While Austech 2017 was flourishing with machines and the latest robotic technology, we have to admit our favourite part of the expo was drawing the winner of our Steelmaster competition.
We teamed up with Asset Plant to be able to offer the perfect workshop setup for any metalworker: a $10,000 Steelmaster lathe and milling machine combo.
Out of 6,500 entrants, the name drawn on the day was Scott Moulds (pictured left). The Narabeen builder was blown away when Simon from Assset Plant delivered the news. Asked if the win had made his day, Scott’s replied:
“No-one ever gives me anything mate. You’ve made my whole last ten years to be honest.”
Struggling to find the words, Scott explained he’d been through some rough times and didn’t quite know how to take this reversal of fortune.
“We’ve had a really tough few years, you know, and to get something back is really nice. We’ll have to clear out some space for the brand new machines. If they need to they’ll go into the bedroom!”
As a builder, Scott says the machines will be invaluable to him in his work. He’s still not 100% sure what he’s going to do with them as the reality is all still sinking in. For Scott, entering the prize draw was one of those things you just do and forget about. He had vague hopes but never expected to hear anything more about it.
“I look on the website quite often because it’s good for the bargains. I’ve been subscribed for a while and then got an email to say the competition was on. I jumped straight on and entered and liked it on Facebook to get double the chance of winning.”
While these simple little actions only took a few seconds, and didn’t mean much to Scott at the time, they’ve now had a massive impact on his life.
“Winning this is going to make our lives so much easier. As tools for the workshop, they’re going to make doing the work so much quicker and easier. It’ll open up new clientele for me.”
The first wave of troubles to hit Scott and his family came in 2009 with the Global Financial Crisis. At the time, Scott ran a thriving business, employing 25 people, and completing high-end residential contracts. The companies he had contracts with were among the first to fall from the GFC resulting in default payments on completed jobs.
In trying to recoup what he was owed, Scott ended up with overwhelming legal fees which placed a huge financial burden on his business.
“I took my eye off the ball with all that going on and then we ended up where we are. It’s nothing harder than a lot of people go through. And nowhere near as bad as what some people go through.”
While his perspective is admirable, Scott and his family did lose their house and business in the ordeal. Scott has since re-opened a new, smaller business in Narabeen and is slowly rebuilding his life.
“I’m hands on, back on the tools, and just working with two guys. These machines will make our lives so much better. We can get a finer finish at the same cost. Gives us an edge over the competition as you can do stuff that’s perfect with machines like that but in much less time.”
While it is scaled back, Scott has been able to take all the knowledge and experience from his large company into the smaller, bespoke builds he now completes. He’s also taken the opportunity to expand into specialised, quality techniques.
Scott was surprised to discover how much he loved the smaller projects. Getting to interact more personally with lovely, down-to-earth people every day brings him a lot of joy. Life is starting to piece itself back together and this win is part of that upswing.
While he’s stoked with his Steelmaster prize, Scott’s still keeping an eye on the Machines4U marketplace for a router table to do mitred joints in timber. He explained the site has been invaluable to him during this rebuilding phase of his business as it allows him to find top quality machines but at a price he can afford. This gives him the ability to be competitive without the huge initial outlays.