Thought I would post an introduction. In the late 40's my dad started a machine shop in his garage. He had some contracts to make brass hex nuts in quantity, so he bought 3 Logan turret lathes and taught my mom to run them. He worked night shift at NASA, so at night, she and I would go to the shop and she would make parts on the first lathe til the tool got dull (she didn't know how to sharpen it) and move on to the next. She would hand me the parted-off nut and I would debur it. I was about 5.
As I grew up, I worked in the shop during the summers doing bench work, cleaning up and putting away tools. In the 60's, when Kennedy made the announcement that we would strive to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade, dad became aware that NASA would be subbing out a lot of work, so he took early retirement and bought more equipment. We did a lot of work for NASA in those early days.
I went to work full time in the shop after high school, and learned the business end of it. My parents are both dead now, and I own the shop.
We got our first NC machine in the late '70's and I learned to program with a teletype and punch tape. One had to generate the tool paths and do the math manually.
Now, I have a Haas HL-1 lathe and VF-2 mill. I program them, using Bobcad. I also still do the estimating and acquisition of jobs. We have never been a big production shop. We build some special tools that repair high pressure steam valves on nuclear ships - they are close tolerance but not high quantity.
I have recently purchased Bobcad version 20, and am looking at the possibility of getting more production work to keep my machines busy. I can sure use some help in learning to program faster, and some advice in purchasing accessories that will help my machines be more efficient.
I am just a hobbyist and only dream of owning the machines you described. Sounds like you have had an interesting intro into machining. This place seems to have brought the production shop and the hobbyist together in a rather unique way and things such as CAD systems/problems/solutions is an easy example of where we can cross paths.
Welcome to the Zone, hope you find all the answers you seek!
I'm a retired manual machinist with several years of nasa parts experience!
Spent the last 10-years making tooling & fixtures for 30 cnc mills & lathes, not to mention welding jigs and such.
Was so bored in retirement I bought a bridgeport clone with power feeds and DRO's!
Not bored anymore!