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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Thank you for your service.
    ME would be a good idea.
    Perhaps a part time job in a machine shop during this new adventure?
    Then get a full time job and go for a MBA part time.
    Bob
    Thank you for the support Sir. Means alot. And it means a lot to me that you all are so willing to answer all my newbie questions with such thought and in depth information. Its everything I needed to hear.

    I've started reading a college textbook about machining. The first chapter is all about measuring, measurements, measuring devices. Which I cant believe theres thousand different ways to measure and surprisingly iam fascinated by it haha...I cant remember what the name of the book is right now so when I get home on Monday I'll let you all know..

    I've been learning how to use micrometer, machinist levels etc. I bought a SB 9" lathe a month ago and will be teaching myself how to use that as well...

    I've been nerding out on a ton of youtube videos as well lol..

    Speaking of pay scale. What is the usual pay scale for a machinist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ndfan6464 View Post
    Thank you for the support Sir. Means alot. And it means a lot to me that you all are so willing to answer all my newbie questions with such thought and in depth information. Its everything I needed to hear.

    I've started reading a college textbook about machining. The first chapter is all about measuring, measurements, measuring devices. Which I cant believe theres thousand different ways to measure and surprisingly iam fascinated by it haha...I cant remember what the name of the book is right now so when I get home on Monday I'll let you all know..

    I've been learning how to use micrometer, machinist levels etc. I bought a SB 9" lathe a month ago and will be teaching myself how to use that as well...

    I've been nerding out on a ton of youtube videos as well lol..

    Speaking of pay scale. What is the usual pay scale for a machinist?
    Be careful with that lathe! Please do some reading before trying to teach yourself

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    As far as the engineering goes, you dont need an insane IQ to make it if you have a good work ethic.

    You could also look at mechanical engineering technology, it's less theoretical and you would probably have a better background to go into the manufacturing world than what you would get with the traditional version. If you have a good community college, a 2yr program might be a good option to test the waters if you end up having to pay your own way. Just make sure their credits 100% transfer to an accredited 4yr university in case you want to stick with it.

    Almost all engineering jobs are going to be at a desk. There are some field and maintenance jobs that get you out moving around more.

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    Coming from the - if I knew then what I know now camp.

    If you have GI bill benefits, use them to get at least an AA degree. There is the rare unicorn landing a job where you get to do and learn all that you want and get well compensated. On average, especially at your age you will hit the glass ceiling where your salary is capped because you don't have a diploma - thats a simple fact.

    Find a school that has an SAE chapter and is working on a project - your skills will be invaluable right at the start, your military bearing and veteran status will likely have offers in writing before you graduate - go for a ME if it suits you. This time is not a waste, it is an acceleration. Think of it as a catapult, you will feel like your standing still but suddenly you're ahead. Again your military service, age, now a diploma. Trust me on this.

    Student Events - Events - Student Events

    I was involved in the 1990 Sunrayce, look at the people in the picture on the SAE website. I guarantee 98% had job offers before graduation. I was simply a volunteer an had been approached by GMs R&D people just by them observing our team - no diploma, no offer. Still it lead to connections that landed me in an series of excellent opportunities - no regrets. I earn an above average wage for a 'machinist' but the no diploma is a 25k ceiling for me.

    Don't be me.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Be careful with that lathe! Please do some reading before trying to teach yourself
    Oh trust me I will be and have been. I take machines very seriously. My whole shop is fully of dangerous machinery.

  6. Likes Mike1974 liked this post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hillside Fab View Post
    As far as the engineering goes, you dont need an insane IQ to make it if you have a good work ethic.

    You could also look at mechanical engineering technology, it's less theoretical and you would probably have a better background to go into the manufacturing world than what you would get with the traditional version. If you have a good community college, a 2yr program might be a good option to test the waters if you end up having to pay your own way. Just make sure their credits 100% transfer to an accredited 4yr university in case you want to stick with it.

    Almost all engineering jobs are going to be at a desk. There are some field and maintenance jobs that get you out moving around more.
    I'll look into the engineering technology. Sounds interesting. When I started out looking into getting into this work I didnt have a clue that there were so many different avenues to go when it comes to engineering...

