Quoted from RyanStl:
Progress looks good and I love the make it happen yourself attitude, but why China? Is it purely labor costs are low, regulations are more relaxed, you really like the culture, or something else?
Thanks for your positive comments. It is impossible to buy a sheet of 18mm ply of such high quality in Australia for under AU$200 (about US$140) - the same goes for every other part. I won't say what It is costing me here but I can assure you it is substantially less than that!
Skip to "HERE:" if you don't want the boring details...........
There is no infrastructure in Australia for any metalwork, dies, moulds, plastic injection, metal stamping or anything else really.
To do what I am doing would be impossible in Australia. It just wouldn't happen.
It isn't the "cheap labour" - that is a furphy. Labour & conditions here in Shenzhen are very high and the rental I pay is MORE than I would pay in Australia for a comparable building. Also the working conditions are mandated by law here AND strongly policed, they are unbelievably in favour of the worker, despite what many ridiculous, so called, news reports would have you believe. They are crap, don't believe them.
As one example, I currently have one staff member away on maternity leave. Initially this was four months at full pay (inclusive of the average of overtime and weekend work for the previous 6 months). While she was away on this leave they changed the law and made it six months - retrospectively!!! No Government assistance for this, I pay the lot. I am paying her about US$1200 a month for six months. That wage is equivalent to around AU$5000 in Australia when you look at all the factors such as cost of living, price of food etc.
Regulations here, in some ways are FAR more stringent than Australia. We are constantly audited and inspected for fire regulations to ensure we are complying with fire extinguishers, fire resistant cabinets for flammable liquids and other regulations, using ONLY water based paints and other liquids. Labour audits to ensure there are no under age staff, inspections of their living quarters to make sure they are clean and everything works (water, power, gas etc) also electronic audits of the work hour and pay records via the fingerprint reader to ensure staff are not working excessive hours and to make sure they are paid for all overtime worked.
Compliance checks to ensure that all the factory insurance policies are up to date that cover staff for injury, hospital, time off work and many other things. We have to attend at least two meetings per month on fire safety, environmental issues workplace safety and these meetings are followed up to make sure that we have implemented the recommendations suggested at these meetings.
I personally spend a minimum of three days a month dealing with this official bullshit, driving to various Government departments to lodge various paperwork and all sorts of other crap. Mostly a waste of my time that could be used to actually do work!
It is the availability of all the services and parts needed at exceptionally good prices and of every quality from "world best" (that we insist on) right down to "complete crap" that the chain stores usually specify to maximise their profits. This is the ONLY reason I am here doing it. Believe me I would much rather be doing it in Australia but it simply would never have happened.
Back to that sheet of ply - the machine to cut it (CNC) would cost around AU$25K in Australia and I paid about AU$5K for it here. The same for practically all the machinery we use.
Hope that covers things a little.