Best of Swarfcast Ep. 39 – Machining Parts for the Amish

By Noah Graff

Happy Holidays! While much of the Swarfcast team is on vacation through the New Year, we’re sharing a few of our favorite podcasts from 2019. This week, we revisit Episode 39, in which Noah interviews Jay Sauder, owner of Sauder Machine in Plymouth, Ohio. This episode originally aired in May.

Noah writes, “One of Sauder’s specialties is making hydraulic wheel cylinders for Amish horse-drawn buggies using sophisticated CNC equipment. Sauder and his 10 employees are all members of the Mennonite church. Earlier in his life, Jay himself drove a horse and buggy, but today he chooses to drive a pickup truck. However, all of his employees ride bicycles to work.

Scroll down to listen to the podcast.

Jay told me that the company buys used equipment almost exclusively and seldom buys a machine for a specific job. He purchases equipment when he considers it a good value and fit for his company’s expertise. The company also is unafraid to use a variety of brands and controls, such as DMG, Traub, Haas, INDEX, Mazak, Matsuura, and Hurco because his workers are not bothered switching from one control to another. He enjoyed telling me about two 1988 CNC Traub TNA 480 Turn-Milling Centers that the company is currently refurbishing in-house.”

Question: What is the most unusual job you’ve had?

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3 thoughts on “Best of Swarfcast Ep. 39 – Machining Parts for the Amish

  1. Bill Badura

    The most unusual job I’ve had is threading a new adapter to connect a customers’ prosthetic hand to his prosthetic forearm, while he watched and waited.
    He had had a casting made, but needed threads.

    The unusual part was asking to borrow, and then using, the forearm to check the fit with the piece in the chuck.

    He left happy.

    Bill Badura

  2. Robert Ducanis

    Some years ago we had to EDM some gears for the cable retraction drum on trailers for Lockheed aerostat surveillance blimps. This is what the complete system looks like…

    I forget exactly what one of Lockheed’s program managers told us but it was something akin to the optical system hung underneath the aerostat being able to discern a 3 ft. object from 50 miles away.


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