Clark County at Work: Quality Machine

By Mary Ricks, Columbian news assistant

Published:

 

Business name: Quality Machine.

Owner: Bob Fuller.

Shop foreman: Brian Kinnaman.

Address: 8704 N.E. 55th Ave.

What the business does: Quality Machine is a small custom machining, metal fabrication and TIG welding shop, said shop foreman Brian Kinnaman. TIG, or tungsten inert gas, welding is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The company specializes in building parts that can't be bought off the shelf. Clients range from home inventors or hobbyists to high-tech manufacturers. Kinnaman said much of the company's business is in building prototypes, new product design and development, and alterations of existing parts for race cars and motorcycles.Steps to build your business: The machine shop constantly tries to be indispensable to the maintenance and engineering departments of their clients, while keeping up with what's new in the manufacturing and motorsports fields. Kinnaman said all the shop's employees are motorsports enthusiasts. They love to design and build parts for their own cars, trucks and motorcycles, and they always look forward to challenging projects from other enthusiasts.

Greatest challenge: Having to come inside to do paperwork at the end of the day is Kinnaman's greatest challenge. He said their jobs are genuinely fun. Some of the jobs are very mechanically complex and can be a challenge, but he said once you begin working on them, you start having a good time putting together the puzzle. Then, he said, it isn't even work anymore.

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What's ahead for your business: Quality Machine is beginning to experiment with 3-D printing, and it is building the printers itself as a collaboration with local robotics and automation programmers. Kinnaman said the company has expanded its design services to be able to create digital 3-D models of almost any part, which can be built using computer numeric control machines for operations that would be considered inefficient on a manual machine. However, the shop will always be a manual machine and welding shop with the experience and equipment necessary to build and repair parts the old-fashioned way.

Owner's business history: Bob Fuller, a machinist with more than 50 years of experience, founded the company in 1974 in a small shop with a couple of machines that are still in use today. He was a class C expert flat-track motorcycle racer during the first years of the shop's existence and continues to drag race his race car every season.

Employees: Four, including the owner.

Telephone: 360-573-8773.

Fax: 360-573-0208.

Email:brian@qualitymachine-wa.com.

Website:http://www.qualitymachine-wa.com

Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.