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Good day for me,hard way to go for the others.

Tommy-D

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Location
Union City,Tn
> I want to thank everyone on here that has helped me at some point or another,because thanks to the help solicited here,I graduated with Machinist I on Thursday. But I would like to relate some fairly serious concerns that have surfaced in recent weeks and months.

I posted early on in my time here about the change in instructors last August. My early impression of the new instructor has changed for the better in some ways,and substantially dimmed in others.

I will give him major props in some of the things that have been improved and created since the change.

He got all of our new equipment up and running,and working on getting the older stuff that is down back running. :D

Last year at this time,the old instructor had 4 new students starting the May session,giving him 9 total including myself. This coming May,the new guy will have a total of 25,including several new high school kids,a couple guys that were laid off recently and taking on a new trade,and a couple that have a few years in shops doing production-type work on manual machines,and want/need to learn CNC. Also,he will have only the 3rd female I've ever heard of associated with this course. So despite his faults,he IS doing something right.

He has lightened up considerably on his "no loaned tools" policy,out of neccessity,he has nearly as much personal gear as the tool crib does. He's not freaking out over a busted 1/4-20 tap :angry: a youngster broke anymore,because he corrected the fault that allowed a completely green student to use a tap without supervision and initial guidance. :toetap: Those of us that have been there a while also stepped in and helped.

So far,no actual injuries,but there have been a few mishaps that with a little bad luck,could have been catastrophic. Thanks to the impeccable efforts of the old instructor,and good stuff from the new guy,I have been able to escape moderate injury totally,and I can still count on one hand the number of times I embarassed myself. I only started an out of gear mill 3 times,one of those is our newest Sharp manual,which seems to have caught everyone off guard at least once,the lever has a burr or something not right with it.

I got a too lengthy t-shirt wrapped around the feed rod on the Kingston lathe,but not bad enough to hurt myself.

My only real crash was about a .015 bite out of both vise jaws on the Haas mill. :o I should have stood up and protested and not taken the instructions I was given,and as a result I used a 3/8 end mill to make a part where a 1/4 or 5/16 would have been better suited,and took a nice circular chunk out of both sides,about an inch and a half in from the right edge. :rolleyes5: The vise was a fairly old Kurt.

The only time I did anything to myself was in helping another student drill/bore a 2" hole in a lathe, I was standing on the other side,and applying cutting oil to his 1.625 drill. He stopped the spindle,and backed the tailstock up some,but not far enough. I leaned over to look down in the hole in the part,and leaned in far enough I laid my forehead on the rather hot drill,and even heard it sizzle. :o Nothing permanent,just a 1/2 x 3/4 light blister and brown spot that lasted a week.

The new guy has radically improved the CNC part of the course,in this aspect. The old guy had you manually g-coding a Emco Compact desktop lathe and mill,making preselected chess pieces out of machineable wax,and for more complicated stuff,he had you use a program called N-Vision,which took your code and ran it in a virtual environment,eliminating real crashes,but since the program didn't have a conversational panel,you didn't get the feel of actual machine interface time or technique. I can totally see his point.

The new guy got our Haas lathe and mill running,and also got the school a educational version of GibbsCAM,so you can see the toolpath,what properly formatted programs look like,etc. :D He said people would be hands-on with the Haas,and we were. More on this to follow.

Now here's the problems. Back before the instructor change,you didn't touch a screwdriver,much less run a lathe,mill or surface grinder until he was sure you not only knew what was what (he was very strong on bookwork),but that you also displayed at least moderate maturity and responsibility,

Now,and partly because they have so many students and not enough machines,he has changed the course somewhat.

It used to be that your first real shop work was simple layouts,laying scribed lines,and use of a vernier height gage. The first projects were a drill point gage,a t-slot cleaner,and the body of what eventually becomes your c-clamp.

Now,sometimes within a day or 2 of you taking the mechanical aptitude test and watching the safety videos and several videos that relate the history and future of machining,you are grinding cold-rolled square stock into practice lathe tools,then your first HSS blank. I didn't get to do mine until about 3 solid months of bookwork. The newer guys and especially the HS kids seem to enjoy this. I think it's going to eventually get someone hurt.

