S and S Machine
Quality First 
Since 1973

Test fixtures Aerospace Special Purpose Machines Miscellaneous Parts Bike Parts
Capabilities Our Crew Equipment List Aluminum Sales Contact Us

 Our Machine Shop Operation: 

S and S Machine is an industrial machine shop which has been located in Roseville, California (between Sacramento and Auburn just off Interstate 80) since 1973. More specifically, we are a CNC (computer numerically controlled)  job shop which means that we manufacture custom precision machined parts to our customers specifications on computer controlled machine tools. S and S Machine has about 25 employees and over 30,000  square feet of combined shop, office and warehouse space.  We manufacture a wide range of items such as medical equipment parts, functional test fixtures for the electronics industry, aerospace parts, bicycle parts,  machinery parts and just about anything else you can imagine that is machined from metal or plastic. 

The History of S and S Machine:

S and S Machine was founded by Steve Smilanick in 1973 in Roseville, CA. It started as a job shop manufacturing a wide variety of custom machined components ranging from specialty whirlpool parts to automotive transmission and engine adapters.

In 1976, we took on a partner and began to produce our own product, a line of commercial salmon fishing gurdies (shown on the right without a motor) which led the company to incorporate as S and S Commercial Fishing Equipment Inc. Fishing gurdies are used on commercial salmon fishing boats to bring in the stainless steel fishing lines. In 1980 the Pacific Coast Fishing Commission changed the laws that regulated commercial fishing which resulted in the reduction of the size of the salmon fleet and therefore a rapid decline in demand for gurdies. Soon after that decline, S and S discontinued the production of gurdies and Smilanick bought out his partners half of the corporation but continued to do contract machining for our existing customers. We are still incorporated in California as S and S Commercial Fishing Equipment Inc. but we are doing business as S and S Machine.

 The surplus machining capacity resulting from the loss of the gurdie business was quickly absorbed by our job shop operations. At that time, S and S also built it’s first building of 4000 square feet. Since then, we have continued to expand our contract machining capabilities by adding more customers, machines and employees. 

A major turning point for S and S came in about 1981 as a result of our involvement with Shugart Associates, a computer floppy disk drive manufacturer, in Roseville. We manufactured a wide variety of tools and fixtures to print for their disk drive assembly line and we also worked with their engineers on the design and manufacture of special custom tools and test fixtures. One of our greatest accomplishments for Shugart was to design and build a head test and adjustment fixture that was built instead of a proposed twenty thousand dollar tool of their design. The tool that we designed cost only three thousand dollars but better yet, was done in only 3 days instead of the 4 to 6 weeks that would have been required if we had done the job as proposed by them. With the use of that tool, they were able to reduce their rejection rate of finished drives from 95% failure rate (they had to assemble each drive to find out if the head was good or bad) to almost 0% due to bad heads. With approximately 300 workers at their plant assembling those drives, and with a 95% failure rate at final inspection, they were in big trouble without a test fixture that could inspect and repair a head before it was installed in the drive. When Shugart later closed their Roseville plant, the engineers that we did design work for moved to other companies and took us with them as a supplier. That quickly broadened our customer base which resulted in a major increase in our work load. By 1986, we had outgrown our building so we purchased the 17,000 sq ft building where we are currently located.

Over the years, we have found that design work and cost reduction continue to be one of our major strengths. For the last 15 years, we have offered extensive design assistance to our customers in the high tech industries. On a regular basis, we manufacture complex assembly and test fixtures for electronics companies and we have had as many as 57 fixtures in progress at the same time. 

In addition to our contract machine work, in 1993, we designed and developed a bicycle frame tube coupling device for the bicycle industry which is now used by over 100 bicycle framebuilders around the world. The coupling is called an S and S Bicycle Torque Coupling™ (BTC™). BTCs are used by world class cyclists like Greg LeMond as well as frequent flyers who just want to take their favorite bicycle with them when they travel. BTCs allow a cyclist to pack a full size bicycle in an airline legal case that measures only 26x26x10” (see us at http://www.sandsmachine.com). The coupling has also revolutionized bicycle design by making it possible to make convertible bicycles which can be assembled into multiple configurations. The most radical convertible made so far is a Ventana tandem to quint convertible. It can be configured to accommodate two, three, four or five riders.