    My main goal is to find a job as a machinist or engineering that is very low stress. Now not saying what you guys do isnt stressful. By all means I am sure it can be. But in the military I swear its every day and then deployment stress... so iam ready to just get into a job where I focus on the machine, the part(s) and the end goal...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BGL View Post
    Coming from the - if I knew then what I know now camp.

    If you have GI bill benefits, use them to get at least an AA degree. There is the rare unicorn landing a job where you get to do and learn all that you want and get well compensated. On average, especially at your age you will hit the glass ceiling where your salary is capped because you don't have a diploma - thats a simple fact.

    Find a school that has an SAE chapter and is working on a project - your skills will be invaluable right at the start, your military bearing and veteran status will likely have offers in writing before you graduate - go for a ME if it suits you. This time is not a waste, it is an acceleration. Think of it as a catapult, you will feel like your standing still but suddenly you're ahead. Again your military service, age, now a diploma. Trust me on this.

    Student Events - Events - Student Events

    I was involved in the 1990 Sunrayce, look at the people in the picture on the SAE website. I guarantee 98% had job offers before graduation. I was simply a volunteer an had been approached by GMs R&D people just by them observing our team - no diploma, no offer. Still it lead to connections that landed me in an series of excellent opportunities - no regrets. I earn an above average wage for a 'machinist' but the no diploma is a 25k ceiling for me.

    Don't be me.
    Thank you for the link and I'll have a look into as well. I wouldnt knock down or make little of what you do our where your at Sir. It's a huge accomplishment to be doing what you do no matter the pay. Sure we all could find a way to make a ton more but money isnt everything. I dont have it and yeah I still say it.

    You have a job that's highly respected, you have to be very intelligent to do it, not everyone can do your job and our world depends on people like you to keep the engine running. So yeah I would be you in a heart beat. I admire you and everyone here.

    You all are professionals with a professional job. Its something to hold your head up high about. And I get what your saying, strive to a higher degree. But in the long run, if I cant get that degree I would mirror anyone of you in second and model your path to success...

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BGL View Post
    Coming from the - if I knew then what I know now camp.

    If you have GI bill benefits, use them to get at least an AA degree. There is the rare unicorn landing a job where you get to do and learn all that you want and get well compensated. On average, especially at your age you will hit the glass ceiling where your salary is capped because you don't have a diploma - thats a simple fact.

    Find a school that has an SAE chapter and is working on a project - your skills will be invaluable right at the start, your military bearing and veteran status will likely have offers in writing before you graduate - go for a ME if it suits you. This time is not a waste, it is an acceleration. Think of it as a catapult, you will feel like your standing still but suddenly you're ahead. Again your military service, age, now a diploma. Trust me on this.

    Student Events - Events - Student Events

    I was involved in the 1990 Sunrayce, look at the people in the picture on the SAE website. I guarantee 98% had job offers before graduation. I was simply a volunteer an had been approached by GMs R&D people just by them observing our team - no diploma, no offer. Still it lead to connections that landed me in an series of excellent opportunities - no regrets. I earn an above average wage for a 'machinist' but the no diploma is a 25k ceiling for me.

    Don't be me.
    25K? Per year? Is that a typo??

  10. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ndfan6464 View Post
    Thank you for the support Sir. Means alot. And it means a lot to me that you all are so willing to answer all my newbie questions with such thought and in depth information. Its everything I needed to hear.

    I've started reading a college textbook about machining. The first chapter is all about measuring, measurements, measuring devices. Which I cant believe theres thousand different ways to measure and surprisingly iam fascinated by it haha...I cant remember what the name of the book is right now so when I get home on Monday I'll let you all know..

    I've been learning how to use micrometer, machinist levels etc. I bought a SB 9" lathe a month ago and will be teaching myself how to use that as well...

    I've been nerding out on a ton of youtube videos as well lol..

