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    Dear Fellas,

    I thought it would be interesting to start a thread where we can post our professions or former professions and see how/if they relate to machining. With that said, I'll be the first to share. I am a elementary school teacher-- no connection to machining there! I've always been interested in the ways things work and the way they are made. Machining is a natural offshoot of this interest. I've also been a railroad fanatic since I could utter, "Toot! Toot!" A few years ago I combined these interests and joined a local live steam club. Shortly thereafter I started constructing a locomotive. I "apprentice" with several old timers and there is no way I could do what I am doing without their advice, help and experience. I like to think of myself, at 32, as a part of the next generation of live steamers dedicated to keeping steam alive.



  • #2
    I have always been a machinist, almost 40 years, damn I hate seein that in print, 40 YEARS, seems like forever. I only wish that the passing of time could have made me an extaordinary machinist. I am adequat at best. I do my best work at home, the 4 jobs that I have had in forty years while not strickly production work, were repitious in nature. I have had my home shop for something more that 16 years. Even made money with it for about 5 years, but that got old and I bagan to lose interest in my home shop. So I gave that up and soon I had my interest again.

    Paul G.
    Paul G.


    • #3
      I think this has been done about 50 times already.

      I'm retired from the mainfraim computer industry. The last position I held was called a "management consultant". All I did was make managers, directors and CEO's look good to their bosses. Paid good. My hobby was cars. I build cars and color them now. There's an endless need for machining (making) antique or custom parts.

      Ken Kopsky
      Custom Car Works

      Deep in the Heart of Texas!


      • #4
        I am a jack of all trades, I have a janitorial business, an auto repair business, I have worked as a carpenter for the last 15 years, I have enjoyed welding for about 15 years also, I just got a lathe about 1 month ago (the first time I used one) which started that hobby for me, now I want to start playing with steam engines

        Matt in AK
        Matt in AK


        • #5
          I was brought up on a ranch but chose Civil Engineering as my profession. I started my own business as soon as I got my P.E. When I first started out it was work, work, and more work! During the day I would market the company and at night do the work that I got – which was sometimes only a parking lot. There were some very lean years for me. My wife was the best blessing I ever had – she made do with very little and never complained!

          Well, lucky for me things began to fit together and I now have 32 employees. What really is strange is that sometimes I have to turn down work and give it to my competitors – which I guess means that the company is just about the right size now.

          For the last three years I only show up at the office two days a week and spend the rest of my time working the ranch – yeah, some golf too. My machining interest first started when I was very young keeping the farm equipment in repair. Funny how things go full circle….


          • #6
            Network Engineering pays my bills and buys machine tools! ;-)


            • #7
              I'm a Systems Analyst. Programmer before that. Auto mechanic before that. But I have always had an interest in metal working, machining metal in particular.

              When I was very young, my parents had some wood working equipment, which was interesting, but I wanted to shape metal. I remember they had a wood turning lathe and I was always wondering if I could get away with putting a piece of metal in there instead!

              My even bigger fascination now is CNC stuff. With my programming background, and my desire to shape hard things, I feel a CNC conversion on my mill is in the near future.

              I've had a mill and lathe for about 3 years now and have just recently purchased a Bridgeport clone and a 13x40" lathe that now litter the floor with mostly gun related chips. (Guns, one of my other fascinations)

              With work being a constant time killer, all I have been able to do with respect to this hobby is learn a lot. Well... I have built about 10 rifles and made some model airplane parts too. But in 3 years of playing machinist, I have gained a very healthy respect for the talents and skills of the people that do this stuff for a living. I'm fortunate enough to work with a bunch of really talented guys that make things tick in our tool & die department. Heh, it's like having 6 instructors available to answer all of my dumb questions.

              Heh, a computer geek with a mill and a lathe. There is probably a law against something like that!

              That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
              That\'s my story and I\'m sticking to it...


              • #8
                First jobs were digging for foundations and cement working. I had an intense interest in electronics starting from about 3 yrs old, which must be what led to my 25 yrs plus in electronics servicing. I ran my own business in this for another 10 yearss until it dried up, and now I'm a cabinet maker. My interest in metalworking came with the purchase of a Unimat, must be about 30 yrs ago, and it's been my major hobby since I got a larger lathe. That's about ten yrs ago. There's not a lot of connection between metalworking and my work-for-pay, but the knowledge of electronics and woodworking helps a lot sometimes. I'm a 54 yr old puppy still looking for my niche.
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                • #9
                  Worked as Manager of Labour Relations for a School Board for 10 years. Negotiated labour contracts. Couple of nights a week 'till midnight, and weekends too. Quit that and took a teaching job in a small Northern College. Kids were 3 and 7 when I made the move. Wanted to spend more time with them. Took a $20K salary cut, and never sorry I did. Love the teaching job, and spent a lot of time with my kids canoeing and such. They're 18 and 22 now. Always participated in shooting sports, some pistol and long range "bisley"-style shooting. Made myself quite a few rifles, and always had to have the metal work done by someone else. A machinist friend of mine found a great old used lathe and said that if I bought it, he'd help me learn how to use it. I did and he did and I've been learning and enjoying it ever since. I've learned a lot but I know that I've just scratched the surface of what can be done with it. I've learned a lot from you guys just from reading this bbs. I have always enjoyed mechanical things. I do most of my own auto/motorcycle repairs including engine swaps and rebuilds, and now help out my son who is better at it than I am.
                  I've been laid up for the last three weeks with a cast on my left arm, a cracked thumb on my right hand and a badly torn rotator cuff on my right shoulder. I see the physioterrorist twice a week. I fell downhill skiing. Spectators tell me it was a 9.5 out of 10. Been downhill skiing for 46 years and this is the first serious injury! I have been working and not missing classes, but not much else. When I get this damn cast off, I'll do a series with pictures on how to build a muzzle brake from a solid piece of steel without a dividing head, if anyone is interested. Damn this two finger typing is frustrating.


