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    Default Continuing education for a seasoned machinist.

    I am a journeyman level machinist wishing to do some continuing education. I started out of high school by obtaining an Associates degree in machining/diemaking. Since then I have had lots of job experience, working up to journeyman level, as well as being a department foreman.

    I don't think that pursuing a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering is feasible for me, however I would like to pursue a study course or some certification to expand my knowledge and open doors to grow in other areas of manufacturing - as well as gain some credentials.

    I live and work in an area that doesn't offer much in this field so it would have to be online.
    What have you all seen out there that fits in with this?

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    A Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering, would open any door you wanted...Phil

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    What are your goals?

    Your going to need a goal to set a direction.

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    How old are you?

    Stuart

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    I got my Bachelor's and my Master's at night while working full time. An arduous road but (for me) worth it. Barring that idea, many software, tooling, and MTB's offer all manner of educational classes both real time and online. Given the current situation, online learning looks more attractive all the time.

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    Never stop pushing yourself in further education. I started out with machine tool tech at athens vocational in Athens TN. Then went on with other things as time allowed, Fluid/Pneumatic technologies, Occupational Safety and Health management, Toyota Production Systems at Cleveland State, Then on to U.T. for Business Management, Tennessee Tech for Mechanical engineering. I just finished up my MBB in Six Sigma from Villanova last year at 48, on top of several language courses (Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, Visayan, Cebuano) Working on German now.

    With the advent of online schooling and learn at your own pace these are simple task if you can stay semi focused. However, in the end I have really never had to have any of this for a machinist position. A true "Machinist" not a button jockey, should clear well over 100K a year, given the right location and application. When I say a true machinist I mean someone who I can hand a box full of twisted spline shafts, gears with no teeth, worn out lead screws and then not only walk over to a war surplus group of machines and reproduce, but then re assemble the parts they reverse engineered and make to make a working product.

    Of my wall of sheep skins pretty much none of them have proved to have gained me a better position in employment or contracts. In fact the only benefit I can recall is when I went to work in China. They require a college degree for a work visa but even then its not job specific.

    Since getting my MBB in Six Sigma that has been a whole new ballgame. My Linkedin, Monster, Indeed, Simply hired have been beating my door down with offers from shops wanting a machinist with Six Sigma degree. Had I known when I was 25 or 30 what I know now I would have kicked all the other certs to the curb and focussed on William Deming's teachings of the Toyota Production System and Six Sigma and retired at 40 or 45. $150K to lay out a process that already has a template and then dictate whos to do what....Yeah, that beats bending over a steam filled machining center any day.


    If you're looking to improve your employee opportunity then read up on Deming. Use some of his techniques on the shop floor you're at now and see the work flow increase, add a few more and see the salary increase.

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    From what you've seen how much of a BS in Engineering can be completed online? I would expect much of that needs to be done in class/lab.

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    From what you've seen how much of a BS in Engineering can be completed online? I would expect much of that needs to be done in class/lab.
    For the degree itself there are literally hundreds that you would never have to enter a lab once to get a degree. Here's my take on engineering, A few years of on the floor machining will pretty much make you better than any engineer with a degree. Everything you need to know to be a great engineer in in that machinery's hand book. If you're a machinist that thing should have a worn out spine in its first year. Thread data, dividing head spacings, shaft torsions, heat treatments, ISO fits, on and on.....

    You will learn more from that book than any engineering class hands down, and it will be valuable knowledge not something some tossed into a Mcgraw Hill coursebook that you paid $300 for. I was looking at FB memes a while back and had a good chuckle at one that literally felt like it singled me out. It was something about a college grad in debt getting his power cut by a high school grad lineman. Perfect...

    I remember a test where we had to figure the time it took for a 1HP motor with an armature with "X" amount of mass at "X" diameter with a coefficient of "X" to come from a no load 1760 RPM to 0. You gotta be shitting me! My family spent a hundred grand for me to learn how to figure something mathematically I can time with a fkn sundial????