Company Philosophy:

Quality:

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S and S Machine is committed to quality. We have always taken great pride in meeting customer requirements regarding strict adherence to stated print tolerances but it doesn't stop there. We frequently go beyond the print and examine a parts function to ensure that the part will fit to it's mating part and function as it was intended to. Our quality assurance department is staffed by highly trained and experienced personnel and is equipped with state of the art inspection equipment. This department utilizes two coordinate measuring machines, three optical comparators, and a wide variety of sophisticated measuring instruments 
(click here to view our inspection department's equipment list). 

 All quality assurance equipment is kept in top working condition and is calibrated and traceable to the National Bureau of Standards in accordance with our quality assurance manual. Most of S and S Machine’s employees have been formally trained in statistical process control and implements it when required by the customer or the quality assurance department. For these reasons, we maintain the highest level of quality with all of our customers.

     

On Time Delivery: 

S and S is committed to on time delivery. Meeting customer "just in time" delivery requirements has always been one of our company’s primary strengths. We attempt to limit the amount of work booked to about 70 percent of our maximum production capacity (maximum capacity uses 30 - 85% of all available overtime depending on the type of work being done). By resisting the temptation to book more work, we maintain a comfortable workload yet they have the flexibility to allow for unexpected orders required to meet their customers' emergency requirements. S and S Machine utilizes a simple but effective scheduling system to track work through the shop and to monitor final delivery dates. The system is easily accessed and modified in the event that a customer wants to change a single delivery date or the entire delivery schedule. The system is monitored by manufacturing, administration and shipping to ensure on time deliveries. Especially on repeat parts, it has always been our policy to run a few more parts than are required to meet the actual order quantity.   The extra parts make up for parts that could be damaged in production, outside processing or shipping and if not needed for those reasons, are labeled with the part number and revision letter then put into inventory to fill future orders or to meet our customers unexpected requirements. We have always been very flexible with our customers' changing delivery date requirements and we make every effort to accommodate changes. In addition to the internal controls, we have developed a reliable network of suppliers and sub contractors that understand our philosophy of on time delivery. Those suppliers are critical to our success. 

Pricing:

Our pricing is based on a formula that uses variables including production quantity, hourly shop rate, actual part run time, material cost, and subcontractor costs. We take all of those factors into consideration to establish the price of a part. 
Our hourly shop rates are as follows: manual machine work = $70.00/hour, CNC machine work = $85.00/hour;  CAD services = $85.00/hour, inspection services = $80.00/hour, Mazak Mulitplex CNC machine work = $100.00/hour.

Cost Reduction:

S and S Machine is committed to cutting costs through improved efficiency and part simplification. We hate waste and love a challenge. We frequently see details on parts that don't make sense from a manufacturing perspective or a tolerance that seems too tight. When that happens, we will very likely call the purchasing agent or engineer and discuss the issue. Here are two examples of parts we improved significantly.

Example 1. We were making a precision rack for a customer for about a year but we were having problems holding the tolerances because the raw investment castings they provided were warped  up to .040" and the print called for only .005" tolerance.  We brought the problem to the attention of our customer and they wouldn't change the investment casting tooling since the parts we made were working yet they wouldn't change the print to accept a looser tolerance. At that point, we decided to quit making the part. A few months later they came back to us with a truck load of that parts that another machine shop made that wouldn't work in their machine. We reworked the other shop's parts and made them useable but they were still not to print. A year or so later, we redesigned the part and not only reduced the weight and improved its reliability, but it dropped the cost from $457.00 each to about $150.00. At the time, their monthly usage was 500 parts which resulted in a cost savings of over $150,000 per month and we have been building that part now for over15 years.

