Grand Traverse Machine being an “Essential Business” is able to offer COVID-19 Rapid Capabilities manufacturing precision machined components for Medical Devices. With Current capacity at 40% and as little as 1 day turn around. We manufacture precision machined components for the Medical Industry, also parts for re-tooling assembly lines. We also offer prototype services, reverse engineering along with innovative solutions to requirements.

Rapid Response Services and Capabilities Available

Prototyping of Medical Devices – Utilizing the following methods:

  • Automated Welding
  • Conventional Machining – Up to 30 hours per week
  • Precision CNC Machining
  • CNC Milling
  • CNC Turning
  • Hydraulics & Pneumatics
  • Metal Fabrication ( Welding, Cutting )
  • Secondary Operations

Addition Services we are able to offer include:

  • Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) utilizing GibbsCam
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Production Read CAD Data – From supplied 3D Models

Material we are able to machine include but are not limited to:

  • Aluminum
  • Glass Filled Nylon
  • Metal
  • Nylon
  • Plastic
  • Steel
  • Tool Steels
  • Urethane
  • Inconel
  • High Temp Alloys

General Production Capabilities that we are able to provide:

  • Milling Lengths up to 30″
  • Milling Widths from 1/2″ to 20″
  • Milling Height from 1/2″ to 20″
  • Turning Outside Diameter from 1″ to 18″
  • Boring Inside Diameter from 1/2″ to 12″
  • Turning Lengths up to 30″
  • Part Weights from 1 OZ to 50 Lbs
  • Tolerance +/-.001 We are also able to hold tighter tolerances on a per part basis.
  • If you have request outside of this range please contact us as we may be able accommodate additional sizes on a per part / quote basis

File Formats that we are able to accept include but are not limited to:

  • AutoCAD ( DWG, DWZ )
  • Autodesk RealDWG ( DWG, DXF )
  • BMP – Bit Mapped Graphics
  • DXF
  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format
  • GibbsCam (VNC, FB, FB2 )
  • IGES – Initial Graphics Exchange Specification, ANSI file format
  • JPG or JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • KeyCrator ( CKD )
  • Parasolid ( X_B, P_B )
  • PDF – Portable Document Format
  • Rhinoceros Open Nurbs ( 3DM )
  • Solid Edge ( PAR, ASM )
  • Solid Works ( SLDASM, SLDPRT, SLDDRW )
  • STEP – Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data
  • STL
  • TIFF – Tagged Image File Format

Lead Times and Product Volumes:

  • Standard Lead times 1 – 10 Weeks
  • We offer Rush Services as low as 1 day quoted on a job by job basis
  • We can produce product volumes of 1 – 50,000 pieces

We are an ISO 9001:2015 Certified manufacture of Precision Machined Components in the Traverse City, Michigan area utilizing Lean Manufacturing Principals, Kaizen and 5S to produce products. We manufacture products for the Defense, Medical, Military, Transportation and Railroad industries just to name a few.

Grand Traverse Machine has been deemed an “Essential Business” within the meaning of Governor Whitmers’s COVID-19 (section 8:j “critical Manufacturing” and section 8:n “Defense Industrial Base”) Excecutive Order 2020-21 issued on March 23,2020. As such, Grand Traverse Machine is continuing to operate until further notice.

Grand Traverse Machine will comply with the Executive Order No. 2020-21 Section 5, Part C (1-6 ) stating: Business and operations maintaining in-person activities must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and customers.

Grand Traverse Machine will continue to provide services and precision machined products to our current and future “Critical Manufacturing” customers.

Shop Solutions: HBA Inserts are Cost Cutters for Hard Metals

As part of its Lean Manufacturing Initiative, Mike Alfonso, president, Grand Traverse Machine (GTM; Traverse City, MI) established a regular Thursday morning meeting to discuss tooling issues and opportunities. The family-owned shop specializes in high-precision manufacturing applications and has grown from a three-man operation in a 2000 ft2 (185 m2) facility in 1966 to a 29,000 ft2 (2694-m2) plant employing 70 people on two shifts seven days a week.

“Our customer base is extremely diversified and we run everything from automotive production components to military parts to hydraulic cylinders,” said Alfonso. “Working with so many different materials, including some of the latest alloys, we realized that it was critical to get a handle on our tooling costs and performance. This could only happen through a regular disciplined approach. So we set aside Thursday mornings to discuss our existing and future requirements from a price/value standpoint. As a result, we frequently run formal tests that compare price and capabilities from various tooling manufacturers.”
Mike Alfonso (right), president of Grand Traverse Machine, and Paul Biegel, lathe department supervisor, realized it was critical to get a handle on their tooling costs and performance.
Tests conducted by Paul Briegel, GTM lathe department supervisor, demonstrate the success of that approach. One test involved turning a ball nut 1.5” (38 mm) in length for a leadscrew 3.137-12 UNS-3A thread. The material was 8620 steel hardened throughout to Rc 26–32. Adding to the challenge, it was also an interrupted cut, as it had a 6-32 cross hole in two places.



“Our first order was for just six–seven pieces, but we knew it was a job that would be coming back so it was important to get things right the first time,” said Briegel. “We were turning the job on a Mazak Quick Turn 30 and wanted an insert capable of both holding up under the cutting pressures and generating precision results for the entire run. We thought we would have to go to the expense of CBN until we were contacted by Tim Schubert of Iwen Tool and Supply [Saginaw, MI]. Tim suggested a new product from Carmex Precision Tools [Richfield, WI]—the HBA insert.”

“The HBA insert was developed for applications in extremely hard materials. Combining a rugged substrate with nano-coating technology, the HBA delivered superior performance for a number of customers, so I didn’t hesitate to recommend it to Paul,” said Schubert.

“We were really pleased with the performance, so we decided to try the insert in an even more challenging application. The job involved threading a hydraulic piston rod made from 1045 Thompson shafting induction-hardened to Rc 50–55 to a case depth of 0.100” [2.5 mm] with a 0.562” [14-mm] diameter. We produce this part in lots of 100 with an annual quantity of about 2000, and we are aiming for a cycle time of 30 seconds encompassing 16 passes,” said Briegel.
Hydraulic piston rods induction-hardened to Rc 50–55 to a case depth of 0.100” (2.5 mm) were threaded using Carmex HBA inserts in lots of 100 with a cycle time of 30 seconds encompassing 16 passes.
“We found one other insert that could do the job, but when we applied our price/value analysis, we discovered that it was delivering only 40 parts at a cost per part of $2.98. The HBA insert ran 96 parts per insert at a cost of 21 cents, less than one-tenth of the cost of the other. Computing insert cost and burden rate that amounted to a cost savings of $5533.33,” said Biegel.

“New tooling materials such as HBA are really bringing costs down for shops and manufacturers doing hard machining. While CBN is an excellent cutting medium, the need to braze the toolbit to the holder raises the price substantially. We’ve converted over 70 of our customers to HBA and other more economical inserts,” said Schubert.

“It is clear that without establishing a formal review process followed by a defined test protocol, it’s impossible to really understand where your savings and efficiencies can be found. Just as important, by keeping up with the latest technology, we can be assured that we’re delivering a better product to our customers. That’s what our Thursday morning meetings are about,” said Alfonso.

For more information from Carmex Precision Tools LLC, go to, or phone 262-628-5030.


This article was first published in the February 2015 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.Click here for PDF.
Published Date : 2/1/2015

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