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  1. #21
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    A lot depends on what you are comfortable with. The firearms plant will most likely be repetitive tasks. The job shop will probably offer a diversity of challenges. Which situation suits you?

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    I try to avoid places with a HR lady. Never seen one that I liked or could work with. But, I have been mostly unsuccessful at that. If she asked any really dumb questions, like "What is your biggest fault?", then run as fast and as far as you can.



    Quote Originally Posted by StinkyDan View Post
    Good points bosley. Not sure about the diversity of their clients but i was interviewed by the shop owner, production supervisor and HR lady and then shown around the shop by the guy who would be my supervisor and he said he'd been with the company since he was 18 and now makes all the prints for the smaller runs and i would be reporting to him. He also said he'd ran most of the machines at one time or another and seemed to have a good idea of what each machine was capable of and what type of work could be done on them. Basically there was a shelf full of material with paperwork by each machine and according to the dates on the paperwork i would machine what needed to be done first and would average up to 5 setups a day depending on the number of parts in each job. The machine id be starting on was a cnc lathe very similar to the one i run now with similar controls and all programming done at the machine on a point to point type conversational control. They said as i learned the different machines they would move me around the shop. Ive done production work and one-off work and i know theres not much money to be made in simple production work and would prefer to do one-off type work snyways.
    I wasnt allowed on the shop floor at the firearms manufacturer for security reasons but have seen pictures and its a really clean shop with a lot of really new machines but like everyone else said, would probably get repetitive fast.

    Thanks for the replies everyone

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  4. #23
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    Only thing is that we are overdue for a downturn in the economy right now..... one that might last a couple years or more. Which one will better last through that? Interesting work is best, but boring work and getting paid beats looking for work on your dime any day.

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    most likely the firearms manufacturer will make repeat parts but if you move around the factory you will learn to make the various parts and as they are volume you can get good at hitting the tolerances.
    It may be harder to get into firearms but once you have experience in the shop if you ever leave you can always go back to some form as you have notched the experience bit under the belt.
    So i would consider it a short to medium term learning experience and you can see how to make volume parts, you could apply that to a jobbing shop if you ever leave. You know all the parts are need to make a complete item and they are captive in that they must be made and fit a particular line item.
    jobbing shop may have one offs and such and maybe no so many repeat customers so more susceptible to runs of items stopping.

    I would go for the firearms job and see how long it runs and view it as experience i would think it would be easier to move to a jobbing environment rather than the other way around later if you decide to do that.

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  7. #25
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    Good point Street, if i look at the firearms place as a short to medium term situation i would gain good experience and could possibly move around the shop and advance and soak up the overtime until I'm ready to go to a job shop and ask for an even better wage than i would have gotten if i just went there in the first place. I never really looked at Mazak shops as limiting but can definitely see how they could be sort of treading water career-wise.
    And the HR lady didnt ask any weird questions ha, she was really nice and seems to only be involved in getting me set up for tax things and explaining insurance etc.
    Also, i have done production work(warner swasey ab and ac machines) i did enjoy setting up a machine or cell of mschines and making things as fool-proof as possible and then getting a warm fuzzy feeling when someone else was able to run it all night with no problems. The job shop work I've done was more interesting and seemed to make time go by faster as i was more focused on whatever i was doing and not just glancing at a clock every 30 min ha.
    Thanks for all the replies everyone.
    I have a week or so to decide so ill keep reading and posting on this thread until then.
    Thanks again.

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    The job shop would have more variety, and you would learn a more versatile skill set. But it's a very competitive high-pressure environment with time crunches on everything you do.

    Proprietary manufacturing is much lower stress. Everything is already dialed in, but it can be repetitive. The room for advancement in proprietary is better in my experience- for those people who are willing to put in the effort. If you're a clock-puncher, only interested in working hard enough enough to not get fired every day, you will be parked in one spot and never move from there.

    Well established proprietary manufacturing is always more stable than job shops, and usually a better working environment. The owners tend to do more for the employees in the way of extras- better bonuses, company picnics, stuff like that.

    In a job shop you'll be on the lathe one day, the mill the next day. You'll never be bored, and you'll never be caught up.

    Spent a lot of years in both, I always preferred the proprietary side.

    I should add- I'm really talking about small proprietary. These companies are usually started and run by entrepreneurs. There is typically a lot of low hanging fruit in that environment, because "we've always done it this way". That makes it easy to look like a rock star if you have some smarts.

    A large proprietary manufacturer- if we're talking Colt Firearms- I'd pass. Those companies are run by bean-counters.

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    Imho .. for the OP ..
    the firearms manufacturer for sure.

