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Metalmite Talks Face-Splines, 3D Printing, and More with Jay Jacobs

On October 10, 2019 Jay Jacobs, Host of The Job Shop Show, interviewed Tom Gendich, Owner of Metalmite Corporation. They discussed Face-Splines, 3D Printing, and much more. Jay asked Tom about many things, you should listen to the entire podcast below or on any podcast app (Just search Metalmite).  One question that was particularly interesting was “What is a face-spline?”  Tom said, “A face-spline is where you use a 5 axis mill to generate a tooth on the face of a part.” It is used on the transfer case of a vehicle in order to shift it into four-wheel drive.  Metalmite makes these for both small cars and for heavy trucks. By using the variety of 5 and 6 axis machines that Metalmite has at their disposal, they are one of the few shops that can make and check this angled tooth on the face of a diff case.

Jay Jacobs then moved on the 3D Printing and asked Tom whether he looked at the investment in 3D Printing from the standpoint of capital equipment that depreciates and one would use a standard ROI

calculation in order to justify the purchase, or if he looked at it as an investment for future opportunities.  Tom said he learned from his father to look at these things as an investment.  Taking Jay on a walk through the history books of Metalmite’s 50 plus years, Tom showed Jay how his father first bought CNC equipment and was years ahead of other shops in the Detroit Area. Tom’s father also saw the future in 5 axis machining and was instrumental in buying the first two that Metalmite bought.  Tom then moved the needle further and secured two more 6

axis DMG Mori’s in recent years.  This lead up to the topic of 3D printing.  Tom first bought a Mark Forged plastic printer, where they learned to make carbon fiber and Nylon parts regularly.  Then they bought a 3D Systems Pro X 300 DMP. They are capable of printing any part (inside a 10 x 10 x 13 inch cube) out of tool steel, stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium.

The conversation continued as jay was interested in how Tom purchased the company from his father and how that process worked. Tom also spoke about a shop operating system that he learned from reading the book Traction, by Gino Wickman.

Tom said, “I wished I had read this book and the Good To Great book a few years earlier, we could have avoided a lot of learning pains if I had.”

Check out the full broadcast right below.

Jay Jacob’s Bio:

The host of the Job Shop Show, Jay Jacobs, has a passion for custom part manufacturing and has been immersed in the job shop community since 1987, buying his first 3D Printer in 1989. Jay has sold to job shops, worked for job shops, owned job shops and been a customer of job shops. Processes he has been involved with include machining, sheet metal, injection molding, 3D printing/ additive manufacturing, metal and plastic castings, springs and stampings. As the former founder and owner of RAPID, he and his team grew from five to over three hundred strong while creating the world’s largest sheet metal prototype company. Before RAPID was acquired by ProtoLabs in 2017, they were quoting over 100,000 unique part numbers and manufacturing over 30,000 unique part numbers per year out of facilities in Nashua, NH. eRAPID, a SolidWorks plug-in, was a totally automated tool enabling RAPID to instantly quote and accept orders of sheet metal prototypes within SolidWorks. Jay is currently a co-founder at Paperless Parts, a job shop focused software platform helping custom manufacturers modernize their shops in order to better compete in the increasingly web-based manufacturing world.