How did you learn the Machinist trade? - Page 15


View Poll Results: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

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  • On the job training

    188 23.80%
  • From a family member

    44 5.57%
  • Apprenticeship program

    129 16.33%
  • Vocational Tech School

    166 21.01%
  • Self taught

    249 31.52%
  • Military training

    14 1.77%
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Thread: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

  1. #169
    Registered stucapco's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    Classically trained toolmaker, the whole bit, "your never going to make it", apprenticeship, journeyman, my own bench. Twenty guys running everywhere. That was fun! Income the CNC's. I saw so many guys come and go at this point it was scary. They sent these people to school, like a vacation for them. After many many fails I complained I was not given a chance. They finally said "fine, take the manuals home and read", "ya but when do I go to school?" NO! YOUR NOT! I wrecked it after that, I'm doing this, you cant stop me. The look on their faces when I now have my own office...

    PRICELESS!

    They hated me. I loved it.



  2. #170
    Registered popspipes's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I got into it in my twenties, always had a love for anything mechanical and machine parts, I got into RC model boats that I needed hardware for, bought a 6" Atlas, and a converted drill press was my mill and progressed from there. Worked as a mechanic, welder, machinist in a dairy for 20 years, and worked for myself for another 20 years welding and machine shop, retired and now am doing cnc work, self taught cad cam etc., 75 and still going and still love it and it keeps me in the shop, not in front of the TV!

    mike sr


  3. #171
    Registered Fletch_CNC's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    Well, saying I learned the machinist trade would be a bit of an overstatement. I have only been doing this ten years, so I have a lot to learn yet! To me, that's the coolest thing about this trade: every day, I can go in to work and learn a new way of doing something. But what learning I've got so far came first from Dunwoody College in Minneapolis. But the bulk of my training came from listening to other more experienced machinists. If nothing else, they taught me some pretty good insults, which always come in handy!

    ________________________________________________
    My blog: http://www.fletch1.com


  4. #172
    Gold Member Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I know this is an old thread, but someone might find this helpful.


    Whether you go to school, serve an apprenticeship, or go it alone really depends on how you learn. If you are a quick study, and have the natural knack for metal working going it alone and hanging out your shingle is the way I did it. I'm lucky in that I ''knew'' how to operate machine tools before I ever touched one, why that is I have no idea, something I was born with. The only hands on experience was one lathe project and one shaper project in high school metal shop in the late 60's.

    Let's go back to 1971......
    My background was electronics and automotive, and I was working on an R&D project. I took a drawing out to the local machine shop and had some parts built, when I got the bill I was a bit shocked, and figured I could do that. So I ordered a new 12x36 Craftsman Commercial lathe, then found a used Atlas shaper and an Atlas Bench mill. Then bought a drill press and bench grinder. So I have the basics, and was able to play with my R&D project. At the time I was employed as a millwright at a local manufacturer, and they needed machine work done sometimes. I billed them at about half the local shop rates. They had one item that was a high wear part, and I made about one of those a week for them. Note that I didn't quit my day job while getting started. That paid enough that after about a year I was able to buy a new Bridgeport clone and a new 14x40 lathe, and allowed me to quit the day job.

    I went out and developed more customer contacts and starting taking in more work. ''Yeah, I can do that''

    The most important thing is to have confidence in yourself, and having a high risk tolerance helps too. I have been known to bid jobs without having any idea how to do it and just make it up as I go along. Nothing like a little pressure to get you motivated, being about half crazy helps too.

    Fast forward to about mid 1974......
    More work means more machines and not enough hours to get it all done. So now I have 3 BP clones, a 3V Cintimatic NC (paper tape, not CNC) bed mill, and a couple more lathes. I also had 5 guys working for me and more problems than I knew what to do with. Lucky for me a guy came along and wanted to buy my shop....That giant sucking sound was me running out the door with his check in my pocket. I took 18 months off, bought an airplane, went SCUBA diving, and built a completely unsafe and insanely fast (200 mph+) '69 Firebird.

    Never take on employees, IMHO. A one man shop is the only way to go. Only take on what you can handle. Take care of your customers, but don't be afraid to turn down a job and don't under bid.

    About 1976.......
    A couple of friends of mine started up an automotive speed shop and they needed someone to setup and run their machine shop, I have no auto machine shop experience but I can build an engine, so yeah I can do that. I also brought in some of my old industrial customers so we did both industrial and automotive. I was there a couple years, then went to work for one of my industrial customers as a millwright again. It was a union shop and they went on strike about a year after I started. Not one to sit around, it was time for another job.

    So about 1979.........
    I found a help wanted ad for Tool & Die maker at a local manufacturer. No tool & die experience, but again a lot of self confidence and a good line of BS gets me in the door. It turns out that stamping and forming tool & die work is not magic, it's basic machine work, sometimes to a high degree of precision. But with a surface grinder it's pretty easy to be very accurate. It also requires the ability to understand how metal reacts when being punched and formed. Being able to engineer on the fly is mandatory. Cavity mold work, on the other hand, is magic IMHO.

    About 2 years into that job, I'm running the shop and have 7 guys working for me. I stayed there for 7 years.