Now,the first project after you grind your first tool,is a 2 piece reversible tap handle,and 2 knurled screws. This is made on a manual lathe from a length of 15/16 cold rolled rod,knurled with a radiused end,meaning that the center-drill holes are cut out,the big end is then cut down to a 5/8 square in a mill,with a small and a big 45 degree notch,x 2. The square is milled,then surface ground square.

That project would be pretty easy to make starting with square stock and a properly indicated 4-jaw. Instead of properly relating the importance of chip control,proper knurling,speeds/feeds,indicating a 4 jaw,and even safety issues such as NOT confusing the feed lever with the threading lever,etc,he's turning these guys loose on not only a lathe but a mill as well,in the first week? Let's not even take into consideration the destruction a grinder crash can cause. :confused:

There were at least 15 incidents where myself,or another experienced student had to step in and show them proper setup techniques,and a couple others where a near-miss took place before he stepped in,when he should have been there in the first place. He either needs to double his efforts,or have the front office hire an assistant.

EVERY student in the class up until yesterday has told me at some point or another,that I have given them more and higher quality help than the guy being paid to teach it.

I was his unofficial assistant for the whole time he's been there. He's really gonna be spread thin now with 25 in there before long.

I spent a LOT of time making stuff for the auto and IM courses,time that could have been spent giving me one-on-one instruction on stuff like g-code,but I came to the following conclusion.

He always seemed to be pushing me to look stuff up,experiment,and maybe fumble a couple times. I came to realize that in a lot of those cases,he SIMPLY DIDN'T KNOW.

For example,anyone that has gotten to the point of doing the trig parts of the math book,you either got help from one of the older students,or you figured it out ON YOUR OWN. I asked a question about inverse functions very soon after he came in,and got a blank stare. I never asked again,I did the last 6 chapters of the math book on my own,other than a .pdf copy of the old guy's math book we pass around,but it only covers the last 1/2.

As far as CNC,I taught myself how to run the Haas TL-1 and TM-1. The only advice I was given was to make sure I read the dadgum manual,and don't burn up inserts. :rolleyes5:

To this point,the new guy has NEVER ran a program on either of those machines that didn't come from GibbsCAM. He tried to use the IPS system to mill a slot,and asked me to step in. Early on in my involvement with the Haas mill,he called HIS SON :nutter:,who has graduated the Advanced T+D class at a different school,to show me the ropes of touching off with the jog wheel,set the work offsets,and the Z height. I swear,he showed me more in that one 60 minute conversation,than his dad did in 6 friggin' months.

On the subject of GibbsCAM. When we first got it last November,I was in a position to graduate at the end of December. He asked me if I would be willing to stay an extra session,to learn it,and possibly pick up an additional skill/certification that would help me find a nice job. I voiced my concern about the financial aid,and he got me an extension. What he didn't get,however was enough training in it himself to be able to teach me much. I played with the program and figured out about the same amount of stuff he showed me at first. He went places for training,and the stuff he showed me was maybe 1 notch over my head.

The administration is MAKING him take a college-level algebra course online,followed by a college level trig course. The old guy not only had both of those,but a true GIFT in being able to relate it to kids that weren't even paying attention.

Another couple positive notes,there is ZERO horseplay,and the shop itself is the cleanest I've ever seen it. He also got me signed up for a online Haas lathe and mill course which will produce an additional certification each,with the certs coming from Haas itself. The nice part about these is that even with me having graduated,I can do these at home,at my own pace.

Now,having graduated,I haven't found a single place within 100 miles that is hiring entry-level machinists,everyone wants Journeyman T+Diemaker-level experience. The only local shop that might give me a shot is run by a crazy,tightwad old man and with child support on 2 kids,I can't afford to do this kind of work for 8 bucks an hour.

Sorry for the incredibly long post,but I've been gathering my thoughts for weeks now,so here they are.

If you were me,what would YOU do? Tommy D.
 

stuball48

Stainless
Joined
Sep 10, 2006
Location
Dickson, TN
A point--how is $8 an hour worse than 0$ an hour and your main job will be to convince that "crazy old man" you are a dependable and worthy machinist. He may have forgotten more that you will know in a lifetime and may "look at you" as a "young whipper-snapper" just out of school with "book learning"--only. You do not graduate from machinist schools--it is a continuous process meant to be limproved---you are about to get the best part of your education---"what works in the real world" and I challenge you to come back in a year after you have worked for that "crazy old man" or any shop and tell me you haven't learned five times as much about machining as you did in your school.
 

