Machining instructors and seasoned machinists input on text please.
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  1. #1
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    Default Machining instructors and seasoned machinists input on text please.

    I'm a machining instructor at a college, in addition to many other subjects, and a perpetual student (Never really quit taking classes over the last 15 years). The price of text books is outrageous, to the point where I refuse to make student's buy them, aside from the machinist's handbook. We are talking $500+ for USED books, multiplied by a lot of classes, it adds up to an unfair burden in my opinion. My initial solution was to use "How to Run a Lathe", but a small portion of the info is outdated, it is pretty inclusive to lathes, and there have been so many advancements in the field since then.
    So, my next solution was to buy 13 other machining text books, add my experience, and (no plagiarizing) write an all inclusive text book that takes the student from intro through CNC. It's been several years in the making and I am almost done. The following is the favor I ask, and some reasoning:

    1.) Are there any instructors out there that would be willing to proofread, offer up additional information to add to my material, recommend removal if necessary, etc.? I would not limit this to just other instructors, as I have a knack for teaching and can acknowledge there are soooo many machinists that are either just plain better than me, have different fields of expertise, more experience, or all the above. Credit would be given to any participants. I would like it continuously peer-reviewed to insure that it's accurate mainly, but also as inclusive as possible. I also notice a trend in books now that have massive amounts of filler material and huge words to make it sound more professional (and cost more), when things could be stated much more simply. I want to avoid that.

    2.) I have found success in circumventing some of the shortcomings I see (I'll admit, its just my opinion) in most machining programs. One is that you make cookie cutter projects that don't inspire interest, which makes it difficult to make someone passionate. So, after they do my cookie cutter make-your-own-tools projects to learn the basics, they design and make projects that they are passionate about. It's opened up a lot of creativity and it does a great job of teaching them to learn, rather than teaching them how to do something. It also makes tolerances and fitment rear it's head in a learning environment rather than later on in employment. Another is materials. It seems like most schools have 6061 and low carbon steel. I'm sure it's done in many industries, but it's a rare occasion that I machine mild steel....so I get a huge variety of materials from various Cro-mo alloys, PH and not, titanium, brass, bronze, aluminum, etc. I also have a very high attrition rate in the first semester because you will learn to machine with just a file, and probably not like it much. One of the first projects (to stress the importance of being able to finish a product without tools that you should have) after weeks of class time, I give them a simple blueprint and have every student write down 3-5 tools that they would use for the project based on the lectures. Those are the tools they cannot use for the project.

    So, for point number two, I guess what I'm looking for is critiquing or constructive criticism of my teaching style, or ways to better it.

    3) I can't copy and paste pictures from everywhere to illustrate the text without copyright infringement, nor do I have the ability to take pictures of everything I would like to illustrate, so it would be amazing if people were willing to take photos complimentary to the text, or allow the use of existing photos.

    4.) My main requirement is that it is a completely free download or resource by another means, to students not just at my school, but any school, and any aspiring machinist for that matter. That will probably weed out a lot of potential contributors, but I'm trying to draw talented students into the trade, not push them away. To illustrate the severity....I had over 400 high school students tour the labs over the course of a year, and only ONE know what machining was...ONE. Most thought it was me saying "mechanic" incorrectly.

    5.) As a free resource, it would have to be hosted somewhere, and I'm not sure the best way to do that.

    6.) Where is the best place here to have a continuous building of the material and discussion without it getting cluttered with off topic garbage and bickering, if the mods will even allow such a thing?

    Finally, thank you for reading the above, and please tell me if it's stupid. If enough people tell me it's a bad idea, I can accept being wrong. I live with 6 females, I'm used to being wrong.
    Thanks again guys.

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    I would be willing to assist you in any way I can. I am a retired shop owner ( as my wife says I failed retirement as I have a new shop ) and 40+ year hands on machinist, welder, millwright. All my experience has been in med to heavy machining with most being repair work.
    I don't have any production, or CNC experience so for the majority of current machinist jobs I don't have a lot of practical experience.
    You can PM and I can give you my number and email and we can discuss it further.

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    I think what you want to do is a great idea. I would also be happy to proofread it. Currently my money comes from more weld fab & blacksmithing but have been in and around machine shops and machines most of my life and use my mill and lathe to do my work, just no cnc here, buddies have them if needed. One of them is also a tech at the university's machine shop, I can try to see if he has time to review as well. Physics prof dad instilled a good logic brain.
    Send me a PM for more info

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    I am an instructor. Happy to share what I have and help, proofread, etc

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    Don't forget "Army training manuals" etc., which should be copyright friendly... should be at least.