    IF you're really a machinist and wanting in the engineering field then look at a Solidworks certificate. Then follow up with a NX or Mastercam cert. Make yourself valuable, not just an educated guy who uses a software to figure interference fits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    For the degree itself there are literally hundreds that you would never have to enter a lab once to get a degree. Here's my take on engineering, A few years of on the floor machining will pretty much make you better than any engineer with a degree. Everything you need to know to be a great engineer in in that machinery's hand book. If you're a machinist that thing should have a worn out spine in its first year. Thread data, dividing head spacings, shaft torsions, heat treatments, ISO fits, on and on.....

    You will learn more from that book than any engineering class hands down, and it will be valuable knowledge not something some tossed into a Mcgraw Hill coursebook that you paid $300 for. I was looking at FB memes a while back and had a good chuckle at one that literally felt like it singled me out. It was something about a college grad in debt getting his power cut by a high school grad lineman. Perfect...

    I remember a test where we had to figure the time it took for a 1HP motor with an armature with "X" amount of mass at "X" diameter with a coefficient of "X" to come from a no load 1760 RPM to 0. You gotta be shitting me! My family spent a hundred grand for me to learn how to figure something mathematically I can time with a fkn sundial????

    IF you're really a machinist and wanting in the engineering field then look at a Solidworks certificate. Then follow up with a NX or Mastercam cert. Make yourself valuable, not just an educated guy who uses a software to figure interference fits.
    Gee whiz sir, I sure wish you'd told me I just needed to read that worn copy of Machinery's Handbook before I went and got that pair of engineering degrees. I'll bet the engineers who design our cell phones, fuel injection systems, and other rapidly developing fields wish they knew that as well. That's about like saying "Why is it hard, the CNC does the accuracy for you?"

    Without knowing more about what the OP wants, I'll say that a couple sophomore level engineering courses taken individually might be eye opening and highly informative. There are other ways to learn this (they still have libraries, right?), but it is a lot easier, at least for me with someone who has some experience in teaching the material.

    I agree that learning a CAD package is helpful if you don't already have it, and is a good way to programming toolpaths if that's an interest of yours. I wouldn't bother with SW certs. I've met a lot of people who have them, almost all who happened to get them as part of their schooling. IMO once you get used to it even a little, the aspects of their software tested by their cert. don't make you a good designer, or a good engineer, or a good machinist. Learn the software, maybe do the examples in the tutorials (they were good 15 years ago and have only gotten better). The important part is knowing how to do good design, and that comes elsewhere. I definitely wouldn't bother with learning pursuing several CAD packages (example SW and NX). Pick whatever your employer uses, or what you can get a hold of easily (student copies are cheap) and get good at it. Once you have the concepts down, transitioning to another really isn't that hard. I've chosen not to hire a lot of people because they can't design well, but I've never passed on someone because their fluency was in a different package than the one we use. Unless you're dealing with a place still using ProE Wildfire 2.0 (in which case don't walk, run away) it simply doesn't take that long to transition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    *snip* a machinist with Six Sigma degree *snip*
    That's a very interesting post. I'm thinking through my head the list of everyone I know that is a machinist. Nearly all of them meet your "true machinist" definition. None of them know of, and I bet a few have never heard of, Six Sigma.

    But none of the machinists I know, who meet your "true machinist" definition, work anywhere related to production work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Never stop pushing yourself in further education. I started out with machine tool tech at athens vocational in Athens TN. Then went on with other things as time allowed, Fluid/Pneumatic technologies, Occupational Safety and Health management, Toyota Production Systems at Cleveland State, Then on to U.T. for Business Management, Tennessee Tech for Mechanical engineering. I just finished up my MBB in Six Sigma from Villanova last year at 48, on top of several language courses (Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, Visayan, Cebuano) Working on German now.

    With the advent of online schooling and learn at your own pace these are simple task if you can stay semi focused. However, in the end I have really never had to have any of this for a machinist position. A true "Machinist" not a button jockey, should clear well over 100K a year, given the right location and application. When I say a true machinist I mean someone who I can hand a box full of twisted spline shafts, gears with no teeth, worn out lead screws and then not only walk over to a war surplus group of machines and reproduce, but then re assemble the parts they reverse engineered and make to make a working product.

