Kyle Riggen of BurnTables in Hutto, Texas, knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. He saw a niche that he felt needed to be filled, designed and built a better product, and hasn't looked back. His company, BurnTables, makes CNC tables for hobbyists and fabricators, to give small business owners a leg up in their own endeavors. His tables incorporate industrial components, but offer simplicity in operation, and ease of use; do-it-yourself is just part of who he is. Kyle's company philosophy and his own knack for problem-solving are part and parcel of his avid off-roader lifestyle. Based on what we've seen from the BurnTables Facebook page, he also has a wicked sense of humor... and maybe his great tables leave him with some extra time on his hands.
How did you get your start?
We purchased a competitor's CNC Plasma Table years ago, knowing what it could do for our business. What we didn’t anticipate was how difficult it was to operate and keep running. Despite the problems, it was a vital part of our business. We decided to incorporate what we learned and build better tables. Several years later we finalized the design and started building & adding in features directly correlating
to benefits. One example being Auto Torch Height Control, a must have for any table. TCH allows for use of material that is severely warped or has uneven surfaces. Our THC features an Anti-Dive setting and adjustability while cutting, no one else offers this.
How long have you been in business?
Our parent company has been in manufacturing for 30+ years.
What part of the job do you find most satisfying?
Two parts of our business are the most satisfying:
First, is when someone sees our tables in operation for the first time. It reminds us of a light going off in their head. They immediately see themselves making all sorts of cool projects, ornamental art, fabricated tabs, motor brackets, etc. They see their potential and it’s in reach.
Second, is when customers send us photos of their work. We are blown away by their creativity and what they are making with our tables. We thought we had seen about anything, but not even close. If they can dream it, they can make it.
What would you suggest to someone interested in getting into the business?
Simple, get a table and make something. Take your imagination and pair it with a tool that transforms it to reality. Creativity feeds itself. Our customers prove the value of our tables. They pay for themselves even for someone working out of their garage.
What has been your favorite project?
A CNC Router Table used by a company making ballistic absorption mats for military vehicles. Knowing our tables are used in a product which helps save soldiers' lives is the most rewarding.
What projects are you currently working on?
Can you keep a secret? We are working on variations of tables and CNC products to open doors for people and industries never exposed to CNC technology. Be it space constraints to CNC cutting of shapes that previously were unattainable with a 3 axis machine.
How did you first become involved with the off-road community?
Off-road and rock crawling has been a passion of mine since my college years. I recently introduced my business partner, Matt, to the rock crawling and off-road racing scene. We find it important to be involved in Rock Crawling and its sanctioned sport events like ECORS. The off-road community is inundated with do-it-yourself fabricators and vehicles modification. Our products complement this passion.
You've become involved in the ECORS series this season, tell me about that.
Rob, with ECORS, approached us about sponsorship and designing and making the Trophies for the racing series. We jumped at the opportunity to contribute to such a great racing series. We take tremendous pride in providing the trophies. The entire trophy is manufactured on a BurnTables CNC Table. We use Plasma, Router & Engravers so people can see what our tables can do for them.
You attended the 2012 King of the Hammers and are the sponsor of the 512 Motorsports 4419 car. How did you get involved with 512 Motorsports? Was that your first time at KOH?
It was our first trip to KOH and all we can say is WOW! The people, the energy, the racing, spectacular! Months before KOH, we decided to sponsor 512 Motorsports. It all started with a suggestion from a friend, and we haven’t regretted a single second! Jeremy and his team are a team to watch. It’s a great when others are cheering for BurnTables Buggy but we know Jeremy and his team are the real magic. We just get to put our name on their rig.
What else does BurnTables have planned for the rest of 2012?
We have several events planned for the rest of the year; The Chupacabra 300 and the Ultra 4 Series National Championship in Blackwell, TX, for starters. We’ve been asked to get involved with the F1 racing that is coming to Austin area, that’s crazy! We always look for ways to connect with people in the off-road community and fellow fabricators alike. Our doors are always open to anyone looking at CNC Plasma & Router tables. We know what it’s like to peer in from the outside with questions that need answers. If you’re ever in Central TX, give us a call or stop by, our tables tell the whole story!
BurnTables manufactures CNC Plasma tables with OEM performance and capabilities, but in reach for the ornamental artist/hobbyist. Whether cutting repetitive parts, day-after-day, or working on custom, one-of-a-kind projects, their tables empower the user to control the manufacturing schedule and the specifications. Take your vision and burn it in steel, it's like a printer for metal!
All photos courtesy of the BurnTables website gallery and credited, as shown, to J. Bell and Bower Motorsports Media.