View Full Version : My 2 cents worth.
12-18-2003, 04:15 PM
I have been reading the locked thread and others.
Though some of you are right in your own thinking, this is fine, Free Speach and all that.
My opinion is that a magazine that spends over a year on a EDM article and turns around and sells it in book form later, has wasted a portion of the magazines space for a year. I had no interest in a EDM but some of you may have , good for you.
I say lets keep the articles short, rather than expecting us to reup our sub. to keep the project, really no one knows if you will make it untill the article is over, at least I dont.
12-18-2003, 05:15 PM
[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]
In the Dec/Jan 04 issue of MW. there were 52 pages (includes cover)of which there were 16.58 pages of ads. The percentage of ads to editorial was 31.8% gross.
In comparison, Dec/Jan 03 issue had 60 pages (includes covers and insert) with a 29.5% ad gross largely because of Enco ad inserts. Stats were virtually identical for Dec/Jan 02 issue (29.33%).
Summer issues have less ads because the advertisers want to push for the holiday season instead of the vacation season.
A little more comparison... Nov 14-27, 2003 issue of Model Engineer has 60 pages including covers and has a little over 25 pages of ads. That's 41.6% ad to ed. As with our magazines, I suspect this number is higher than normal because of the time of year.
12-18-2003, 07:23 PM
I'd like to see the magazine a lot thicker and thought the latest (probably November since I get it off the newstand) had a little more beef than usual. I think that these are some of the facts of life about HSM publishing:
Doctors write articles for medical journals.
Engineers and scientists write articles for technical journals.
Lawyers write articles for law reviews.
Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Scientists, Machinists and many others may be HSMs but you know who writes HSM articles ... HSMs. That's us.
Seems that there are a number of hurdles to overcome in submitting an article for many of us. #1, 2 and 3 are "time" Next is the feeling that we are submitting something of valuable to our (limited) community. Then there is the ability to produce a document and graphics of suitable quality for publication (perhaps some could enlist free or inexpensive help at a vo-tech school on this one).
Some of the old farts who might be able to contribute the most might also be the ones most frightened off by the thought of "being published" ... I don't know. There are only so many Guy Lautards out there.
Maybe some of us with less talent on the machining side and more on the computer side can assist other, more experienced individuals who would like to share their knowledge and talent.
I have to plead ignorant because I have not checked prior to writing this but perhaps Neil could post somewhere on this site, guidelines for publishing along with some sample documents or even templates from which an article could be generated. Maybe a forum devoted to publishing assistance.
Thanks to Neil for the publications which we do have. As other have said, we are a very small community and the pool of those willing and capable to produce good articles is even smaller.
12-18-2003, 07:26 PM
[This message has been edited by pgmrdan (edited 03-08-2004).]
12-18-2003, 07:28 PM
Sorry for the double post .. this one's for Neil.
Neil: Here's an idea for you. It's not cheap but advertising never is. You couldn't ask for a more targeted audience, however.
Include a complementary copy of HSM or MW with every lathe sold by Grizzly, Harbor and Enco (and maybe others). Perhaps those companies could underwrite some part of it.
Subscriptions soar (maybe) and the publications tap into a new talent pool for HSM articles (after allowing time for some cultivation, of course http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif )
12-18-2003, 11:04 PM
Hmmmmm... that has me thinking,just how did I get my first HSM ?I think it was some srot of givaway in a tool catalog or similar,you might just be on to something.
12-18-2003, 11:21 PM
The subject of serialization has come up frequently as an objection. It is a part of almost every publication of this type. There are several reasons for this.
One, it does increase sales, as people will buy the magazines to get the complete series. Magazines are in business to make money. If they make money, they stay in business, and we benefit.
Two, many articles are too long to fit in a single issue.
Three, if an article were to use up an entire issue to be complete, you can bet the howling would be loud and long.
Occasionally, some series are so popular, HSM will reprint them. The reprint frequently contains more information than was in the original article. Input from builders, etc. It also is a service to those pople who were not able to get all of the original magazines with the article. It also may be more economical to purchase the reprint than to purchase back issues.
I say keep up the good work. Remember; illegitimus noncarborundum.
