Having a tough time in my machine principles class
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  1. #1
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    Default Having a tough time in my machine principles class

    Having a tough time and getting a bit discouraged. I have never worked in a machine shop but am interested in learning the trade. I currently work in a factory that manufacturers amorphous cores so I really have zero background in machining. I feel like a lot of my classmates are picking up on things faster than me, I know at least some of them work in the trade. I keep forgetting what different tools are called, today I messed up on my project for the second time and drilled one of the holes too big because I was reading the diameter for the wrong hole in the blueprint, so I couldn't thread it which means next week I have to make a new hole. I had basically forgotten how to use the drill press (in my defense it's only my 2nd time using) has anyone else struggled this much learning the trade? Any advice?

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    First off, some friendly advice - consider first impressions and how you introduce yourself to people. Perhaps choosing a handle of "Soviet Spy" isn't the best idea...

    Two, if you're still in public school, check into whatever they offer for learning issues assessment. Don't wait to find out if you have ADD, visual difficulties such as dyslexia, or any other issue that makes learning more difficult for you. Please do this, it will repay you in your life travels a thousand fold.

    Three, take home drawings and the like (with permission) and study them on your own time. Learn to focus-in on the critical features and how to avoid the easy mistakes that make a machinist's life miserable.*

    [*Like becoming a machinist**]

    [**I kid]

    Four, check out the billions of Youtube videos on machining. Immerse yourself in the more technical ones, and read the comments to help spot tips or errors that may have been presented in the video content. Fellow machinists are quick to ridicule, I mean help, when a error is made or something can be done better.

    Five, check out the school library for books on machining and blueprint reading.

    Six, ask your instructors for extra help. Even the most burned-out teacher will generally try to help a student that recognizes they need extra instruction to become successful.

    Best of luck to you!

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    If you have no experience.. Then YES, at first, it is a shit load to learn...

    If you F'd up your project twice.. SLOW DOWN!!! Machining isn't a speed contest, actually
    it is, but not when you are learning. DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS... Double check, Triple
    check, Quadruple check, Quintuple check, Sextuple check.. SLOW DOWN..

    I still fuck stuff up, and some of it is so stupid.. But it all boils down to details.

    and drilled one of the holes too big because I was reading the diameter for the wrong hole in the blueprint,
    Lets start here... Be honest.. WHY did you fuck that up???? I bet you didn't double check...

    Here's my last major F'up.. I caught it last part, last operation.. I had to buy more material and start from
    scratch... The scrap parts sitting on the bench pissed me off, and they were sitting in the pattern of
    a chicken foot, so I fired up the welder and blew off some steam.. Everything from the neck down is
    scrap parts.... And it was a stupid screw up, I didn't double check..




    Guy I worked with had a "system" for running parts.. He called it "Take 2"... After the
    vise was tightened, or the part was in the chuck or whatever.. He would "Take 2" seconds
    and run through a quick checklist in his head.. vise tight, up against stop, CORRECT SIZE DRILL, etc....
    If there is any question, double check it... I use his "system" all the time, and I still manage to
    screw stuff up on occasion..

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    Quote Originally Posted by sovietspy47 View Post
    Having a tough time and getting a bit discouraged. I have never worked in a machine shop but am interested in learning the trade. I currently work in a factory that manufacturers amorphous cores so I really have zero background in machining. I feel like a lot of my classmates are picking up on things faster than me, I know at least some of them work in the trade. I keep forgetting what different tools are called, today I messed up on my project for the second time and drilled one of the holes too big because I was reading the diameter for the wrong hole in the blueprint, so I couldn't thread it which means next week I have to make a new hole. I had basically forgotten how to use the drill press (in my defense it's only my 2nd time using) has anyone else struggled this much learning the trade? Any advice?
    After 30 years in the trade, I still learn something new every day....give yourself time.

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    Wrong sized hole? Heck I guess we all have done that. The honest ones will admit it. I certainly have.

    Just keep at it and it will come to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    Wrong sized hole? Heck I guess we all have done that. The honest ones will admit it. I certainly have...
    I never consider it to be a real mistake if I make the hole too small. Too big is a different story...

