Cleaning up and putting stuff away - Or Not?
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    Default Cleaning up and putting stuff away - Or Not?

    What does a clean/tidy workbench mean to you?
    How do you leave machines when you're done with them?
    How do you expect a machine to be left by others?
    What does the floor look like around your machine(s) when you go home for the day? ..the weekend?

    What goes too far to the point of being obsessive or a waste of time?

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    Clean during and after a job depending on how much of a PITA it is...


    I’m a big fan of point of use..

    If I need something at that machine, it should be stored within the work envelope of that machine...

    If I have to walk across the shop or spend a couple hours looking for something then I would prefer to more of that particular item...

    Multiple machines use the same T-slot bolts all 7/8” to 1”...you can only guess at what I spend time looking for...

    When you work with people who throw essential tooling material etc out it makes it interesting....

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    I won't put up with walking on chips, so they get cleaned up as they're being produced, even if just pushed in piles temporarily until the roughing is done. Then the area I'm walking in gets swept or a floor magnet is used to clear the floor. I don't scrounge under the machine at this time, just the walking area. Do a little more thorough job at the end of the day so I don't have to come in to a mess next day.

    I have only a moderate amount of tools out at a time, and do put away what is not currently needed very often. I have many tool chests around, and average walk to put something away is only 20 feet, often less. My customers remark on how clean my shop is, even though it is not literally clean: touch anything, you're likely going to be a little dirty, but that's how machine shops get. The cleanest tools are the ones that get touched the most.

    I am always wiping and oiling manual lathe bedways and cross slideways. Way wipers are largely ineffective at really getting the finest, grittiest dirt off the machine: the big chips don't hurt anything.

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    I am generally messy when setting up, or working on a machine.

    Tools all over the workbench - sometimes two workbenches or more, my mind takes a pic and I know where the stuff is. It's a mess while I'm working but I save time by not being quite so organized on the workbench.

    When done, I will put the seldom used tools up...during the run and as I get time and get in the mood.

    Often used tools are duplicated and kept at each workbench and machine.

    Most tooling is kept directly on top of the lathes.

    That's a good thing about the older generation Mazak CNC lathes that I run: they're not too tall! Perfect for inserts, allens, torx, chuck jaws, insert shims and screws, anti/seize, jaw bolts, calipers, mics, coolant fittings, chuck plugs, tool holder bushings...

    Right there on top of the machine, easy to reach and fast to get.

    I've still wasted a bit of time over the last couple of decades walking, and hunting shit all over the shop.

    It is a lot of work keeping a working shop decently clean and organized.

    We spend the time to keep the place relatively clean, regardless of money-making time lost. (A lot occurs while making money though...haha). Chips are always gotten up, and the outside of the machines are always clean!

    But putting every tool back, knowing there's a high probability the next time you need the same damn tool will be at the same machine you're currently working at!

    When deciding how neat you want to be, you have to consider the balance between neat and money-making time lost. At least in the small shop, where pretty much every hour counts.

    ToolCat

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    Our shop had a policy of cleaning up the machine/returning all tooling after use. Some personnel had interesting takes on what that meant.

    Any time that the next guy has to spend cleaning up after the last guy and hunting tooling that should have been put back in place is lost time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky961 View Post
    What does a clean/tidy workbench mean to you?
    How do you leave machines when you're done with them?
    How do you expect a machine to be left by others?
    What does the floor look like around your machine(s) when you go home for the day? ..the weekend?

    What goes too far to the point of being obsessive or a waste of time?
    A clean workbench shows respect for your trade and others around you. I don't expect nor do I maintain a tidy area while working but when I leave everything is in its place. I work in a larger shop with 50+ other large benches so it looks disastrous if you do not keep things up. But its also easier to look cleaner than you actually are by proxy.

    I leave machines as clean as I would like to receive them. We have a Journeyman that many hold in a high regard whom is quite tidy. We often joke to "clean it as if Mr. **** is going to be using it next"

    I expect a clean machine within reason. I may be a little excessive for what should be standard and I can tolerate some chips or debris. If its a turn over job I expect minimal cleaning. Just knock the tops off. I would rather clean up another guys entire mess because he worked to the last minute getting the job done, than have to run his parts for an hour and also clean up.

    Daily we do a pretty good clean up. Things put away and floors swept. Friday we do tidy Friday and do a thorough cleaning of our respective areas. Every so often we get out the scrubbies and cleaning solution to get a good 4.0 clean.