12-19-2003, 04:20 AM
I hate to say it, but long involved projects should span several months. I have been following the construction of a radial engine in ME for a year now. It took the author 18 months to contruct the first one from scratch. In anyones books this is an amazing acomplishment considering the complexity of the project (1800 fasteners had to be fabricated alone). The article on the EDM is not only educational, it is intended that you can build along with the project as it progresses and complete yours shortly after the article finishes. What in hell is wrong with that, I ask? It may be an advanced tool for most HSM's but it is not out of their realm either, as the author is clearly proving. Just like DRO's nobody needs them until they have them then they don't know what they did without the damn thing.
Don't be closed minded when it comes to the subject matter of the article, there is always something that you can learn from reading them that you may not have thought of, or might give you insight on one of your own problems.
[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 12-19-2003).]
12-19-2003, 10:08 AM
I do read them,and read, and read, 7 or 8 issues is a bit long, and i have no doubt that V/P will come out with a book on the radial also.
I do learn from most articles even if i dont build them, like jigs and fixtures to build the things in the articles can be adapted to use elsewhere.
If i didnt like the magazine i wouldnt have spent the last 12 years collecting them,
I have close to 75% of the HSM collection.
Hell I buy them On E-Bay when it is cost effective, so I must like and enjoy it, or do you think I like to look at the ads.?
Personally I liked PIM better 80% projects, 10% ads,10%tips.
thanx for listening,Niel
PGMR and others…
Your questions are putting me in a delicate situation. Let me explain:
Yes, there can be a considerable delay from the time an article arrives and publication. We use up to a dozen articles per issue... 12 magazines = up to 144 articles a year, give or take a few.
The bulk of the articles seem to arrive in late winter to early spring... essentially, the "building" season. There can be a considerable dry spell of writing activity in the summer. The "abundant period - scarce period" submittal cycle puts some twist as to when an article might be published. Add to that, the issue of "parallel projects" (i.e. three different taper attachments) and you begin to see some of the problems as to the delays.
If I say we have an abundance of articles, it would be easy for potential authors to take the "no sweat – I have lots of time to submit" attitude.
If I say we are hurting for articles, advertisers raise their eyebrows and potential new subscribers could say, "I guess I better wait and see." Neither scenario is desired.
Please don't ask about "good" articles without defining the criteria of "good." For instance: a welding article is "good" for a fabricator but not so good for a lathe operator. And, a shaper article is good for those who have them, not so good for those who don't. You get the drift.
If you’re thinking “good” means involved, or meaty, then we have the issue of serializing the work over two issues …three? …five? I don’t want to draw out the length of a project any more than necessary. Once upon a time, publishers may have drawn out the articles to keep subscribers hooked. In our case, the articles are broken up so there can be room enough for other articles thus allowing more diversity to the issue. Sometimes that is not so great of an idea. It means preparing eight or ten articles versus prepping one or two.
If you think something “good” means something more durable than something else, you’ve got to ask yourself if you want to make up a “project” as-is, or do you want to refine the item to include your concept of “better.” I can’t do that because the design then becomes mine and not that of the contributor. You as builder, however, can refine the project to your heart’s content. You might even consider submitting an improved version. That would certainly be better than just saying, “this wazzit won’t hold up to my expectation, its junk!”
We don’t have a writing staff. If you think we should only be looking at veteran writers for material (a perceived quality issue), we’re going to have a tough time. Let’s say we have 12 top-notch writers doing two top-notch projects a year. That amounts to 24 top-notch articles to fill a 144-article demand. Even doubling the top-notch writers to 24, yields us 48 articles…still only a third of that required.
So, the new writers are welcome... one day they may be top-notch.
Regarding the printing of the articles in book form, We don't have a great back-issue library. Anything earlier than 1998 becomes very hit-and-miss. So, you're a newbie and want to build the "pick-a-topic" but the back issues are gone. Generally, the older articles are still available in a Project book or Metalworking book. Photocopies are still available, but a book will give you an additional quantity of material.
A closing point…
Our readers span the entire spectrum of experience. Some are very green, while others have decades of high-precision machining under their belts. And, their ages vary from very young to well seasoned. To some readers, a group of photos is priceless in explaining a setup, to others… a waste of space.
I hope these comments clear up some of the mud. And, I’ve got to get back to laying out the next issue… tempus fugit.
Thank you all for your constructive comments.
