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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Hi Higgins909:
    There are two things that strike me immediately when I read through your original post:
    The first thing is that you are putting yourself (or being put) under enormous pressure to deal with something you're not very good at yet.

    This is toxic...if half your brain is panicking you cannot possibly think clearly enough to do this kind of work, and that is dangerous as Hell, for you, for your co-workers, for the machines and for the job.
    This needs to stop...in your current state you're a menace, and you shouldn't be around machines that can kill you if you don't have your shit together.
    Whose fault it is is totally immaterial...recognize the risk and find a way to make it go away.

    The second thing is that the tone of your post screams to me that you have to take a hard look at yourself and ask if you're really suited by temperament and personality for this kind of work.
    Some people are and some people aren't...this is not a criticism or a slur...I can't play a guitar, even though I love to hear a master doing their thing.
    I just don't have the hand-brain coordination to make it go for me.

    I certainly don't think less of myself for lacking that talent...I have others that I can be justifiably proud of.
    You need to find what you can be good at.

    So sit down with yourself and ask yourself...do I LOVE this or do I HATE this (not the asshole boss...the actual work).
    If you're honest with yourself, you will know.

    If you decide you love it, you will have to find a way to get good at it, and that may take lots of work if your desire exceeds your natural talent.
    You get to make that choice.

    On a last note...if what you've written is accurate, your place of work is a shithole and I wouldn't stay there for a morning before I rolled my toolbox back out and told the boss man to go fuck himself.
    Nobody needs to work in a dump with all expectations and no resources.
    If what you say is true, your boss is an abusive fucker who doesn't deserve your effort.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
    !! Great post Marcus!

    @Carbide bob.... why are you always for the underdog?? (this case being OP's workplace?)

  2. #22
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    You said (Working my way up from temp position, been 4 years and 1+month now)
    That is usually enough time to learn enough/much about operations.

    You said this log run job has you so busy you don't have time to scratch your ass.
    All the clock time is company time. Perhaps you might use some clock time when running a long program part to read your own How-to-program books or some trig books. If you want to upgrade to the $40 per place you need to upgrade your talents every week. Perhaps study at home or take a class.

    If you are a production operator and you run crazy 90% of your time and if the owners/boss don't know how to program a machine if the shop is disorganized that all is a problem.

    If you have been there 4 years and still don't much that is a problem.

    Question: Do you have an organized toolbox, have you ever bought your own study book on some aspect of the work, Do you spent some clock or self-time thinking about improving the work.

    I think a guy with 4 years should know the processes enough to be worth $25 to $40, but some self-effort is needed.
    Some dead-end shops don't teach much or even care as long as you can if you can load parts for $9 to $20 bucks an hour that's fine.

    Some guys are the $9 an hour guy forever. Some guys are near experts in 10 years with skills and tools to choose the $40 an hour job.

    Plus you may need to save up some cash if changing jobs, a few months of bills worth might be good.

  3. #23
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    You are getting an education - in how NOT to do things. A shop that is too apathetic, stupid and cheap to maintain the equipment that pays the bills is not a place you want to stay for too long. If they don't care about their equipment, they sure as hell don't care about YOU.

    Not sure how long they've been in business - I'm guessing a long time - but it kind of sounds like you're dealing with an entrenched culture of "that's how we've always done it" and/or "no one gives a shit anymore".

    That last bit seems to run right up against your work ethic -you care and want to do things the right way. Don't let them beat it out of you.

    The key is to choose your battles. Fix the stuff you can, and learn to say "f'it, if they don't care, I don't care" to the stuff you can't. Not easy, but it's the key to sanity. Look out for #1.

    In the meantime, use this as a learning experience. Every bit of experience you gain - good and bad- goes in your "toolbox". <points to head>. Some of it might not come into play for a long time, but you never know.

    As others have said, develop your own habits, procedures, ways of doing things, and stick with them. That doesn't mean be resistant to change, but the things you learn to do on autopilot will free up "processor cycles" for the other stuff. My own little habits include stuff like (in no particular order):

    - DO NOT let anyone or anything interrupt you when setting zeros and offsets. I tend to be fairly scatterbrained, so sometimes I even have to defend myself against myself! "Oooh! Shiny.....!"

