Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Setting up a finishing lab, please help

  1. #1
    OptiBoard Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    7

    Setting up a finishing lab, please help

    Hello everyone..

    I am fairly new to this forum, I have recently opened up a solo practice office (I am OD) and considering setting up a finishing lab.

    Unfortunately, I have NO idea where to begin. I have a room that is spacious enough for a finishing lab. I have a personnel that can help me with finishing process

    My question is:

    what are the basic instruments that I need to finish some basic lenses (except drill mounts, I will send those out)
    What I have gathered from speaking to other opticians is,

    1. patternless edger (most important). Can you recommend any particular brand to this novice (easy to use), preferably reconditioned. (limited funds)

    2. blocker and tracer, right?

    3. Good lensometer (i have a crappy one at the moment)

    4. hand stone/edger and lens polisher

    5. dye pots

    Anything else I am missing? How much would all this cost and is it possible to lease all these equipments?

    I am sorry for posting so many questions but I needed some expert advice since OD schools do not prepare you for the real world :)

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter DragonLensmanWV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Greatest Nation
    Occupation
    Optical Retail
    Posts
    7,645
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    Hello everyone..

    I am fairly new to this forum, I have recently opened up a solo practice office (I am OD) and considering setting up a finishing lab.

    Unfortunately, I have NO idea where to begin. I have a room that is spacious enough for a finishing lab. I have a personnel that can help me with finishing process

    My question is:

    what are the basic instruments that I need to finish some basic lenses (except drill mounts, I will send those out)
    What I have gathered from speaking to other opticians is,

    1. patternless edger (most important). Can you recommend any particular brand to this novice (easy to use), preferably reconditioned. (limited funds)

    2. blocker and tracer, right?

    3. Good lensometer (i have a crappy one at the moment)

    4. hand stone/edger and lens polisher

    5. dye pots

    Anything else I am missing? How much would all this cost and is it possible to lease all these equipments?

    I am sorry for posting so many questions but I needed some expert advice since OD schools do not prepare you for the real world :)
    You don't actually NEED a patternless edger, but you DO need one that will cut small B measurement frames. This usually does mean a patternless edger(that generally also grooves and polishes) unless there are newer ones that will cut that small.
    A tracer will generally come with a patternless edger. I like the AIT Speede Blocker.

    A good lensometer is nice to have - I like some of the semi-auto ones, but despise fully automated ones.
    A hand stone with a v-bevel on one side will be handy sometimes if your lab person has to do any hand work. Though us oldies scoff at making anything but your own bevel.
    You can get pretty good Takubo -style edge polishers or just a bench grinder with a muslin and felt wheel mounted on it will work.
    Dye pots are getting used less and less now - you can probably get by with a 6-pot unit.

    I'm sure some of the Optiboarders that operate equipment companies will pop in soon on this thread.You can generally arrange leases for this equipment.
    DragonlensmanWV N.A.O.L.
    "There is nothing patriotic about hating your government or pretending you can hate your government but love your country."

  3. #3
    Doh! braheem24's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    KOCF & 89ft ASL
    Occupation
    Other Eyecare-Related Field
    Posts
    3,843
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    Hello everyone..

    I am fairly new to this forum, I have recently opened up a solo practice office (I am OD) and considering setting up a finishing lab.

    Unfortunately, I have NO idea where to begin. I have a room that is spacious enough for a finishing lab. I have a personnel that can help me with finishing process

    My question is:

    what are the basic instruments that I need to finish some basic lenses (except drill mounts, I will send those out)
    What I have gathered from speaking to other opticians is,

    1. patternless edger (most important). Can you recommend any particular brand to this novice (easy to use), preferably reconditioned. (limited funds)

    2. blocker and tracer, right?

    3. Good lensometer (i have a crappy one at the moment)

    4. hand stone/edger and lens polisher

    5. dye pots

    Anything else I am missing? How much would all this cost and is it possible to lease all these equipments?

    I am sorry for posting so many questions but I needed some expert advice since OD schools do not prepare you for the real world :)
    You need a

    Lensometer - marco 101 with prism is a good. $700-1100.

    Blocker - AIT speedy blocker is simple, cheap and works $200-300.

    Edger - A Santinelli 7070 is a workhorse and will do 99% of your work $11,000-$13000 Refurbished or $4000-$6000 used.

    Handstone - Anything works ~$200-$300

    Groover - lots of brands fairly inexpensive ~ $200-300 new

    Tint unit - phantom 9 pot is excellent ~ $800 new

    Gradient arm for tints - lots of manufacturers ~$100

    & get them all from patternless.com, talk to Jodi at great american leasing If u need to lease it ends up costing about $350 per month total.
    Last edited by braheem24; 05-09-2007 at 02:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    1. patternless edger (most important). Can you recommend any particular brand to this novice (easy to use), preferably reconditioned. (limited funds)

    2. blocker and tracer, right?