    Of my wall of sheep skins pretty much none of them have proved to have gained me a better position in employment or contracts. In fact the only benefit I can recall is when I went to work in China. They require a college degree for a work visa but even then its not job specific.

    Since getting my MBB in Six Sigma that has been a whole new ballgame. My Linkedin, Monster, Indeed, Simply hired have been beating my door down with offers from shops wanting a machinist with Six Sigma degree. Had I known when I was 25 or 30 what I know now I would have kicked all the other certs to the curb and focussed on William Deming's teachings of the Toyota Production System and Six Sigma and retired at 40 or 45. $150K to lay out a process that already has a template and then dictate whos to do what....Yeah, that beats bending over a steam filled machining center any day.


    If you're looking to improve your employee opportunity then read up on Deming. Use some of his techniques on the shop floor you're at now and see the work flow increase, add a few more and see the salary increase.
    I think
    " A true "Machinist" not a button jockey, should clear well over 100K a year, given the right location and application (< those are getting fewer and fewer IMO). When I say a true machinist I mean someone who I can hand a box full of twisted spline shafts, gears with no teeth, worn out lead screws and then not only walk over to a war surplus group of machines and reproduce, but then re assemble the parts they reverse engineered and make to make a working product. "

    Is a bit of a stretch. I have only made over 100k one year I think, working 2 jobs, one well paid, and one part time very well paid as well. There are lots of factors involved, base pay, working a ton of overtime, etc etc, but I think most machinists I know (have known) would be quite 'proud' to make 60-7-80k/year. Not to mention, depending on industry (someplace that *can't* be shutdown for example), paying someone to make a gear on a ww2 era BP and indexing head is a fools errand. Way too many places to shop for something like that these days. It used o be, IMO, an invaluable skill to be able to use a cutter grinder and such, now I can go to a place like AB tools, and select shank, diameter, material, radii, etc etc and place an order for a custom tool and have it in a week. Yes, a week is a long damn time if you are down, but planning accordingly gets you out of alot of those jams...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    That's a very interesting post. I'm thinking through my head the list of everyone I know that is a machinist. Nearly all of them meet your "true machinist" definition. None of them know of, and I bet a few have never heard of, Six Sigma.

    But none of the machinists I know, who meet your "true machinist" definition, work anywhere related to production work.
    I think the whole six sigma and kaizan and all the other BS only "buys" you a job in a mega corp. I can't imagine any smaller places would give 2 shits about those certs and "degrees". Don't get me worng, I am sure there are places that really utilize them and make a difference, but I think for the most part it's just "talk". I know it was where I worked that had it....

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    The important part is knowing how to do good design,
    Bingo! nailed it, I've got 35 years of correcting engineering disasters. Size for size screw fits, Oh, here's a good one. An engineer from M&M Mars called me up in the 80's, wanted to know what the capacity of my press was. I tell him "my vertical press is 75T, why does he ask"? Well, each color of M&M's go through a polishing tube that looks pretty much like a cement mixer but about 40' long. Each one rides on eight Road Runner forklift tires that are pressed onto a WA-35 Taper-Loc weld in hub in a piece of 3/4 plate welded into a 14" X 6" DOM tube. The degreed engineer didn’t know how to figure interference fit so on the print just put (75 ton press fit) to push the forklift tire on.

    Of course back then there was no google so it actually took some thought, like maybe call the manufacturer to get the spec?!?! I,,,, At the time was 18 and by all accounts not even close to an engineer, only 8 years of working at my families machine shop along with the 4 years I had in high school knew how to open the machinery's handbook and figure the size to get that much tonnage for a fit.

    It only took M&M 30 years of blowing out forklift tires once a month to go back and realize 75 tons was actually fracturing the rubber causing them to fail prematurely! Wow, 6 colors of M&M's times two styles (Plain and peanut) times 8 wheels per color (96 wheels per plant) times 8 plants (768) wheels per month to get retreaded ($705) = $541,540 per month. WHEW! Granted,,, I only got to do two plants (Cleveland TN. and Hackettstown N.J.) but hey, I wasn't complaining, And I wasn't the engineer that cost them several mill.