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    Dont panic its not a race your aiming to be the best as you can be and it often clicks into the brain after after practice/practice/practice theres loads of ways of learning things most made up by the individual themselfs to suit what they are learning at a particular time.I still myself have a routine a bit like what Bobw is suggesting say a block of metal is going in vise and is faced with a milling cutter then center drilled -Drilled and reamed so before I press the start or engage the feed I go thro my routine job down of parallels/check Vise tightened check. Face mill in check- Speed check-Feed check-Go- This is repeated as you change tools.Your job with oversize hole you could have written yourself a operation sequence job sheet say Tool 1 centerdrill and the posistion/depth speed feed.Tool-2 tapping drill size.T-3 tapping drill or boring tool.Before you start glance at your hand written tooling sheet and check all your tools roughly with a vernier.Or mark the first one off with marking blue.The things your trying to learn say "G" codes its always nice if you can rattle them off from memory I cut bits of paper and stuck the ones i couldnt recall to the doors/walls in house so that I passed them on daily basis untill I could recall them all the more times you see something the more likely it will stick in your brain,dont worry if someone is picking things up faster than you just practice practice and get yourself a routine and has been said ask your instructor/teacher for help he wont mind he,s seen it all before.The main thing is not to worry it will come and you dont get any medals at the end of your training for being the quickest learner Slow learners often retain information longer than the hares.Get your self a tooling catalogue or as many as you can get call into a retailer he will give you as many as he has got for free or get them from the internet then read them at home at your leisure when you have time you soon will remember what tools are called-Milling tipped tools.Drills and reamers/taps any tool you can think of they sell it.
    Most will be in one catalogue that they will send or give for free

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    I don't think you'll find a time served guy on here that won't admit to having a tough time at first. I know I did. It's a tough game. Once or twice I thought of throwing the towel in but something kept me going on. There seemed such a lot to learn in a short time and the consequences of getting things wrong can be serious.

    It is what it is I'm afraid. Like most challenges in life taking it one day at a time helps.

    Best of luck with it, Tyrone.

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    Make your own note book and draw simple sketches of of tools and machining techniques.. Draw a screw thread with labeling the parts. Draw a 3/8-16 thread first by dividing 1" by 16, then showing the straight in line down it's 60* V center and a side at 60*.. Bob said "SLoW DOwN," Do That.
    What is your project? do you have manual machines such as lathe ,mill surface grinder and drill press? CNC machines?
    A vise is a good project.

    *Good to not look away if some one comes to talk..but take hands away from the job and turn off machine. Good habit for the whole shop is "Don't talk and machine" at the same time. And think about "Two Hand Safety" (where both hands are at all times).

    *Be serious, thoughtful and polite in any shop, with that you will learn more, get more respect, and better jobs.
    And "careful" will save your fingers,perhaps your life.

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    I wouldn't really get all bent over it. We've all been there done that. The best thing to do is kick yourself in the ass, learn from the mistake and move on. Don't ever assume that a tool (drill, reamer, tap etc. is as advertised in a marked location). Always measure it. The most important thing is to work safe. These machines and cutting tools could give two shits about human flesh.

    The good news is that you aren't programming a CNC yet ; ). I have rapid drilled, turned and milled (the rapid turn actually looked like threads lol). Good ole' CNC, trying it's lil' heart out to do EXACTLY what you asked it to do. Good times!

    Best of luck!

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    Insert mold base into mill. Indicate in and teach work piece position to the machine. Post my roughing & semi finishing tool paths and send to the mill all looks good ( got pulled away here for ten minutes or so)come back hit cycle start all looks and sounds good. Come back 1-1/2 hours later and the semi finish too did nothing!! Humm oh crap roughed with a 5/8 end mill and I programmed for a 1/2 end mill! 41 years here and sometimes I still do stupid shit....

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    My stepson was in the same spot you are a year two years ago. No real experience no background ect.Kind of struck me odd he wanted to do it. Started going to class and had all the same troubles. I tried all I could before and after he started by showing him the most basic stuff. Measuring with micrometers . The correct way to write the numbers down( he would forget the decimal and the " or mm ) I kept telling him the smallest of detail really mattered now. The thing that I kept telling him was "drown yourself in it" . Gett a catalog from grainger MSC whoever and go over it everyday and start picking up on tool names. Try to understand the different types of materials used in different bits. Look at the different codes for inserts. Whatch you tube . I was watching Abom 79 years before he started this. After he started I bought some machines and picked it up very quickly because of it. I am a equipment mechanic so working with my hands and some of the same things put me way ahead of him right off the bat. I also drowned my self in it and learned something everyday whether it was reading whatching or doing. He ended up starting over again and did so much better the second time. Top of his class and all As. The basics were the building blocks for everything else. I remember Saying "learn the most basic things so you can concentrate on the big stuff".
    Start trying to memorize the decimal chart down to 1/4s at first. Then down to 8ths. Get a micrometer and turn it to a random setting read it and check it with a digital caliper. I used to set 8 out and would double check him when I got home each day.Find other books on the subject. they are all wrote different and one might make more sense.
    Since you two were insuch similar situations feels free to reach out to me and ill forward you to him and see if he can tell you what got him on track.
    Almost forgot I go over the practical machinist posts everyday and read about problems and solutions on here. Such a wealth of knowledge.There is already 3 that have posted to this that I recognize instantly as very helpful and down to earth. Bob Milland and Tyrone. I don't remember the others but sure they have plenty to share themselves.

