Big T's Chop Shop

Welcome to Big T’s Chop Shop!

Hi Folks, I’m Trent Shumay, the ‘T’ in Big T’s Chop Shop.

What is Big T’s Chop Shop All About?

Big T’s Chop Shop is a home for me to explore ideas I have about manufacturing, robots, and automation. The shop is tightly coupled with IOT Design Shop, my other passion project where I focus on software, firmware and electronics.

Today, I explore things like CNC Machining, 3D Printing, and Robotic Automation as a means to bring new products and ideas to life. I do this work mostly for myself, but also some select client work for projects that are aligned with the vision and goals of the shop.

In the process of building these projects, I gained a lot of experience with 3D Printing, CNC Machining and general fabrication and prototype manufacturing. This work has been very fulfilling for me and I enjoy contributing this unique skillset to developing new products and ideas.

History of the Shop

The focus of the shop has evolved over the years. Initially, I started this journey as a complement to efforts related to the Internet of Things work we did at IOT Design Shop. Electronics projects often required mechanical as well – enclosures, brackets, mounts, and other integrations.

Pandemic Times and On-Shore Manufacturing

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I found that the inbound requests for mechanical work vastly exceeded the amount of work for consulting services on the IOT side, and so I made a quick pivot to increase the CNC machining capacity of the shop, which is where the idea for Big T’s Chop Shop was born.

This period also introduced me to robotics and automation as it would have been very difficult to hire and onboard staff in that window, so I chose robotic co-workers to help me do my tasks. This was a difficult journey, but a lot was learned from the process. One goal of this site is to share thoughts on automation topics such as low cost CNC Machine Tending with Robots, which I have explored thoroughly.

The Future of the Shop

Going into 2024, the shop is undergoing another transformation. I intend to move back toward the electronics and software space a good deal more – working on humanoid robotics and AI. Accordingly, I’ll be taking on projects on a more selective basis. However, I’m still very much interested in helping, particularly with product design, and prototype projects that would benefit from automation and very lean production processes. I look forward to seeing what interesting ideas arrive at the shop in 2024 and beyond!

Client Services

I continue to enjoy collaborating with a select group of clients on their product development journey. The greatest successes are found when manufacturability is a key consideration in design. I really enjoy exploring solutions to these problems, particularly with companies and designers eager to learn more about the manufacturing process and how to optimize their ideas.

  • Creative and Conceptual – I help clients to understand what’s possible and to explore how to bring ideas to life in an efficient manner using amazing digital fabrication techniques like 3D Printing and CNC Machining.
  • Industrial Design and Product Design – Working through the details is a key stage in the refinement of an idea from concept to reality. I have done this many times for many different clients and many different products. I love sharing this experience to help design better products.
  • Design for Manufacture and Optimization – Understanding manufacturing processes can be daunting. Especially if you’re new to how they work, or aren’t quite sure what the right process is. I’ve been there, and can help get over those hurdles.
  • CNC Machining Services – My in house CNC Machining Services include Milling and Turning as well as a CNC Router for wood and composites. Most parts can be machined and iterated within days.
  • 3D Printing Services – A fleet of FDM and SLA 3D Printers is maintained in house which are able to create low-cost, easily iterated prototype models to streamline the iteration process.
  • Laser Cutting Services – I have a small laser in house, and laser partners for efficient and cost effective processing of sheet metal, acrylic, and wood.
  • Finishing and Coatings – I routinely work with paint, anodizing, and plating partners to provide finished parts for my customers. This is key for early product designs and pitches where you need a few samples that look production grade to pitch, test, and iterate on.

You don’t need to be an expert to bring your products here to be made with quality and attention to detail. I can help you to understand how the machining processes work and make recommendations to improve quality and reduce the cost of manufacturing your parts.

Industries Served

Most of my clients come from “non-traditional manufacturing” verticals, or are operating in areas that are highly specialized, or require low-volume, high iteration processes to refine.

Some verticals we service:

  • High Tech Companies – Robotics, Integrated Electronics, Motor Mounts, Brackets, and Assemblies for Physical/Digital Interfaces
  • Custom Automotive and Racing Applications – One-off Machined Prototypes, Parts Made-to-Order, Dress Up and Decorative Accessories, Car Tuning Parts, Modifications
  • Electronics Enclosures and Sensors – Camera Mounts, Electronics Chassis Components, Sealed Enclosures for Environmental or Security
  • Security and Facility Enhancements – Locksmith Accessories, Commercial Security Products, Enclosures and Brackets for Commercial and Industrial Applications
  • Entrepreneurs and Product Prototyping – Design of Consumer Electronics, Prototypes for Crowdfunding like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Working Prototypes for Beta Testing or Investment

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