s_part130.jpg (13767 bytes)Example 2. Another trouble part we redesigned was a 21 inch diameter Mic-6 aluminum instrument ball bearing with plastic (Delrin) balls (21" sounds big for an instrument but it has a robot that works in the open bearing bore which is why it has to be so big) It had a very high failure rate and when it failed, it not only destroyed the test samples loaded in the instrument causing unacceptable delays and loss of revenue but a technician had  to be flown to the site to completely disassemble the complex instrument to replace the bearing. That process tied up a technician for at least two days and cost thousands of dollars. We were familiar with the problem that they were having with the old non adjustable bearing so we suggested an alternative design that would allow for adjustment of the bearing during regular servicing of the machine and looser manufacturing tolerances. We received an order for a prototype of our new design. Once the prototype was tested and approved by our customer, we received a contract to produce them and we have made thousands of them since then. We not only reduced the cost of the bearing due to a design that allowed for looser manufacturing tolerances, but over the10 plus years of using the new bearing, not a single bearing has failed or needed replacing.

Example 3.This a top and bottom view of  a plastic molded part that we made a machined aluminum replacement for. We stumbled onto this job when I happened to be visiting our customer's facility regarding another part and I was invited into the purchasing directors office. While there, the director had a discussion with an engineer regarding this part and how poor the quality was and the trouble it was causing by delaying the delivery of their machines.  He told me how expensive it was and how much trouble he was having getting good parts. I suggested that if he couldn't find a vendor that could produce a good part and if production was being delayed, he might want to consider a temporary measure of having it machined from aluminum plate. I told him that I thought we could do it for about the same as the molded part and that I could guarantee he wouldn't have trouble with the part breaking. We got and order the next day and as it turned out, we made hundreds of those parts until the machine went out of production several years later and we never had a failure or problem of any kind. We did it for about the same price or slightly less than the original plastic part but they saved overall due to it's reliability. This is a great example of why we like to be locate close to our customers so we can get involved if a problem arises..
  Click here for a close-up view of the defects in the molded part and a comparison to the new part..

Problems with the original bezel:

Parts Made by S and S Machine:

Functional Test Fixtures for the Electronics Industry

We design and build a wide variety of functional test fixtures for the electronics industry. A design might take from 1 to 3 weeks to complete plus an additional 2 to 6 weeks to produce the actual fixture. If multiple fixtures are being made, we typically make all the parts at once but we only assemble the first fixture to test the design. Normally the fixtures work as planned and there are very few if any modifications to the original design required.

All of our fixtures are designed on AutoDesk Inventor so we can test the fixture in a 3D model on the computer before we start machining. 

We build very simple fixtures which might be designed to test a small peripheral device such as a video card or other small circuit board while it's connected to a larger device such as a computer. A typical simple fixture might plug the video card into the PCI slot on a computer to verify the video cards functionality. 

A more complex test fixture might test a motherboard. When testing a motherboard, all  peripheral devices and components necessary to make a fully functional computer need to be connected with as little as a single lever movement. The items typically connected to the motherboard include the CPU, monitor, video card, modem, network card, power supply, hard drive, floppy drive, CD drive plus every input or output connector must be connected to the motherboard. Once the devices are connected, the board is automatically powered up and run through a series of functional tests to verify it's performance. At S and S Machine, we typically do the mechanical portion of the fixture, not the electronics or software. 

In this example, a fixture is mounted on top of a computer chassis that was modified to accept the fixture. An extender board is mounted in the PCI slot of the computer and the device being tested is automatically plugged into the extender board. Using an extender not only makes it easy to access the motherboard, but it also is cheaper to replace the extender board rather than the computer mother board when the PCI slot contacts get worn out from all the use it gets plugging the cards in and out..

This fixture has the ability to hold many different sizes and shapes of cards. When the actuation lever is moved, the card advances towards a adaptor card that is loaded into a vacant expansion slot in a pc.

Getting away from using a modified computer chassis as the base for the fixture, this is a simple method of accessing the board being tested from all sides.

With this fixture, the unit under test is set in a nest that is stationary. The connectors and hold downs move from each side to engage the card. The last motion of the hand lever brings a probe plate up from the bottom to contact test points located on the bottom of the card.

This fixture has two different test bays for testing two different types of cards. It has a  "keep out plate" so only one type of card can be tested at a time. The white "keep out plate" flips from one side to the other and prevents more than one card being inserted at a time. When the lever is actuated, the card moves into a modified computer cassis and the test is performed.

