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Category: General Fabricating
Volume: 31
Issue: 3
Article No.: 5080

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CNC Routing Builds a Cutting Edge Business

Richard (Rick) Lemson started his company, Precise CNC Routing, in 1995 with the idea of offering a CNC routing service to a wide range of different industries. Based in Grand Rapids, Mich i - gan, the plan was simple - to build a business based upon providing the best quality of products and service at competitive rates. The decision on which machine to purchase was fairly simple. Lemson had previously worked for a company where they had an AXYZ Router and he knew what it was capable of and how easy it was to operate. Lemson said,

“I was well aware of how reliable the machine had been and the excellent service and backup that was provided by AXYZ and so even after looking at a few alternatives I knew that was the right machine with which to start my business.”

His first router was an AXYZ 5012 Series machine with twin cutting heads designed for high productivity. Lemson started to target any local business that he thought would benefit from their service. He soon realized that there were opportunities everywhere and before long they were supplying machined parts to woodworkers, sign makers, plastic fabricators, exhibition builders and many more.

In their first year the business went from strength to strength with more and more customers being attracted, mainly by word of mouth, and the reputation that Lemson was building for fast delivery and an ability to tackle a wide variety of jobs involving a diverse range of materials.

Despite having a machine that could cut two parts at the same time, with Lemson and his two sons, who had also joined the business, working long hours, they were running at full capacity just over a year after starting the business. They needed to invest in a second machine. This time a larger AXYZ 5018 Series machine was purchased enabling the business to grow to such an extent that they needed to add two more machines within the next three years.

All of these new machines were the 5018 Series configured with twin heads and an additional pneumatic drill. The process area on the machine is 70” x 216” which was perfect for their needs. Much of the material being cut came in standard sheet lengths of 8’ or 9’ and which could be cut in a single operation. Also, the other reason for a larger process area was that it allowed a standard 4’ x 8’ sheet to be loaded on the front half of the table with another one on the back half. After the front sheet had been machined, the router would continue processing the sheet on the back half, allowing the operator to change out the front sheet without any pausing of the machine. It’s features like this which allowed them to achieve such high levels of productivity.

Over the years, Lemson has always looked for opportunities to add other complimentary services to his routing facility. One example was the introduction of a powder coating line for MDF wood products. Now his woodworking customers can benefit from a ‘one-stop shop’ for both routing and powder coating. This forward- thinking approach has helped Lemson grow his business into an operation which now occupies a 66,000 square foot building – a far cry from the 24’ x 40’ barn where they started - and provides not just a CNC routing service but also powder coating, plastic fabrication, print graphics and display services.

Another reason that Lemson keeps buying AXYZ machines is that they listen to his feedback and often take his suggestions for product development and improvement. One such example was Lemson’s suggestion for a ‘repeat cycle’ function on the controller. Even with the continuous cycling of front/back machining it was still necessary to press the start button after each cycle, which sometimes caused delays in productivity. Now, with this new feature, they can preset the number of cycles to repeat for truly uninterrupted operation.

As of 2010, Precise CNC Routing owns six AXYZ Routers and are using them for cutting materials ranging from 3” thick clear acrylic to 1” aluminum and 2” MDF. A memorable one-off job was the remaking of a set of interior panels for a 1932 Hearse. There were no drawings available so they had to use the original, rotted panels as templates and painstakingly recreate the correct contours in CAD for an accurate machined reproduction.

To contact Rick Lemson at Precise CNC Routing, call 616- 538-8608, Fax: 616-538- 2705, E-mail:, Web:

For additional information on AXYZ CNC routers, contact Janine Roberts, AXYZ International, 5330 South Service Road, Burlington ON, L7L 5L1 Canada, 800-361- 3408/905-634-4940, Fax: 905-634-4966, E-mail:, Web:

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