Sawdust and Noise    We cut for you,
'cause that's what we do

So you want to know what's behind all the Sawdust and Noise.

Who we are

Sawdust and Noise is a small family owned and operated business. Lesley runs the embroidery machine, daily operations, accounting, and website development. Guy runs the design, programming, and production. Jon and James do a lot of the grunt work and clean up.

What we do

We supply a service that allows our clients to have their parts and products manufactured on computerized production equipment, specifically a laser cutter / engraver and CNC router. This allows our clients to make things that they could only previously dream of making as the parts would require considerable skill, time, and tooling to make for themselves. In many cases the products that we make for our customers could not be made as accurately, cost effectively, quickly, or in practical quantities using any other equipment. Many manufacturing companies use the equipment we use but because of their size, overhead, and business structure they cannot take on small projects that may require the making of only one piece at an affordable price. Because of our small size we can service these smaller requests at an affordable price and in a personal manner and because of the capacity of the machines to produce the parts in quantity we can also service larger production requirements.

Where we are

Sawdust and Noise is located in Brampton Ontario.

We find that being located in the GTA gives us several advantages;

We are close to a great supply of customers that bring us a never ending supply of diverse and interesting challenges - wood and acrylic jewelry to robot parts, cabinet carcasses and doors to custom carved firewood. Artistic, functional, and just plain weird - we love it!

We are close to a great bunch of material suppliers that supply everything we need to make the parts and products that our clients request from us. Plastics, wood, panels, foam, and many other materials are near at hand.

Why we do it

We love to make things and we love to meet interesting creative people. We still make our own projects but find the diversity and challenge of our client projects always makes us wonder what we will be making next. It never gets old and the people are as fascinating as the projects. There have been a few clients we have not been able to help but thankfully these have been very few.

How we got here

Besides the usual high school drafting and woodworking shop classes and several hundred small projects around the house we have always been making something, model airplanes, boats, doll houses, knitting, bookshelves, cross-stitch, photography, whatever.

In 1999 we built our first commercial project, a picnic table. The first one turned out OK but we knew we could do better, and we also felt that a select few would also be interested in purchasing a quality built picnic table. We already had a table saw and bandsaw and purchased a new miter saw and drill press. The table was designed using AutoCAD. Templates and jigs were made to facilitate production and to ensure the fit required for a truly solid quality table. 20 tables were built of the best spruce, adhesives, and fastenings and 19 of them sold. We still have the last table and except for a small bit of decay at the ends of the boards it is as solid as the day we built it over 13 years ago.

After that Guy took a weekend woodworking course at college and this renewed his interest in woodworking. The course was great in that it taught the proper use of hand tools and power tools. Also at the college was a CNC router, but this gem was strictly hands-off to the part-time students. With a little research we discovered what the CNC router could do and were amazed and depressed at the same time. The router seemed to be an almost magical device that could replace an entire shop full of tools and then some, drilling, cutting (straight lines and curves), molding, and carving in 3 dimensions. We (mostly Guy - OK, OK only Guy) had to have one. But! These puppies cost $40 - $80K, they take up most of a mid-sized room, they require learning the software to design the parts, the software to run the machine, and the operation the machine.

It was impossible!

BUT! It was also an opportunity...

We could not justify purchasing a machine just for our personal projects, it was too expensive, and with the income from our day jobs it just didn't fit our budget. But what if it paid for itself? In and around Brampton there are hundreds of small shops manufacturing thousands of different products, add to that thousands of designers, craftspeople, and hobbyists, all of them using conventional tools and in some way limited by them. If these people had access to a CNC router they could improve their profitability, productivity, quality, product range, and include details in their products that would put them in a whole new league. And they couldn't afford a CNC router either.

So we came up with a plan, if we purchased a CNC router, learned the design software (we were already ahead of the curve on this as Guy knew how to draw parts in a CAD program), learned the CNC control software, and learned how to operate the machine we could offer CNC routing as a service to the many shops, craftspeople, and hobbyists whose projects would benefit from an accessible and affordable manufacturing service. We purchased a CNC router and after a bit of a learning curve Sawdust and Noise was born.

It wasn't exactly an overnight success and there were several occasions on which we had to dig into our personal savings to make the monthly payments but after 3 years it had paid for itself and was starting to return some income.

Around this time we noticed that there were some requests that we had to turn down or were difficult to make to our satisfaction on the router. These projects involved materials that were impractical to process on the router (paper, plastic films, acrylic, and thin wood) or required a level of detail or accuracy that could not be achieved on the router. This looked like another opportunity. As we had finished paying for the router we had the income of the company available to secure new technology to fill this demand.

We needed another machine like the CNC router. It had to be incredibly versatile, use the skills and resources we already had or could readily acquire, be able to process the materials the router couldn't, and it had to compliment the router in delivering value, quality, capability, and production capacity to our clients. We found what we needed in a computer controlled laser cutter / engraver. We purchased the laser and here we are today, helping you turn your dreams into reality.

and the story continues...

In 2011 we bought an embroidery machine to help Lesley with her needle work and to offer it as a service to our clients. Please find Ladyhawke Designs here.

In 2013 we sold our original Universal Laser Systems X660 to purchase a Trotec Speedy 400. There was nothing wrong with the X660 it was a workhorse and never failed to deliver quality parts on time. But to meet expanding production requirements, to speed up processing, to expand our capabilities in the size and thickness of materials we could process, and to get a better handle on quoting jobs we decided to replace the X660 with the Speedy 400 (and we got a great deal on the new machine :o).

In 2016 we upgraded our CNC Router from the Shopbot PRT96 (a high end hobby / low end industrial machine) to a brand new industrial AXYZ 4008 CNC router with a bunch of bells and whistles. The new machine enables us to process larger jobs, larger (thicker) parts, and to machine the parts even more accurately than the previous machine was capable of.