                  • #10
                    Two fingers?
                    Damn are you suppost to use more than one ?

                    I got into this by accident.
                    My old Grandpa said to me when I was about 13, "Never go out with loose women"
                    So I sarted carrying a screwdriver, adjustable wrench and a set of alley keys, - , just in case...

                    As no really loose women were evident I decided I had to go more specialised.
                    This led on to a socket set, extractor set, measuring equipment to see how loose and it's gobne on from there.

                    Now got 5 mills, 4 lathes, 3 mig welders but still found no loose women.
                    Obviously I don't have enoght of the right equipment.................................

                    John S.

                    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                    • #11
                      AS was said this was done before, But for the Newbees....
                      It was a dark and stormy night.... Oops nevermind.

                      I was raised on a Iowa farm, so mechanic and welding skills was always needed, after HS I went into the navy for 4 years saw half the world.Since then I have done every thing from telemarketing in the early years to self employed, presently. Between times I have been a welder,mechanic,wood worker, framer,red steel erecter,maint. mechanic,gigalo,patternmaker,cnc operator, metal plate(chrome&anodizeing), paintball&airgunsmith,laid floors, poured concreet,and a few others, Ive learned alot, forgot some, and wish I could forget some. Ive worked for saints, and ass holes,and everything in between.I will be 47 in june.
                      I have a 30x40 steelmaster build. filled with stuff,among which..3 lathes, 1 turret lathe,3 mills, surface grinder ,toolgrinders,4 welders, plaz torch,o/a torches,and more tooling than you could fit in a pickup. Wheew, should I add being long winded?


                      • #12
                        I also was raised on a ranch. My Dad was a saddlemaker and hunting guide. During my teenage years I was a total gun nut and by the time I was 20 I was making a somewhat meager living repairing firearms. An opportunity came up for a good logging contract so I sold all my machine tools to buy a Cat to go logging. Bad idea! The contract didn't last and I had to give up the machine. Went on from there working in the bush until that got old then I started up a fulltime cabinet/furniture mfg business. Ran that down the tube while trying to win a teamroping championship and not paying attention to business. Went from there to being a weldor. Once I got all my endorsements I started up a race car component business and started racing blown alcohol mud rails. Still welding on a more or less full time basis but am still aiming at getting a welding/machining job shop up and running. Only need to spend another $4 million on equipment and the "Grand" opening will happen! You are all invited!(please bring a small horizontal milling machine for entrance fee into the shop )
                        I have tools I don't even know I own...


                        • #13
                          Grew up on a farm. Always loved helping my dad. He told me an education was important. At 17 he told me there was no more work on the farm for me. That was hard to accept. Time to face the world.

                          I continued on to University. My second year there, the computer kicked me out. I had a 3.96 GPA and I needed a 4.00 GPA to stay in. I got the notice on my B-day, which was the due date to oppose the decision. I found this out the next day.

                          I worked that fall for my summer employment, then i walked up to the director of operations at the ski hill and told them i was the guy to supervise the lift employees. Got the job and kept on climbing.

                          I took every oportunity to learn what i could. Pumps, electricity, computers, welding. You name it I was there asking questions.

                          One year, when i got my bonus, i decided to buy myself a 3-1 lathe. It was always a question in my younger years if i should go to university in Business or go to college and take a Machinist course. So i decided to see if i would have liked the second choice. So far so good.

                          I think the biggest thing i have noticed is the willingness to help each other. That seems to be a common theme amoungst machinists.

                          That is my story...more to come, i just haven't lived it!!



                          • #14
                            Dear Fellas,

                            Thank you for those taking the time to respond and share your stories so far. I am enjoying reading about the backgrounds of many members. In spite our varied experiences, we all have one thing in common-- a love of metalworing.

                            So far two posters have indicated this topic was previously submitted. Oh, well. It's new to me and probably lots of other fellas who have only recently started posting on this bulletin board. As for the future, I promise never to post this topic again and expect you to respond to it.




                            • #15
                              I was an aircraft mechanic on EC-130's for the PA ANG for the past 23 years lost my fulltime job last year due to a medical disability related back to PG 1 war and now I am considered a disabled vet. I took up machining (no formal machine shop schooling) to support my hobby of garden tractor pulling. The machining aspect allows me to make anything I need and not be subjected to what is being sold to everyone else, I can think outside the box so to speak. I can now do almost everything to build small high perfomance engines in my shop except turn crankshafts. I built my own flowbench for engine airflow testing and now I build flowbench parts for other people. Working on finishing up my own dyno for my engine testing and my plans are to turn this into a part-time business to help with the $$$ difference between what I was making and what disability now pays me.

                              Nice thing with this "hobby" is I can control my own future since I am the boss. If I have a "bad health day" I can just take the day off.
                              "There is no more formidable adversary than one who perceives he has nothing to lose." - Gen. George S. Patton