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Folks Of Interest Machinist's on the HAMB??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by A31ModelA, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. VA HAMB
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,189


    Remember being a machinist does not mean machining only. Material, vises, and just about everything else in a shop is heavy. So not only do you have to lean over a machine ALL day but you also have to lift alot. I was a machinist for 23 years and have finally landed a desk job. Im on hydrocodones as I write this. You guessed it! A bad back. Its a great way to make a living and job security is good for an accomplished machinist. So Good Luck.
  2. denverguy80221
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 7

    from denver

  3. Woogeroo
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 1,030

    from USA


    I'm a fellow student in machining as well. I've finished up my manual classes and now I am taking the beginning of the CNC fundamentals and programming.

    Welcome to the tribe.

  4. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875


    Surgical instruments is a machine shop that shouldn't involve heavy materials, vices, chucks, jaws, etc... I work in the complete opposite. Most everything involves an overhead crane or jib. Good luck!
  5. Zookeeper
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,041


    Same here. Our shop is chock full of overhead cranes. There is no reason to lift anything heavy there, but I have been in shops that aren't so well-equipped. As for the knees, yes, mine get sore, but doing some simple stretches or just walking to the bathroom or to get a soda is enough to make the old knees feel better. Another tip is to excersise a bit after work. I ride a bike (no, not a Harley, a pedal bike) occasionally and it does wonders. As for the mental stress, maybe, maybe not. I love the challenge of getting parts out, and love the feeling of pride that comes with doing something that seemed impossible when it first gets tossed in my lap. True stress is when I make a boo-boo and need to figure out a way to save the part, especially if it's one of a kind or I already have a zillion hours in it. I love my job and cannot imagine a better one.
  6. Very true there.
    A lot of folks don't realize that measuring tools, including those torque wrenches, can be knocked out of calibration if dropped.
    This can be a big issue if your working materials down to the thousandth of an inch.
    I've been in the Nuclear and Navy Submarine industry for over 25 years.
    Both of those idustries are really heavy into Quality Assurance.
    If you drop a tool, even once, there it's quarantined and out of service till it's calibrated.
    I used to do gauge calibration as well and you would be surprised that both tools and gauges can be thrown off up to 10% from one hard drop.
    Don't cheap out on the measuring tools as well, because that's definitely one area where you get what you pay for and it's money well spent.
    Last edited: May 1, 2009
  7. jcs64
    Joined: Apr 25, 2005
    Posts: 528


    only advice I can give is , go to the local shops first and see what they have to offer. Alot of them would rather train the right person themselves. (and if your mechanicly inclined and eager to learn, thats a plus). This would save you alot of $ and get you started in the right direction. Plus if you find out you dont like it, you didnt waste all that collage money and time.
    Bring pics of your projects that would relate to that type of work, it may get you in the door.
    Ive been doing it since my 18th birthday (gotta be 18 in NY for factory work), and I just turned 30. I love it and am making a decent buck ($26hr). I started emptying the chip barrels and was on a machine w/in months. I never paid for training but have been through alot of courses all on the companies coin.
    Lifes good at the moment
  8. jcs64
    Joined: Apr 25, 2005
    Posts: 528



    nuclear subs huh? ha
    I just started working for the DOE here w/ there NR program.
  9. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875


    One thing to be aware about is companies such as mine that are LLC's (owned by an even bigger corp.), that require 2 years college or experience to even qualify for the job posting. I was running the saw when I was being trained in the other stuff, when the owner sold to the LLC, and everyone got locked into their positions.....preventing me from becoming a full time machinist, because I didn't "qualify". Again, just something to be aware about when job searching.
  10. TomWar
    Joined: Jun 11, 2006
    Posts: 727