    - If there's ever a doubt whether you set zero correctly or remembered to indicate something or tighten something or whatever....take the extra two seconds to check it.99 times out of 100, it will be fine, but that one time..... Before I push the "Go" button on a CNC, one of the last things I do is grab the workpiece or clamp and give it a yank. If it's ok, fine, I "wasted" two seconds. If it moves, I may have saved myself hours and a lot of aggravation.

    - On a CNC, I always do two "reality checks": I tell the machine to go to X0 Y0. If it's not where you think it should be...see above. The second is tool offsets - slow the feed down and when you get some distance above the part, stop it and look at the readout. If you're 1/4' off the material, and the readout says "+1"", you might want to double check your offsets.

    - I like to do a mental purge between jobs - when I'm done with one job, I clean up and put everything back where it belongs before starting another job - even though I will probably use some of those items again. This allows me time for a mental reboot and when I start the next job, I don't have to look around for my calipers and waste (very limited) brain power, I KNOW where they are. I can focus on the job.

    - In the same vein, don't underestimate the power of being organized. Have only what you need to do the job on hand. Not having to paw through a pile of extraneous crap to find something is both a time saver and a mental benefit. Keep your toolbox organized. This may be an evolving process - and will surely change from workplace to workplace.

    ...you get the idea. As others have said, develop your own workflow. Until it becomes automatic, it may seem cumbersome, deliberate and time consuming, but once it becomes subconscious, it will smooth things out a lot.

    In the meantime, educate yourself, educate yourself, educate yourself - even if it means doing stuff on your own time. Read. Watch videos. Take a vocational course. Take a program home and take it apart. Look at it line by line. Try to understand what it's doing (and maybe you'll even spot errors). Do mental exercises - "If I was going to make that part...how would I go about it?" Most shops frown on "government jobs" but sometimes they can be pretty instructive. If they'll let you do stuff on your own time, do it. Be willing to do things that are outside your job description. Everything you know looks good on a resume. Learn other skills that may or may not be directly job related. About 30 years ago, I could see that CNC was the coming thing. I didn't know how to get involved, but I took a course in basic computing (DOS!) and started farting around with computers on my own time. When the shop I was working in got their first CNC, guess who got asked to learn to run it? And guess what? Over the years, every time there was a layoff, other people got the axe...because I knew stuff that they didn't. I'm doing the exact same thing now, with 3D printing - even though I'm only a couple of years from the door.

    And above all, never, ever, ever compromise on safety, no matter how much time you think it might save,

    Relax - it's a marathon, not a sprint.

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    If you are waiting for someone to take your hand and teach you all this stuff it will never happen. Most shops have more button pushers than programmers and the only way you get to move up is by impressing during a limited amount of opportunities. By my 4th year in this trade I was a leadman that could program every machine in the shop. This only happened because when I was an operator I spent my time not at work reading books, watching youtube videos, and eventually taking night classes. 10-20-30 hours a week eating, sleeping, breathing manufacturing. This is YOUR career, YOUR future, money in YOUR pocket. Only YOU can grab the bull by the dick and make shit happen.

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    I guess I am old school here because I was not pampered like the current generation is around here. Nobody shows we how to do this or that or shows me how to program. My tools are not in the proper place, the collets suck, the vise is crooked blah blah. When I started programming I got my ass handed to me countless times. It sucked but I had tough skin and I learned from those times. Most of the time I deserved to have my ass handed to me for piss poor programs or stupid mistakes. Over time some of those old dicks that gave me shit were the ones that taught me the most. If it was not for their shit they gave me I problem would not be the skilled person I am.

    As for learning new things there are a couple of ways of doing this, you can ask for help and maybe your company will give it to you. You could also take the initiative and learn how to setup machines better or go to night school and learn how to program. You can watch Youtube videos on programming and set ups. It would have been nice to have YouTube videos 20 years ago when I first got into programming.