    Wanna discuss cell phones and engineering? Sure,,,, I contract with Foxconn, Xiaomi, Oppo, not to mention Nook (Hon Hei, another part of Foxconn). My company builds their fixtures, and set up many of the manufacturing processes and for the most part the only engineers I ever see are the electronics guys. The rest are not really engineers just CAD jockeys, they’re looking for the cosmetics value then pass it off to the electronics guys to make it fit inside the housing. Sure, they may need to add post or recesses but guess what, their just guys out ot Polytech with NX skills, Not engineers.


    Unless you're dealing with a place still using ProE Wildfire 2.0 (in which case don't walk, run away) it simply doesn't take that long to transition.
    Interesting, do you have kids that like Hot Wheels or Barbie? I'm a tooling supplier to Mattel China, pushing around 400-500 tools a year (Well, until Covid). the lead designer in that department is pushing 70 and still uses ProE. Seems to still workout pretty well, well enough I just swapped to PTC Creo.

    Lots of outdated CAD out there, I still use DeltaCad for quick 2D DXF sketching. Just because its old doesn’t mean it's not got a place.


    Without knowing more about what the OP wants, I'll say that a couple sophomore level engineering courses taken individually might be eye opening and highly informative.
    I agree that it wouldn't hurt to have some basic engineering courses but that's not necessarily where the money's at. He said he wants to open doors, we could always point him towards a hot dog stand.

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    The scientists always get the great breakthroughs and the engineers get the disasters. If people stop making problems we'd all be out of a job. Sounds like we could have a good time swapping stories elsewhere. There are lots of core principle and basic understanding issues in all fields, and it seems most people don't get them right 100% of the time through their entire career. My objection is to your point about Machinery's being great and formal education being useless. Machinery's is a great resource, but for a specific set of problems. I open it about twice a year, the machinists I work with open it about a dozen times a year. The problems in our day simple don't revolve around the wrong thread, gears and splines, etc. The last time I needed to do a press fit that wasn't a simple table lookup it involved an extremely non-uniform part. Machinery's was a good starting point, but material mechanics was needed to actually solve the problem. Sure, I could start making and testing parts. I often do that, but sometimes the parts are expensive, testing is more complicated, and some math is faster, cheaper, and more thorough.

    It's a pity none of the people involved in putting those tiers on in 30 years at M&M figured out they messed up, but if you go 30 years not getting the expected life out of something there's a lot more to blame than the engineer at the start.
    You mentioned Foxconn, so I'll reference Apple. Going rate for a Mech. Eng. at Apple in or near Cupertino is $150k to $500k/year, and they have at least a couple hundred of those. It should be obvious from that alone that while the tooling is important, there is more going on than operating a CAD tube. They have plenty of people doing that too, I've met several, some good, some bad.

    I should have put a small sarcasm warning on the Pro-E comment. Of all the CAD software I've used in the last couple decades, they were all close enough that someone versed in one could be very quickly functional in another with the exception of the first couple releases of Wildfire. I found the interface to be a decade out of date in 2005, the transition to it was miserable, and unlike all of the other CAD software I've used I didn't find it helped me in the future. Fortunately they fixed this when they went to Creo. It's far better than nothing, but I would never use it as the first thing to learn. I'd say early Pro-E vs. everything else is like Mac. vs. Windows, except in a world where Macs died 15 years ago and never came back. Some love it, some hate it, but it isn't the standard.

