A suggestion for dealing with hobby machinist posts
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    Default A suggestion for dealing with hobby machinist posts

    After reading the latest "hobby" post, it occurred to me that we will always be getting these, no matter what the guidelines say. While many members clearly make their objections known, there are others who seem willing to help and encourage them. I'm wondering if we could have a clearly labeled forum for beginners and hobbyists, to keep them out of the General section. Those who want could then assist, and the rest just ignore it. Or at the least, a "for hobbyist" sticky, with links to more appropriate forums and/or helpful advice. And a clear warning about the guidelines.

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    It ends up being subjective, whats the criteria? . Done as a hobby, using a small machine, using a low end offshore machine, a beginner? imo it has to at least 3 out 4. For example

    as a hobby - so me doing a two start Acme thread on a 5000 lb lathe in the garage is not good? How about Bill Huxold turning out some the finest working miniature engines on the planet on a Hardingle lathe?

    using a small machine. So only larger work qualifies? Making professional items on a Schaubln 70, Levin 10mm or watchmakers lathe shouldn't be here?

    low end offshore machine: Lots of commercial shops buy these in the large sizes, so that its low cost and offshore cant be the stopper.

    beginner at machining
    Some apprentice in a commercial shop shouldn't be allowed to ask questions here?

    Hit 3/4 or 4/4 this isn't the place for you.

    What I don't like, here or on home shop sites or anywhere, are the lazy sods asking the questions without making any effort figure it out themselves. Read and learn before requesting others help. I help lots of people, but imo there's a responsibility to try yourself before request the time of others and not doing so is sort of wrong

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    As a hobbyist I’d like to offer my perspective.

    I come to PM for the expertise of the members. And I have received that when I’ve asked a question or by simply searching past

    I understand that some complement of PM members want nothing to do with hobbyists and their import machines.

    I think that creating a separate space or similar for hobbyists is a good idea. One never knows when the advice given might send someone down a path where they make machining their profession.

    On the subject of profession and what makes someone a professional. There was a recent post where a professional was described as someone using “professional” garde machines (and have a bonafide shop) irrespective of whether or not they made money.

    This makes no sense as I could shell out a bunch of money, rent a space and call myself a professional when in fact I’d be the farthest thing from a professional.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Anyone can ask a question here. Make it an intelligent question and things will go swimmingly. If it's a stupid question, look out.

    If the question is one that has literally been outlined as against the rules, it's a stupid question. READ the stickies that talk about rules or guidelines.

    If the question could be answered with a little thinking on the asker's part it's a stupid question.

    If the question could be answered with a quick search of PM it may be both a stupid question AND a waste of time for the persons asked. Some people don't mind this and some do.

    Regarding some of the bullet points about beginners above, if a beginner is working in a professional machine shop, he ought to have a foreman. This is the person he should be asking beginner questions.

    Regarding cheap offshore machines to do professional work, this isn't likely. They can't take a heavy cut all day every day like a good solid professional level machine. No professional should be using one because the machining time will increase massively on roughing ops and if used for serious roughing they will likely wear out in a hurry. Rigidity is also lacking. Try a radius form tool and see what happens. Same with larger threads. If one has to fiddle and try workarounds, it's wasting time.

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    Might I venture a distinction that I have noticed on PM:

    I don’t think your issue is with hobbyists on PM. On the contrary, there are a lot of hobbyists on PM that post regularly and have given added value to the forum. However, these hobbyists are in the ‘prosumer’ or ‘professional mindset’ category. They have a genuine interest in honing the craft and learning machining.

    The hobbyists that most PM members have a beef with is amateurs. (I often lump hobbyists and amateurs into the same category. So, this may be an academic distinction). These amateurs want to use cheap crap, expend no thought and have pro quality results for free.

    I would caution about having a hobbyist section. It may encourage more amateurs to post. The hobbyists that are serious about machining already post on PM and don’t get flamed. The amateurs get flamed. The aggressive closing of threads by Moderators is a good thing and sets the tone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medsar View Post
    Might I venture a distinction that I have noticed on PM:

    I don’t think your issue is with hobbyists on PM. On the contrary, there are a lot of hobbyists on PM that post regularly and have given added value to the forum. However, these hobbyists are in the ‘prosumer’ or ‘professional mindset’ category. They have a genuine interest in honing the craft and learning machining.

    The hobbyists that most PM members have a beef with is amateurs. (I often lump hobbyists and amateurs into the same category. So, this may be an academic distinction). These amateurs want to use cheap crap, expend no thought and have pro quality results for free.
    I think you’ve described the distinction well.

    Part of the challenge in my opinion is the blending of terms.

    Professional means you do machining as your main source of income.

    Amateurs and hobbyists don’t do machining as their main source of income.

    As I noted in my earlier post, to infer that the type of machine determines their status means that someone making crap in their garage on a 15” Leblond is a professional.

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    And the distinction isn't really about "import" - I've never seen anybody get grief over a Kern, Hermles, etc. The distinction is really about "cheap junk" - there are boards devoted to this stuff, we don't need to clutter this one with conversations about how to best convert these machines to ballast.

    It's also not really about "professional" - it's really more about "serious" - so the "I have a used toy lathe in disrepair and I want to build a working gas turbine model" sorts of things belong elsewhere.

    But consider a recent post by a guy clearly just starting out, but also clearly serious. He has a very small 5-axis machine (PocketNC I think), seemed to have bought it for good reasons, had obviously consulted various standard references, and it wasn't working out. A couple of people wanted to give him grief, but most of the thread was about "those feeds/speeds don't work because your machine fails some of the assumptions - try these other things ->" Which I view as appropriate...

    Likewise there are a lot of sensible conversations about "how do I get machine X through the door of my shop..." and the answer is "oh, the head turns upside down, but be sure to label the idiot cable..."

    Oh, and we have a whole sub-forum devoted to old south bends - how many of them are used commercially? (I'm sure more than one might expect, but....)

    So "Serious" and "did the obvious research" are the real qualifiers.

    Another thing to consider is that in the age of youtube and instagram, PM has some competition for mindshare. Yes, some folks are watching the "how to fix your toy lathe" videos and not bugging "us". But likewise, there's a lot of inspiration on instagram and youtube these days, and those doers and followers would be welcome here, but some of them surely aren't here.....

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    Just make the rules clear:

    1) don't say atlas
    2) don't say unimat (sherline)
    3) don't say shaper
    4) don't be an askhole.

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    I think it is very appropriate for someone to ask a legitimate question even if they do not make their living at being a machinist. I am retired so I guess everything I do is as a hobbyist now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Just make the rules clear:
    3) don't say shaper
    Writing rules which work for any and every circumstance is hard. The best all-around machinist I've ever met keeps a shaper in the corner. "There are still a few operations a shaper does better and quicker than anything else. It paid for itself forty years ago, so it's costing nothing to have it for when it's the way to go.

    jack vines

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Just make the rules clear:

    1) don't say atlas
    2) don't say unimat (sherline)
    3) don't say shaper
    4) don't be an askhole.
    And never say/use the word hobby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    1) don't say atlas
    I started my professional machining career making medical device parts on my grandfather's 9" Atlas. I think I was around 15, paid by the part. Yes, there was an NDA.

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    My gun smith still uses the A word lathe that his grandfather used...Yes, now you have to give the motor a hand swing to get it running...been that way for years.

    We are not plagued that much by a few hobby posts..and some are interesting so to put them off in the corner would not be due IMHO.
    Last edited by michiganbuck; 01-05-2020 at 06:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKretz View Post
    Anyone can ask a question here. Make it an intelligent question and things will go swimmingly. If it's a stupid question, look out.

    .
    I am a hobbyist who reads the posts and learns, not often posting. I agree with your post, ask a good question (avoid mentioning the cheap tool brands) and you will get plenty of help. When I needed to cut a square thread, several members here gave me tips and advice.

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    At 82 I am no longer an active machinist so I guess I qualify as a hobby machinist. I say we should give the hobbyists and beginners forum of their own. Those of us that got where we are were originally beginners. Those of us that wish to contribute knowledge to the beginners are free to do so.Those who width to ignore them are equally free to ignore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR8 View Post
    As a hobbyist I’d like to offer my perspective.

    I come to PM for the expertise of the members. And I have received that when I’ve asked a question or by simply searching past

    I understand that some complement of PM members want nothing to do with hobbyists and their import machines.

    I think that creating a separate space or similar for hobbyists is a good idea. One never knows when the advice given might send someone down a path where they make machining their profession.