    10 years ago the owner of my shop approached me and told me I need you to design 3 fixtures for a shit load of parts I need for convention that is coming up in a week. He said I don't care how many hours you work, I just want a those parts for this convention. Well since I had never designed a fixture before I guess it was time to learn how to make these fixture. Well I designed these fixtures in the time he wanted but it was not easy. I learned making the fixture by reverse engineering existing fixtures from the previous people that worked here. The point I am making is nobody showed me how to make the fixtures, I had to self teach myself fixture design and it was a struggle but over time and help from the guys on the floor I have learned how to create them real easily and fast. I still look at someone else work to get ideas on fixture design. It is amazing how much I have learned and continue to keep learning. You are the one that needs to step up and decide how I am going to make myself better at what I do, not the guy that has 20 years in that place.

    Last, why the guy with 20 years doesn't show you that much anymore, it could be that he doesn't like teaching people tricks he learned over time or maybe he knows that when you start showing people how to program they spend all day re-inventing the wheel again. I have watched younger guys spend 2-3 hours trying to tweak a program or re-writing it because they learned a couple of things. What those young guys don't realize is they job they are re-writing is a job we run once every 2-3 years. We don't need you spending all day finger dinking around, just run the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    You said (Working my way up from temp position, been 4 years and 1+month now)
    That is usually enough time to learn enough/much about operations.

    You said this log run job has you so busy you don't have time to scratch your ass.
    All the clock time is company time. Perhaps you might use some clock time when running a long program part to read your own How-to-program books or some trig books. If you want to upgrade to the $40 per place you need to upgrade your talents every week. Perhaps study at home or take a class.

    If you are a production operator and you run crazy 90% of your time and if the owners/boss don't know how to program a machine if the shop is disorganized that all is a problem.

    If you have been there 4 years and still don't much that is a problem.

    Question: Do you have an organized toolbox, have you ever bought your own study book on some aspect of the work, Do you spent some clock or self-time thinking about improving the work.

    I think a guy with 4 years should know the processes enough to be worth $25 to $40, but some self-effort is needed.
    Some dead-end shops don't teach much or even care as long as you can if you can load parts for $9 to $20 bucks an hour that's fine.

    Some guys are the $9 an hour guy forever. Some guys are near experts in 10 years with skills and tools to choose the $40 an hour job.

    Plus you may need to save up some cash if changing jobs, a few months of bills worth might be good.
    We have people at our place that have 10-20 years experience with very little improvement in the skills area. It is not a company training issue but more of people content pushing buttons and unloading and loading parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawnrs View Post
    We have people at our place that have 10-20 years experience with very little improvement in the skills area. It is not a company training issue but more of people content pushing buttons and unloading and loading parts.
    Was it Mark Twaine that said some guys have 20 years experiance and others have 6 months experiance 40 times

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawnrs View Post
    Last, why the guy with 20 years doesn't show you that much anymore, it could be that he doesn't like teaching people tricks he learned over time or maybe he knows that when you start showing people how to program they spend all day re-inventing the wheel again. I have watched younger guys spend 2-3 hours trying to tweak a program or re-writing it because they learned a couple of things. What those young guys don't realize is they job they are re-writing is a job we run once every 2-3 years. We don't need you spending all day finger dinking around, just run the job.
    Assuming he's not one of those guys (if he is you're kind of screwed),it could also be that OP hasn't shown his interest enough. When I was a young lead and I had to train new guys I would pour my heart out about what every number and process meant and what their impacts were, but that gets old really fucking quick when you're wasting it on people who don't care about machining and just want to collect their check. So I stopped doing that and started doing more of a quick 'here, watch me do this for you' style of training.

    OP, I would suggest you take notes. Bring a notepad and a pen the next time he's showing you a program and any time you're not sure where the numbers are coming from or what he's doing, ask for clarification then WRITE IT DOWN. If nothing else, just the sight of you actually taking notes on what he's saying and asking good questions will show him that you're interested and trainable. Would have worked on me.

    I also have a different opinion than most on here. While that shop does sound really shitty, I came from a shop just like that and it can be an amazing place to launch a career. The odds are you'll be exposed to way more bullshit and responsibility than you would at a shop that has its shit together and that can be a big opportunity if you take advantage of it. If I didn't start out at a messy shop like that there's no way I would have ended up at the nice corporate shop I'm at now.

