For immediate delivery items, see Specials on www.SwageDies.com web store.
What? Slow Delivery?
Over the past 45 years, we've built a reputation for top quality equipment, good support, and competitive pricing, but this created a huge and constant demand. For decades, our small dedicated staff of die makers worked as fast as they could but still had backlogs up to 18 months on some items. We'd build as many popular, stock designs of dies and tools as we could in one batch, but while doing that, the people and machines and heat treat ovens were tied up so other things couldn't be made until later. While we shipped some calibers and tools from stock immediately, another caliber, or a different tool, or a custom job taking a lot of R&D time would have to wait until previously booked orders were finished.
The production triangle consisting of quality, price, and delivery time rules with an iron hand. If we kept the price down, and made the quality as high as we could, we would get more orders than we could fill in a year to a year and a half. We could have cut quality by cutting corners to save time, but we refused to take that path -- we saw how others fared who tried it, and usually were out of business in two or three years. We could have raised the price to pay for more buildings, machinery, and people to run them, and also to restrict who could afford to order, but that would keep more handloaders from being able to afford top quality swaging equipment. (Our accountants said "Do it! Sell half as many for twice as much!" but that just wasn't the reason I started this business.)
And yes, we tried "hiring more people" anyway. And we tried "farming it out" as everyone insisted we should. That works great for mass production of, say, toothbrushes. We discovered that for our kind of special, hand-built dies and presses, done at extreme tight tolerances and with the need for the die makers to understand the purpose and function, not just the numbers on a blueprint, those were not good solutions. Prices had to increase, even while quality tended to suffer. When various government policies made it extremely costly to expand, setting threshold employment limits to trigger high cost programs that kept getting more intrusive and costly by the year, we decided that growing larger or hiring out work just wasn't going to provide the same affordable quality.
So, we carried on, doing the best we could, and offered rush overtime jobs for people who really needed equipment within 45 days or less and felt that cost of overtime work, on weekends, was worth the quality and speed of delivery. And this was how we worked for decades, ever since 1975.
But the word on the net was "Corbin equipment is the best, if you outlive the delivery time..." Bit of an exaggeration, but based on a real concern, and we decided to try and do something about it...
Discovering the Bottlenecks:
So we took a hard look at defining again our main mission, to provide top quality swaging equipment at the best price, and what was taking the most time away from accomplishing this goal more quickly. Two things stood out:
- Experimental projects for clients, which took unknown amounts of research and discovery before finally coming up with the right tooling,
- Products which required die makers' time, but were not really dies or presses (things on the margin of our main product line).
Making the Tough Decisions:
After much soul-searching and studying the numbers, we made the hard decision to discontinue making several products that were taking the most time, and which were not required to provide customers with good bullet swaging equipment. They were successful tools, useful but not essential. Other methods, other tools could be used instead. So, we discontinued the tubing cutter saws, the cartridge case spinner tool, and other products which took too much time away from die making.
We still carry repair and replacement parts and will continue to do so for as long as people buy them, so that previous purchasers are not left without support. But the time saved on these discontinued products cut months from our previous backlogs.
The second change involved time consuming research and development of experimental, non-standard tooling. This is frequently requested, but special bullet calibers and shapes (which are a big part of our work) are confused with special designs that involved more than just changes in standard dimensions.
Projects using previously untried materials, construction requiring discovery of new tool designs, and other jobs that are loaded with hidden "gottcha!" problems, as we called them -- things that seem as if they should work, but may not without a lot of re-design work not covered by the original quote since no one knew it would happen -- these sorts of jobs were put on the "do not bid" list. Not quoting jobs too far from our standard product line reduced the wait time by giving the die makers this time to work on regular orders.
We still make unusual calibers and custom shapes, and to a greater extent than anyone else, we make custom bullet design tooling. But we now look much harder at what kind of jobs make sense if we are to keep our delivery of regular, standard jobs as short as possible.
Quicker Delivery Accomplished!
Today, we are delivering over 90% of the new orders either off the shelf, or within about 10 days. Depending on the shapes and calibers, and quantity of items in the order, it could be a day or two one way or the other, but that's a long way from our old 90 days to 18 months!
And the other 10%? Well, so far, we've been able to hold even the most unusual caliber and designs, even with several pages of dies on the same order, to within 90 days, and most of that within 45-60 days. Our presses typically are in stock or, in the case of the Hydro Press, will be within 10 days for up to two presses at a time. That's not saying we might not sell out of something with a lot of different production operations, at some point, and have enough other pending jobs going that it might take longer to get that item built, tested, and ready to ship again. But we are looking at days or weeks, normally, and not months or years as in the "old days".
