What's new
What's new

Advice for the greenest student imaginable

fciron

Stainless
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Location
Louisville, KY, USA
Both my parents were also academics, so I did not get a lot of hands on experience growing up either. I spent several years being a terribly craftsman. I had to grind out and re-weld or weld up and re-grind a lot of work. I broke a fair bit of equipment on my road to becoming “mechanically inclined”.

I have an 1980’s automotive technology textbook that begins with basic tools, literally how to use a screwdriver, hammer, etc. A lot of military training manuals (machinist or repairman) cover this material too. We all know which end of the hammer to hold but there is some technique to getting the most out of it. If you’re good with learning from books they can give your hands-on learning a jump start.
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
"Some can never be learned and you are just born with certain abilities or you aren't. "

This reminds me of two things, at least....

1) Driving a manual transmission car. Lately, it's become in vogue to brag that you can drive a stick. That's fine, but I'm stunned at how poorly people who brag they can drive a stick actually drive a stick. It's simply something they don't have, no matter how much they like to think they do.

2) Hitting a golf ball. I sometimes take a group of teens to a Top Golf, a fancy driving range place. I never golf....but I can at least hit the f'ing ball a couple hundred yard in a more or less straight line. But in the other booths, it's astonishing to see grown-ass adults flail away and not even contact the ball. I see women, in particular, who seem to have no concept of the mechanics of the most basic swing. Some men, too. If these people had to defend themselves with a club, they'd be dead in 2 seconds.
 

IninefingersI

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Location
Doo Dah, Kansas
"Some can never be learned and you are just born with certain abilities or you aren't. "

This reminds me of two things, at least....

1) Driving a manual transmission car. Lately, it's become in vogue to brag that you can drive a stick. That's fine, but I'm stunned at how poorly people who brag they can drive a stick actually drive a stick. It's simply something they don't have, no matter how much they like to think they do.

Our company leased the building next to mine to some guy who inherited what appears to be an obscene amount of money. He built some sort of Cobra Kai dojo in half of it, and filled the other half with high end sports cars. We opened the overhead one day and all stood there for 15 minutes watching his wife try to wrestle this foreign sports car out of the parking lot and down the street. That stick was beating her like she owed it money. It was hilarious.
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
"Some can never be learned and you are just born with certain abilities or you aren't. "

This reminds me of two things, at least....

1) Driving a manual transmission car. Lately, it's become in vogue to brag that you can drive a stick. That's fine, but I'm stunned at how poorly people who brag they can drive a stick actually drive a stick. It's simply something they don't have, no matter how much they like to think they do.

2) Hitting a golf ball. I sometimes take a group of teens to a Top Golf, a fancy driving range place. I never golf....but I can at least hit the f'ing ball a couple hundred yard in a more or less straight line. But in the other booths, it's astonishing to see grown-ass adults flail away and not even contact the ball. I see women, in particular, who seem to have no concept of the mechanics of the most basic swing. Some men, too. If these people had to defend themselves with a club, they'd be dead in 2 seconds.

There's driving a stick, and driving a stick well, heh. A lot of the folks who have proudly told me "I can drive stick" have given me a sore neck riding with them. While they can technically do it, doing so smoothly does not enter the equation.

A lot of that comes down to finesse. Many similar skills require a good amount of dexterity and feedback, then modification of control to fine tune. Some folks don't even see things to that level. To them, getting the stick shift car to move is to be good at driving stick. If the revs climb sky-high and the smell of burning clutch permeates the car, that's okay. If the clutch shortly thereafter begins to chatter due to the fact that this overheats it, unevenly smears friction material and warps the pressure plate, well, that's normal, isn't it? It's happened on every stick shift car they've ever owned. The clutch lasts only 30,000 miles? Normal again, right? Neck snaps back at every clutch engagement and forward at every disengagement? Isn't that how it always works? Etc. etc.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
There's driving a stick, and driving a stick well, heh. A lot of the folks who have proudly told me "I can drive stick" have given me a sore neck riding with them. While they can technically do it, doing so smoothly does not enter the equation.

A lot of that comes down to finesse. Many similar skills require a good amount of dexterity and feedback, then modification of control to fine tune. Some folks don't even see things to that level. To them, getting the stick shift car to move is to be good at driving stick. If the revs climb sky-high and the smell of burning clutch permeates the car, that's okay. If the clutch shortly thereafter begins to chatter due to the fact that this overheats it, unevenly smears friction material and warps the pressure plate, well, that's normal, isn't it? It's happened on every stick shift car they've ever owned. The clutch lasts only 30,000 miles? Normal again, right? Neck snaps back at every clutch engagement and forward at every disengagement? Isn't that how it always works? Etc. etc.