    Speaking of pay scale. What is the usual pay scale for a machinist?
    Year or two out of school I would expect your base pay to be $30K-$40k. More if overtime is available. The sky is the limit after that. It's uncommon but there's 6 figure machinists and everything in between.

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    Pay varies.
    Entry level machinist with some trade school is 15-20 per hour here so inline with the above.
    Entry level engineer is 20-30 per hour.
    +100,000 per year machinist like to talk but are rare exceptions and this usually done with a lot of overtime.
    I knew a guy that made 120,000 a year as a tool crib attendant. He worked doubles every day and any weekends when he could get it. (oh Sunday double time)
    This same level of take home is not easy to get to as ME either since different rules for overtime pay. 50 may be the base and OT at straight. BTDT.
    A ME with work experience and then later a MBA, now this six is base pay but it takes a lot of time and effort to get there.
    Bob

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    Definitely not making millions as a machinist now will I? Haha... but hey a job is a job right and money isnt everything...

    I guess the next big question is, do you all either love or enjoy your jobs still after years of doing it or Is it a job that you onces loved and then grew to now were its lost its luster and excitement?

    That's kind of how it got with build custom motorcycles for people...started as a hobby making a few bucks here and there. Then it grew into a job which I loved for a year or two and then I dont know, it just lost it's fun.. I am hoping being in your shoes one day that it doesnt happen. That it stays interesting making new stuff. And I know theres going to be days were its not..

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    I suggest ME as well. Use that GI bill. Part time machine shop job sounds like a great idea as well.

    I don't know about low stress though.

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    Skip to last two comments if needed.

    To the Op. I’m ex mil as well so here’s my backbrief (AAR). I read mixed things in your post(s). I’m not trying to dissuade but my thoughts looking at reality is at 42, or even 32, I couldn’t imagine the difficulty in adapting to college studies for the hard engineering programs like ME. I assume you know this stuff ain’t spoon fed and much is sink or swim. The difficulty would have to be Olympic for the hard degree. I’m not trying to doubt your talents but maybe the other programs like industrial engineering or engineering tech (never heard of it but looking it up a BS in it is much easier)? ME is tough enough for most highest achieving SAT math HS graduates who’ve just taken calculus their senior year, whose minds are sponges and don’t know better about the challenges (nor likely have any real life responsibilities), to make a smooth transition. Unless you’re truly academic book smart in the maths, mechanical engineering will be a a high-level daily fight just to comprehend theory, formulas, and keep up.

    There are many Mech Engr concentrations (mech systems, aero ..) - your college of choice/region will likely dictate and that concentration could dictate chances of getting jobs within the industry you desire. Takes a good 4-5 yrs full time schooling w super-focused everyday discipline and if you're not 100% on top every single day it'd be tough to make it plus pass the professional licensing. I was an excellent math student, clocked out a BS in ME in four years, passed the FIT, but it was still exceedingly difficult for me. Three years out from my degree without practicing and I couldn’t remember much more than counting fingers and toes. It’d have taken me a long time to get to the point thereafter where I could go on to a masters program or get work and up to snuff for a PE license. A look at my mech vibrations, finite element analysis, heat transfer and thermo books is dizzying. The scholastics are truly perishable. I’m just repeating you really need to be ready for the academics, there are no half or 75% commitments, and unless you use it - it’s gone!!

    This said, an ME degree alone on your resume can open up many opportunities otherwise closed. A large steel co. I worked at would only interview and hire hard engineer degreed folk for ANY management/salaried positions. That included something as basic as working in the slab mill yard managing the shifts taking on incoming steel, inventory, pantograph cutting, and moving em to the hot roll mill! An aerospace, electrical or mechanical engineering degree was a requirement to work in this steel co. There were some non engineers who rose through the ranks, though they were surviving legacy employees from the 70’s/80's. So an ME degree might wholly open up other things to do if you don't wish to just work at what might be one current picture at a manufacturing facility making widgets. The exposure in college to outside companies and programs will help broaden your thoughts as to what’s the best fit for you.

