Dealing with people who have _no_ mechanical aptitude - Page 5
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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    My state still requires engineering students to lean FORTRAN. It must be going on 60 years old. I've never encountered anyone still actually using it outside of a university.
    It's not completely useless, but the applications are limited. I learned FORTRAN 77 as part of my Bachelor's when FORTRAN 90 was nearly 10 years old. A good professor will use it to teach basic programming that applies to any language like mine did.

    At this point in time, something like Python would be tremendously more useful, though...

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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    Seems that we mostly used some version of C for Excel, LabView, MatLab, and whatnot. The basic idea are all about the same.

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    Everyone has to start somewhere. The key is making sure people are learning from their mistakes. A big red flag is someone that has lots of experience with manufacturing equipment but can't or doesn't use metrology equipment (ie micrometer)as this means that problems will not be properly diagnosed. It really kills me seeing that someone has been doing something wrong every day for the last 20 years...

    This doesn't mean that everything has to be designed by engineers or that nothing can be done by gut feel. But you do have to make sure you aren't starting a wild goose chase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    Move west young man . . . we are hiring automation engineers and you can work among peers who will make work and life far more enjoyable.
    Some day I may take you up on that offer Motion.....

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    What would you do when management refused to deal with a couple of young guys who were actively sabotaging my efforts.And a laborer who cut off a lockout tag from an overhead crane when i was working on it.....and then tried to wipe me off ......when I got down the huge shed was completely empty........no sign of anyone........manager said i must have done something that caused the crane to move.......or refused to dismiss a management cadet who started a fire in paint thinner.......using a lighter to "fit a rubber tube" to spraying equiptment.......because they had an "investment in him"..lighters banned throughout the site.......so i retired 10 years too soon,and its very,very boring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    .......so i retired 10 years too soon,and its very,very boring.
    I retired one year *past* when I should have (retired from working for others that is) and it's been truly delightful ever since...... I work for pay on interesting projects that I agree to take on and work on my own stuff the rest of the time, or read books, go boating, whatever.

    I certainly don't sit around watching TV or wondering what I'll do tomorrow. I have stopped taking on new big projects though because I already have sufficient commitments to see me through to my 150'th birthday.

    WRT aptitude, I think part of it is genetic. My brother is useless WRT tools and mechanical stuff, I'm pretty good. Our father owned a small engineering biz, mix of machining & welding. I liked playing there and learning stuff, my brother never did. Nowadays I don't know - a friend of mine has offered to teach young people interested in bikes how to tear them apart & rebuild them, do basic welding etc etc. He says most don't even try when the opportunity is handed to them on a plate. Currently he has one mid-20's woman who's learnt how to weld and do various other things. He prefers women because they have less attitude and are less afraid to admit they don't know stuff, so make less screwups. They also listen a lot better. That used to be my experience too; I'd rather employ & train a mid-40's woman returning to the workforce after raising children than put up with smart-arse knowalls in their 20's. If I wanted to babysit immature people, I'd have become a teacher & got paid for it.

    PDW

  7. #87
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    As hard as is to believe by most that would be here some people have no mechanical experience in their life yet get employed in a manufacturing environment.
    My wife refers to screws as "nails" and does not understand the difference, she has no concept of how to use a screwdriver.
    Running a drill bit backwards is just as correct as forward as she just has none of the life experience most of us do.

    Bigger company HR is usually stressed just to find people who can pass the background and drug test.

    Working for a outfit like Motions has many benefits,,,,but it could be worse.
    Think 5000 man union tier one shop with a higher turnover rate.
    At least you did not have to do the righty-tighty, lefty-loosen lesson or the "This is a hex key, this is a torx head screw. Yes it works but you are going to bugger things up" which brings up a blank stare.

    We tend to think the things we know as "common sense" while in fact they are learned lessons or skills.
    It is frustrating when what seems so basic to us is not understood by others.
    Ever stood and watched someone trying and failing to do something mechanical and just wanted so bad to jump in and say "let me do it".
    How hard is this to stand back and be silent? I have learned that sometimes you have to do this even with tool engineers.

    The won't listen and know it all thing often reflects the recipients need to "not look dumb" or other personality traits.
    Engineers tend to be very intolerant of such as we like the world to be black and white, right and wrong.
    Front line supervisors develop differing ways to deal with it, some methods good some maybe bad.

    Have you expressed this frustration to the supervisor who may understand the person in question on a more personal level?
    At the least it is a place to vent and gives the super things to watch for, correct, or discipline.
    As much as I hate the phrase it really is "not your job" to have to deal with or worry about such issues.
    Bat this money off your back and onto those whose day job is to handle it.