12-19-2003, 02:24 PM
The number of subscribers is very, very large compared to the number of people on this site. VERY, VERY.... so we self select ourselves and are not truly representative at all.. It is always a balancing act and the most vocal are, by definition, not the ones you should use as guides.
I have had some experience at promotions, and that might be useful. One experiment, was to include a "subscription card" with each piece of Amiga Hardware (the Anti-PC) we sold - years ago. It was construced to give away a free issue of Amiga World with each hardware piece sold. It hit a 7% success rate, if memory served. Very Effective for the medium.
Advertisers might be inclined to promote the magazine in a similiar fashion, in their own self interest - and as a "added" benefit.
There are lots of other good ideas that would work - if increasing readership is the target.
Production and generation of videos is also a strong - and cheap - thing to do. If you want to go down that route.....
If we knew what the true magazine objectives were, there are some seriously experienced people here would could make a variety of suggestions - some of which could be quite useful.
Discontent - even with the perfect life - as a chaotic force - can be harnessed to constructive means. As any good cowboy will tell you.... Direct the stampede toward where you are going.... don't stand in front and say "stop"....
my 0.02 worth.... since you did not ask....
12-19-2003, 07:15 PM
Neil....Very well said.. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//cool.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//cool.gif
12-19-2003, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the reply Neil. I have first hand experience in the position you are involved in and I don't envy you. Here is hoping you can keep the balance on your fence between the subscribers and profit. My sugestion is to spend a little more and get us what we want. Then again I'm on that side of the fence, aint I. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
12-20-2003, 11:10 AM
Dont none of you get me wrong, I will continue to subscribe.
That is, no matter how boreing some of the material is, there is a balance and I try to see the good in most things.
Niel, you are no better or worse than Mr.rice, just different, as I am not the same as anyone else here,Just different.
BTW, Niel,Do you have any metal working skills?
12-21-2003, 12:59 AM
He has stated before that he is an HSM himself. He is also a Professional Industrial Coating Specialist if I am not mistaken. The man could tell us all a thing or two about painting our machines...
12-21-2003, 02:04 PM
Ok,Ok, sorry, I dont get to read all the posts,past and present.
yea, I'll ask his advice if and when I want to get a paint job, but for HSM questions I will come here to the Bbs.
My current project is constructing an Allen Mogul (steam locomotive - 7-1/2" gage). Only gone so far as the frame, drivers and cylinder pieces. Built an electric-drive speeder a few years ago just to get on the rails.
As Thrud mentioned, I've spend a few years in industrial coatings... mostly powder coating.
And... I'm still learning. You guys are great!
12-22-2003, 02:00 PM
I have a small powder coat booth, i find it handy, and a pain all at once. too much stuff not enough room.
12-23-2003, 03:33 AM
Didn't you say in one of your editorials that you moved and a brain fart occurred and you forgot about some of the parts you machined on the loco and they rust to death?
That sucks big time. I would claim alzheimers on that one... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
Yep... rust they did. Cylinders were okay but four drivers and journal blocks were pretty stinko. Two frame parts (1/2" bar stock)were dinged enough they wouldn't fit the slots machined for them. None of the issues were of a great disaster, they just required going over the same track twice. That's what I hope to do AFTER construction, not before.
The move was last year and I'm still setting up the shop and don't know where half the tools are... in boxes somewhere! And that's a brain fart. I should have carried a felt marker when packing.
Revisiting the drivers has brought up thoughts of turning off the flanges, turning a shoulder and installing steel treads.
Sigh... nothing like improving something before its finished so you can find out if it needs improving.
12-23-2003, 11:41 AM
I submitted 36 Qcad drawings for a QC tool post and 16 tool holders to HSM and never got a reply. Granted it was my first atempt, and I didn't have any photos, but a little guidence or even a rejection slip would have
given me encouragement to do better next time.
I think that HSM has the policy that every article has to be perfect and there is no room for a rough sketch and a germ of an idea for a reader to build a project limits the number of readers that would submit an article.
I don't have any record of your submittal! When did you send it and by what means?
Every submittal is supposed to be acknowledged. That's a common courtesy to any author. No author will be ignored knowingly, new or veteran. As I've posted above, new authors are always encouraged.
To any reader:
If you have submitted material and have had no response, please contact me by e-mail, letter or phone.