Grinding....you forgot the gawd awfull grinding.....:D
Lugging, coughing, sputtering, jerking....it's all O.K. to them.
 

rogertoolmaker

Cast Iron
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Starting in a Toolmaking shop is not easy. I remember working and working to learn, getting frustrated and feeling I will never get this. Till finally the fairy dust soaked into my head.

Roger
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Guess I would tell a cold turkey new guy that steady careful work is better than rushing a job to scrap.

A good project for a green guy would be to hack saw and file finish a small part. Something useful or detective would be good
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
I have always said that the learning is more in the hands than in the brain. That is not to say that knowledge is not necessary, IT DEFINITELY IS. But for something like machining or welding you must educate your hands to the task. That means doing it. And doing it again. And doing it again until your hands know the things that your brain already knew.

Keep at it!

And you can ask about things here and on other BBs. There's a few grouches, but many who will share the knowledge they have.



If you intend on going into either welding or machining, you are going to need some sand. I.e., you can't make one effort, screw it up, and decide to move on. I've been doing this a while, and I still make mistakes. I try to learn where I went wrong, then re-do if needed and get it right.
 

Kevin T

Stainless
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
This is the strangest thread I have seen in a long time. I don't understand the OP or any of the responses. Maybe I am too green at trolling? Insensitive? Either way it's clear that there are a lot of people on here that are willing to help out those with questions, so that is nice too see since it was debated a short time ago.
 

Evenglischatiest

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Location
Santa Barbara
I've had a dozen or so apprentices over the years. Most had never been in a shop before. The number one problem I've seen, by far, has been basic math. Before you set foot in a shop, you need to know how to convert fractions to decimals, work with negative numbers, and calculate percents. If you're not there already, get there before you even take a shop class. Those text books "written in Japanese" will make much more sense once you've made it to that level.

The next problem is reading drawings. You need a certain amount of spacial awareness. It's a combination of learnable skill and unlearnable inborn ability. I've been surprised by how many people just can't do it. Get a simple part, and it's drawing. Try to match the features on the part with those on the drawing. If you're comfortable with that, then get a different drawing, and a block of anything that's about the same size and shape. Draw the features from the drawing onto the block. Look up "third angle projection." That's the standard in the US for how the drawing views are rotated on the page, and understanding it is necessary if you want the part to match the engineer's intent.

If you can do those things, then I'm confident you can learn basic machining. Whether or not you could be useful in a shop would, of course, depend on the nature and severity of your disabilities.

Don't worry about a few mistakes. Just like they should have told you in that welding class, no one gets it right the first time. Or the second. Most of us on this board have been doing this for DECADES, and we still come here asking for help.

Someone above mentioned army manuals. Those are usually written assuming the reader has absolutely zero prior experience, which makes them a great place to start.

Someone else above mentioned CNC programming. While I agree that it may be the best fit for you physically, I've never found that you can start with that. If you can't do at least the basics on a manual machine, all you'll do as a programmer is break tools and scrap parts. You need to spend a good chunk of time actually at the machine, even if you're not turning the handles. You'll need an understanding of how much material you can cut, how fast you can cut it, and why those limits are what they are. You'll also need to get a feel for how to hold the parts you're cutting. If you can't figure out a way to hold it, you can't cut it. And if you're programming, that's not something you can leave for the operator to figure out.

I wish you the best of luck. Some of us on here can get a bit surly. But if you don't take that personally, this is a great place to ask the questions that will inevitably come up.
 

Joe Gwinn

Stainless
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Location
Boston, MA area
Bad back, couple surgeries that didn't help much. I can only do a few hours worth of any useful work a day, some days not even that.

Yeah. I've read many medical studies of the outcomes of back surgery, and basically it mostly doesn't work any better than just waiting for it to fix itself, and sometimes is worse.

A few years ago, a young colleague of mine was about to undergo back surgery when I talked him into getting a second opinion from a doctor who was in no way involved with the doctor recommending surgery or his Practice. The colleague was already wavering. The second doctor recommended against surgery, and the surgery was cancelled. The back did get better by itself.

I had bad backaches for a year or two, which also went away on their own. In that case, I suspect that I just wasn't getting enough sleep.