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    some folks spend their life hunting greener grass

    greener grass comes at a price

    either you make the best out of the situation you are in or

    you are forever chasseing a fantasy

    makes a difference on which side of the checks you sign

    only real start is to own your own dirt and work up from there

    not easy but nothing worth having is

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    Was it Mark Twaine that said some guys have 20 years experiance and others have 6 months experiance 40 times
    I don't know the origination but we use this ALOT in reference to a couple of co-workers. Funnily enough it seems those are the people who constantly tout just how many years they have been in the trade

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    Quote Originally Posted by Camputer View Post
    Assuming he's not one of those guys (if he is you're kind of screwed),it could also be that OP hasn't shown his interest enough. When I was a young lead and I had to train new guys I would pour my heart out about what every number and process meant and what their impacts were, but that gets old really fucking quick when you're wasting it on people who don't care about machining and just want to collect their check. So I stopped doing that and started doing more of a quick 'here, watch me do this for you' style of training.
    It sucks when you train them and their heads get too big and they start thinking the know everything. We have a young guy that that in my department where he is too stubborn to ask for help when he has a problem with setting up a job. Last week he kept breaking tools only to find out he had the wrong size drill. It is a simple mistake yet sometimes getting people like him to admit it is impossible. The guy is a great guy but sometimes he doesn't want help when he needs it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Camputer View Post

    OP, I would suggest you take notes. Bring a notepad and a pen the next time he's showing you a program and any time you're not sure where the numbers are coming from or what he's doing, ask for clarification then WRITE IT DOWN. If nothing else, just the sight of you actually taking notes on what he's saying and asking good questions will show him that you're interested and trainable. Would have worked on me.
    This is an excellent starting point to show the initiative of wanting to learn vs asking the same questions over and over. I also think showing up to work every day on time shows management that this guy is serious about his job and he wants to learn. It is hard to invest in a person when they constantly miss work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Camputer View Post

    I also have a different opinion than most on here. While that shop does sound really shitty, I came from a shop just like that and it can be an amazing place to launch a career. The odds are you'll be exposed to way more bullshit and responsibility than you would at a shop that has its shit together and that can be a big opportunity if you take advantage of it. If I didn't start out at a messy shop like that there's no way I would have ended up at the nice corporate shop I'm at now.
    My attitude towards companies varies, due to the fact that most people don't see all the negatives that the companies face every day. How many times do I hear someone blame the company for their headaches. I sit in production control office and I hear every lame dick excuse to not show up to work. Today I guy called in today saying he won't be in because he pulled a muscle in his leg. This guy is lazy as fuck yet he will be fine tomorrow. Another person called in last week over his dog running away.
    The worst right now is the regulars that are using the Covid excuse to not come in to work. I mean these are the people the call in a lot only to take advantage of the call in policy. So while I read a lot of stories about bad companies I also see their side also with bad employees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgins909 View Post
    But shop has Mastercam and not Fusion360.
    Free Mastercam training until the end of June:
    Mastercam University

    Your local Mastercam dealer can set you up with a home learning edition:
    MLC CAD Systems | SOLIDWORKS, Mastercam & Markforged Provider

    Find out what version of Mastercam the shop has; I bet it's several years out of date and not on maintenance.

    My advice is to use your current situation to learn everything you can while paying the bills and looking for a better position. If they yell at you because their system is inefficient, try to shrug it off, you can only improve yourself. Do that Mastercam training and you'll have a better shot at the next opportunity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawnrs View Post
    I guess I am old school here because I was not pampered like the current generation is around here. Nobody shows we how to do this or that or shows me how to program.
    Dunno. When I started out, 40 years ago, I had a mentor whom I am grateful for, to this day. When I screwed up, I'd go to him and "confess", he'd call me an idiot, and then say "OK, here's how we're going to fix this..." I learned a lot more, in less time, with him. He didn't hand hold, but he was patient and willing to teach.