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    In my 75 years I have seen the educational community go from being public service oriented to it's present state where everyone in is seems to be trying to make as much as they can. Back in the 60s I was surprised at the cost of many of the texts that I had to buy in college, but back then they were all under $100, many were only $15 or $20 if purchased used. Today, with all the government assistance, those in education seem to think they can charge what the student can afford PLUS several hundred dollars that some program or scholarship will provide. Milk it for all it is worth. Disgusting!

    To your numbered points:

    1. I am not an instructor, but I do have some instructional background in the Army Reserve where I served as a training officer for a number of years. I do write articles, several of which have been published, and am familiar with the challenges. I am a fan of simple, understandable language. I would be willing to proof read at least some of the chapters.

    2. I am not sure I can help here, but if anything occurs to me I would let you know.

    3. I am presently working on an article that needs a wide variety of photos. I have searched the internet and found that most of the good ones are only available with royalty payments. AND often these payments would NOT be to the original photographer, but rather to someone who "claims" to have the rights to them. I wonder. I have even had to purchase some items on E-Bay to assist in taking some of these photos but I can not afford to do that for all of them. I do have a number of photos and can take more. I would offer them for your use totally free, perhaps just credit for them. I am sure you could post your requirements here and I/we could post suggested photos. Then a cloud service, like Dropbox could be used to send the high quality originals.

    4. No comment.

    5. One way you may be able to host your work is with Dropbox. It is a free cloud service where large files can be uploaded. You can then get the link needed for anyone to download it. I have used it to transmit my articles to the editors and it seems to work well. I usually send high quality, originals of the photos along with the articles themselves. You can see one of my articles here:

    Dropbox - DroppedPartFinder.doc - Simplify your life

    Also you say you work at a university. Don't they have a web site and some people who maintain it? Wouldn't that be the perfectly logical place for it? Or is the university so profit oriented that they would not do such a thing for free use by everyone?

    6. Talk to the owners/moderators of the various BBs. Heck, the sponsor of the Home Shop Machinist BB is Village Press, a publishing house. They may even be interested in publishing a paper back version at a reasonable price. They have published books and pamphlets in this area before. You can go to their site and contact the moderator, George. He is also the editor for their magazines. Or, if you send me a private message I can give you his e-mail. I hesitate to post it here for all the normal reasons.

    The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop Magazine's BBS

    Of course, this BB also may be interested. It doesn't hurt to ask.

    This sounds like a noble undertaking and I would be happy to help in any way I can.

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    9finger, this is a great idea you have and I think it would go well. I'm impressed to see someone concerned about the high costs of education and in a position to do something about it. Good on you!

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    Whatís stupid about the project, in my opinion, is to try to display everything in detail. Iíd rather try to outlay the principles, for example what a lathe basically is. You can go even deeper by showing the geometry of work, workholding, and tool.

    Accordingly the various devices from vice to multi-axes CNC machinery

    A machinist ought to know the general outline of a lathe, of a horizontal and a vertical milling apparatus, of a surface grinder, a round grinding device, and that a machine is an energy converter. If you can show the difference between a conventional lathe with either the historical evolution from cord drive to belt drive or the modern concept of task applications and a CNC/direct drive ones, you have won a great deal. Not many machinists are aware of the torque a gear lathe can bring at low spindle speeds.

    Such points are important. Feeds and speeds for various metals and tools arenít necessary in my eyes. What a good reference book needs is a concise and correct technical language. We have battles over expressions in German you have no idea of. Schieblehre-Schublehre-MeŖschieber is an example, a catastrophy. MaulschlŁssel or GabelschlŁssel? Horror. Always glad to read a good English (I have a better passive language proficiency than active) I wish you success.

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    Why not show things in detail? If this is on line, not print, it can be organized to give a quick rundown on each machine and references to each more complex function. That is the beauty of hypertext. The student doesn't have to print the whole book and have to handle a cumbersome weight. He can find the general category and drill down to the particular operation. Also, it can be updated. After I typed that, I realized that what I was describing was a machining Wikipedia. Don't try to make A book. I'll bet you could get grant money and contributions to maintain such a service.

    My area is electronics, not really machining, although I do a fair amount. A section on machine shop power could be a good addition. If you want volunteers, go to the Transformers, Phase Converters, VFD forum. Like most of PM, the group mind there is a tremendous resource.

    Bill

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    There is some fantastic advice, and Iíll be getting with all of you.

    To the point of having the school IT people host it....itís a great idea, but I donít ever want it to be a conflict where it becomes the schoolís property or where other schools feel like they canít use it free. I want it to be completely free and remain so, but that might be the best way.


    My first thought was to put it in PDF format when itís final, and throw it on forums. Then it doesnít really disappear, but this is the only forum Iím on. Another thought was to maintain a website with a free download, or a combination of the above.

    I really appreciate you guys reading and responding. As I start wrapping this up Iíll start sending material out.


    Bill, I love the idea of discussion of machine shop power, even as part of a maintenance/setup section.