    Then I spent the next 20 years living on airplanes as a field service tech working on wood products machinery all over the world and writing industrial software to automate systems. Somewhere in all of that I bought more machine tools and have been equipping my shop ever since.

    Today I'm supposed to be retired, but my pesky customers won't let me. My primary focus is design/build custom automated machines, with the occasional production job sprinkled in. I still do some tool & die work for a couple of customers. In fact I have a broken part of a forming die sitting on my desk in front of me, I'm trying to figure out how to build a new one. It needs to be in my customer's hands Monday morning.....It'll be there. Because I live in a rural farming area, I also do some farm equipment repair. One of these days if I ever get time I'm gonna get back to that R&D project that started all of this, it still isn't done!

    One thing to remember in machine work: As long as shop safety is observed, anything goes, there is no right way to get the job done as long as it gets done and the end result is satisfactory. You have to be able to hang on to the work, reach it with the tool bit, and be able to measure the result. That's really all there is to it



  5. #173
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I could not find a better description of someone with a lot of guts, a man who can and will do everything and anything but nothing right. Some credit is due.



  6. #174
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I do find it interesting and helpful. I still have my 1936 10" craftsman lathe and still use it all the time. I first got it back in 1970 ,used it in making custom billiard cues. Good story !



  7. #175
    Registered kbarratt's Avatar
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    Out of high school. sweeping floors in a Bearing factory when I was 18. I advanced through the company and was trained to a marketable skill level before they closed due to import competition. Continued to work for a number of small Manufacturers until getting an informal apprenticeship as a Toolmaker for a Company making hardware for power lines. They were purchased by a large corporation which moved them to Mexico. I then took a job for a company where I am now, managing a CNC Shop, and doing CNC Programming.



  8. #176
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    It is Interesting you never know where you will end up all good fun .



  9. #177
    Gold Member Steve Seebold's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I started working in a machine shop in about 1959 or 60 as a punishment for getting bad grades on my report card.

    My dad was a partner in a tool and die shop and I was made to work there as the janitor. I think I will as about 15 when I started.

    After a while, it got to be “hey kid, drill these holes”.

    The more I did the more I liked it.

    My dad had visions of me becoming a doctor or a dentist, but I had a really tuff time reading.

    I learned about 30 years later that I’m dyslexic and reading really is difficult for me, but the hands on stuff came really easy.

    After high school I started grade school to learn how to be a tool and die maker. My dad wouldn’t teach me decause I had a tuff time reading. I was too stupid to be a tool and die maker.

    Well, one day before class in trade school I was looking through a magazine and I saw a picture of a Bridgeport mill and it looked strange. The next day I went back to class, found that magazine, looked up that picture and discovered why that Bridgeport looked so strange. It didn’t have any handl s on it.

    Turned out to be one of the very early NC Bridgeports. After spending about a week reading the article I decided that was the future and the direction I wanted to go.

    Well, to make a long story short I got into CNC machining in about 1981 after a failed marriage and I never looked back.

    I’m almost 74 years old now and I still love it as much as I did when I was 20.

    To this day, I still have a CNC milling machine in my garage and like “popspipes” I race RC model boats and I can’t buy the running gear I like so I make it.



  10. #178
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I'm not a machinist- I'm a hobbyist. By trade I am an engineer with dual degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. My dad was a tool and die maker - he learned the trade at various machine shops, and a stint in the Navy during the war. He came out and worked in the naval shipyard in California as a machinist for a while, before returning to Pittsburgh to work as a machinist/tool and die maker and to eventually start his own shop, employing many of our relatives. Unfortunately for me - the machine shop didn't survive - but I had spent all of my youth in the machine shop - walking on the beds of the lathes, .. turning the cranks of the milling machines... unfortunately dad died when I was 9 and I never had the opportunity to learn the trade from him. When I went to high school - I took metal shop. During my senior year at the university - I took on fixing a retrofitted Bridgeport, and dreaming of one day owning one. I took a few classes in Machine Shop at the local community college.. Years later I had picked up a SuperMax YCM-30, and gutted the electronics, installed viper divers, a BOB, and mach 3.. and have been creating CNC machines (3 lathe retrofits, a from scratch cnc router build, 4 lathe retrofits (and counting) and machining things out of wood, plastic, and metal. I create most of my 2D work in AutoCAD, 3D work in CATIA, I love cad, and going from "art" to "part"...

    Hey Eric/WidgetMaster - your machining skills are fantastic - how did you learn the trade? (Forgive me if you posted this already, but I must have missed it then).

    [url]www.CNC-Joe.com[/url]
    CNC Is Not Just My Passion.. It's My Addiction !!!!


  11. #179
    Registered DangerousR6's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you learn the Machinist trade?

    I started machining in high school, one of those rare schools that still had machine shop as a class. A couple of years after high school I got a job at a major plastics manufacturing plant just outside of Dallas. And got into the tool and die shop, went thru the apprenticeship program and eventually became a machinist in the shop. And have now been a tool/die machinist for the past 30 years.

    Dangerous Guitar neck plates
    http://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=12426.0


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How did you learn the Machinist trade?

How did you learn the Machinist trade?