    Smaller or mid shops are so much different, hence the draw of places like Motion's.
    Don't stress Tony, life is full of complications.
    Yet I know you like me will stress and be haunted in your dreams by problems we just can not fix.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaltz View Post
    I am thinking I need to talk with the wife to let me travel more...got to contracting myself out. Apparently anything above common sense I can make the big bucks.

    It's a vicious cycle that started by brainwashing young A-B high school students they had to go to 4-yr colleges(while paying 1000% more for tuition) to make something of themselves. I have mentioned that again and again on these boards. They can't fix it in time so you know what they do...brainwashing them to think they will work in pristine factories like Lamborghini and putting the schools closer to a bus line...no joke.
    That's what I think, but when I come in with a resume with 20+ years with tool&die, programming, setup, etc etc they still want to pay you $12/hr

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    I disagree with the whole people are dumber/less skilled/less mechanical

    People have always been dumb and non mechanical

    One data point, driving a stick shift. buncha news articles about death of the manual transmission. 1968, 50 years ago, about the same ratio [over 90 percent autos] at least by the one graph I could find., of cars sold with autos.

    Since cars became a commodity, how many people actually did their own work? It has always been very small, that is why there are a lot of repair shops. Sure in my circle of acquaintances we do, but that is not the median in society.

    You might think of the American farmer who can do everything and is self reliant, we have not been a majority farmers for 150 years

    150- years ago, your average city/town dweller, did they shoe their own horses? hell no. Most of them couldn't read. They knew their narrow trade,and might have mechanical aptitude within that trade, but not elsewhere.

    Its a myth

    Our range of knowledge, hell I would say our range of required knowledge, is higher now than ever. It is merely not in the areas that mechanical people such as ourselves think is valuable.

    While my kids will certainly know how to drive a stick, it will probably be a pretty worthless skill, as would be changing your own oil in an electric car, or shoeing horses.
    I agree. In my older car, I can (but am mostly too lazy) do some work on it. A new car, open the hood, close the hood, check google, take a look around, then usually call the auto chop. ¶ times are 'a changin' ¶
    The Times They Are a-Changin', by Bob Dylan - Watchmen - YouTube (watchmen video version)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fish123 View Post
    Was once asked to look into a problem that one of our guys was having.
    His main job was installing equipment in racks. Racks pre-drilled and tapped 10-24.
    He was using 12-24 screws.
    Determined, he was threading them into the 10/24 with enough force to snap off the screw heads.

    I showed him a 12-24 and a 10-24 side by side, and explained in non technical terms “look at the difference between these - what do you see?
    - “No difference, they are screws.”

    I tried to get him to notice the differences in threads. He can see them, medically, but notices no difference.

    Investigated how he was managing to break off the heads, using a battery operated screwdriver w/ clutch.
    He says “the battery is dead, so I just use it like a normal screwdriver.”

    I should have just stopped, but had to ask why he did not charge the battery…..

    “I lost the charger. My supervisor won’t give me any more chargers, I lost three so far”…..

    I fled the area, and was subsequently criticized for not training him throughly enough………
    Similar (kinda) problem, production was using 2-56 screws in a 2-64 thread, for some reason only 2 of 12 of the threads were 2-64. I questioned the difference in pitches when I started making the parts, suggesting such a problem could become a problem. Went out onto floor to check into it before we began production, and sure enough, they were using all 2-56. My boss looks at me in disbelief saying they have been doing it for months/years and how was that possible?? I watched the guy assembling and he had a screwdriver with about a 6-8" long handle. He just torqued (not too difficult in aluminum) them in and called it good. Apparently he never noticed how the screws felt different when installing...

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    When my dad was young, he got summer employment both at a Studebaker factory, putting back seats in cars, and at USS Gary Indiana. Which is kind of amazing, as later on, he worked for the State Department, and they gave him a mechanical aptitude test, and said he scored about as low as they had ever seen.
    In the days he worked for USS, there were 40,000 employees in ONE mill.
    The old US factory model was just throw bodies at it.

    The first day in the mill, his lead man spent an hour showing him where you could sleep uninterrupted in the gigantic mill.
    In my dad's case, he mostly read books while being paid.

    Turns out his true skill was arguing- he went on to a 35 year career as a very successful trial lawyer, and I had to fix everything that broke at his house.