Most single die or punch orders, even special ones, are now ready to ship well short of our old 45 day rush overtime option. That means in essence we are providing rush delivery without charging for overtime work. Could that change? Yes, I'm sure it is possible for a flood of orders to take all of our inventory of some product, and tie up the die makers and machinists for longer than usual so they can't finish some orders that fast for a little while. Still, the average delivery time has vastly improved, to the point where we expect all orders to be shipped within 90 days, even if it is a difficult job with unexpected "gottcha's" and lots of "discovery" time involved. We still do the jobs no one else will attempt. But not as many of them as before!
Notes on Selected Items
- Hydro Presses. Now shipping within 10 days. The console (operator controls and top panel of the press) has been redesigned with striking artwork and layout by Greg Duval. The new tops are computer-formed from 10-gauge steel, coated with a baked-on light grey polymer finish, then over-printed with the graphics and text in easy-on-the-eyes light blue and black. The console is then covered with a clear polymer overlay (clear-coat) which is baked on to bond the layers into one monolithic unit. As always, the entire cabinet and integrated hydraulic tank is powder coat finished inside and out for protection against rust and corrosion. (Many bullet makers and weapons labs have earlier version Hydro Presses that are over 40 years old and still making bullets as well as ever.) Available in 115v 50/60hz standard model, or optional 208v, 220, 230, or 240v 50/60hz versions (single phase, 1.5-hp). Check it out on the Hydro Press page.
- Polymer "bullet balls" in all standard sizes are in good supply again! Use these for adjusting bullet weight in the same jacket length, making ultra-light high speed bullets, or positive expansion polymer tips over a deep cavity to insure expansion on impact.
Packaged in bags of 1000.
- Dave Corbin's latest book, twenty years in the writing, details the tips, techniques, and planning for a successful custom bullet business, with emphasis on organization, marketing and promotion. "Turning Ideas Into Income" is a 224 page guide to building
wealth and enjoying family involvement in a well proven home business, is now available. Orders are being
taken on the secure web store now with gift wrapping/gift card option. (A shorter,
earlier version was first published in 2002 on CD-ROM only. This is the updated and completed print edition, with an additional 11 years of work added.)
- Improved new version: CSP-1H Hydro-Mite with floor stand, integrated features, precision control package, at new lower price!
The volume of sales has allowed us to reduce the price on the CSP-1H Hydro Mite hydraulic press, and redesign it into a self-contained floor model instead of a bench press. The press now includes precision pressure controls, more easily accessible pressure gauge, power unit mounted on the floor stand, and best of all, the price is dramatically less than the combined total of stand, precision control package and press previously sold. Neater, more compact plumbing and wiring adds to the utility of this 4-inch stroke press (with 2-inch compatibility mode for using S-type swage dies, same as the CSP-1 hand press). Use it for drawing .22 caliber jackets quickly, making copper strip into pistol or smaller caliber rifle bullets (308 and smaller), and normal swaging and drawing operations. Delivery typically within 30 days or less.
- SIM-TEST ballistic test medium is in stock. We ship pallet loads of this to various government agencies, not only for bullet testing but for testing helmets, gloves, vests, any kind of trauma simulation sensor-equipped tests, and for medical research (simulates adipose and brain tissue for impact and penetration testing with hypodermic needles, radiation therapy, etc.). You can use it over and over again, unlike gellatin. It can be used at room temperature, and simply melted and recast any number of times. Very economical in the long run. Sold in aproximately 10 lb blocks or 58-60 lb cartons (weight varies a little with exact size of the blocks). Density of 1.3 gm/cc, 100% water soluable at 140-deg F. Makes bullet "wounds" that look like the real thing and act that way, not like the over-dramatic results from less resiliant clay, wet paper, wax, etc., so you get closer to real life results.
- PCM-2 Power Cannelure Machines are available for immediate delivery or within a short period if you need a special size or shape of cannelure. The machines are capable of being set up for either 115v 50/60hz or 220-230v 50/60 hz, and can run about 30 bullets a minute on a continuous production. These are built into the production lines at major bullet producers' plants. They can be manually fed as fast as you can push bullets into the input side, for doing rapid cannelure grooves on any bullet. The tool does require a hardened specially built wheel for each caliber, and comes with one wheel in a standard shape and caliber of your choice. Thanks to feedback from our friends at Sierra Bullets, we've made improvements in the cannelure accuracy to meet demanding military standards, and are proud to offer this higher level of precision as standard design.
- HCT-1, HCT-2, and HCT-3 Cannelure, Knurling, and Bullet Grooving tools are in stock for immediate delivery.