    Learning on excellent machinery, and getting heavy experience on quality, reliability, mass-production, issues with critical parts with major liability, and they offer to rotate him around !!
    And high volume.
    AFTER being at the firearms manufacturer 2 years he can write his own ticket for major pay anywhere else.

    After 2 years the the OP can probably get senior pay around 30-40$ from any of the new-tech companies with major VC/stock market money.
    And immediate hire on a yearly basis as a senior manfacturing engineer associate of some type.
    At 100.000$+ per year, starting pay at all the high-tech companies.

    It is also probable the firearms manufacturer will start to pay him somewhat similar wages in 2-3 years.
    If he is smart, motivated, and does well.
    They don´t like to lose people either - and can afford it.

    Jobshops will teach the OP similar skills with more challenges initially, with relatively low prospects.
    Jobshop negatives:
    No high volume experience.
    No top machines.
    No emphasis on quality/liability/volume/tracking stuff like firearms (or rockets, or auto), I think.
    No high pay in a few years.
    No high pay offers from any new hot startup with manufacturing needs.
    -- Pay will be rated/limited to next-available jobshop machinist - as one won´t be able to bring much value/moolah to typical jobshop work.

    The firearms industry today is probably already well on the way to good automation/IT stuff just to be competitive.
    Learning this from the inside, and seeing it grow, will be invaluable 3 years from know in terms of job prospects and pay.

    It is quite possible the firearms industry in question prospers, and they will offer better pay than the new cash-rich new-tech companies to their own industry insiders, if they are good, keen, and young, and experienced with all the machines, processes, and IT/SW/docs stuff.

    People from jobshops are well available, and will be so.

    Well-rounded people (several machines, not necessarily top end) also with high-volume manufacturing experience, and also experience with QC/QT/tracking issues, young-and-keen, are impossible to find.
    They get 2-4x the pay of average machinists, sometimes more for the best people.

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    I thought of something else if you go around the workshop for a while in firearms man and get bored with it you could possibly upskill to design work in the same industry and get off the shop floor you will know a lot of how things go together especially if you do time in the assembly section as well as the machining section.
    All good things to keep you occupied as i said earlier i like it over the jobbing option you have.

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    “Besides that, I'd want to have a discussion with the person who would supervise me, and their boss. How expert are they at the craft? How supportive of your growth? Those discussions might be part of a normal interview (it should be!).”

    Wanted to repeat that. Personally (and I’ve never worked as a machinist) the management would be a big factor, I’ve had many different jobs and who I worked for made all the difference. See if you can discreetly ask other folks working at either place how much they like working there.

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    Given the resume, countryboy, I can see why you have a couple of options. Also, the attitude. Attitudes? Open to new things, grateful for help, eager to learn, happy about what you do.

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    My knee-jerk response would be job shop. I have worked at a half dozen in various industries. The broad scope of learning can't be beat. Then I ended up at a shop with their own product line. Low volume orders, but the same widget every day. Did the best job I could, moved around all areas of the shop, ended up as senior ME. Get to buy new machinery and develop processes, set up and program. Pay is much better than job shops can offer. But without my past job shop experience I would not have been skilled enough to carve my niche. YMMV

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    if it's what I think, and 99% sure I know....the firearms manufacturer.

    NO question....CNC is where the money is..when you retire you can open your OWN job shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iwananew10K View Post
    if it's what I think, and 99% sure I know....the firearms manufacturer.

    NO question....CNC is where the money is..when you retire you can open your OWN job shop.
    Good point, like others have said also new machines would be good to learn on since thats what will be more popular in the future, and there are probably lots of guys able to run a variety of things in a jobshop and not as many with experience on brand new machines with the latest controls and all the bells and whistles.
    Thanks everyone this is really getting me thinking.

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    IMO from my observations, the future for volume manufacturing is lights out/ high automation manufacturing and it will over time encroach more on small volume runs as technology pricing matures. More machines running with less labor. More concentrated burden falling on fewer shoulders. Good time to be an automation solutions supplier IMO. One thing that can't be outsourced easily is service. Hard for someone from China or halfway across the country to compete with a demand for localized machining repair type work. With that said, way easier said than done.

    People make money in CNC work, but I think it isn't as peachy as it sounds. I think it has more to do with finding the right company to work for and becoming a main link in their operation.

    If I didn't find this service based company I'm working for now, I would have never stepped foot into another shop other than my own. Totally disgusted with the unfair ratio to sales/profits to employee wage ratio that is expressed in many facilities these days on top of the other typical shop bs.

    This comment probably didn't help much with the OT, but right or wrong, it just felt right to say it.