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    If you are okay with the whole process being open there are free tools and hosting available from the software development world.

    Git (revision control software) and GitHub (online service) for public hosting are a pretty powerful combination for collaborative development and distribution of digital content. It's all free of cost so long as the project is publicly visible.

    There's a little bit of a learning curve to using the tools, but they are designed from the ground up for this sort of thing.

    Happy to go into more detail if it would be useful, here or in PM.

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    I've had the occasion to write a few instructional documents (in the professional audio and video sphere) and have found basic concepts to be the key.

    Lay out what you need to do (adjust feedrate, for example), address why you need to do it (keep from breaking tools, increase productivity, etc.) and then follow up with specifics of how to do it on the machines you have. A well-designed piece of gear should be labeled well enough that an experienced user can adjust it without needing a manual, if they know what they need to accomplish. (Not always the case, of course.) If the machine's controls are not labeled well enough, then label them yourself. Then take pictures of your machines doing the projects you write up.

    Also, define every new term in a sidebar, right in the flow of the document. Each industry has its own jargon, and new things should be clarified right away.

    Good luck!

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    I applaud the OP for his desire to teach in whatever manner studemts are able to absorb. As someone who works and teaches in a quickly changing, information dense area, I'm am quite aware how difficult a task this is. The only thing I'd mildly disagree with the OP is the idea that a person (student or someone further along in life) shouldn't pay fairly for a textbook or a course. Information is valuable and most often I find free sources aren't as accurate, up to date, or as well organized. You get what you pay for, and I don't mind admitting I first learned that as a student more than thirty years ago. I have to ask: it seems like the OP would have put a lot of work into his task; should he not be compensated fairly?

    Lucky7

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    depends on what you are teaching. but my experience is many shops have no books in including machinery's handbook. if they have books its
    .
    1) the setup, operation and maintenance manuals that come with the machines
    2) catalogs (often include a lot of info besides tooling) usually in pdf on computer now
    3) CAD CAM software often comes with 1000's of pages on using it
    .
    both in electronic pdf format are easier to search. and most shops have work instructions in microsoft power point and or excel format. depends on whether more pictures are needed or more step by step instructions.
    .
    sure cnc books like from Peter Smid normally under $100. might be helpful for general purpose stuff but ultimately you use the manuals that come with the machines more. some subtle differences can be confusing and the machine manuals are better usually
    .
    my experience better to teach how to use electronic versions often might have over 5000 pages of info and you need to be able to search and or look stuff up. and need to be able to use Microsoft Office programs like Powerpoint and Excel to read and to create work instructions.
    .
    some shops have 1000's of CAGs or corrective action guidelines. if cnc machine stuck or malfunctioning its a page or 2 of step by step instructions to check stuff to get going again. even if info is in the 2000 pages of manuals that came with the machine often the CAG has some addition info or in more detail. hard to describe.
    .
    obviously many general purpose books might not have detail info on a cnc machines grid shift and center of index alignment calibration. many general purpose books might actually just confuse a person from the slight differences in machines.
    .
    just saying ask 100 machinist how many and how often they use books in the shop other than the machines manuals and vendor catalogs. might find they dont use any books in the shop

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    In my 75 years I have seen the educational community go from being public service oriented to it's present state where everyone in is seems to be trying to make as much as they can. Back in the 60s I was surprised at the cost of many of the texts that I had to buy in college, but back then they were all under $100, many were only $15 or $20 if purchased used. Today, with all the government assistance, those in education seem to think they can charge what the student can afford PLUS several hundred dollars that some program or scholarship will provide. Milk it for all it is worth. Disgusting!
    As a university professor and administrator, I'm afraid that I have to disagree with the assertion that everyone or all institutions are profit-driven. I am part of a university that works hard to keep costs as low as possible. But "as low as possible" has changed significantly over the years due to regulation - yes, surprise, surprise, it hits educators too.

    And I understand why. Most of the regulation (which generally comes in the form of accreditation requirements) comes in response to the excessive actions of for-profit institutions. These are notorious in higher education for their pattern of luring students in with half-baked promises, including how affordable they are - affordable because of all these wonderful federal programs, including especially easy-to-get student loans - and then cheerfully waving good-bye to a student who washes out or who graduates with a "degree" that is basically worthless, along with a mountain of debt.

    Naturally and properly, the government objects to having its grant money and student debt used to finance less-than-quality programs, so they increase the accreditation requirements ... which increases the costs for everyone, because it takes time, a LOT of time, to accommodate all of those requirements. We have had to add a lot of administrative staff just to keep up with it all - staff that costs money, but does not directly serve the primary purpose of teaching students.