    I started my apprenticship at the Naval Air station Alameda, Calif. in 1959. The machinist trade has led me on an interesting journey through life. in 66 I went to work for a Machine tool distributor as a service engineer, and then later moved in to Sales.
    I was sent to Leblond to learn how to program the first NC machines. I have owned and operated a Marina, and Built Houses, I have Built all of the Fiberglas plugs for some of the Best High performance fishing boats built, and I have owned and operated a wood working shop for many years. Working on boat construction has given me the opportunity to travel around the world. All of the different things that I have done, I attribute to the skills that I aquired as a Machinist. I didn,t mention all the cars that I have built along the way. I remember someone asking me why I thought I could build a House, and I told them that if I can build a Skil saw, I can sure as hell build a house.
    Learn Your fraction to Thousanths tables, and learn how to use a File. This trade can be a very exciting venture.
  11. scottief
    Joined: Dec 7, 2006
    Posts: 1


    This may not help you much, what with a bad back and all, but another cool field is waterjet or laserjet machining. I am a 5 axis waterjet set up technician and love it. It is pretty hard on the back, atleast the waterjet work I do is, laser work is generally smaller and more delicate.

    If your not familiar with this kind of machining, its basically cutting most anything with extremely focused, high pressure (50-60,000 psi), jet of water mixed with some sort of abrasive material. I have cut everything from 1/16" rubber and foam to 24" thick Titanium and SST. It is very cool work, but extremely stressful. There arent a lot of places that do this kind of work but if you live near a shop like this its worth looking into. for the most part waterjet/laser techs make good money atleast for now.
  12. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    from Sultan, WA

    Yea i'm running a 3 axis waterjet right now on this computer there is a lot of maintainence to learn about the machines and a lot of thinking to be really good and i've got 3 years of experiance and still teach myself stuff
    Joined: Aug 21, 2006
    Posts: 335


    I started as a mold maker - tool - fixture builder aprentice.

    All manual machine's - put in my time and learned the craft. ( HARD work but worth the time )

    Spent a Little time with early CNC - not for me.

    Self taught in 3D cad - So now I design the parts & help walk the CNC guy's through the job - so I get what I want.

    The best advice I can give you is - Absorb & Learn all you can.

    Learn to think in 3D.

    Learn how to program.

    Learn how to problem solve.

    Learn how to TIG & MIG weld - O&A Too.

    Learn how to fix a problem with a computer program - a billet of stock in a lathe - or chalk lines on the floor.

    Focus on what you like best - but take it ALL in.

    Abtain a degee in somthing related to the above....( You have to have this for Suits & pencil pushers to understand you know your craft in 2009 )

    What NOT to do -

    DO NOT get stuck on one machine.
    DO NOT get stuck in one shop.
    DO NOT stop trying to LEARN more about your craft - the tech will continue to change - if you moniter it's pulse & stay with it, you will always be needed.
  14. Screamin' Metal
    Joined: Feb 1, 2009
    Posts: 506

    Screamin' Metal
    from Oklahoma

    Get the books and READ, READ, READ!!!!!!! Also learn how to weld......start studying the decimal equivelant charts....learn it by heart. Also.....get a color code sheet for different types and grades of steel....learn these by heart also............Ask questions and study!!!!!!
    After all this training and a few years under your belt on building stuff.....Someone wants to give you a blower to put on such and such a engine....a big smile will pop upon you face and off you'll go!:D:D:D
  15. unclechop
    Joined: Apr 24, 2007
    Posts: 275


    I am a fitter and turner(a machinist/plant mechanic).
    If I had the choice I would get into food manufacturing.
    It is clean, the wages are reasonable it is usually pretty stable(just not at the moment).

    I have almost finished doing a mechanical engineering diploma at night,
    So with the hands on of a machining trade background and the basic knowledge of sound engineering principles (dip eng) I figure I will able to have a little more freedom in the choice of employer(money/conditions).

    I also have a bad back (seems to be a common theme) but because I do a lot of cad design work and supervising works now I can cope without dreading going to work and making the back any worse.

    While cranes and such are great I find the worst days are when I have to stoop or bend over something several times (manual machining).

    Once you are a machinist you will never want for anything to be repaired for you ever again.The mechanical principles learned give you the confidence to learn for yourself how to bulid or repair anything.

    Follow your dreams and build on them.
  16. billj
    Joined: Nov 1, 2003
    Posts: 184


    I have been a machinist for 20 + years and my back is fine. We installed a boom to swing over our machines and if I don't feel like lifting something, I don't.
    I do manual and conversational programming on a CNC lathe and mill. Most of our runs are low quantity and lengthy cuts so lots of sitting around and dreading time for me.

