Case study: Elevating an up-and-coming machine shop to the next level

Fine Line Machine is a member of the National Tooling and Machining Association and provides parts for customers in need of everything from single-part prototypes to high-volume production runs. On the regular, founder Josh Frost oversees 700-part runs and works with challenging materials like Inconel.

rs=w_1968,h_1312 (4)

In addition to CNC manufacturing, Fine Line Machine provides engineering and assembly services for a broad range of industries. Josh produces housing industry components, small-scale mining, and O&G applications, and parts like gauges and fixtures for the aerospace industry.  

He’s also a one-man show.

After working in milling, CNC machining, and robotics, Josh Frost set out to build his own shop from the ground up. With Fine Line Machine, Josh sought to leave his mark with top-notch service to complement top-notch parts.

He started out as a scrappy enterprise, utilizing his local community college’s machines to start building a customer base in exchange for instructing students on how to work the equipment. He soon began working on his own machines and producing bigger and bigger jobs.

Today, Josh has expanded to a 6,000 sq. ft. warehouse. He’s invested in capital equipment and is on his way to hiring his first employee.

And the team at Fullerton Tool, including Product Development Manager and Lead Tool Design Engineer Steve Ozsust, supplied:

  • High-performance tooling recommendations to better fit the job.
  • Regrind services to maximize tooling investment.
  • Committed and responsive service, treating Josh the same as a large company.

Generic tooling wasn’t cutting it anymore

Before Josh found Fullerton, he ran jobs with generic tooling equipment. 

“We were just buying what we needed for each job. So there was really no planning involved, it was just like, ‘Hey, I need a three-quarter in general, just go order it.’” 

 This made sense when he was just starting out. But not at scale and not for long.

“It would last for however long it would last, and we’d throw it away, buy a new one,” said Josh. “Like general purpose end mills, they cut all the materials that I would handle, but it's for making five parts or one part. And I'm making thousands of this one part and I'm using a general-purpose tool and it's taking me 10 minutes.” 

Now, Josh sources application-specific tooling, such as our Fury End Mill. The tooling lasts longer, and his output can 4x in some instances. One application took a 12-minute cycle time on part down to two-and-a-half minutes.

“I was able to triple or quadruple the production on one job just by going to a more application-specific tool and not just using something general.” – Josh Frost

Another upgrade came during a drill job on 1018 stainless steel. Steve put him onto the Dominator Drill, a high-performance tool with “a nice edge prep and a really effective coating.”

Faster times mean Josh can get more parts out the door — and more time for growing his business.

Other benefits of switching to high-performance tools from Fullerton included:

Better tool geometries

Improved design elements such as staggered flute spacing, staggered indexing and high-performance coatings make for a stronger, longer-lasting product.  

Improved coatings

Specifically, the FC20 coating the Fury End Mill. This improved coating allows you to run jobs dry with just a simple air blast. Dry machining increases efficiency because you no longer have coolant concerns, and you no longer risk quenching the edge and causing fracturing.  

Ability to run jobs faster

High-performance tools can run at a higher RPM.

When you can run the RPM faster, you can boost efficiencies while still having the tool last its full lifetime.

“You could eat an elephant with a knife and fork, or you could eat it with a chainsaw,” said Steve. “And that's the way we look at it, right? You want to do this efficiently. Let's not drag it out any longer.”

With bigger chip loads, Josh can move more material per rotation — leaving him with less chip to deal with in subsequent jobs. 

Saving up to 60% through tooling regrind services

As parts wear down, most machinists throw old tools in the trash and order new ones. But when Steve noticed Josh doing this, he saw a cost-savings opportunity.

“There’s a lot of value in the material,” said Steve. “With regrinding services, you can actually send in the beat-up parts to have them resharpened, recoated and back on the floor.”

Our regrind department built a plan for Josh to restore his tools to factory specs with fresh coatings. The regrind job resulted in like-new tools for 60% less than their replacements.

This kind of support gives Josh’s company an edge over his competitors. In the case of the Fury End Mill, he’s generated triple the parts count across the lifetime of a single tool.

 “As I find applications that I may be running a general-purpose tool on, I look to the higher lines that Fullerton offers and say, ‘How does this high-performance tool impact the process? And can I speed it up? Can I make the tool last longer? Can I make more parts?’ It's really increased throughput and increased the life of the tool.” 

Seeing the ROI of tooling changes is, “pretty amazing,” as Josh put it, and he can pass those savings down to his customers.

“It's not just making me money. It's getting me more competitive and being able to lower my price to be able to compete with other people."

Application-specific support makes every day on the floor better

As a small business owner, Josh didn’t always feel like a priority to his vendors — especially compared to the attention they gave larger enterprises.

So for a one-man show like Josh's, the quality equipment and service that “walks the walk” set Fullerton apart. Fullerton has become his go-to for high-performance tooling.

“You just make business easy. You help them out. I don't know if you could get that type of customer service from anyone else. And Fullerton doesn't see it as customer service. It's just how we do business.” – Steve Ozust

To Fullerton, every client is king. Steve leads Josh in the right direction with speeds and feeds and tool selection. Josh gets the application-specific support he needs to make every day on the floor better.

rs=w_1968,h_1476 (2)

Getting help when you need it most

“I have an application engineer at Fullerton that I work with,” said Josh. “Then between Brandon and Bob at RAM Sales, I could call any of those three and usually get an answer pretty quickly if I need help with something or something's not working the way that I thought it was going to be.” 

With nearly instant access to the Fullerton team, Josh can solve every machining challenge faster.

Josh hit a chip packing issue during a late-night job on a customer’s mining bearing. The scrap wouldn’t exit as he milled the parts. And he had less than two hours to finish the job.

“I probably would've figured it out eventually, but … it probably would've taken me four or five hours.”  

After firing off a quick email to Fullerton, Josh got an answer from Steve with a patch solution for immediate usage and advice on preventing the problem on the next job. 

Drill down on your growth. Partner with Fullerton.

Whether you’re small, large or growing fast — we want to help. Manufacturers of any size benefit from strategic tooling spend that cuts costs without sacrificing quality.

Start by exploring our tools by material. Or read the latest tooling success story on our blog. And if you’re ready to see the full picture, get in touch with us today.

Back to Blog

Related Articles

Case study: Rising to the challenge of aerospace alloy at Baker Hill

Baker Hill is not your typical job shop.

Case Study - 3500 Fury End Mill

Case Study | 3500 Fury End Mill Check out our latest Proven Cost Savings, where our high...

Saving Customer Over $20,500 with the 3500 Fury

Here at Fullerton, not only are we dedicated to creating extraordinary carbide cutting tools, but...