    3. Good lensometer (i have a crappy one at the moment)

    4. hand stone/edger and lens polisher

    5. dye pots
    -I would say that 1 & 2 should be the same.

    -I'd leave the dye pots out for now.

    -If you're going to get refurbished, make sure it's not just cleaned up.
    Get it from LabRat or someone else reliable. If not, you're limited funds will go fast.

    You'll be getting a lot of replies telling you not to do it, that it costs too much, you're not ready, and it's not worth it. They might be right. If you're busy enough to warrant a lab, cash flow shouldn't be an issue. Of course, if you own you're own business, you never have enough cash. Starting a lab is like starting a family. If you wait till you can afford it, you'll never do it.

  5. #5
    OptiBoard Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    7
    OMG.

    thanks for such quick reply'.

    is Santinelli 7070 easy to use? can anyone be taught to use it? This optician in my area recommended Optronics brand tracer and patternless edger for its durability.

    do you agree with that?

    thank you again.

  6. #6
    OptiBoard Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by Johns View Post
    -I would say that 1 & 2 should be the same.

    -I'd leave the dye pots out for now.

    -If you're going to get refurbished, make sure it's not just cleaned up.
    Get it from LabRat or someone else reliable. If not, you're limited funds will go fast.

    You'll be getting a lot of replies telling you not to do it, that it costs too much, you're not ready, and it's not worth it. They might be right. If you're busy enough to warrant a lab, cash flow shouldn't be an issue. Of course, if you own you're own business, you never have enough cash. Starting a lab is like starting a family. If you wait till you can afford it, you'll never do it.

    I think I will do it. I have been thinking about it alot. My lab rep told me that I am doing way over than national average in SV lenses. I am in the area where population is fairly young (young professionals with young kids)

    and sending SV out to lab did not make sense in terms of my bottom line profit margin.

    If I invest about $8000 ~ $9000, would I be able to set up a decent finishing lab? quick SV jobs and simple PAL jobs?

  7. #7
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    OMG.

    thanks for such quick reply'.

    is Santinelli 7070 easy to use? can anyone be taught to use it? This optician in my area recommended Optronics brand tracer and patternless edger for its durability.

    do you agree with that?

    thank you again.
    Dude (or Dudette), this is the fastest source of information you'll ever find, and it's not from a bunch of salesman with their own agendas (well, sometimes...) You should see what you're missing in the Eyecare Professional Forums!

    I bought a new Optronics system in August. And it was worth every penny. It takes up very little space, but grooves, drills, and does everything I need it to do. I like mine, and would buy another. (I don't work for them, but I would accept a stipend for this endorsement if they feel so inclined:bbg: )

  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder DrNeyecare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    550
    This is somewhat related...
    How many cash patients, or non-vsp patients, would you have to see minimum to make the purchase of all these lab equipment worthwhile?

    The equipment is one thing, but there's also the cost of the uncut lenses and hiring someone to operate the lab.

    Being a new office owner, are you seeing enough cash patients to justify all those additional costs?

    I was told by a lab optician that we won't save THAT much if we grind our own lenses... but hey, he works at the lab I send my jobs to.

  9. #9
    Master OptiBoarder
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Down in a hole!
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    13,056

    Make a list, check it twice!

    It has not been mentioned yet, so I'll chime in.

    Do you have qualified help?

    Who are you going to get to run this equipment. Will this person know a progressive from a sv, or an executive from an Ultex? What will you pay this person?

    What increase in your insurance should you consider now that you are going to be the final manufacturer? Will you buy/lease the equipment personally and rent/lease to corporation?

    Will you carry a stock of lenses? What brand, what power ranges, what indexes? Will you need extra electrical supplies? Does your lease allow for manufacturing?

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Down in a hole!
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    13,056
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    If I invest about $8000 ~ $9000, would I be able to set up a decent finishing lab? quick SV jobs and simple PAL jobs?

    Whats a simple PAL job? A simple PAL job for Johns may be a nightmare for me. A quick SV job for OPTIDONN or Harry Chiling may be a two hour ordeal for Frambender or Dragonlensman!

    $8-9K----maybe, maybe not. Contact a few of the Optiboard equipment folks. I think they could shed some light on costs. I fear you may be cheaping out and end up regretting your decision.

  11. #11
    OptiBoard Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNeyecare View Post
    This is somewhat related...
    How many cash patients, or non-vsp patients, would you have to see minimum to make the purchase of all these lab equipment worthwhile?