This is a bit of an unusual test fixture in that our customer wanted to be able to stack as many fixtures high and wide as was necessary to keep the operator busy loading and unloading boards while other boards were being tested. The board being tested was placed in the drawer and when the drawer was closed, it plugged the card into a system board (not shown here) that was located in the empty area in the middle of the fixtures. It also automatically scanned two barcodes with a barcode reader that was moved by a solenoid to each barcode label. The first two photos show drawer open and closed. The second and third photos have the cover removed to show the inside. The open space in the middle is where the system board will go.

When fixture lever is actuated, the board is grabbed with fingers from the side to hold the card down. Then, a probe plate comes up from the bottom to electrically probe board as the board moves forward to engage the system board. It is shown here with the cover removed. Normally, only the lower red portion next to the hand lever is exposed.

With this fixture, the card under test is stationary and all the plug on and test points come to the card. The action is from the front, back and top.

In this fixture, the card under test is placed in a nest in the center, as the lever is actuated the nest and a front slide loaded with connectors and probes move towards the system board at different rates so that all the probes and connectors plug to the card under test at the same time. The last part of the action is to bring a plate down from the top to probe test points on the top of the board. All of those actions are accomplished with the movement of one lever.

 Fixture opened to show the mechanical workings, view from the back and front view.

This is an extra large six axis fixture. It measures over 4 feet tall and instead of sitting on a table, it sits directly on the floor. With a single lever action, the fixture brings the system board under test into a back plane board then stripper rods come up from the bottom and down from the top to sandwich the board in place. Next, the components are inserted from the top, bottom and left side. The weight of the components that rise from the bottom are over 150 lbs. Once all of the components are connected or probed, the system is automatically booted up and the board is tested. This fixture can be locked in the open or closed position electrically. Again this is all done with a single lever that can be easily actuated by one hand. 3D CAD models like the one shown here are made and tested before we begin production.

Aerospace and Military Parts and Support Tooling

Although we have done aerospace parts in the past, we now stick to aerospace tooling rather than parts that fly. The documentation aspect of aerospace parts can be more demanding that making the actual part not to mention the added cost of insurance to do that type of work. Since compared to our commercial work, aerospace parts were such a small percentage of what we did, we decided to no longer bid those jobs. Tooling on the other hand, is also interesting and challenging but since it doesn't fly, it usually doesn't require extensive documentation so we continue to take those jobs when they are available..   

Aerospace parts such as these, are part of a solid propellant rocket motor. We not only made the metal parts that you see on the far right but we also made the molds to produce the composite liners used to protect the metal form the intense heat of combustion. Once the composite liners are molded, we machine them to fit the metal parts..

Click here for multiple views

This is a compression mold that is use to mold a charge retainer (shown in the small photo). This charge  retainer is mounted on a fighter jet between the flight recorder and the fuselage so if the jet is about to crash, the charge  retainers explodes blowing the flight recorder away from the crash scene to prevent the recorder from being crushed or burned. The retainer is  molded from a foam material then the explosive charge is installed in the groove which can be seen in the photo to the right. As you can see, there is nothing simple about the shape of the part. It looks like a roller coaster track. It goes up and down and banks and twists along the way so there are almost no straight sections. The cross section of the groove and flange stays the same along the entire way around so when it twists, it produces undercuts that have to be machined with special cutters.

We made the mold for this charge retainer that goes in the canopy of a Harrier jet. When a pilot ejects, the charge detonates and breaks the canopy into small pieces so the pilot won't get injured  going through it.

We are a DDTC registered Exporter/Manufacturer.
All manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles, defense services, or related technical data, as defined on the United States Munitions List, are required to register with Directorate of Defense Trade Controls DDTC.

 

Special Purpose Machines or Devices 

These devices aren't specific to any industry. They might be a testing, manufacturing, measuring or processing device that could be form just about any field from medical science to manufacturing. We have made soil sampling tools, chemical weighing devices, surgical devices, calibration devices, special tools, internal combustion engines, automated test equipment, materials handling devices, assembly tooling, work holding devices and a myriad of other things that fall into this category. Unfortunately, most of those devices involve patents or  trade secrets so they can't be shown here.

Turning machine: This is a special purpose turning machine that we made for one of our customers. As with most for the devices that we make, it was designed on our CAD system so it could be tested before we began production.

Dental implant testing machine: This machine was designed and manufactured at S and S Machine for Dr. Paul Binon who was doing research regarding the life expectancy of dental implants as a function of implant manufacturing tolerances. It combines vertical  movement,  that represents the force of chewing, with a circular motion, so the chewing load is applied at different places on the abutment (top) of the implant, each time the pin comes down.  By combining a vertical and circular motion, it more closely simulates chewing. 

The tooth is mounted in the black block labeled C. All ten blocks are mount on a horizontal bar, labeled E, that moves slowly in circular motion in a horizontal plane. The vertical force comes from a pin that is spring mounted in a piston, labeled B, that is driven down by the camshaft, labeled A, as it rotates. The piston moves back up under spring pressure when the cam rotates away from the piston. The piston has a roller mounted on the top to extend the life of the cams. To detect wear, an electrical probe is set to a precise distance from the abutment. That distance setting or gap is set by using a dial indicator and an indicator light. The gap is set by first bringing the probe into contact with the abutment being tested which completes a low voltage electrical circuit. Then, the probe is moved away from the abutment until the circuit is broken. Then, the probe is adjusted to a specific distance (the specified gap) away from the abutment with the dial indicator, labeled D. The indicator can be slid along the front bar, labeled E, to setup the other implants for testing. When the implant wears out due to screw loosening, the abutment portion of the implant begins to rock from  side to side. When it rocks enough to bridge the gap and touch the electrical probe momentarily, it completes the electrical circuit and stops the machine. By recording the meter reading, in minutes, for each implant's start and finish time,  it is possible to calculate the exact life of each implant in cycles, even though the machine is starting and stopping as different implants fail.  When an implant fails, a light indicates which implant failed. Once a new implant that needs testing has been put into the machine and adjusted, the reset button is pressed and testing is resumed. The meter is never reset to zero so it's easy to keep track of start and stop times for each implant.

Eddy current test machine. This testing machine was designed to detect cracks is aluminum discs that were being machined on a production basis. The machine has an indexable platen with three wells that each accept one part. A part is loaded at station 1 then the platen indexes the part to station 2 where eddy current test probes move back and forth across the top and bottom of the disc while it spins. Once the test is completed, the platen indexes to station 3 where rejected parts automatically ejected. Good parts come back to the loading station, station one, and are manually removed and a new part is loaded for testing. We built this machine from top to bottom for our customer who did the design work in phases as we built parts. Although we weren't responsible for the overall design, we did assist their engineer on many parts to make them easier to manufacture. This machine sits on the floor and is about 6 feet tall. Most of the mechanical parts are located in the cabinet below the platen.
Torsion, tension and bending test fixture. We built this fixture to demonstrate that a frame tube with our a Bicycle Torque Coupling installed in it is stronger in torsion, tension and bending than an equivalent length section of tube without a coupling. 

For more details regarding its function and the test results, visit our Bicycle Torque Coupling web site by clicking here

This fixture brings a set of probes down and compresses them against contacts on the unit under test, it also applies a load to torque the board during the test. This helps check for opens or shorts in the traces of the board.

s_part367.jpg (40867 bytes)BattleBot We built the gearbox and motor mounts for this BattlBot. Click the image for more photos of the parts we made, some battle action shots and a link to the BattleBot web site.

 

Miscellaneous Parts

The following are just a few of the parts that we have made over the years and they can be found in just about any industry that you can imagine. They fit into medical equipment, scientific instruments, electronic devices, construction tools, lasers, business machines, plumbing devices, prosthetic devices, exercise equipment, robots, fixtures, hand tools, specialized power tools, well drilling and monitoring equipment and more. We quit taking photos of parts  groupings like this about 10 years ago so you can imagine, this is only a small sampling of what we have done.

 Steel, stainless steel and black anodized parts. Brass, copper, titanium and stainless steel
 

 

Black anodize aluminum parts Painted or anodized aluminum.
 

 

PTFE, Delrin, polyethylene and G10  Aluminum parts (no finish)
 

 

See the table below for 250 more miscellaneous parts

 

View multiple parts per page :

View 290 individual parts
(guided by an image map)

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Bicycle Torque Couplings

We also have a product of our own called a BTC (Bicycle Torque Coupling). BTCs were invented and are produced at S and S Machine. A full size bicycle with BTCs installed can be taken apart and packed into a case that travels as regular airline luggage. This coupling was the result of Steve Smilanick's passion for cycling and his desire to take his bike with him on a Mediterranean cruise.  We make BTCs out of several materials including: 17-4 PH stainless steel, 304 stainless, 7005 aluminum, 6AL/4V titanium and chrome-moly steel. The coupling in the photo on the right is made from 17-4 PH stainless steel. All of our couplings are machined from solid bar stock on a Mazak Multiplex CNC machine tool. The Mazak combines two lathe spindles with milling capabilities to efficiently produce highly accurate parts. That machine makes nothing but couplings every day, all year round.

The photo on the left, shows how a frame equipped with BTCs separates so it will fit into a case that travels as regular airline luggage. In addition to single bikes, tandem bicycles can also be fit with couplings so they fit into the same size case or cases. Some bicycle framebuilders even make bicycles that can be assembled in different configurations to handle anywhere from two to five riders. They are called convertibles and they are a completely new class of bicycles made possible by BTCs.

For more information regarding Bicycle Torque Couplings
 Click Here

Capabilities:

S and S Machine is a comprehensive industrial manufacturing resource for our customers. Our services are very diverse and we continue to expand our capabilities. We focus on jobs that involve primarily industrial machine work but we are capable of doing additional processes as well. We commonly do fabrication, sheet metal work, design work or any other services that are required to meet the needs of our customers.  Our production quantities range from one part to over a thousand.  Most runs range from twenty to two hundred pieces.

The photo shows one of two of our stock racks which are each 40 feet long. In this rack, we maintain a basic inventory  of 6061 T6 bar stock in flat, square and round so we can respond quickly to our customers  needs. Our second rack has all the basic sizes of cold finished 1018 mild steel in flat, square and round plus an assortment of 303, 304 and 17-4 PH stainless steel, Stressproof and  free machining brass. In another area, we keep an assortment of plastics such as Delrin, nylon and UHMW. We also maintain a modest inventory of tool steel.  

The S and S Machine Crew

 

The crew at S and S is our most valuable asset. They are highly skilled and committed to delivering top quality parts on time. In addition to getting the job done, they are always looking for ways to make improvements in our customers parts which can result in either a better part or a cost savings for our customers or both.

We are also pleased at their commitment to S and S as evidenced by their years of service. Our 28 employees have a combined total of 376 years service for an average of just over 13 years per employee. Our plant manager, Jay Molander, has been with S and S now for over 35 years.

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 Our Safety Record

  •  Since about March of 2004, we have been working very hard to improve our safety record. We posted this image on our web page after being "lost time" accident free for 1051 consecutive days starting in March 2004. We made it a little over three years (1113 days)  before we had a "lost time" accident.
  • We continue in or efforts to remain "lost time" accident free and in May of 2010, we broke our old record of 1113 days. As of March 20101 we have been "lost time" accident free for 1397days. Our short range goal is 1440 days!
   

Equipment List:

CNC Equipment

Milling Machines, Manual

Lathes, Manual

Turret Lathes

Grinders

Welding Equipment

Saws

Drill Presses

Punch Presses

Finishing Equipment

Sheet Metal Equipment

Inspection Equipment

Software/Computer

Miscellaneous Equipment

Building

 

Area Served:

Although we have customers all over the US and abroad, we are really in our element when we can work face to face with engineers. When we get a part that is costly to produce due to a feature that is either difficult to machine or inspect, we often talk to engineers to try and find a functional equivalent that is less costly. That process seems to work best when we can meet with the engineers in person and it's even better if we can get our hands on the assembly that the part fits into. For that reason, we tend focus on our local community. These are some of the cities that we can most efficiently serve:  Antelope, Auburn, Cameron Park, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Marysville, Newcastle, North Highlands, Orangevale, Penryn, Placerville, Rancho Cordova, Rocklin, Roseville, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Woodland and Yuba City.

Contact Information

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In memory of Pete