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    While setting up things may get a little crazy on the workbench, but while parts are running the workbench should be getting cleaned up. I may go a little far, but I like to keep the gages in order on how I am using them when inspecting in a nice row with plenty of room to fill out inspection sheets and take measurements. When running production, the only thing that should be on the bench is the traveler, inspection tools and the part you are inspecting. Keep the floor swept up, as I don't want to be walking on chips and dragging them all over. If the next op or job is ready to go, then wiping down machines to keep them clean while running parts. It is difficult to get people in the same mindset.

    The last 20 min of the last day of the week is designated for final tidying up that couldn't be done while running parts.

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    Make it easy on yourself.

    Strategically placed chip buckets, trash cans, broom with pan on stick, etc.

    I like those cheap shop vac "add your own bucket" models, IIRC $25.

    Cheap enough to keep one near the machine, is great for getting the t-slots
    really clean.

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    This thread hits close to home. Our shop manager simply doesn't get and he claims to be a precision machinist. I work late hours a lot of the time and when I walk through the shop and see 12" calipers wide open dangling off the edge of the bench, , milling cutters laying on benches, and tools all over the benches, full to overflowing garbage cans, big piles of chips on the CNC from a job completed 3 days ago I call bullcrap on you being a 'precision machinist'! You don't even know if those calipers were knocked to the floor last night and are now way off. I can only wonder what shape the micrometers are in.

    Clean is a cost of the job. I want to know what it costs to make parts. Does the clean up go on the parts that made the mess or the easy ones that didn't but now seem awfully expensive?

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    Every important machine gets its own roll away cabinet, some get 2 or 3.
    Any hand tool needed at a machine is at the machine. Machine next to it gets its own tools, even if 4 feet away.
    80/20 rule applies for the tops of these roll away cabinets. You need 20% of the tools there for 80% of the projects you are working on, and they are on top of the roll away. And all roll away carts have very large extended tops.
    Floors are kept free of chips or you will cheerfully be killed.
    Welding/fabrication/assembly projects create a klusterfook of tools scattered around the welding table, or assembly carts. Sometimes they get put away, sometimes not.
    6000 sq ft and I work here alone for the most part, Ha Ha Ha. Employees are in a different building and have different guidelines. But the best toys are in my building.

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    I hesitated before posting this thinking I'd get the dreaded "we've covered this so many times - do a search buddy!". Then after posting, it seemed a little slow for responses to come in and I worried that no one cared.

    But the responses that have come in are great! Thank you all for taking the time to comment on this somewhat mundane topic. I asked the question because I've been having some trouble with others not keeping up the standards that I believe are very important. It wasn't clear to me if I was being too picky, or if my expectations were the norm in a machine shop environment. You've all made a good case for my thinking being reasonable, if not essential.

    I'll add another question to the mix then:

    How do you handle it when others aren't pulling their weight to keep the shop clean and orderly? The reason why is less important to me than the fact itself. Is it asking too much to limit the solution set to those that are respectful of the others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky961 View Post
    How do you handle it when others aren't pulling their weight to keep the shop clean and orderly? The reason why is less important to me than the fact itself. Is it asking too much to limit the solution set to those that are respectful of the others?
    Maybe it's appropriate to steal a slogan from McDonalds....
    "if you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean"

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    As a recovering slob I will weigh in on this conversation.
    I started in a shop that taught good habits. Digressed when working in a union shop where some of us were above cleaning because management thought they were so productive - no better way to kill motivation. Recovered when I ran a small R&D shop where I was in charge. Rose to my level of incompetence working in a class one clean room where 6S was a holy quest.
    Reality is somewhere in between these extremes.

    What does a clean/tidy workbench mean to you?
    Free of trash, chips and fluids. A working rag or two but generally just what is needed for the task.

    How do you leave machines when you're done with them?
    If it is a job I will continue on I hose off/brush or vacuum most of the chips. Clear bench of trash,put away unneeded tools,make note to self..
    Completing a task and moving on I can be a bit OCD thoroughly cleaning, adjusting, oiling, topping fluids etc. I DON'T ALWAY DO THIS, but I try. If the job has long run cycle times I tend to detail the machine and surrounding area.

    How do you expect a machine to be left by others?
    See above but I have learned to have low expectations.

    What does the floor look like around your machine(s) when you go home for the day? ..the weekend?
    In a job such as face milling on a knee mill I am always keeping the floor in the walkway clear for safety consideration to others - not always perfect but generally good. Day to day a basic clean, Friday or end of work on that machine a through cleaning.

    What goes too far to the point of being obsessive or a waste of time?
    I dont think its possible to be a waste of time, the old saying from restaurant work - You got time to lean, you got time to clean. Most of it is making it a habit, being mindful of the situation. For example: Going to the bathroom and will pass the collet stand? Grab the two your not using and put them away as you go by..