    The equipment is one thing, but there's also the cost of the uncut lenses and hiring someone to operate the lab.

    Being a new office owner, are you seeing enough cash patients to justify all those additional costs?

    I was told by a lab optician that we won't save THAT much if we grind our own lenses... but hey, he works at the lab I send my jobs to.

    I would say VSP is only about 30% of my patient base. There are some others with small insurances (davis and others) but I would say about 50% of my patients are cash based.

    quick calculation and came up with the fact if I finish 20~25 pairs of SV Poly, I would be more than paying off my lease payment and have some left over. (and I definitely do more than that in SV) Personnel issue is not a problem since I have an extra employee who has experience finishing lenses (currently working at the front desk)

    So it seems to me that I just need to beat my lease payment with my savings from lab and I think I will be able to do that. Am I way off??

  12. #12
    Master OptiBoarder
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southern CA now
    Occupation
    Optical Laboratory Technician
    Posts
    630
    I will second the Optronics. It's a dry edger as opposed to the Santinelli LE-7070.

    Johns, Did you get the 7E? I never thought it was possible to fall in love with a piece of optical equipment until we got one of these! It's amazingly easy to use and you'll be impressed with the wide variety of bevel options you'll be able to run.

  13. #13
    Master OptiBoarder
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Down in a hole!
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    13,056

    Any Dave Ramsey Fans?

    Also:

    Some folks like the idea of not having debt. Pay for it with cash, not credit. If you can not afford it...you can not afford it!

  14. #14
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592
    Quote Originally Posted by FullCircle View Post
    I will second the Optronics. It's a dry edger as opposed to the Santinelli LE-7070.

    Johns, Did you get the 7E? I never thought it was possible to fall in love with a piece of optical equipment until we got one of these! It's amazingly easy to use and you'll be impressed with the wide variety of bevel options you'll be able to run.
    If the 7-E is the one that drills, that's what I got. It doesn't load itself, but I've got a lab guy that does that, and he tells funny jokes, so I'm cool with that.

    It is a great piece of equipement, and no messy tank to clean!

  15. #15
    Doh! braheem24's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    KOCF & 89ft ASL
    Occupation
    Other Eyecare-Related Field
    Posts
    3,843
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    OMG.

    thanks for such quick reply'.

    is Santinelli 7070 easy to use? can anyone be taught to use it? This optician in my area recommended Optronics brand tracer and patternless edger for its durability.

    do you agree with that?

    thank you again.
    Patternless.com will setup and teach your employees, anyone can use it and it will do poly, cr-39, hindx as well as edge polish. it has a built in tracer and is much more reliable then tracers I have worked with from other manufacturers that tend to be very sensitive to dirt and dust from old frames.

    I have not worked with optronics except for thier surface equipment which is good, but the 7070 is the workhorse in the industry which is a pain to optronics because they are not able to upgrade people to the 9000 model edger because it is so good.

  16. #16
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592

    This meeting of great minds will now come to order...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    Also:

    Some folks like the idea of not having debt. Pay for it with cash, not credit. If you can not afford it...you can not afford it!

    Dave Rocks!!

    Whenever you think you've messed up, listen to his show and you'll hear a bunch of folks that are really hurting, or just turned things around and are now on the right financial path.

    I have to marvel at how a guy is making tons of money by simply repeating common sense.

    Save your money, don't use credit. What rocket science! But there are people who don't know that, and it's fun to listen in as he tells him how it is.

    Baby steps... :bbg:

  17. #17
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592
    [quote=tasteestuff;188211]I would say VSP is only about 30% of my patient base. /quote]


    Holy Cow! 3-0 ?
    :drop:

  18. #18
    Rising Star OptiBoard Silver Supporter
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    il
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    1,023
    Quote Originally Posted by Fezz View Post
    Also:

    Some folks like the idea of not having debt. Pay for it with cash, not credit. If you can not afford it...you can not afford it!
    ramsey has his time and place :)

    I would rather use someone else's money and keep that extra cash reserve for anything that may pop up.

  19. #19
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter DragonLensmanWV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Greatest Nation
    Occupation
    Optical Retail
    Posts
    7,645
    Quote Originally Posted by FullCircle View Post
    I will second the Optronics. It's a dry edger as opposed to the Santinelli LE-7070.

    Johns, Did you get the 7E? I never thought it was possible to fall in love with a piece of optical equipment until we got one of these! It's amazingly easy to use and you'll be impressed with the wide variety of bevel options you'll be able to run.