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    "All you got to do is put your mind to it.
    Knuckle down, Buckle down, Do it, Do it, Do it...."

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    cliché terms.
    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
    Fast is fine, accuracy is final.

    keep at it bud. you have a lot of mistakes in your future if you want this trade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sovietspy47 View Post
    Having a tough time and getting a bit discouraged. I have never worked in a machine shop but am interested in learning the trade. I currently work in a factory that manufacturers amorphous cores so I really have zero background in machining. I feel like a lot of my classmates are picking up on things faster than me, I know at least some of them work in the trade. I keep forgetting what different tools are called, today I messed up on my project for the second time and drilled one of the holes too big because I was reading the diameter for the wrong hole in the blueprint, so I couldn't thread it which means next week I have to make a new hole. I had basically forgotten how to use the drill press (in my defense it's only my 2nd time using) has anyone else struggled this much learning the trade? Any advice?
    Heli-coil it and call it a bonus feature

    Like everyone else said take your time and double check yourself.

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    Lots of great advice!

    Here is one that is a bit different but also works for some.

    We learn a lot when we teach others as they ask questions that our brain does due to auto-pilot.

    What you can do is shift gears to one where you are teaching someone else to do the task.

    In this case the "street you" is teaching the "student you" o drill a hole.

    So look at the print and determine how it should be done then question yourself about the setup and tooling.

    For things like drilling holes have a drill guide plate, the thing with all of the holes for sizing drill bits, and check each bit as you place it in the machine.

    And check it against the print.

    To keep focus make extra copy of print and circle the feature you are working on and make circles or checks on things like bit sizes after you confirm them with guide or a micrometer.

    Use a number on your checks and cut up as you go.

    When the feature is complete then do your QC to confirm it matches then cross it off and circle next.

    This will help you develop focus as well as order of operations.

    The numbering will help you figure out what worked well or not so you can modify as you learn.

    Everyone learns things differently so have a notebook and pencil to take notes of what works and what does not.

    When you make a mistake review your setup notes to determine what you missed and address how you missed it.

    Folks say..."do not sweat the little things" but it is the little things that bite the most...

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337Z using Tapatalk

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    You are going to screw up, lots. It's part of learning the trade. There's a lot of good info here. One thing to add is to make sure you take notes. Make sure your notes are detailed enough so that you understand what it means when you look at them a month later. This will help you a lot. Another thing that helps is making sure you are organized. If you are organized in the shop and keep your notes organized this will help you be able to find answers to your questions quicker.

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    One thing I find handy when I'm learning a new tool or machine is having the print at 1:1 scale. This makes it very easy to see if something's off.

    If you're learning on a CNC, even a baby CNC like a Prototrak or an Acurite, I often shift everything up in Z. I put the part in the vise like normal, and the tool goes through it's motions, but it's a few inches above the part so I can see how it looks before actually cutting metal.

    An example from last month of both of these: I was using a canned mill cycle that I hadn't used before. This was in 2D mode, so the CNC handled XY and I controlled Z (for drilling) manually. I wasn't sure if I programmed it correctly, so I laid the 1:1 scale drawing on top of the part and ran the cycle. I could easily see whether the drill bit lined up with where the holes were supposed to be.

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    I wish I had you guys around when I started my apprenticeship 42 yrs. ago. My first year I was a bit overwhelmed in the shop. Just trying to keep my hands where they didn't belong was paramount. I remember once when doing production on a automatic gun drill machine I failed to put the drill bushing up against the work piece, had the machine cover open and then flipped "the lever". I was showered with sulphur based cutting oil at 200 psi. I only did that once...

    Retired now, have all my fingers. I can look back at that "experiment/experience" and laugh. Lots of good advice here. Keep at it and the best of luck to you.

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    I am the most absent minded, worst memory person I know. Fortunately I'm very stubborn too and I keep trying. Let me give you an example. I've lived in the same house for 17 years and I still cannot keep track of which light switch operates which light or which direction is on or off. (I have some switches with three to six levers)

    It's a detail oriented trade. Maybe it's not for you? If you love it enough you can find a way.
    Time and getting familiar with all the equipment will make it much easier. General familiarity will allow you the concentration to focus on the important stuff rather than trying to keep it all in your head.

    A notebook helps me. I draw pictures and flow charts in my notebook. usually the act of writing, especially drawing it in the notebook is enough to make me not need to referring to it again. It's a way of learning that helps people who can't just read or be told and remember.

    I should go draw my light switches and map them all out.

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