View Full Version : Anyone in central Illinois wanna take a machining class?

01-05-2011, 05:57 PM
Hi Everybody,

I know this is probably a long shot, but the machining class I usually teach at Parkland College in Champaign, IL is short by a few people and I'm trying to round up some more interested folks so it doesn't get canceled. If anyone is in the area who might be interested, let me know, either by replying to this thread or by PM.

There are three classes that are taught simultaneously. The basic course consists of one lathe and one mill project, as well as the basics of the trade (tool geometry, measuring tools, cutting tools, threads, etc.). Once you complete the two projects, you have free reign over the shop and can make whatever you want as long as it isn't a weapon :D.

The intermediate course also has two required projects that you'll choose from a selection of useful prints (collet blocks, vise stops, table mounted work stops, hand tapper, fly cutter and a few more that escape me at the moment). You'll also learn more than you probably want to know about the dividing head and rotary table, boring heads, fixturing, and production techniques as they apply to manual machines. Again, once you finish those two, you can make whatever you want.

The advanced class is a relatively self-guided class, with the project(s) chosen by the student based on their own needs and what they desire to learn. You can make one project or fifty, as long as you give me a toleranced drawing and it's something you can reasonably expect to complete in a semester.

We have 8 mills, 10 lathes, a surface grinder, a vertical and horizontal bandsaw, and a finger brake and small shear, all of which you'll have access to for the class. If you're interested, the web address for the college is http://www.parkland.edu and the course number is "MFT 121" for the basic class. Hope to see some of you there.


01-05-2011, 06:06 PM
I'd be there if this was central WI.

01-05-2011, 06:52 PM
I wish that it's much closer to the southeast. I would sign up in a heart beat. I have looking for this kind of classes at where I live but couldn't find any.

01-05-2011, 10:25 PM
The best way to get more students would be to call up your local Haas rep and have a Xbox 360 hand control piece connected to the machine instead of the remote handwheel. Then gut the Xbox360 cabinet and have the Haas tech install the video driver board and usb port and mount that thing some where it can be seen. Since their newer machines all have a large color LCD display your tech can then pipe in some live BS from satelite TV, when they hit the green button, with astonishment, BS video feeds will replace the operator interface. What would you do without me.................

01-06-2011, 12:33 AM
... the machining class I usually teach at Parkland College in
Champaign, IL is short by a few people ...Let me be the first to salute you, sir for taking this intiative!

As a mature student trying to participate in some trades-oriented ConEd
evening classes over the past few years, I have had to become proactive
in recruiting bodies in order for classes I wanted to attend to proceed.
Last fall, a milling course was short by one person and I came home on
the Thursday before it was slated to start to find a message from the
ConEd office announcing that the course had been cancelled.

Because of an byzantine registration process that seems intentionally
planned at keeping registrants from speaking to anyone who actually has
any jurisdiction over programs, it took me some time to get through to
someone with some influence but I was successful in getting the class
reinstated by paying a second tuition. I then managed to talk an
class-resistant acquaintance into attending and got an waiver from
the instructor (who knew me from previous classes) permitting the
acquaintance to attend in spite of not having the usual prerequisites.

This pattern repeated itself in November for another class at the same
insitution. This time the program was short by two bodies. I was able
to find a relative to fill one of the seats and told the ConEd representative
that I would pay for the other seat if no one else showed. In a show of
unexpected generosity, ConEd subsequently waived the second tuition
when I was unable to find anyone else.

I don't know what your facility does to promote its programs but part of
the problem here is that there is no marketing for these trades programs.
years ago, it used to be that they would publish small adverts listing
classes offered for the upcoming semester in local papers - not anymore.
It is up to interested parties to familiarize themselves with what MIGHT
be offered, attempt to register and then wait to see whether the class
receives sufficient interest to proceed.

On top of this, the machining classes at my local institute happened to be
miscategorized in the online listing of programs. Someone who didn't know
these classes were available would never have found them because they
appeared in amongst listings for IT-related classes for MSWord, Access
and GIS applications.

Perhaps to help out with your enrollment situation, in addition to this thread
you might consider posting on other online resources. I posted adverts
for participants in the second class mentioned above on Kijiji (a Canadian
service similar to CraigsList). There might also be some free local print media
resources in your area. Who knows, maybe you could get some air time
on local radio or television ? Local tool distributors might have bulletin boards
where you can post notices. They might put you in touch with machining
businesses who could have employees interested in upgrading skills.
Agricultural equipment outlets might help you tap into a rural customer
base. Speed shops and import tuners might bring in the DIY auto enthusiasts.

Gosh, perhaps the most obvious resource is the student database. Mine
it for past attendees in similar programs who might show an interest in
participating in your classes. A few cold calls might put you over the top.

Good luck !


01-06-2011, 11:30 AM
I like the idea of posting on craigslist. I'll run that by the powers that be and see what they think.

01-07-2011, 10:28 PM
How many hours do each of the programs consist of? What is the ratio
of class time to shop time? Is there an exam and/or some other means
of ranking student performance?


John Stevenson
01-08-2011, 06:35 AM
Can you also get whatever passes for an unemployment facility to run an advert.

Perhaps there may be grants for someone unemployed to attend ?

Just an idea .