    I wish they had the 7E when I got my 6E - I would have definitely upgraded to get the drilling. I use the Hilco Smart Drill - not too bad for a manual drill.
    DragonlensmanWV N.A.O.L.
    "There is nothing patriotic about hating your government or pretending you can hate your government but love your country."

  20. #20
    OptiBoard Novice
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    7
    [quote=Johns;188225]
    Quote Originally Posted by tasteestuff View Post
    I would say VSP is only about 30% of my patient base. /quote]


    Holy Cow! 3-0 ?
    :drop:

    is that a large percentage? Yikes.. I am getting really confused now. I was advised before that if I lease them (tax deductible) I can keep my cash and as long as my saving from sending them off to lab = or > my cost of lease and materials, then my choice should be to have my own finishing lab.

    why would I pay in one time tax deduction (paying cash) while I can milk out all my monthly deductions through my company without spending a dime. that was my understanding.

    Eventually, I would have to learn to run a lab, right? I don't want to keep sending them off and help someone else take a large portion of the profit. So, should'nt I take a big step and set one up?
    I was the first one in my graduating class to start a practice from the ground up (cold start) and managed to grown significantly (others were too scared to do it).

    Fear of failure is NOT in my blood. :bbg:

  21. #21
    Ophthalmic Optician
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USSA
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    12,592
    [quote=tasteestuff;188229]
    Quote Originally Posted by Johns View Post


    is that a large percentage?


    Fear of failure is NOT in my blood. :bbg:

    If 30% of my practice were VSP, I'd have a tough time sleeping. I understand that you take what you can get, and you often don't have a choice in the matter.

    Financin is not a bad way to go, if it's for something that's going to make you money. The tax benefits are not bad, and you can lease with a $1 buyout.

  22. #22
    Master OptiBoarder snowmonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Somewhere
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    1,203
    Listen to Johns - he knows his stuff here.

    I set up a finishing lab 1.5 years ago and came away with this:
    • You'll retain a ton of money in your office by edging your own stuff
    • You'll be able to offer quicker service
    Johns is right - a lot of people on this board will tell you not to do it, but it's worthwhile as long as you've got an edger that can do current frame styles with the low "B" dimension.

    Find a good supplier of stock lenses with good prices and good return policies for scratch coatings. We really like Sola's finished product for its cost and range of power and coatings. We stock a huge range of polycarb and plastic stock lenses, and started surfacing just 6 months ago and now we're REALLY saving money and offering even faster service to our patients.

    Most importantly, I enjoy lab stuff. I'm an OD and I now totally enjoy doing any kind of lab work. So if I've got some spare time, you'll find me standing in front of a 108 CT generator or a severely modified Horizon II edger with patternless upgrade. This just adds some variety to my everyday patient care stuff.

    Basically, go for it!

    -Steve

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Down in a hole!
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    13,056

    Johns know where his $$$ comes from!!

    Quote Originally Posted by snowmonster View Post
    Listen to Johns - he knows his stuff here.
    I'll second that!

    I will also add that I have learned a boatload from Johns. I respect and admire his business knowledge. I have grown to understand that when Johns speaks, I listen.

    And, Hell, I'm cheap....theres no way I would pay anybody for his kind of dribble.



    ;):cheers:;):cheers:;)



    **Johns, you can Pm me to find out where to send the HUGE check for saying nice things about you**
    Last edited by Fezz; 05-10-2007 at 09:55 PM.

  24. #24
    Master OptiBoarder snowmonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Somewhere
    Occupation
    Optometrist
    Posts
    1,203
    It's also funny though because I generally agree with everything he says.

    -Steve

  25. #25
    OptiBoardaholic Scott R's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Occupation
    Dispensing Optician
    Posts
    273
    When my uncle trained me in his tint set was a 4 burner electric outdoor stove he picked up for about $60 and some cheap pots with lids he found at a local supermarket for about $8 a peice. He made his own lens holders with a few metal hangers. Total cost was apx $120.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Heat Treat Temperature setting?
    By PurpleRobot in forum General Optics and Eyecare Discussion Forum
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 11-29-2006, 11:58 AM
  2. setting up an ar coating lab
    By butchie silvoza in forum General Optics and Eyecare Discussion Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-02-2006, 12:04 PM
  3. Setting up a Lab
    By mochagelato in forum General Optics and Eyecare Discussion Forum
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 04-20-2005, 04:27 AM
  4. Setting up a second office/lane ?
    By Johns in forum Optical Marketplace
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-12-2003, 08:39 PM
  5. New Optical Lab in PA. make $100 by setting up an account
    By DanC in forum Optical Marketplace
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-10-2003, 10:29 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •