When American manufacturing jobs move overseas, the factory workers and machines don't go with them. Which means there are now a lot of very powerful machines popping up on eBay and Craigslist, for far less than the original owners paid for them. Likewise, the people originally trained to use these machines still walk among us, their heads filled with no-longer-tapped knowledge.
That's why Pennsylvania-based Ken Krout, a one-man manufacturing shop of miniature figurines and structures for gaming enthusiasts, was able to set up an injection molding shop in what looks to be his basement. Krout picked up a used Arburg press built in 1973 for the bargain price of $500—basically the value of the machine to a scrap metal dealer. He then muscled the 2,800-pound beast into his shop with an engine lift and figured out how to hack together enough attendant machinery to injection mold his own parts.
While Krout uses self-made molds milled from aluminum bar stock on a pair of CNC mills, he solicited a little help to get the press running. "I had a guy come out and explain [the functions of the buttons on the press], and I wrote on there with a Sharpie what they do," Krout explains. "There are so many people with knowledge and skills that are out of work because of all the outsourcing... they'd be more than happy to share the knowledge with you."
In this video Krout explains, in pretty good detail, what he needed to get up and running and how he did it all "in about a year." I love this guy's can-do attitude.