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    Is a bit of a stretch. I have only made over 100k one year I think, working 2 jobs, one well paid, and one part time very well paid as well. There are lots of factors involved, base pay, working a ton of overtime, etc etc, but I think most machinists I know (have known) would be quite 'proud' to make 60-7-80k/year. Not to mention, depending on industry (someplace that *can't* be shutdown for example), paying someone to make a gear on a ww2 era BP and indexing head is a fools errand. Way too many places to shop for something like that these days. It used o be, IMO, an invaluable skill to be able to use a cutter grinder and such, now I can go to a place like AB tools, and select shank, diameter, material, radii, etc etc and place an order for a custom tool and have it in a week. Yes, a week is a long damn time if you are down, but planning accordingly gets you out of alot of those jams...

    paying someone to make a gear on a ww2 era BP and indexing head is a fools errand
    Let's start with this one. I was on a job site for Continental in Salt Creek oil field in Wyoming back around 2010. One night i'm in my trailer and they spun a spline shaft for a gas pump. Now, when these places go down that 10's of thousands of dollars an hour. I get up in the middle of the night, fire up the ready heater, grind an HSS tool, turn a blank, then flycut the splines to get them up running. At 2am in the middle of the gas fields of Wyoming with 2 feet of snow on the ground it's hard to find an MSC or AB tools. Two hours later and a $1,800 bill i'm back in bed waiting for the next break down. When you have 500 wells in one state spread out over 500 miles in the middle of nowhere it's not quite feasible to keep a CNC shop at each one.

    And that's just one instance. At CFS we had probably 30-40 portable machine shops that were constantly on location somewhere. I loved it, prep my shop, loaded it onto a flatbed, hopped a plane and off I went. It's great if you’re a hunter, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Dakotas, Idaho, Missouri. Slide my Rem 700 into the portable shop and get a license for whatever needed killing that day. Nothing like $65 bucks an hour on standby waiting on dinner to get in range! Let me tell ya, Blast a 200# mule deer at 5am, throw it on the smoker for the day and by 5pm you'll have a couple dozen roughnecks supplying the beer and making sure you have job security.

    I have only made over 100k one year I think, working 2 jobs, one well paid, and one part time very well paid as well.
    You're only a few hours away from Savannah GA, some of the most highest paying machine shops in the south. Not sure if you have a family or not but if your single and dont mind travel $4K a week is nothing unusual. Nothing like going into a hot room at a nuke plant where a 4" stud 3' long broke off in a turbine and spending 12 hours in a white suit wearing a diaper drilling it out. but hey, $96 bucks an hour plus haz pay and another $75 in per diem along with a free hotel makes it all worth it. Just another case where that 1940's era mag base drill trumps CNC.


    Don't think Manual machining is out.

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    It's a pity none of the people involved in putting those tiers on in 30 years at M&M figured out they messed up, but if you go 30 years not getting the expected life out of something there's a lot more to blame than the engineer at the start.
    M&M is a total cluster FK from start to finish. They have a huge maintenance department that are as useless as the day is long. My Family’s industrial supply had a tool kit list supplied by them for whenever they got a new hire. The toolboxes where a Kennedy 297RBB (Ball Bearing red), MC-28R 2 draw riser, and the standard 52611R top. they came filled with Mitutoyo in the top two boxes then the bottom was filled with Armstrong hand tools. Basically around $10k.

    Now M&M Maintenance is not allowed to do maintenance, only troubleshoot. They have a group of contractors in a building on site that actually come in and bid the maintenance work. Just a joke, even a small pillow block bearing was a choir. The line operator calls maintenance, Maintenance goes and sees the bearings bad, maintenance calls the contractors, contractor sends a bid, bid get approved and PO gets issued, New $5 1/2" Browning pillow block gets ordered from me, I deliver the bearing, then shipping and receiving checks it in, maintenance takes it to the contractor, then the contractor replaces!?!?! meanwhile 5000# of Twix bar cookie doe hardened in the mixer so now maintenance has to come access the situation to figure out what contractors he has to get bids from to clean out the hopper.

    Those wheels and tires were nothing compared to the rest of the crap that went on there.

    Somewhere on one of my old YouTube videos there's one called "Tree 750 CNC burned" where I had a bit of a meltdown. In the vid I reference all the M&M machines spanning our 5 acres because they wanted new equipment. Just gave it to us, come and get it and it's yours. Enough we filled a 10,000sf building with like new Sumitomo gearboxes and motors, Pillow,Flange, take up bearings. Sprockets, Sheeves, bushings, Chain, power transmission,,,,uhhhgggg, you guys ever need any of that stuff just message me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    Unless you're dealing with a place still using ProE Wildfire 2.0 (in which case don't walk, run away) it simply doesn't take that long to transition.
    That's a stupid statement. Wildfire 2 works quite well, thank you very much.

