ANCA’s Tool of the Year contest is underway for the fifth year in a row. The global competition opened for entries on May 17, and will close on August 8, 2022. The competition is based on the passion and the craft of tool making and celebrates the highly skilled tool-grinding community.
This year's panel of judges will include a select group of industry experts, notably John Saunders, president of Saunders Machine Works (SMW) and founder of YouTube channel NYC CNC.
“It’s an honor to be part of this competition, and I hope it can help raise awareness about the benefits of a well-designed and executed cutting tool,” Saunders said.
Saunders started his business about 15 years ago when he was trying to bring a product to market as a young entrepreneur. Admittedly not knowing anything about machining or even manufacturing, he purchased a benchtop CNC machine while living in New York city. At the time, his goal was to try to understand what machining was and how it worked. He was not planning on making parts himself, but wanted to be able to better communicate with engineers and machine shops on what parts they needed. He ended up falling in love with the industry, and this led to him documenting his journey on his YouTube channel.
About seven years later, Saunders left New York city and moved back to central Ohio where he grew up. It was there, in Zanesville, Ohio, he started Saunders Machine Works as a brick-and-mortar business.
In the early years, the company did some job shop work and other projects, but now focuses on their line of fixture plates, as well as accessories, like the Mod Vise. The Mod Vise is a modular workholding system that allows one to hold small parts, big parts, dual station parts, etc. In addition to that, SMW continues to publish YouTube videos and offers hands-on CNC training classes that teach CAM and how to operate CNC Machines.
Known widely through the manufacturing field for his YouTube channel, Saunders feels the biggest development in the machine tool industry, and the part he cares about most is “the knowledge one can now gain from YouTube and other online resources, and how that learning may be enough to actually prepare them to take the next step; to buy a machine or start a side business, or a young person who’s interested can get guidance on whether they go into a trade or an engineering program, and that’s something I care greatly about and I think it’s absolutely awesome and I think that’s only going to continue,” he said.
The winner of the #MadeonANCA will receive $6,897 ($10,000 AUD) worth of ANCA innovations for parts, accessories or software that fit the winner’s grinding needs or a trip to ANCA's headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. This prize further includes access as an ANCA VIP to exclusive opportunities with our ANCA tool experts. The winner of the most innovative virtual tool will receive a full CIM software package.