limited production :: hand crafted :: high performance :: rechargeable :: premium flashlights

This is my blog about creating a startup LED flashlight business. I'm a designer, fabricator, and strategist and I'm passionate about making ideas real. I believe that products are about people, that they should be built to last, deliver real value, and that we need to do a better job than we have in the recent past.

Most of my career has been contract or freelance work and I've crafted products and strategies for both big international companies and startups. I also used to work in the "industry" fabricating special effects for film and TV, along with the occasional hot rod. Bottom line, I love making things.

I'm starting this blog so you can follow along, from day one, and see what it's like to start a business, or fail in the process. Only time will tell, but I hope you find this interesting enough to stay tuned, comment, link, like, tweet, and (most importantly) participate in turning this idea into something tangible and valuable.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

"I Recommend": G-Wizard Calculator (for machinists)

If you couldn't tell by the title--Warning: machinist's content & business content (if you are a machinist) after the jump

Okay, I have a notebook with a list of things I think are AWESOME. Most of the time I forget to write things down on that list, but I have a few and thought I'd start sharing them on my blog. These things aren't necessarily flashlight related, but if they apply to you, they will change your life. Bold claim eh? But I'm serious. I'm going to call this segment, "I Recommend..." I can't think of a better product to start with that Bob Warfield's G-Wizard machining calculator. It's like having a master machinist in your back pocket. Normally that would be really uncomfortable...but not with G-Wizard. You should really stop reading this and download the trial from this link right: here.

A perfect example of what the internet should be used for
From time to time I have an ah-ha moment when things suddenly become clear. This little piece of incredibly sophisticated software brought me one of those moments. The quick story: machinist and software engineer (Bob Warfield) decided one day to take on a little pet project, and G-Wizard is the result. First, this is what the power of the internet is all about. Second, it's well designed. Third, it's something every machine shop should have...especially small ones. I'll tackle those points in order, after the read on!

1) We live in an age where a single person can wield the power that used to be the exclusive domain of large companies. This is one of the reasons I can start making flashlights in my own shop. I need the internet for research (learnin'). I need it to discover and order components. I need it to connect with me other people, both in terms of knowledge sharing and marketing/advertising of my product. Bob is leveraging the same set of advantageous circumstances, and boy did he do a good job...oh and he did it from the comfort of his own home. This will make you want to quit your day job.

2) Bob coded the entire piece of software himself; no team of engineers, industry experts, interface designers, graphic designers, blah blah blah. You know what? IT WORKS! I don't just mean pure function, I mean it actually makes sense and does what it's supposed to do. I didn't need to spend hours learning how to use it. I just fire it up and it's pretty much self explanatory. The amazing this is, it's loaded with features and functions, and I never want to smash my screen trying to figure out how to use them. Every try using Photoshop...ohhhh boy. Did I mention I actually LIKE using this software? I want to punch most software in the face, so that's saying a lot. It even greets me using my name! I'm not kidding.

It's the little things that matter...
3) Most home CNC machinists and small shops will think "this kind of stuff" is for production shops. If you do, you're (in my humble opinion) stuck in the stone age. As a single operator, I only have so much time, and time is the most valuable resource I have. It's a huge deal for me to waste time experimenting with feeds, speeds, cut dimensions, breaking tools, and putting material stock in the recycling bin. That stuff costs money! So does G-Wizard and that's going to put some people off. We like free right? Well, the guy who said "time is money" is right. I'm not afraid to spend money that saves me time, and G-Wizard is smart money. I like to spend time making parts, not scratching my head.

So what IS the countersink depth on a 1/4 20 SHCS?
One routine issue I have is integrating a new tool into my machining operations. Every new tool comes standard with a lot of question marks regarding how to use it, let alone optimize it. So I'm replacing a two flue HSS endmill with a three flute carbide what? Waste time and parts experimenting is the usual answer. Guess, what? I don't do that anymore. I punch my parameters into G-Wizard and it spits out all the info I need to program the tool. it also has fancy calculations for things like chip thinning and tool deflection that is essentially impossible to do by hand.

Cutting a precision bearing seat but don't know how to account  for thermal expansion? Why would you bother when G-Wizard already knows? 
I run EVERY new tool through G-Wizard before I make the first cut. More often that not, it's dead on the money. Oh but you can just use formulas as a starting place right? Try that with an 1/8" parabolic drill on a machine that only goes up to 5k rpm. That's right, you're stuck. If you have G-Wizard it will already know (because you entered it) that your max spindle is 5k and will compensate the feed rate for you as well as taking into account the chip load for a parabolic drill. G'head, use formulas, I'll race you.

Honestly, why are you still reading? Go here!


  1. eit man where can i get the serial, crack or keygen for G-Wizard Calculator (for machinists)

  2. I was just going to delete the previous comment, but in an effort to avoid censorship here is my response:

    Why would you want to steal from a guy that is just trying to make a living? Bob designed the software on his own time, with his own money, and created one of the best digital machinist tools in the world. He's not a big company, just one guy, like myself. I think you should reward his hard work by purchasing a copy of the software.

  3. Well I'd pay for the software and I want the Crack. You see, we integrate it and he goes away. we paid him money and we are screwed. All the guy has to do is get sick or have a car accident. Basically pay as you go so stupid to us. Also, being a DOD contractor, they don't want to know our processes are "at risk" so.... say so long to our ten copy purchase. Don't want to go down that road.

  4. I wouldn't mind purchasing it if I could buy it at a reasonable price and not have to renew my subscription by "rebuying" it every year or so.

  5. His pricing is very reasonable! Most Cam software has an anual fee. What if they go out of business? People these days just expect everything for free. If that's the case why don't you guys give away your products for free? Oh right you built it with your time and money and you expect to be compensated. Just like Bob deserves to be. I'm ordering a subscription Monday.

  6. Waste of money. Too many free ones out there.

  7. Looks like a decent piece of software, but because its operation is tied to the Internet, it basically eliminates use on my shop computer in the garage, or any computer without an Internet connection! Paying a yearly fee for the use of software you purchased is also ridiculous! That' a 15 year old tactic to try and prevent piracy. Just sell the software for a one time price, let the pirates do there thing and you will sell more copies than you ever imagined! And I would purchase one!

  8. Bunch of distasteful and ignorant comments here. First of all the software does not have to be renewed each year. It continues to work as a "lite" version restricted to one horsepower for EACH year's paid subscription. So, if you buy two years of subscription you will have unrestricted use of the software for up to a two horsepower machine - and that's a very decent size. Aside from the horsepower limitation the software is the same as the subscription version. This is a brilliant way to charge a reasonable price in my opinion. For a total of $140 I get an unlimited license for my IH mill with a two horse motor. Plus I can continue to get all the upgrades and improvements without having to buy another subscription.

    You might want to add the part about having an unlimited "lite" license to your main entry to act like garlic for the the trolls.

  9. THERE IS A LIFETIME PRICE TOO. I love 'cost effective' software as much as anyone but when I found this about 2 months ago I was so impressed. It took just 2 weeks of the free month trial to convince me since it saved me so much time and money. It just made sense to support the developer with a subscription. I'll gladly buy a lifetime license next year. To all the complaining about it not being free or subscription blues I say, Go ahead break and wear out a few more tools and mess up a few more pieces of stock, then count the $$$ you've wasted before complaining about the price. As for worrying about a subscription discontinuing, what a bogus argument. What are you using now?