Bill's Machine Shop

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Location
Webster, MN
I didn't have the machining learning opportunities you have had when I was in school. I didn't grind a lathe bit until I was over 21. I skipped the CRS and went straight to the tool steel. Why waste my time on something I knew wouldn't work? You have expressed all the concerns a young hard worker would express. These kinds of weird discrepancies happen in every shop. From what you describe, you have been lucky to have an instructor who will let you do something. A lot of insurance companies have raised rates so high that the schools can't afford to provide the equipment or good instructors.
When I was in school, my shop instructors spent their time in their offices telling dirty jokes. I know, because when I went through the teacher familliarization part of my college Ed psych class, I ended up back in the classroom I was in when I was in high school. Needless to say, I was even less inpressed with those guys than before, and I went into education because I "knew" I could do a better job than them. After five years of college and two years of teaching at the high school level, I gave up. From what I could see, teaching was nothing more than low priced day care. Virtually all of my challenges were related to getting a bunch of sloths off their dead butts. Stuball48 has provided some good advice. If you love working with machines, and from what you say, you are as hooked as the rest of us, it really doesn't matter how much they pay. Your employer will see your zeal and give you what he thinks will be your best challenges. Then, you could always go into teaching and do a better job than your instructors. The only real "secret" I could possibly offer at this time would be .... don't complain. If you don't like it, seek employment elsewhere. Good luck with your work. I still loose all track of time when I flip the feed clutch lever on my old lathe. WWQ
 

Hdpg

Stainless
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Location
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
....Sorry for the incredibly long post,but I've been gathering my thoughts for weeks now,so here they are.

If you were me,what would YOU do? Tommy D.

Take the job, this I think is the realistic approach because for a few years it is probably going to be difficult to be choosy.

I think your post is very well expressed, you gathered yours thoughts good.:) Keep the same level-headed attitude in any job and don't make rash decisions.

Good luck.
 

Armenius

Cast Iron
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Location
S-W Ontario
If the $8 per hour job is close to home take it. It's not as if you will work there for the rest of your life!

You gotta start somewhere.

Keep good track and notes of your work and accomplishments, especially with regards to cost and time savings. Use this info when it comes time to negotiate a raise. I did this in the early 1980 when times were tough also, and negotiated a 15% raise when everybody else got 10%.

Things will improve eventually and a lot of the old guys will be retired by then. Your skill set will then be the cat's meeow.

Arminius
 

HuFlungDung

Diamond
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Location
Canada
What's that expression? "If you can't do it, teach it" or something to that effect :D

There is a lot to know in this profession. While I might appear to be reasonably competent within the surroundings of my own machines, in my own shop using software that I selected on jobs that I've tackled many times before, I could probably look like a real dummy for a while in another shop situation.

So the important thing is actually knowing how to read the manual on a piece of equipment that they might park you in front of. Get used to reading obscure translations into English :D

Figuring out how to use cadcam software on your own is also important, more important in a training environment than it would be to get you proficient on a particular piece of software that you might never see again upon leaving training.

It is all about your mental flexibility, and your personal safety habits, not so much about the exact experiences you encountered in training.
 

dsergison

Diamond
Joined
Oct 23, 2003
Location
East Peoria, IL, USA
Man-up and take some (more) responsibility for teaching yourself. quit complaining. keep helping others.

He's a new instructor? well, being an instructor is 1/2 a management job. he's managing a class. I wouldnt expect him to be a subject matter expert too. That would be nice... but it's rare. He probaly knows a fair bit about some other feild, and just barely enough about the shop to teach an introductory class.

college is different than high school. you don't NEED to try to get everyone to pass some state test. you dont NEED to hold hands. you CAN just provide opportunity and evaluation. The folks who WANT to learn will. They will rise to the top. This, in many cases is actually worth MORE than finding out who CAN learn only if their hand is held.
 

jim rozen

Diamond
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Location
peekskill, NY
"...having graduated,I haven't found a single place within 100 miles that is hiring..."