    I may be working at a bench or any of eight machine tools. I recently inherited a 2'x 4' elbow high, stainless steel topped, ten drawer ball bearing slide tool box that was well equipped with foam shadow for each and every tool. I rearranged the top drawer and made cutouts for all the basic machinist tools. At first I thought there is no way I could hold everything. I tell you what, I have a kennedy tool box with all that chip and dirt collecting felt that hasn't been unlocked for going on three years. I will never go back, I can find and put away everything in seconds.

    Many make fun of the 5S, 6S, LEAN process.. for sure it's a buzz word but the fundamental idea is brilliant and time saved is money earned, its just that simple.

    I was blind but now I see.

    EDIT:
    How do you handle it when others aren't pulling their weight to keep the shop clean and orderly? The reason why is less important to me than the fact itself. Is it asking too much to limit the solution set to those that are respectful of the others?If I were king I would make that individual do nothing but cleaning for weeks on end or until they got the idea. Mother always said: "Fish or Cut Bait" because everyone does their part. Unfortunately sarcasm is the only tool I can use and often am critical of myself. If someone has cleaned up after me because of timing of my absent mindedness I make sure to apologize and thank them, make up for it somehow. It is amazing how that changes peoples habits and appreciation.
    Last edited by BGL; 02-23-2018 at 08:09 PM. Reason: added reply

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    There are many reasons to keep your shop clean and tidy, the best reason of all is that a " Clean Shop is a SAFE Shop".

    I have trained my helper to immediately clean up the shop if he finishes the tasks given and I have not laid out more work.

    There is just the two of us and I like a very clean shop space, however it does get messy in the middle of larger projects as you can't avoid that part. I like walking up to a machine and having it clean and tidy ready for setup.

    I am surprised to read about larger shops that don't have one or two shop helper/cleaners to do the grunt work for all the higher priced machinists, doesn't make sense to spend the money having your machinists clean up all the time. Maybe that is why I am still just a one/two man shop as I never understood the middle management approach mixed with the upper management bean counters. Sorry but I can't understand how getting your productivity up and your costs down is not a winning recipe for success?

    Neat and tidy also means that you can work quickly and or more efficiently as you don't spend much time looking for essentials. I use my drill press a lot and got flamed a bit for wanting to have all my drills with a
    4mt adaptor so that I can just pop them in when needed. Is it excessive? Not really given how much time I save on a weekly basis. I would like to have holders for all of my annular cutters but at $150/per it is a bit excessive, I have two now and spend the time to change them as needed, one is always a 3/4" size as I use that the most.

    Good luck getting others to change their ways, some people are untrainable.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails drillstorage1.jpg  

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    I clean the floor at the end of the day or at least sweep it into a pile. When chips pile up where im standing I just blow them to the wall.

    I leave just about every tool i use that day on my bench while im working and put it all away at the end of the day which drives the other machinist i work with crazy since he is a neat freak. Oh well my bench ill leave it how i want. The machine should look pretty clean when your done using it. The thing that surprised me was the other machinist never wiped down the bridgeport so when i started i was ppled all the nastyneaa off the head and body of it. That is my only pet peeve is to have a decent looking machine.

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    One of my pet peeves about "clean ups".

    The boss two levels up walks through the area. Sees some shop made sheetmetal guards to keep chips off the floor making it easier to sweep chips off into barrels and shop made tooling stored on racks to aid production. Calls these an "eye sore" and orders the boss one level up to clean up this "mess".

    All the guards, tooling and racks are hauled away. Then come the lectures about chips on the floor and how long it's taking to get parts made.

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    Clean and tidy is the route to being organised, being organised gets you through the work, and thus to the profit, quicker. It also stops accidents, and loss or damage to materials and equipment. I have worked both ways, clean and tidy is FAR better!

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    Clean should be relative to type/conditions of employment. Organization and common sense is not. Common sense might dictate that if you have an obsessive compulsive boss/environment you spend more time on the "clean" part.

    Dave

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    Wink

    Depends if I am working by myself, shit goes where ever I leave it. If I am working with someone else, I put stuff back where it belongs, 80/20 rule like others have mentioned. I think I have 10 or 12 3/4 drive ratchets in the shop right now lol

    I came from Heavy Industry repair/Field machining background: Steel Mills/Forges, Foundry, and Mines, so my definition of clean would probably give some of you boys a heart attack!

    "Fuck it, we will clean it during the next outage!"

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    For me, except for when tool layout has been designed to make a work area more efficient, it is more important to know general area where tools or fixtures are located regardless if they are organized. I cleaned my bench off that had a bunch or items that didn't really have homes as they were new fixtures etc. Took me 2 hours to find one of them the other day after I cleaned up. I even put it in a bright orange tooling container marked appropriately on all sides so I didn't lose track of it and could find it quickly.........


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