a variety of bright colors and finishes. They have precise visible threads for fastening their components. They feature distinct exterior textures from processes like knurling or milling—outwardly telling the story of their creation. 

    The moment I started talking to Ian, the word that came to my mind was “passion.” He is passionate about both designing and manufacturing his products—ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and fountain pens (listen to the podcast for an explanation on their differences). He gushed about the setscrew design he came up with to secure the ink cartridges in his pens. He also loved talking about machining on his used Citizens, L20s and L16s from the mid ‘90s, which he holds in the highest regard. 

    He says he sees himself as both a designer and a manufacturer, and says he could not create his products the way they are if he was not both. 

    He markets his pens and other products by telling the story of their creation. He makes videos of himself designing the pens, as well as videos showing himself working on the Citizens—setting up tools, changing programs, or managing pesky swarf.

    He says his loyal customers care that his products are made by a person who they can get to know, whether through social media or in person at pen shows. “The journey is as important as the destination,” he explained.

    Question: What is your favorite type of pen?

    • 36 min
    Listening to Customers and Selling Hammers with Joel Trusty

    Listening to Customers and Selling Hammers with Joel Trusty

    On today’s podcast we continue our season talking to successful companies who produce their own products.

    Today’s guest is Joel Trusty, co-owner and President of Trusty-Cook, a company that manufactures a diverse group of industrial polyurethane products such as dead blow hammers and spindle liners for bar loaders. Joel says one of the keys to the company’s success has been talking to customers about what they need.

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    Main Points

    Joel talks about the origins of Trusty-Cook. His father designed ship-to-shore missiles for the military. When he tired of that, he moved on and started a company making custom electronics. He hired a man named Cook, who went to Chrysler and came back with a purchase order for 3,000 polyurethane wear pads for an assembly line, something that the company did not make. In response, Joel’s father bought a used pizza oven, bought a book on polyurethane and figured out how to hand-batch the order. Two years later, he invented the dead blow hammer, one of the main products Trusty-Cook manufactures to this day. (2:55)

    Joel explains the company’s polyurethane dead blow hammer. It is constructed to have good power when striking, but it avoids damaging the target or sending a lot of vibration through the user’s elbow. (3:40)

    Joel says it was difficult to get into the market at first. The products were expensive to make, but the company landed deals with Matco Tools, Cornwell Tools, and Snap-On. Originally Stanley Tools wanted a private label as well but instead decided to buy out the company in 1982. In the mid-1980s a recession hit, and Stanley wanted to move the company under the same roof as a screwdriver plant in South Carolina. Joel’s father and brother agreed to assist the move in return for commercial ground and two product lines Stanley Tools was no longer interested in. They moved the plant and founded Trusty-Cook. The non-compete for the hammer ran out in the mid-1990s, so they created the Trusty-Cook brand. They also landed a private brand called Estwing out of Rockford, IL. Matco and Cornwell came back on board, and Trusty-Cook continues to make sledgehammers for Snap-on. The company also makes a line for NAPA. (4:00)  

    Joel explains that Trusty-Cook’s polyurethane hammer is made to replace hammers made of lead or brass. It is constructed so that it will not spark and not damage the material it is hitting. The durability of polyurethane is what inspired Joel’s father to create the hammer. Joel also talks about his father’s other inventions, including a machine to cook hamburgers in 6 seconds and the first blood machine to analyze kidneys, which is still in use today. The hamburgers tasted terrible, so that invention was not taken to market. He says inventing new products comes naturally to him and other members of his family. (6:30)

    Joel says Trusty-Cook now makes 29 different hammers, which Joel calls a “rock on a stick.

    • 35 min
    Ep. 102 – Growing a Community of Passionate Customers, with George Breiwa

    Ep. 102 – Growing a Community of Passionate Customers, with George Breiwa

    On today’s episode we continue our season talking about companies who produce their own products.

    Our guest is George Breiwa, founder of DynaVap, a company that produces a unique type of vaporizer, using Index multi-spindles and CNC Swiss lathes. George says that one of the keys to the company’s success is growing and nurturing a community of passionate customers.

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    Main Points

    George describes DynaVap’s VapCap 2020 M vaporizer, which he prefers to refer to as a selective thermal extraction tool. To operate the VapCap M a user removes a temperature indicating cap and places a chosen substance (often dry herb) for consumption inside the extraction chamber. Then the user applies a portable heat source to the VapCap such as a lighter. George also showcases a battery powered induction heater that can be used with the VapCap. (3:10) 

    George talks about the differences between thermal extraction (using a vaporizer) and smoking. He says that when burning a smokable substance, portions of it are burned away rather than extracted, whereas with thermal extraction, the plant material is heated to a temperature where the active compounds evaporate and can be extracted, leaving everything else behind with minimal chemical changes a no incomplete combustion byproducts like tar, resin and carbon monoxide. (Fingers crossed that I summarized him correctly!) (5:05)

    Noah asks George about the health ramifications of using DynaVap’s vaporizer. George says health and safety depends on the substance being extracted and if it is done in moderation. He suggests that using a VapCap is a healthier alternative to smoking. (6:40)

    George describes how DynaVap’s products are machined. Tube stock is custom drawn at the mill in variable thicknesses to manufacture the various parts. Again, he shows the 2020 M VapCap, which does not require tools to assemble or disassemble its four parts. The 2020 M can be purchased in a variety of colors. George describes one color called rosium (see video), which he describes as pink, gold, and blue with a little bit of green. The color is produced through a process called PVD (physical vapor deposition), which he says is very commonly used when producing carbide cutting tools for CNC machines. He also describes another model the company sells called AzuriuM, which starts as blue but changes to several different colors when exposed to heat. (8:40)

    George talks about the value proposition of DynaVap’s product, which uses an external heat source (like a lighter) rather than using a built-in battery like a typical vaporizer. He says the VapCap’s small size and portability are significant advanta...