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  22. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by countryboy1966 View Post
    IMO from my observations, the future for volume manufacturing is lights out/ high automation manufacturing and it will over time encroach more on small volume runs as technology pricing matures. More machines running with less labor. More concentrated burden falling on fewer shoulders. Good time to be an automation solutions supplier IMO. One thing that can't be outsourced easily is service. Hard for someone from China or halfway across the country to compete with a demand for localized machining repair type work. With that said, way easier said than done.

    People make money in CNC work, but I think it isn't as peachy as it sounds. I think it has more to do with finding the right company to work for and becoming a main link in their operation.

    If I didn't find this service based company I'm working for now, I would have never stepped foot into another shop other than my own. Totally disgusted with the unfair ratio to sales/profits to employee wage ratio that is expressed in many facilities these days on top of the other typical shop bs.

    This comment probably didn't help much with the OT, but right or wrong, it just felt right to say it.
    Na good comment. Job shops could very easily lose business to places with high volume manufacturing that also have the ability to quickly program on the fly and do lower volume work. From what i can see, more shops are leaning away from mastercam and fanuc and using conversational programming to save time and money and keep 1 guy busy programming and operating rather than an engineer, a programmer, and an operator all working on 1 job. And high volume shops seem to have more positions in quality and engineering etc, than job shops where typically machinists outnumber all other positions 20 to 1 and theres a lot of competition between them doing basically similar work all across the shop. More room to advance and do more than just run a machine at the high volume manufacturers.
    Start date for the firearms manufacturer is in 2 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it. Just gota call the jobshop now and tell them thanks and hope theyre not too upset with me incase i ever want a change of scenery ha.
    Thanks for the replies everyone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by StinkyDan View Post
    Na good comment. Job shops could very easily lose business to places with high volume manufacturing that also have the ability to quickly program on the fly and do lower volume work. From what i can see, more shops are leaning away from mastercam and fanuc and using conversational programming to save time and money and keep 1 guy busy programming and operating rather than an engineer, a programmer, and an operator all working on 1 job. And high volume shops seem to have more positions in quality and engineering etc, than job shops where typically machinists outnumber all other positions 20 to 1 and theres a lot of competition between them doing basically similar work all across the shop. More room to advance and do more than just run a machine at the high volume manufacturers.
    Start date for the firearms manufacturer is in 2 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it. Just gota call the jobshop now and tell them thanks and hope theyre not too upset with me incase i ever want a change of scenery ha.
    Thanks for the replies everyone!
    I've found the opposite. If you are programming the machine, at the machine, it is not cutting parts typically. If it is not cutting parts, it is not making money. I know there are more advanced conversational controls now, and maybe you can program while running not sure, but I do know I can program at my pc while 4 machines hum away and make parts.

    I personally don't like Mazatrol or Mazak in general, but that said, if you have opportunity to run and/or program something less mundane, like an Integrex, or live tooled lathe with a Y axis it would be the cat's ass. It is very cool to program an Integrex and watch it turn round stock into very complex shapes (or simple I suppose), then transfer into the sub and finish the part complete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    Imho .. for the OP ..
    the firearms manufacturer for sure.

    Learning on excellent machinery, and getting heavy experience on quality, reliability, mass-production, issues with critical parts with major liability, and they offer to rotate him around !!
    And high volume.
    AFTER being at the firearms manufacturer 2 years he can write his own ticket for major pay anywhere else.

    After 2 years the the OP can probably get senior pay around 30-40$ from any of the new-tech companies with major VC/stock market money.
    And immediate hire on a yearly basis as a senior manfacturing engineer associate of some type.
    At 100.000$+ per year, starting pay at all the high-tech companies.

    It is also probable the firearms manufacturer will start to pay him somewhat similar wages in 2-3 years.
    If he is smart, motivated, and does well.
    They don´t like to lose people either - and can afford it.

    Jobshops will teach the OP similar skills with more challenges initially, with relatively low prospects.
    Jobshop negatives:
    No high volume experience.
    No top machines.
    No emphasis on quality/liability/volume/tracking stuff like firearms (or rockets, or auto), I think.
    No high pay in a few years.
    No high pay offers from any new hot startup with manufacturing needs.
    -- Pay will be rated/limited to next-available jobshop machinist - as one won´t be able to bring much value/moolah to typical jobshop work.

    The firearms industry today is probably already well on the way to good automation/IT stuff just to be competitive.
    Learning this from the inside, and seeing it grow, will be invaluable 3 years from know in terms of job prospects and pay.

    It is quite possible the firearms industry in question prospers, and they will offer better pay than the new cash-rich new-tech companies to their own industry insiders, if they are good, keen, and young, and experienced with all the machines, processes, and IT/SW/docs stuff.