May I make a suggestion:

Why are you limiting yourself to that radius? You need to investigate job
opportunities over a larger region, a hundred miles will sharply limit your catch.
Be willing to relocate. Yes it's a risk.

There is possibly something else about the 8 per hour local job that bothers you.
What is it?

Thanks btw for taking the time to relate your education experiences. Very interesting
to read, sounds like a good course.

Jim
 

Spelunker

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 20, 2007
Location
Central Valley CA.
I made 6.50 per hour to learn the trade. Best damn move I ever made.
Sure it sucked at first. but ya gotta pay your dues. and when you do....the work finds you. I havent had to look for a job in over 15 years, cuz they come looking for me. And they will for you too.But ya gotta start somewhere.
 

Tommy-D

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Location
Union City,Tn
> My concerns about working for the old man's shop are mostly financial. With my child support,I'd be bringing home about 120 bucks a week after taxes. I'm making double,and sometimes triple that delivering for Pizza Hut,LOL.

I've talked to 7-8 people that have worked for him over the years,and his new hire history goes like this. He has like 6 full-time guys that have been with him for 7-8 years or more. He's gone thru from what the consensus says is at least 40 new guys he brought in to help get a big job for Goodyear out,then let them go after a month or so. A couple of those guys are people I know from the school that have more skills than I have,and none of those guys have shown me anything to make me believe they weren't intelligent,hard working employees. So,something must be up with that.

I didn't intend to make this sound like a long-winded bitch fit,because it's not really. It is intensely satisfying to have gotten thru under the current conditions.

I would certainly be willing to relocate,Memphis seems to be a good spot.

As far as the instructor being a manager,and not expecting them to have a thorough knowledge of the subject,the old guy ran things just as well,and even much tighter in some aspects. He also had a pretty laid-back southern style EGO about him,that wouldn't allow you to ask a question he didn't know the answer for,so his depth of knowledge,as far as in a real shop,and in the school's environment as well,was impeccable.

I swear this is the truth,I NEVER asked him a question about anything I was trying to do,problems I was having,or anything math related that I didn't get a clear,concise answer to.

His pride or whatever wouldn't have allowed him to call his son for help,or to walk up to a machine and not just dominate it. The lathe and mill were both up and ready to run on a Friday. He would have taken both manuals home over the weekend,along with one of the 2 Haas control simulators,and could have made literally anything the machine could handle by Monday,I'd have bet my lungs on it.

I'm certainly going to continue to educate myself as much as possible. My late grandfather did this kind of work for 40 years,and he took damn good care of his family doing it,and never wanted for anything the rest of his life as a result. That's where I'm trying to get,so I can pursue my other goal for going thru this type of training,eventually making the finest custom billiard cues in the free world.

I appreciate all the input and wisdom,Tommy D.
 

Spinit

Titanium
Joined
May 13, 2007
Location
Central Texas
Good Luck

In this trade there are many people I have worked with who can be very annoying. It is this way also in life. I would not discount what you have hearn and neither would I buy in to it all. Sometimes things boil down to how such a person clicks when working with the right person. Old timers have a lot of knowledge to pass on but since it is valuable to them they will do it more openly if they like you. I have seen this time and time again over the years. Always be respectful be forgiving of any minor problems like watching a bad temper in action and you may be surprised how much you can learn. You can always say you are in good company if it does not work out and if you didn't try it out you would always wonder what might have happened. I would go for it. You will have to learn how to work with some interesting charecters in this trade and it sounds like this guy will provide a good lesson in that regard. This is only my opinion though. A few things oldtimers taught me years ago have dropped a few jaws in surprise and for that I thank them for putting up with me.
 

norb

Cast Iron
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Location
tonawanda new york
My advice is take the job and learn everything you can. Just being out of school you are just about worthless in a shop and will probably cost the guy more than you make for him. Like any skilled job you have to pay your dues. Your should consider yourself lucky to have an opportunity to break into the trade. I would never let a newbie anywhere near my expensive cnc equipment.
 

knudsen

Stainless
Joined
Jul 16, 2009
Location
Cobblers Knob, IN USA
Congrats on finishing school.