    On the subject of profession and what makes someone a professional. There was a recent post where a professional was described as someone using “professional” garde machines (and have a bonafide shop) irrespective of whether or not they made money.

    This makes no sense as I could shell out a bunch of money, rent a space and call myself a professional when in fact I’d be the farthest thing from a professional.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    No, you come here to bitch us out.

    Period.

    Troll

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    After reading the latest "hobby" post, it occurred to me that we will always be getting these, no matter what the guidelines say. While many members clearly make their objections known, there are others who seem willing to help and encourage them. I'm wondering if we could have a clearly labeled forum for beginners and hobbyists, to keep them out of the General section. Those who want could then assist, and the rest just ignore it. Or at the least, a "for hobbyist" sticky, with links to more appropriate forums and/or helpful advice. And a clear warning about the guidelines.
    There are qty (3) well known hobby sites.

    There is only qty (1) PM.

    Go those forums and stop trying to change things here just to suit you.

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    Please read Machinery Discussion Guidelines

    and notice in general it’s all about the machines, not the persons experience, knowledge, or situation. Occasionally I lock a thread that is just so “Harry Home Shop” its way off intentions for here, but that’s pretty rare ... mostly it’s about the machines.

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    It isn't broken and doesn't need fixing. The only thing that would change with a dedicated forum is that no one would get their feelings hurt when the dimpledicks here lash out with insults and ridicule, and the post gets locked. The only changes needed are a reminder that everyone was new at one time, and a shift toward treating other human beings with kindness and respect. You can still tell them to get lost, just do it nicely. The moderators are taking care of the rest just fine.

    edit: I see that Don was commenting while I was typing, and as usual, he said it more concisely than I could. Thanks.

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    I spent 40 years working with and designing for professional machinists. During that time I built countless things on professional tools for my own use in the lab (or for boats). I am now retired. When I retired, the idea of not having access to world class machinists and professional tools was so distressing that I bought a decent Bridgeport and Hardinge HLV lathe. I have since put together quite a good professional quality machine shop in my garage which I use regularly to make (sometimes quite complex) parts for myself and friends. But I do not make a penny doing it. Sadly, I could not maintain my access to world class machinists, and I miss those interactions very, very much. Practical Machinist is my source now for learning from others, and for getting advice. Occasionally, I am able to comment on someone else's problems, hopefully constructively.

    But does this make me an amateur or a hobbyist? I have a lifetime of experience with the machining trade, but never actually worked as a professional machinist. I build things because I am compelled to use what skills I have, as well as I can. I do not view myself as a hobbyist, because I do not machine things to "entertain" myself. I am very serious about trying my best and learning new skills. But AM I a hobbyist? I cannot say how others would define my activities. I DO know that the things I HAVE learned from professional machinists over the years have changed my life, made it possible for me to be successful in my career, and taught me more than I can relate in a post. I have seen the huge value to newcomers to the machining world that advice given to them on Practical Machinest has been. It certainly has been of value to me.

    When one is starting out, perhaps motivated by a You Tube channel, asking questions an experienced person might regard as "stupid" is inevitable. Many times some kindly soul will patiently explain WHY the question is naive or sort of obvious to someone in the trades. I always appreciate seeing those responses. The world of machining is very complex. Even learning the terminology is difficult for a newcomer. We all suffer from this syndrome when exposed to new and unfamiliar fields of knowledge.

    I guess my point is that in this world of shrinking regard for craftsmanship and hard learned knowledge, Practical Machinist has become a kind of community where like minded people can share their expertise, frustrations, successes, and to learn from each other. Any person trying to enter a new and unfamiliar community will make mistakes, say dumb things, and generally fumble about a bit. I count myself as hugely fortunate that when at the age of 18 I wandered into the physics machine shop with my thumb in an unmentionable orifice asking dumb questions, and instead of being sent packing by the busy professionals, was invited in, made welcome, and educated. My sincere hope is that members of the forum can show the same kindness to newbies wandering into Practical Machinist forum that was shown to me. If a particular question or thread is not "professional" enough for someone's taste, perhaps rather than shooting the originator down in flames, they could just let the issue lie and move quietly on. Most threads die a natural death quickly if the topic is not generally interesting. If the person asking the "stupid" question is not humiliated and tossed out the door, they may, like me, eventually able to contribute to the community in their own right.

    All the best,
    Michael


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