TRAK VIDEO

Concept Precision Machining | The People Who Make

Our second episode of 'The People Who Make' spotlights a family shop with a humble, yet unique, beginning.

The owner of Concept Precision Machining, Manuel Valdez, was expecting to retire with a company that employed him for the last 29 years. That company ended up being sold, and left Manuel without a job for the first time in a long time. From uncertainty to success, the story of Concept Precision is an inspirational one and serves as a blueprint for overcoming hard times & achieving your dream.

Located in Corona, California, Concept Precision Machining is a full service manufacturing company with a background in aerospace machining. They specialize in low-volume and small-run processing, and do an amazing job with each project they are given.

Thank you to Manuel Valdez, Tyler Greenlund, Greg Estrada, & the great team at Concept Precision for making this episode possible. Learn more at ConceptPrecisionMachining.com


I'm Tyler Greenlund. My name's Manuel Valdez. My name is Greg Estrada and this is Concept Precision Machining.

Tyler:
Concept Precision is a machine shop/job shop/aerospace shop. We have background in aerospace, but it's also a job shop too so you can bring anything to us. We machine anything from plastic to stainless to titanium. Anything you got — bring it. We can do it.

Over here, we pride ourself on our work. We like to make everything look good. Everything's gotta be on point with tolerances and everything. Everything goes to inspection.

So I've been here almost since the beginning. He opened in '04, '05 and I've been here since about '07. So Concept Precision is my, I guess in a sense, my Grandpa.

Manuel:
Well, it started by getting laid off from my last job.

Tyler:
He became supervisor at the machine shop and there he was there for, I think, 20+ years.

Manuel:
Able Corporation, I was there 29 years and I figured I would be retiring from there. The owner passed away and the company was sold to an aerospace company, but they offered me machines.

Tyler:
He bought whatever machinery they were willing to give him. He bought that and stuck it in a storage unit.

Manuel:
And I went to work for a small shop as a tool and cutter grinder.

Tyler:
That didn't quite go how he wanted it to so he decided open his own shop.

Manuel:
We started out really with one project, which was the transducer products.

Tyler:
And then he start getting more work and more work and more work. And then finally he just got overwhelmed with it so he had to make that his full-time job.

Manuel:
We started the Concept Precision Machining. He contacted Greg, cause they'd worked together for 20+ years and Greg, actually, was in between jobs.

Greg:
Manuel, I've known, I would say, about 1988 He called me, I think it was about 2007, he called me and he says, "I'm starting up a company do you want to come and help". And I was like, "Yeah, sure."

Tyler:
(I was) about 17 or so I needed a job, needed something to do. My grandpa had a machine shop that was open. He said, "Hey, do you want to come in and sweep shop clean up." 'Okay, that sounds good to me.' So little by little, he started putting on a machine here and there. 'Hey, drill a couple holes here, face this diameter, or do a little something.' So then before I knew it, he was giving me more and more. And by the time I knew it, I was doing full parts of my own. So then I started realizing what I'm doing, I realize, this is what I want to do.

So after that, I looked into the local community college, saw what they had to offer, and took it from there. Cause a lot of schools now don't offer that. In school, they don't have machine shop or auto shop. So a lot of kids now, like they offer in colleges, but they don't, a lot of kids don't realize it's there.

Like Vocademy, I never knew that you only had to be 14 to be able to go there. Like, to me, if I would have known that when I was younger, I would have went there.

Manuel:
I guess I got my first, you know, introduction in high school, which I don't think they have that anymore. And then, so I got my AA in Machining from Fullerton College. At the same time though, I had joined the Naval Reserves.

Tyler:
When he was 17, he joined the Navy. They stuck him in the machine shop machining.

Manuel:
I tried to pick something that would be closer to machining, but in the Naval Air part of it, there is very little. So I was Aviation Metal Smith in the Navy.

Greg:
Right now, you can see that the machine shop is going different ways now. You're seeing how the technology with this is just it's going far beyond that. With the younger generation that loves to play with computers and high-tech stuff, it's the perfect opportunity for them.

Manuel:
I'm still old-school, strictly manual machines, conventional. But pretty soon, we started getting RFQs, request for quotes, from jobs yet we really couldn't do manually.

Tyler:
And he wasn't quite sure if he wanted to get it or not, so he talked it over with us. And we're like, 'Yeah sure, we can try it out, see how these how these newer machines are.' And he's like, 'Okay, boy well you guys are gonna be in control of it then. I want nothing to do with these.' So after that, the machines kind of sat for a little bit. And then after that, we got on him and started to learn how to use them and everything.

Manuel:
We got the Lathe first. And then later on, you know, it worked out pretty good. We got the Mill.

Tyler:
Yeah the Mill is DPM5 and the Lathe is a TRL 1630SX. At first, I was a little bit timid. I was kind of gun shy on getting on them, because I was, the fear of crashing an expensive machine like that. But now it's all I use, I don't even like using conventional machines anymore after using the ProtoTRAK machines. ProtoTRAKs, to me, kind of kind of bridge the gap. So anybody can get on, it's really user-friendly in programming. You don't need to know G code, sitting there, punching controls on.

Cause not everybody has the money to go and throw down for a full enclosed CNC. And then at the same time, everybody needs more capability in what a conventional machine can offer.

Manuel:
It's helped us quite a bit. Because otherwise, we wouldn't be able to do some of those jobs anymore. Whatever comes through the door, if we can do it, we will do it. Like we don't like saying no to everyone. So like, you bring it here, we'll make it work with you guys. I'm still turning the handles and things, you know. I'm out there at the shop. I'm more of a, I've always been more of a shop person, hands on.

Tyler:
I just couldn't imagine doing other work. I mean, I worked in a grocery store, that totally wasn't for me. To me, machining stuff is entertaining.

Manuel:
I still like to do hands on machining and making something.

Tyler:
Yeah, so I mean, if you have an interest in something, then go for it. Don't go, 'Oh no, maybe I shouldn't, maybe I should.' Cause you never know what you're gonna like until you try it.