How-To: Find and Hire a Fabricator
I see members asking where they can find someone to do work they can't do or don't want to do. Maybe they lack the space, the tools, the skills, the time, or the knowledge.
The closer you get to a city, the more options you have. You're looking for a shop that does fabrication work or a place that does repairs to equipment. These resources come to mind:
. . . I would get it done locally, but my big question is where does someone get this stuff done? . . . I am in (insert location here)
■ Look in the yellow pages. Check them online and in a library.
■ Try contacting the shop teacher at a local high school (if they have a shop class) or trade school, and ask them about fabrication or repair shops in the area. The instructor might even take on a custom job.
■ Drive into the local industrial district and stop at small shops; ask who does fabrication or repair work in the area.
■ Ask your auto repair shop who they recommend.
■ Visit auto body shops and ask who they recommend.
■ Go to a university in your area, and find the manager in charge of maintenance; ask who they use when they need something fabricated.
■ At a university, wander the campus, find the engineering department -- preferably mechanical engineering -- and talk to the professors; ask what contacts they might have who do fabrication or repair work.
■ Ask among your friends -- maybe one of them has a relative or friend with a hobby workshop. If you're lucky, you can watch, or help, or learn to do it yourself.
■ Widen the scope of your search beyond your location. Check out the work of people on MP3Car -- and beyond -- who are for hire.
If you already have an installation kit, take it with you. It'll be helpful in starting the discussion.
Before you go, though, you'll need some good drawings, photos, or at least sketches of what you want. You can get free computer-aided design and drafting software at http://www.emachineshop.com. They'll do the fabrication work, too -- that's why they provide the software -- but you can just use the software and find your own supplier. You can also get software at http://www.frontpanelexpress.com.
Make sure your drawings are exactly what you what, because a good fabrication shop will give you exactly what you request; if what you ask for is wrong, you pay to fix your mistakes, too.
Prices for this work vary over an amazingly wide range. You can shop around . . . and you may get some good advice along the way.
Oh, and quality varies widely, too. Look at examples of the fabrication work each shop does, and see if it meets your standards.
If your project is so successful that others want it, then you can get more made and become the distributor.