    Some people, like my dad, are simply never going to be trainable for mechanical stuff. Their brains just dont work that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobw View Post
    78 Toyota Corona
    (yes, named after the beer, not corolla) with an R20 (not 22).. 76MPH flat out at sea level...
    I never understood why the Chevy Vega had such a bad rap, they could hit 100 MPH, that was 15-25 MPH faster than the Japanese 4 cylinders of the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Turns out his true skill was arguing- he went on to a 35 year career as a very successful trial lawyer, and I had to fix everything that broke at his house.

    Some people, like my dad, are simply never going to be trainable for mechanical stuff. Their brains just dont work that way.
    What is even crazier to me is guys who can design and troubleshoot electrical circuitry at board level yet could not understand basic mechanical devises. My step-dad was part of the team that was in the race to bring the first affordable pocket calculator to market, yet between the ages of 14 to 17 when I moved out I was the one maintaining the house and the cars. He was incapable of being even taught to change a tire. He always said he was glad he made enough money so he could pay others to fix his crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    I never understood why the Chevy Vega had such a bad rap, they could hit 100 MPH, that was 15-25 MPH faster than the Japanese 4 cylinders of the day.
    50,000 mile throw away car.

    1. Poor quality control of casting the block. Neighbor bought one of these POS and started home. Got about 15 miles down the road when a huge bang, clank, clank, clank noise and cloud of steam came from under the hood. Raised the hood and found the AC compressor and mounting lugs on the block had broken off along with a pretty good part of the block. He raised hell and the dealer gave him a 350 4-speed Nova SS hardtop as a replacement.

    2. Coolant just not good enough for an aluminum block. Block would corrode out in about a years time around the head gasket at the cylinder wall/sleeve interface.

    3. The buttons on top of the cam followers would break at the drop of a hat. Adjusting valve lash was such a pain that nobody did, just let the POS clatter.

    4.Timing belts were crap.

    5. And, of course, the infamous GM cancer ridden body panels.

    One of the few motors that I refused to work on after the first ten or so, slow learner.

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    Where I am being a machinist is a really rare trait, something about society categorizing specifically lathe operators as idiot rednecks and such, which inevitably led to no one pushing their kids in this trade and away from production facilities. Twenty years forward the only machinists, lathe, drill operators are at retiring age or beyond and this forces every employer to struggle with finding operators for every machine you can think of. We start them at tapping threads, drilling holes or helping the experienced operators/workers with tasks no matter how mundane. The operation of every machine is being laid out in spectacular detail in work instructions, accompanied by photos and even arrows around the on/off switches showing in which direction it should be turned to turn the machine on, circling which button on the control should be pressed etc. Smarter ones really stand out from everyone else and become a foreman or even a manager and are required to teach every job to new or inexperienced operators. Engineers being available to explain every process or job to anyone really helps too. The work instructions bit at one point becomes hard to avoid because of ISO and clients generally requiring such for one to be able to prove a "stable process". Works with all kinds of people with no mechanical aptitude if they are teachable and humble (hiring know-it-alls always bites you in the ass eventually), if not you can try to find them something else to do to be useful and if they are that much hopeless I can't see how you'd keep them at the shop/facility. Given the situation programmers and set-up guys have to really be on their game and what grinds my gears more than everything is CNC operators put a part in the machine and then just blank staring at the wall, ceiling or chatting on their cell phones because they know that the programmer did their thing right and not having any deep awareness about the process at all. What helps in extreme cases is reminding them that they have the most laxed out job in the shop and at least 10 other people around the facility really want it. Of course not everyone is being like that and motivation and giving them the right mindset helps the motivated from the bunch strive for more.

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    What is amazing to me about this thread is that today we have a half dozen non-government related companies launching rockets with satellite payloads, cell phones from around the world that have more computing power, better graphics, and more memory than a business computer had 15 years ago, electric cars that can go 200+ miles on a charge . . . and all of this being done by a minority of technically inclined people driven more and more to get the dunces out of the process through more and more automation. We don’t even want people driving these cars, (or trucks, or trains, Or airplanes) . . . automate it all!

    (We are hiring automation engineers )

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    Mike1974.
    I had a 70's era Popular Mechanics with an article on how to change your oil and filter. The first change would pay for the shifting spanner purchased for the job. Last year Popular Mechanics said it wasn't worth changing your own oil - go to the local oil change shop! Things have changed.
    Reading the threads here, finding help(of any kind) seems to be an issue. Walmart paying $11/hr is only going to make it worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    What is amazing to me about this thread is that today we have a half dozen non-government related companies launching rockets with satellite payloads, cell phones from around the world that have more computing power, better graphics, and more memory than a business computer had 15 years ago, electric cars that can go 200+ miles on a charge . . . and all of this being done by a minority of technically inclined people driven more and more to get the dunces out of the process through more and more automation. We don’t even want people driving these cars, (or trucks, or trains, air airplanes) . . . automate it all!
    I'm also a fan of automation, but I wonder about long-term side effects as the pre-automation/pre-CNC generation retires. We see this in automation of aircraft. The autopilot is, in general, better at flying the plane than the pilot is, but it's hard to keep the pilot trained/attentive when he's not actually doing the work most of the time. How do we in the automation or machining industries avoid this trap?