 

HappyWyo

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
If you burned out doing social work, you would find being a machinist impossible. It is commendable that you don't want to be on disability. You need a more labor orientated less stressful job like carpenter. There is a huge demand for carpenters right now. I have bone cancer and three broken vertabraes, and I go to work 6 days a week, and take several breaks a day for my pain.
 

BoxcarPete

Stainless
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Location
Michigan, USA
If you burned out doing social work, you would find being a machinist impossible. It is commendable that you don't want to be on disability. You need a more labor orientated less stressful job like carpenter. There is a huge demand for carpenters right now. I have bone cancer and three broken vertabraes, and I go to work 6 days a week, and take several breaks a day for my pain.

Doubt it. My wife worked as a social worker before we had kids, the stress she felt being called a "bitch-ass hoe" and having chairs thrown at her by nine-year-olds and then going to sleep knowing that that kid is in a trailer on the other side of the railroad tracks, with a drug-dealer father having constant visitors at all hours of the night, hindered in developing along a healthy course of life, is very different from the stress I feel when the words "SON OF A ______" reverberate through a warehouse full of machinery. Burnout among social workers is very common among the ones who care about those on their caseload.

*______ represents a variety of words which depend on the severity of the mistake.
 

ttrager

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Hi all,

If this is in the wrong place, please move it. Thanks.

31 y/o disabled man here, and I refuse to spend my life on disability.

Spent the last 4 years working in the mental health and substance abuse field in numerous capacities, most recently as a Peer Support Specialist. Absolutely burned myself out to the point of a near mental breakdown. I started off very, very good at what I did. By the end I didn't care about anyone or anything. The job had drained and sapped me of every drop of compassion and empathy I had. I'm out now, and I'm staying out.

I am very interested in machining. I watch machining videos in my leisure time, admittedly. I find it fascinating. Only problem: I am GREEN GREEN GREEN. Growing up, academics were stressed and hands on things were absent. I tried a welding class some years ago. My welds looked like they were done by a stupid monkey. Took an intro to machining class back in like, 2015. Had no idea what I was doing and kept screwing things up. The textbook might as well have been written in Japanese.

I am greener than the average green student. My classmates grew up doing shop stuff. I grew up nose deep in textbooks.

What advice do you have for someone like me? Someone who, despite these challenges, wants to carve out a stable, sustainable career? "Academic" careers that interest me are few and far between. Most of the degrees I would get wouldn't lead to a job. I'm basically exploring if machining is an option, and hanging around this forum to see cool machining stuff and learn.

Thanks!

From my angle: Consider something in the Quality area of manufacturing. This could be any number of things, from Quality Assurance /Management to Quality Control inspector, to Internal Auditor (ISO or other standard).

In my opinion, and I'd be interested in other's opinions here in this thread, I feel there is a greater opportunity for insertion into "Quality" by novices. This varies by company of course, but generally speaking my experience/observations have been that if you are going to actually peel steel on either a manual machine or CNC machine, working from a blueprint, you need much more disciplined technical training first.

You are going to need a degree of "technical training" for a Quality position as well mind you, and in some cases that might be more hard core than others. What I've done is generalize. Quality inspections and practices involve a higher degree of basic organizational, tracking, reporting, auditing, etc., from a records keeping perspective.

Just over 10 years ago I made a complete jump to something different, to manufacturing. Within a couple of years I was "promoted" into the Quality Department from the floor as a CNC Operator (not a machinist) because I was reliable in paying attention, picked up what was necessary quickly, but showed the bosses evidence of my prior career in what I was doing. They realized I had overlap from my time in IT benefitting a Quality Inspector.

Looking at jobs in the Quality Assurance / Inspections side of things may be worth looking over.

You will need some basics however, make no mistake. Out of a bunch I'm sure, I'd start with looking up GD&T Blueprint symbology and how to read a blueprint.

Best of luck to you.
 

swamp dweller

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 10, 2010
Location
Central Florida USA
If I were you....I'd consider the office side of machining. As in, the CNC programming side. It's a lot cleaner and you still get to go out in the shop enough that you can see the results of your work become real.

Has programming advanced to the point where you don't have to have any machining background to become a programmer?
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
I can only tell you I have worked with many CNC programmers who never machined anything. They get by because much of machining has been reduced to formulas and computer driven knowledge. A lot of programs (most?) will warn you if you've exceeded the limits of a certain tool or if you've drawn something that can't actually be produced. And the CNC programs also are able to convert the drawing into the proper language the machine tool needs, as far as I can tell.
 








 
Top