    Meanwhile, there are indeed textbook companies - I'm looking at you, Pearson - which charge astronomical rates for each textbook. The argument is that relatively few textbooks are sold (compared to a novel on the best-seller list), so the costs are high. I have my doubts that it actually costs several hundred dollars to produce a single textbook, especially when I know how little the actual author gets. Believe me, no professor gets rich from textbook sales; only the companies that provide textbooks do that. In my program, we are able to and work hard to keep the textbook costs down for students, but some disciplines have little choice but to use the $300+ "standard" textbook.

    And while there are some universities (oddly, the ones the media tends to focus on) in which professors and administrators receive quite high salaries, there are hundreds of universities, like my own, where the pay scale is very modest. No one goes into teaching for the money, at least not at a reputable, non-profit university; it is out of a sense of calling and service.

    Okay, rant over ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9finger View Post
    It seems like most schools have 6061 and low carbon steel. I'm sure it's done in many industries, but it's a rare occasion that I machine mild steel....so I get a huge variety of materials from various Cro-mo alloys, PH and not, titanium, brass, bronze, aluminum, etc. I also have a very high attrition rate in the first semester because you will learn to machine with just a file, and probably not like it much.
    If you are teaching students to grind their own HSS turning tools—and there's no better way to learn about clearance angles—then don't make them struggle with turning 4140 or 17-4 (or, God forbid, titanium). That is overly ambitious and they will just be discouraged—and rightly so. If you must start them on steel, give them 12L14 if anything. Then they'll at least be able to see the effect of speed vs. feedrate and see how different combinations make the chips break.

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    To be clear, they donít use exotic materials in beginner classes, nor carbide. They do grind their own HSS and sharpen a lot of drills though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    If you are teaching students to grind their own HSS turning tools—and there's no better way to learn about clearance angles—then don't make them struggle with turning 4140 or 17-4 (or, God forbid, titanium). That is overly ambitious and they will just be discouraged—and rightly so. If you must start them on steel, give them 12L14 if anything. Then they'll at least be able to see the effect of speed vs. feedrate and see how different combinations make the chips break.

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    I would also suggest GitHub as a long-term repository for the final document. Long term, cheap storage with access for anyone.

    If you want help or advice on having it hosted somewhere, I'm happy to lend a hand. It sounds like you have more than enough proof readers, but if you find you need more I'm happy to help with that too.

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    most modern shops use inserts and no hand grinding is ever done other than for deburring. even drill bits, if using a cnc where drill tip angles and clearance and rake are expected to tight tolerances nobody hand grinds anymore
    .
    with coated inserts and advanced chip breakers built in literally most machining is done over 200% faster and often done to mirror like finish to extremely tight tolerances. not unheard of to be holding .0001" to .0003" tolerances
    .
    just saying might want to teach 21st century machining not 19th century machining. if you want to review catalog data and different tool edges and coatings for various materials and feeds and speed and horsepower calculations. and most of that is free info and calculation done on a computer. microsoft excel is like a programmable calculator where formula is saved. you change input data like dia or sfpm and press enter and it recalculates in a millisecond
    .
    most shops require being able to use Microsoft office programs like Powerpoint and Excel. it is after all the 21st century

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    What you are talking about is an Open Education Resource and there is a large community and funding to support such development (at least in Oregon, where I teach), just not that much in the area of Machine Tool Technologies.

    I'd recommend taking a look at the OER Commons as well as doing a web search on OER and Open Education Resources.

    Wisc-Online has a lot of material that can be used to supplement your classes. It does not have a single comprehensive text but rather a large number of interactive activities and tutorials on the use of specific tools and techniques. While they are of varying quality some of them are pretty good. I have assigned them to reinforce concepts that I cover in class as well as used them during lecture.

    In our program we have a single text book that we use for all of our manual machining and inspection courses. We also have them buy the Machinery's Handbook. Other than that we use handouts and online activities and exercises. All in, they probably end up spending around $200 on texts over the 2 year course if they buy new. They probably spend as much or more in their other "non-core" classes if they are getting the Associates Degree.

    Having a textbook in paper form is useful as it is easy to refer to in class as well as in the shop. When a student is having trouble visualizing such things as internal threading setups, I can ask them to pull out their textbook, find the page on internal threading, look at the diagrams and direct them to highlight key concepts. Plus the reality is that some of our students do not have access to a computer at home.

    All that being said I completely support your idea of creating an Open Educational Machining Resource. My main problem with our textbooks is that they get out of date so quickly and take forever to have mistakes fixed. I have often thought that a good way to create a good educational resource would be to create a Machine Tool Educational Wiki (think Wikipedia).

    While taking a bit of effort to set up, it would reduce the overhead of the editing process, while still giving the author primary creative control. If you were to release your text as a Wiki and give editing access to those with the skills and interest to add content or make edits then all you would have to do is approve their submissions to add them to the resource. It would also maintain a revision history with comments explaining the revisions.

    Teryk


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