If the job is only going to last a few months, you have a great opportunity. Get some experience and you can leave without being labeled a quitter or job hopper. Don't kiss up, but do your very best at everything you do. Work fast when you can without making mistakes. If you have to push a broom, go twice as fast as you normally would, errr, don't make a big dust cloud. Try to outdo people at your level, but not those who have the experience. Make friends with the 7 year vets (network!). Get a good reference, and your hard work will pay off.

I busted my ass for $2.15/hr doing farm work. 70's inflation made it worth a lot less than $8/hr now. I'm sure there are others here that made a lot less than that.

Good luck!
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
I got a too lengthy t-shirt wrapped around the feed rod on the Kingston lathe,but not bad enough to hurt myself.

Boy - yuh really gotta watch that stuff around a manual lathe. Loose clothing and pony tails will gitcha.

I had a cousin-in-law that werked for me for a while that after hours (late at night) he brought in a crankshaft to polish in the lathe before he went home. He always had tight clothing too. But as he was reaching over running the emmery one of the counterweights cought inside his shirt sleeve and just peeled the shirt right off his body.

He showed me the "crank-rash" all over his chest the next day. We BOTH got lucky that night! He - didn't git dead. I - didn't find a terrible mess the next morning. :bowdown:


As far as pony tails - I know one guy that mannaged to get this wrapped up in the feed screw somehow. It kept sucking him in untill it actually stalled the machine when wrapped too tight. He's lucky it was such a Putzy machine! And I know another fella that got his wrapped up in a tool in an HMC as he was [presumably] setting zero or whatnot. It snapped his neck and scalpped him. Also - had a girl here in town about 25 yrs ago that got her pony tail cought in a drill press or whatnot and scalped a big chunk of her head. She actually lived.

I am the advocate of "$hit Happens" and am nobodys safety director by any stretch, but there are just some things that shouldn't be!




Now,sometimes within a day or 2 of you taking the mechanical aptitude test and watching the safety videos and several videos that relate the history and future of machining,you are grinding cold-rolled square stock into practice lathe tools,then your first HSS blank. I didn't get to do mine until about 3 solid months of bookwork. The newer guys and especially the HS kids seem to enjoy this. I think it's going to eventually get someone hurt.

I don't understand what's gunna git'm hurt? Not having their nose in a book for 3 months? The rest of us were shown ON-THE-JOB and then left alone to doo it. (whatever IT may be) We didn't have our nose in some book. I don't see how a book will help you NOT git hurt?


Now,having graduated,I haven't found a single place within 100 miles that is hiring entry-level machinists,everyone wants Journeyman T+Diemaker-level experience. The only local shop that might give me a shot is run by a crazy,tightwad old man and with child support on 2 kids,I can't afford to do this kind of work for 8 bucks an hour.

Sorry for the incredibly long post,but I've been gathering my thoughts for weeks now,so here they are.

If you were me,what would YOU do? Tommy D.

= :bawling:

I would HATE to be some kid trying to git a job right now! It is bad enough for the older and experienced workforce to try to find a job that will pay $8 right now. You kids don't stand a chance - unless you have something unique to bring to the table. I suggest you take that $8 job and at least have something - even if it aint much.

Can't say for sure in your area - but up here even taking classes in other fields really aint gunna be much help either as every third person in Ohio and Michigan is taking classes (on the States nickle) so that they can be re-educated for a new carreer. So soon you will have all these people graduating in whatever field all competing for the same three jobs. While I am just on a rant about waste - the point is - no-matter what you took you would have a hard time finding work right now. Machining is going to be the hardest IMO.

You sound like a kid that may doo well on his own. If you can get some experience under your belt and someone that needs work done that will give you a chance to make something on your own.


-------------------

I wish you good luck.
Ox
 

cross hair

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Location
Ohio
Why not take the $8.00 job and keep your Pizza Hut job as well? Work will just take the place of school so the hours should be close to the same. I worked two jobs for close to ten years when I was young, at one point I even had three jobs. Two in machine shops, one at a saw mill. You can never have enough experience or diversity in the machining trade. Take what you can get and keep looking for better has always been my philosophy.
 








 
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