    Pissing away money on software you don't need doesn't show me much. Your comments about Wildfire are retarded.

    btw, transition is a noun, not a verb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    That's a stupid statement. Wildfire 2 works quite well, thank you very much.

    Pissing away money on software you don't need doesn't show me much. Your comments about Wildfire are retarded.

    btw, transition is a noun, not a verb.
    Please read my follow up post about sarcasm and transferability of skills. In the mean time
    the Oxford English Dictionary disagrees with you.
    e105defb-c2ee-4152-a387-2d60836c6e78.jpg

    I’d still like to know what the OP’s goals are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    Please read my follow up post about sarcasm and transferability of skills.
    You be dissin' my fave, honeychile. Expect blows !

    In the mean time
    the Oxford English Dictionary disagrees with you.
    And they are wrong. Standards have turned to shit these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    Let's start with this one. I was on a job site for Continental in Salt Creek oil field in Wyoming back around 2010. One night i'm in my trailer and they spun a spline shaft for a gas pump. Now, when these places go down that 10's of thousands of dollars an hour. I get up in the middle of the night, fire up the ready heater, grind an HSS tool, turn a blank, then flycut the splines to get them up running. At 2am in the middle of the gas fields of Wyoming with 2 feet of snow on the ground it's hard to find an MSC or AB tools. Two hours later and a $1,800 bill i'm back in bed waiting for the next break down. When you have 500 wells in one state spread out over 500 miles in the middle of nowhere it's not quite feasible to keep a CNC shop at each one.

    And that's just one instance. At CFS we had probably 30-40 portable machine shops that were constantly on location somewhere. I loved it, prep my shop, loaded it onto a flatbed, hopped a plane and off I went. It's great if you’re a hunter, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Dakotas, Idaho, Missouri. Slide my Rem 700 into the portable shop and get a license for whatever needed killing that day. Nothing like $65 bucks an hour on standby waiting on dinner to get in range! Let me tell ya, Blast a 200# mule deer at 5am, throw it on the smoker for the day and by 5pm you'll have a couple dozen roughnecks supplying the beer and making sure you have job security.



    You're only a few hours away from Savannah GA, some of the most highest paying machine shops in the south. Not sure if you have a family or not but if your single and dont mind travel $4K a week is nothing unusual. Nothing like going into a hot room at a nuke plant where a 4" stud 3' long broke off in a turbine and spending 12 hours in a white suit wearing a diaper drilling it out. but hey, $96 bucks an hour plus haz pay and another $75 in per diem along with a free hotel makes it all worth it. Just another case where that 1940's era mag base drill trumps CNC.


    Don't think Manual machining is out.
    My time is worth more than money, I'm strange like that. Watched my father in law work himself to death and end up with nothing as a divorec, nursing home costs at the end, single parent, etc....

    I checked Monster and CL for that area, nothing stellar turns up (at least advertising pay).

    I didn't say (nor do I think so) manual is out, we have two manual guys at work, each manning a BP and lathe making various bits and pieces. But I also think for every awesome job paying 6 figures for machining, there are 100 paying 40-50k/year (including overtime ).

    edit: 2 jobs ago had a job paying me to travel and eat on their dime. Cool for a bit, but with a family it gets old fast. Now if single, hell ya!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    My time is worth more than money, I'm strange like that. Watched my father in law work himself to death and end up with nothing as a divorec, nursing home costs at the end, single parent, etc...
    At my age I have to agree. It's different when you're in your prime, time is incidental and you can enjoy making stuff and solving problems. But now I only care about efficiency. That said, repair machining is an industry all its own, and has diverged pretty far from production machining. Manual machining has been gradually reduced to just a supporting role in production, but like he said, if you need a spline on a shaft in the field you better know how to wrangle a BP. Mastercam won't help.

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