Made in Gilbert

2010 July 29
by Joe Johnston

One of my goals is for the roaster to made as “locally” as possible. Why is that important? First of all, I want to support the local economy. Friends and customers of my other ventures live here and make their living closeby. They have faithfully supported my efforts over the years, so it is only right that I reciprocate when I have the opportunity. Secondly, there is the notion that not much is made in the US anymore — I would like to prove that wrong in my own way. Lastly, this is a very personal project for me — a work of industrial art. I want know each person who has a hand in making it a reality. I want to be able to talk face-to-face, visit their shop, watch my components being made, and truly appreciate their art and effort. That, gladly, forces it to be locally made.

Fortunately, building a roaster is not rocket science, but even if it were, the Town of Gilbert would still be a great place to build it! Not only are satellites built in Gilbert, many machine shops and fabricators that do aerospace quality work reside here. I believe that nearly all machining, metalworking, molding, welding, and finish work can be sourced in our town. A pleasurable task will be to search out and meet those talented individuals and companies.

Some specialized work may not be available in Gilbert, so I will then look in concentric rings radiating locally. For instance, I have been working with PADT in Tempe on computer aided modeling of the roasting vessel. I am quite certain that everything I will need can be obtained in the Valley. It is the home of numerous aerospace and high tech companies with staggeringly complex supply chains sourcing from smaller shops in the area.

What about “off the shelf” items such as motors, bearings, and the like? I will in all cases attempt to find ones made in Arizona and nearby states. After that, I will look for US made. This includes US made raw materials such as steel, aluminum, and wiring. Only if an item is not made in the US or the foreign part is clearly superior will I choose to use it.

It will be an interesting exercise to find out what can be made locally and what is made in the US. There will be further updates on my progress in sourcing. My numerical goals: 85% Arizona made and 95% US made by dollar value.


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