    There was a degree of initiative on my part, as well. When he gave me something to do, I did it, I didn't screw around and this paid off - I specifically heard him ask for me when they tried to assign him someone else to help him.

    Since that was how I was taught, I try to do the same. I have had one guy who just didn't listen - and that was true no matter where they moved him in the company - but most young folks I've worked with are bright, engaged and want to learn. I'm not going to be the grouchy old bastard who keeps things to himself.

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    In my opinion....
    What you describe is what can best be described as scrambling.
    I think I would concentrate less on how long it takes to set up a job and more on getting it set up correctly. What you have described is an issue from the top. You can work toward changing your own slice of hell into something better....but it will never remain better if you dont have everyone on board. What will happen is you will straighten up some of the mess in your specific area and things will start to improve and then the clown working on the other end of the shop will need a 1/4" collet or something similar because he cant find his. He will take yours that you have organized and either destroy it or use it and then throw it on a bench somewhere that no one will ever find it again. 3 options...accept it and continue on....get management on board and commited to getting shit straight (BTW...most succesful shops do not run the way you have described)....or pack your shit and find better.

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    QTb Twowheeler[When I started out, 40 years ago, I had a mentor whom I am grateful for, to this day.]

    Another good thing about a mentor is when they walk you keep in contact .. so if justified you follow.

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    Higgins909 are you still following the/your thread?

    I hope you don't feel beat-up and leave the conversation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post

    Another good thing about a mentor is when they walk you keep in contact .. so if justified you follow.
    He also taught me a lot of other "stuff".

    One night the three of us were on break when we weren't supposed to be. The shop owner came in. When he got about 10' from where we were, Jim jumped up and started yelling at him about something the day shift guys had done...and he backed him right down the aisle, with the shop owner going "ok...ok....I'll look into it...."

    Later on, Jim came up to me laughing and said "Notice he didn't say anything about us being on break when we weren't supposed to be...?"

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    Well, as an observation, I'd say that if you can find a shop with a guy like camputer, you are in good shape, and you should be able to ask and learn an awful lot, without too much trouble. Speed comes after knowledge and experience, but a willing and capable instructor can get you through the early stages pretty well.

    Not so sure how you'd do with Shawnrs. He seems to think everyone must be born with the innate knowledge of how everything works.

    I have taught a fair few apprentice tradesmen and women the basics of running manual machines, and have been chucked in at the deep end with regards to programming, and have met a fair couple or three that should have been clerks or cooks, or, well, just something else.

    But those that were interested and asked lots of questions, were always a great source of pride for me, when I got to see "the light go on" as they started to understand what their eyes were seeing and that their hands could do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trevj View Post
    a great source of pride for me, when I got to see "the light go on" as they started to understand what their eyes were seeing and that their hands could do.
    I dunno - sometimes it's humbling to see just how sharp some of these students are and how quickly they grasp things.

    It took me a long time to realize that 80% of this job happens in your head before you ever touch a handle.

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    Yeah, I've just gone over all the replies. I understand I might not be in the best shop. Maybe I could find the balls to talk to one of the owners and see if they can give me a bit of a review of my performance. Find out what they think about me learning mastercam. I've been fairly good at computers starting in my teens. I probably should have gotten into something IT related. But that has me learning towards mastercam at the moment. I've been a button pusher/misc guy since I've worked there. But have picked up some more intermediate things.

    Perhaps I could bring up some of my problems. If I become the MasterCAM guy, maybe I could change shop over time. Pay right now isn't that great. I'm not sure how to ask what I could be paid other than something like "If I become your MasterCAM guy, what does something like that pay? How fast can I get there?)

    We have different machines that program differently. This particular machine used Mazatrol and didn't have the program, but the HAAS it's normally run on had a g-code program. While the Mazak had g-code, it's a bit different and I don't know much about mill g-code. So it wasn't copied over. There is also tool sharing and hiding. Which gets fun.

    Or I could walk when I get the chance. But was talking to a office guy who happens to be that guy with 20~ years mill experience. Seems to like my idea about asking about MasterCAM and was trying to give me a little push in doing so. Wish I wasn't so dang shy...


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