Where do designers find an outsize replica of a cosmetics jar for an exhibition? Or multiple LED-powered lightboxes for a house of worship? Or a stage set for a touring musical act? For a vast array of organizations, from opera companies and trade show participants, to major retailers and film and TV companies, the answer is Nashville's MadeFirst.com. 
 
The custom design and fabrication shop operates under a very simple principle: “If you can dream it up, we can figure out a way to build it.”

SLIDE SHOW

Machining Bicycles from Ash and Hickory

Mike Mahoney, founder of Savvy Cycles in Grand Junction, Colorado, details the unique demands on machining ash and hickory into mountain bikes. 


This approach, along with a Laguna Plasma 5’ X 10’ CNC Router and a SmartShop II 5' X 10' CNC Router with Automatic Tool Changer, gives MadeFirst the power to back up their claim.

“We went with Laguna Tools because we had heard good things about them,” begins Jonathan Hammel, owner of the seven-year-old company. “We liked the way the same controllers and moving parts are used on both machines. It makes them easier to work with and to train new employees. We were also pleased that a day after the machines were delivered we were up and running with them because they were so easy to program. Now it’s not unusual for us to run our Laguna Tools equipment anywhere from three to five hours a day.”
 
“We work in almost any material you can name,” continues Hammel. “Plastic, foam, metal, epoxies, wood and anything else we need to turn our client’s ideas into the large fabricated pieces that are our specialty. What’s more, it’s not unusual for a client to call us with an idea and need it finished and shipped in two or three days. So we look to our Laguna Tools machines to help us meet the tight deadlines we often face, as well as bring us greater accuracy and speed.”
 
“Before we bought our Laguna Tools equipment, we shopped out most of our cutting needs,” says Hammel. “But our suppliers weren’t that knowledgeable when it came to jobs such as dimensional lettering. Now, we not only produce much better work than we could with a jigsaw, but also offer our services to other companies that need the accuracy of a computer cut. So our Laguna Tools’ equipment have turned into a new profit center for us.” 
 
Hammel’s enthusiasm for Laguna Tools’ equipment goes beyond his two current units. “We’re thinking very seriously about acquiring a Swift 48 X 48 CNC router and mounting it inside a trailer,” he says. “When we go on big installations, there’s often a last minute requirement for an odd shape or some additional cut lettering. Having that capability right on-site would be a big advantage. We’ve also talked about adding a lathe,” he adds.
 
“Having tools which can handle a variety of jobs is everything to us because we do so many different things,” says Hammel. 

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