    People from jobshops are well available, and will be so.

    Well-rounded people (several machines, not necessarily top end) also with high-volume manufacturing experience, and also experience with QC/QT/tracking issues, young-and-keen, are impossible to find.
    They get 2-4x the pay of average machinists, sometimes more for the best people.
    I don't know where you get your info, but want to touch a few things you said..

    AFTER being at the firearms manufacturer 2 years he can write his own ticket for major pay anywhere else.
    Huh? 2 years isn't squat in this trade (being manual machining, cnc setup/operating, programming, etc). Not to mention, in two years he may or may not get moved around the shop. To give the benefit of the doubt to OP, he may turn into their best cnc mill operator in 6 months and they won't want to move him- for example...

    Jobshops will teach the OP similar skills with more challenges initially, with relatively low prospects.
    Jobshop negatives:
    No high volume experience.
    No top machines.

    No emphasis on quality/liability/volume/tracking stuff like firearms (or rockets, or auto), I think.
    I don't agree with this at all. In a job shop (my experience anyways) you are given one piece of mat'l to make one part, DON'T SCREW IT UP especially when you are talking a big chunk of tool steel that has been machined, heat treated, ground, hard-milled, then off to the WEDM for the last ops (I was the wire guy for about 10 years so I know that pressure ) Although you usually don't have the BS of stoopid true position tolerances on clearance holes and the like...
    No high pay in a few years.
    No high pay offers from any new hot startup with manufacturing needs.
    -- Pay will be rated/limited to next-available jobshop machinist - as one won´t be able to bring much value/moolah to typical jobshop work.

    I think we (me) might be thinking a different thing when saying "job shop". My experience is at the job shop you need to know alot of different things, or you will be the low man on the totem pole, and first in line for the axe when it slows down. And if you are good at what you do you will (in general) be paid more going in to a new place than a setup guy or operator.

    Also, about mass production, there is certainly a need for people with the skills to do that and help implement it, or get it 'better', but it does not apply to everything. At my job, if I spend hours making a program to be just so and shave off seconds, I prolly wouldn't have had the job for long. A big order for us is 50 parts, with most of them being less than 10. I need to get it programmed, get set up sheets made, tools ordered, etc and out on the floor so it is ready when the last job gets finished. Who cares if I can tweak the program to save 2 minutes on a 15 minute part if they have to wait for me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    I've found the opposite. If you are programming the machine, at the machine, it is not cutting parts typically. If it is not cutting parts, it is not making money. I know there are more advanced conversational controls now, and maybe you can program while running not sure, but I do know I can program at my pc while 4 machines hum away and make parts.

    I personally don't like Mazatrol or Mazak in general, but that said, if you have opportunity to run and/or program something less mundane, like an Integrex, or live tooled lathe with a Y axis it would be the cat's ass. It is very cool to program an Integrex and watch it turn round stock into very complex shapes (or simple I suppose), then transfer into the sub and finish the part complete.
    The controls I've ran have the ability to program while a part is running, probably not true for all controls though. I do big parts and 1 can take an hour easily, so plenty of time to program another one at the same time. Also the shop isnt strictly Mazak, they did say there are other controls but majority are Mazak. And i agree integrex machines are very cool to watch haha. In my experience most programs written on a computer, mastercam etc, still need to be closely monitored the first time they're being run, im sure there are exceptions to that so i understand what youre saying and how it could be faster and more productive to be programming on a pc while several machines produce parts.
    Im getting off topic though ha. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    How big is this shop? Will you be a person or a number?

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    Quote Originally Posted by StinkyDan View Post
    The controls I've ran have the ability to program while a part is running, probably not true for all controls though. I do big parts and 1 can take an hour easily, so plenty of time to program another one at the same time. Also the shop isnt strictly Mazak, they did say there are other controls but majority are Mazak. And i agree integrex machines are very cool to watch haha. In my experience most programs written on a computer, mastercam etc, still need to be closely monitored the first time they're being run, im sure there are exceptions to that so i understand what youre saying and how it could be faster and more productive to be programming on a pc while several machines produce parts.
    Im getting off topic though ha. Thanks for your thoughts.
    Well that should be every program. OT I know, but I simulate everything in MCX and use stock verify (not always, but more lately), but NOTHING can account for operator error- loading the wrong tool, using the wrong parallels, not paying attention to loc or extension/reach, etc. These things might be easier programming at the machine, especially if you are responsible for your programs and setups.

    It sounds like you have made your choice. Good luck and hope it works out. If you are not familiar with Mazatrol I would start doing research now. Maybe contact member philabuster(?), he was just asking about doing some Mazatrol lathe programming videos....

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