    Traditionally, it seems like the experts often came up through the toolroom, and they could help out the button pushers, but toolrooms are less common. I'm not sure how you become an expert without being allowed to mess up, and that's gotten more expensive over the years. The last company I worked at trained very good engineers. Sure, you made a ton of mistakes when you first started, but you had to fix them yourself and you never made that mistake again. It produced great engineers, but it's an expensive process which is hard to afford unless you have very low turnover (which we did).

    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    (We are hiring automation engineers )
    I would apply, but you're next to the wrong Portland

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    I'm on the employee side at present. Every job I see advertised seems to be asking for experience or qualifications so I don't even bother looking further into them.

    There was once a job advertised which asked for nothing more than manual lathe and stick welding skills. Got my own lathe and milling machine as well as stick and mig welders. I use my stick more than the mig. Called up about the job and found I had to be a qualified mechanic to even apply for this job.

    Before I came to Australia I was an industrial electrician working in the petrochemical industries and last few years was offshore on oilwell drilling rigs. I've always been mechanically inclined, would pull apart engines and any thing else mechanical since I was young, just to look at all the wonderful mechanisms inside. On the rigs I even helped out the mechanics troubleshoot a complex hydraulics manifold (electrical and hydraulic schematics can have quite a bit in common). Arrive in Australia and jump into excavation for about 17 years (shoot me for doing that). During that time I build my own cnc plasma table, set up a little manual machine shop to maintain my gear, learn to make my own electronic circuit boards (drill them with my cnc plasma table LOL). Not happy with the cnc electronics package I bought for my plasma table so start to learn microcontrollers and C/C# programming language to make my own custom add ons. As far as the mechanical side of things go (on the excavation gear) I did everything from stripping down hydraulic motors, pumps, rams, etc, to pins and bushes. Even taught myself how to line bore from Google and Youtube ( MY FIRST LINE BORING JOB 1 - YouTube ). Also fabricated my own plant trailer which I used for many years, and also started making an attachment or two. Drew them up in 3D parametric modelling software, cut all the bits out on the CNC plasma, and any precision mechanical parts were done on the lathe and mill. All of this workshop stuff was self taught from books, Google, Youtube, and LOTS of forum chat.

    Oh, nearly forgot. Part of our duties on the oil rig was air conditioning and refrigeration. The electricians were put on a one week intensive course for that. I quite enjoyed that and always managed to keep things going. The mixture of electrical, mechanical, flows and pressures, and temperatures was right up my ally.

    So basically I'm a jack of all trades, master of none, and in todays world I feel of no use to anyone but myself. Every company seems to ask for good experience in a certain field, or you have to be "qualified". Or they want someone young.

    I feel that when I was younger I would have been of value to some company that invested in training for someone that appeared to have the right aptitude for a particular job. As it turns out I have actually ended up in a machine shop but that only came about because the owner met me in social circles and we got into friendly arguing about cnc plasma features LOL, and he found out what I muck about with outside of the excavation game. He called up one day out of the blue while I was in the digger, and offered me a job. But can you imagine me applying for such a job, having a working background of electrical and excavation. I'd be laughed off real quick.

    So now I'm putting my efforts into making on the side money in a self employed manner, because I feel that's the only safe long term solution, especially because I'm just over 50.

    It's ironic really, I see plenty employers on various forums talking about having plenty issues with finding decent employees yet most advertisements I see will scare off anyone who thinks they could learn a job with some training. They either don't have the experience or don't have the magical piece of paper.

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    Job postings are just a wish list. The chances they will find a candidate who can hit all the points is next to zero. They know that.

    What's really sad is that today, if you apply to a company with more than say 200 employees, it's unlikely your resume will ever even make it to a real human unless you satisfy the computer algorithm that is designed to weed you out. Just another way automation is keeping folks out of work.

    Large companies have little use for well rounded people. They want specialists who don't ask questions.

    Look for small companies. Small companies can't afford to have specialists. They need people who can do many things as required.

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