    • 31 min
    Prototyping on a Desktop CCN Mill with Zach Dunham

    Prototyping on a Desktop CCN Mill with Zach Dunham

    On today’s podcast we’re continuing our 5th season, discussing companies that machine their own products.

    Our guest is Zach Dunham, Director of Marketing at Bantam Tools, a company which builds an 80-pound desktop CNC milling machine that costs under $4,000. This machine is designed for both novice and experienced machinists who want to quickly prototype and tweak new products.

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    Main Points

    Zach describes Bantam Tools as a company that builds desktop CNC milling machines, with a focus on precision and reliability at an affordable price. The company has two products in their current lineup, including its new desktop CNC mill that was released in July of 2020. The company is based Peekskill, New York, and employs around 15 workers. (3:10)



    Zach talks about the types of products made on desktop CNC milling machines (SEE ABOVE). He says the machines are often used to make “everyday carry items” like bottle openers and aluminum wallets. He says Bantam Tools’ machine has the capability to produce almost anything (aluminum, wood, or plastic) that can be made on a 7 x 3 x 9 machine with 3 axes, even more complex items like a small synthesizer (see video). He says that the target market for the company’s products are people who prototype. The machine is optimized for aluminum, but it can machine engineered plastics and wood as well. Some customers even create circuit boards with it. Machining other metals is not impossible, but it is difficult because the mill does not use coolant. (4:10)

    Zach shares his background. He studied music composition at Bard College in New York, a good part of which involved electronics and recording arts. He worked as a sound designer for a while, and dabbled in acoustics, which led to getting interested in hardware. He taught himself much of what he knows about electronics. He launched his own product called The Public Radio, a single station FM radio, which is still being sold. Eventually he took a job with the crowd funding platform Kickstarter, teaching people how to launch hardware products. (6:30)

    Zach talks more about his work at Kickstarter, helping customers launch new design and technology products. Toward the end of his time at the company, he worked with digital fabrication products. He gives examples of the kinds of products he helped bring to market, including a desktop waterjet cutter and a CNC machine that pulled itself around a table with cabling. (8:35)

    Zach discusses the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC milling machine. He says a few hundred customers have pre-ordered the machine. Many of these customers are hobbyists or people who work primarily with 3D printers who are looking to add CNC capabilities to their workshop.

    • 37 min
    Looking back on 99 Episodes of Swarfcast

    Looking back on 99 Episodes of Swarfcast

    Today is a special occasion. It is the 100th episode of Swarfcast

    A lot has happened in our lives since the podcast began two and half years ago, and today we are going to look back at how the show reflected the world as it evolved.

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    Main Points

    Noah talks about the podcast’s second episode, recorded in April of 2018, in which he interviewed Miles Free, Director of Industry Affairs of the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA). He plays a clip in which Miles discusses how tariffs on metals punish American factory workers and consumers. He also talks about a Chinese law (at the time of the interview) that said any foreign company in China is required to have a Chinese partner that has full access to the company’s technology. Miles says China was relaxing this law for foreign car companies. (3:00)

    Noah shares thoughts about Episode 86, in which he interviewed Mike Micklewright, Director of the Kaizen Institute. Mike enthusiastically says that reshoring is happening, but he would not provide specific examples. Lloyd says he keeps hearing about the reshoring trend from machining business owners who are quoting jobs against China, but he has yet to see much proof of it actually happening yet (See Clip Below). (5:45)



    Lloyd says that tariffs didn’t result in the immediate return of work from China, but they planted the seed for companies to analyze their relationships with Chinese suppliers. He says the pandemic dramatically changed how American businesses see working with China because it made the supply chain much less reliable. (7:15)

    Noah plays a clip from Episode 72 with Daniel Hearsch, Managing Director at Alex Partners, a global supply chain expert. Daniel gave his best and worst case predictions for the impact of COVID-19 on the manufacturing economy. Back in late February when the interview was recorded, Daniel felt in a best case scenario American businesses would feel pressure for 4-5 months, with the stock market also taking a hit and the government providing some intervention. However, he also describes a worst case scenario, where people don’t take the threat seriously and the virus spreads, leading to further shut downs and slowing of business in the longer term. He seemed to be predicting more of the best case scenario in the in...

    • 29 min

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Interviews are all about asking the right questions. The most interesting people can give boring interviews when asked the wrong questions. This podcast has a natural/ organic format that promotes good discussion 👍

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