    I must admit that after awhile in the same shop, same jobs keep coming around and tend to get boring so being able to read helps. I actually am taking college classes also and do most of my homework at work so that works out alright.

    The worst thing the last few years here is the owner has started to do well and has forgotten about us as in $ once in a while so a nice place to work is fast becoming not one so I am starting to look around.

    A good skill you can always use but I am ready to move on.

    Good luck.
  17. BRENT
    Joined: Jun 22, 2005
    Posts: 252


    As I type this right now all 4 of my High Speed CNC Makino's are a humming. I think the biggest issue is all the weight you gain by sitting on your ass making programs all day! LOL! Cycle start, eat a bag of chips, cycle start play on internet all day LOL!

    Really though it takes alot of skill to make it in this industry and yes if you have a bad back you sure wont survive on the floor very long even with those anti-fatigue mats. I recommend CNC Im glad I made the switch! I started out as a mold maker and got sick of trading pay checks for body parts, but I must say that I did at least learn all my manual machines first some I still use today on occasion.

    I then got out of the mold maker trade and switched to aerospace, WOW what a difference you went from a couple of thou tolerences to microns! Thats where I learned my CNC It was more production runs then anything but I learned to be accurate.

    I then left that industry and got back into molds but doing CNC and well Ive beeen here ever since and that was 12 years ago and 5 shops later! wow time flys!

    I think the point Im trying to make is get out and learn and if you get stuck in one area that you dont like LEAVE the shop and go work at another, I hate to say it but the only way to make money is to work at a shop for a couple of years and when the money stops (ie: raises) LEAVE and make sure you make up for that raise at the place that hires you next. Its a shitty attitude but these companies have no issue screwing you over.

    I have missed countless holidays and precious time with my family because I was always at work doing 55 to 70 hours a week but now the industry is evolving again with this "do more with less attitude" I have never seen this industry so "lean" it use to be a machinist for every CNC machine now its 1 for 4 machines and if they could get me to run more they would and I do mean run, Lights out, tool changes the whole nine yards these machines never stop un less they break or we run out of work which is more the norm lately. but I only work 40 hours now a do the continental shift three twelve hour shifts, they pay me for 40 hours and I have the rest of the week off.

    I think If I did it all again I would have done something different thats for sure! The trade is not what it use to be and wont be getting better any time soon, quit now before its to late and do something different with your life.

    Best of luck whatever you do

  18. P426
    Joined: Mar 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,086

    from New Jersey

    "Last, realize that is not always fun...its not always playtime on the mill, lathe, or cnc (if the company will let you use it ha), being a machinist is a dirty rough job a lot of the time,"

    And most of all, remember: SAFETY FIRST.

    I repeat: SAFETY FIRST!

    Never get complacent or careless around the machinery. It will bite you sooner or later IF YOU DO!

    Good luck!

  19. P426
    Joined: Mar 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,086

    from New Jersey

    I can laugh about it now but back when I worked in a machine shop (mid-1980s) it was no fun when I made a mistake. And believe me, in the machinist trade you don't have to be 'off' much for it to be a 'mistake'!

    Which reminds me of what my foreman back then, a Scottish immigrant with a heavy Scottish accent, told me:

    "It's okay to make a mistake--if you can figure out a way to correct it." :D

  20. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875


    IMO, beware of "lean manufacturing", too. At least where I am. They call it watching the washing machine, and they expect you to always be doing something while your machine is running. Such as wiping it down, sweeping/mopping the floor, etc... Gone are the days you can press start, sit down and read the paper. Again, just me.
  21. I am a retired automotive machinist and Mech . My body is kaput. My back is always swollen and my thorasic discs are trying to pop out. My feet swell when standing operating my mill or lathe till I can hardly walk and I am not yet sixty. 25 years ago i feared no man and could work just fine. When I spoke people listened up Now I am just a worn out ol fart. Are you really sure you want to do this for a living. Like many things it makes a much better hobby.

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