    Oh yes, and on others’ comments - overtime seems to be the best way to boost salary. I remember working 80+ hr weeks, six weeks straight with one weekend off, months over months, to make great money. And that was in management. And no, I certainly didn’t have a family much less a girlfriend at the time.

    About low stress: The private workplace’ equal focus on quality and profitability was an adjustment and different in the ways of a career in military life. I was somewhat in culture shock, both in later school and working at a mill. And it didn’t matter if you were working at the factory/mill for three years or 13 years, if youre a manager and had a stint of bad production/numbers/losses you’re gone and looking for work elsewhere. I left the steel industry. I couldn’t see how people made it 30 years there in management with their heart health intact. So my limited experience with my ME degree taking me to steel making was actually quite hi stress.

    Im certain your career change will be a blessing and work for you. Definitely pursue any education quickly in your chosen field and get fast experience. Your age will help with the maturity and seriousness, and you have to always answer with your enthusiasm for being available and open to grow and lead.

    Next to last comment - hell, a first question I’d ask you if we had beer - being ex mil with a full career but this interest, why not go to Columbia and visit FN-Herstal and ask for a tour, ask to chat with some HR or other folk, search their website for openings employment, and see if you can get something steady as employment at such a large company. Get a steady paycheck first with some benefits and with time grow off-line in the machinist trade or in their training programs for other jobs within their system.

    Last comment - look how well it turned out for Mad Dad here in the other post in this forum finding work with jet engines at age 55 coming off a Machinist Program at a school in Carlsbad, himself!!! You’d better get a hold of him ASAP!
    Last edited by rrrgcy; 12-31-2020 at 09:40 PM.

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    @rrrgcy, thank you for taking the time for writing that all up. It adds alot to what everyone else has for advice and really opens up my eyes to how little I know of what's out there in this line of work and the many man hours it took you all to be come very successful. You mentioned in the first sentence that " I read mixed things in your post(s)". May I ask that you expand on this? Last thing I want to do is give out mix messages or maybe I can expand on my replies..

    As far as the ME degrees goes, while it sounds like it would be something I know I would love to do, but I'd have to be honest with myself and I dont think I would have the brains for it. Math was never my strongest but it is something I continue to work on even at 42 years of age. I was in a different line when the Lord was handing out computer powered brains..haha...

    I guess if I was being truly real with myself I just want to build and create something. I dont need to be the boss, supervisor, lead foreman etc. I've had those roles in construction and now in the service. As said before it comes with a lot of added stress and like @rrgcy said, it's a cut throat business in the manufacturing industry. So put me on the online with the "grunts" and just let me make something.

    It is really really inspiring to hear all your stories and what it took to get there. I hope I can be a sliver of everyone's success one day. Truly you all are amazing and our country couldn't run without you all. So thank you..

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    I'm a couple years younger than you, but I started a manufacturing business after my 4 year enlistment was up.

    I struggle to remember exactly what it was like, but I remember the transition to civilian life taking a little bit. Like actually having to think and make my own choices about everything. The way the military managed your time and your responsibilities for you makes it feel so strange when you have that freedom back.

    I've stayed good friends with someone I served with for a couple years. He got out same time I did, but he went to work as a merchant marine to support his family and changed jobs every few years until he decided the traveling wasn't worth the money anymore. He found a job he liked in the maintenance department of a big stamping company. With what he learned working there for 5 years or so he spun off his own business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ H View Post
    Also, I feel like you think getting a job at a shop is difficult. It's quite the opposite. Shops are desperate for help and there's not enough talent to go around. What ends up happening is we hire people with little or no experience but a good attitude (like you seem to have)and train them.
    EXACTLY!

    Relocate to AZ. I will pay you to learn as much as you want to know.

    The jist of that (if you read betwixt the lines): don't apply at large shops/corporations. Get in to small shops.
    One to 10 man shops is where you will learn. Sometimes more 20? 30? But, smaller will be better. Large shops will get you up to task on one particular responsibility.
    And, there you will remain because that is where you have the most value to them. There are exceptions. But, you will get the best training in smaller shops.

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    but hey a job is a job right and money isnt everything..


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