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I Wanna Be

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  • I Wanna Be

    Hi again, Folks.

    I'd like your opinions/thoughts.

    I've learned a good bit about being a machinist from here, from my Dad who was/is a machinist, from fooling around with my grizzly G9729 mill/lathe, from reading book after book after book, etc. Still, I'm not a formally trained, bonafide, employable machinist. I wanna be. As many here have testified, bonafide machinist schools are hard to find.

    I told the people at the vo-Tech I wanted to become a bonafide machinist. They asked me if I was going for a degree. I asked if that's how I get the best they have to offer. They said yes. I said, sure I want a degree then.

    So I start classes in the latter half of August. The only books I've been told to get are a blue print reading workbook and a "Machine Tools Technology" text book and workbook and I have purchased them. I will go for five semesters across twenty-one months.

    This is the link to the course description.

    So, assuming I really apply myself and get everything I can from this course, how employable will I be on course completion?

    and, completely different question,

    How much of a real bonafide machinist do you think I can be on course completion, again assuming that I really apply myself to learning all they have to offer?



  • #2
    I ASSUME you are in La.


    • #3
      Depends on local demand, most likely. If there are lots of qualified, experienced people around, a "new guy" with no experience may find it difficult no matter how much training he has. Experience counts for a lot. If shops are desperate for workers, it will be a lot easier.

      If I were looking, I'd be inclined to take a few samples of my particularly nice work with me to job interviews, to show off.

      On your "completely different question," I think the only way to become a "real bonafide machinist" is experience. In Guy Lautard's "Machinist Bedisde Reader #1," there's a short story with this exchange:

      Young Guy: "I'm a toolmaker."
      Old Master: "They used to say it took 20 years to become a toolmaker."
      YG: "I'm still learning."
      OM: "So am I."
      Last edited by SGW; 07-19-2008, 01:48 PM.
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


      • #4
        wanna be

        Machine tool technology by Krar is a great text, I taught from it and it has just about everything you need. Now you have to have the "bible" Machinery handbook, latest edition you can afford. You need to try to get a job in a machine shop, part time, while you are going to Tech School. Hands on is essential along with theory. You need both big time. You don't post your location so assume U.S. Hope your math is up to snuff. Peter
        The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


        • #5
          Originally posted by brokenarrow

          This is the link to the course description.

          So, assuming I really apply myself and get everything I can from this course, how employable will I be on course completion?

          and, completely different question,

          How much of a real bonafide machinist do you think I can be on course completion, again assuming that I really apply myself to learning all they have to offer?


          It looks good, but lacks intro welding , drafting and CAD.

          You should do fine if you get good grades and learn to do a good job fast. I find many student take all day to set up and do simple stuff once out of school. Sharpening a drill should not take half an hour.

          If you can get up to speed making pallet loads of good parts and dumpsters full of chips the cash flow will go right up.


          • #6
            The predominate job market for a machinist these days is in the CNC machining industry. If you go to school to become a machinist try to learn as much about CNC machining as possible. Also try to learn as much about CAD/CAM as possible. Just about anyone with basic machine experience can get a job as a CNC machine operator, I have hired kids right out of high school to run my machines. The problem for a shop is finding people who can do more than just push the start button. What I look for in a machinist, not operator, is someone I can hand a print to and they can hand me a completed part back. That means they need to be able to set up the tooling and work holding in the machine, program the the machine and run the parts. Many times this might require drawing the part in CAD and generating the tool paths in a CAM system. This also might require using both a CNC lathe and CNC mill. If you learn how to do these things it will help you move up quickly and earn substantially more money than an operator would.

            If you decide to attend a school that teaches CNC, look for one that has up to date equipment and teaches the more popular CAD and CAM systems like Mastercam X, Gibbscam, Camworks, Catia and Solidworks. There are others but those are some common ones.

            There is a huge shortage of machinists here in the Seattle area and trying to find someone that has a passion for the job and is not just looking for a paycheck is even tougher. If you were in this area and looking for a job I would probably hire you regardless of your experience just because you seem to have a passion for it. In a small shop like mine you would get the experience very quick, kind of like being a doctor in Vietnam. The last kid I hired out of HS was programing and setting up machines in a few months. Then all you have to learn is the hardest part, how to bid the jobs and do the paperwork crap, and you can run a shop .
            Mark Hockett


            • #7
              OK, Guys. I apologize for being incomplete. I updated my profile to reflect my home location.

              I grew up in the shadow of a machinist/millwright/perfectionist. My first welding bead was laid at age 5 with a Lincoln AC cracker box. Though a high school drop out, I've never "struggled" with any of the "R"s. I suck at history and geography, but I can read a map and what happened a thousand years ago seems to be changing every time a new scientist comes along. For purpose of certificate, I took my GED in 1989. In recent years, to improve my math, I bought and studied the self improvement volume "Technical Shop Mathematics" by John G. Anderson. I currently own the 26th edition of the "Machinery's Handbook" the same edition of the "Pocket Companion" and the guide to tell me how to use it if I get lost. I've also thoroughly studied a number of Audel's books (Machine Shop, Millwright, Mechanic's). A few years ago I found an internet site that had a pdf version of the U.S. Navy's Machinery Repairman Book and printed and studied it. (I can no longer find that online). I own three welding machines, (Lincoln AC cracker box, Hobart MIG, and Hobart TIG/AC/DC stick), and have spent a lot of time in my shop doing what my wife calls "playing". So the point is that I have some background and some ability and experience.

              But, none as an employee. My work experience is a small amount of carpentry, some years as a prison guard, many years as a paramedic, and some years as a safety & compliance advisor on offshore drilling rigs.

              I submitted a resume' to a large paper mill in applying to become an industrial mechanic (millwright) for them. I don't know why but they let me test for the job. There was some welding, pipefitting, electrical wiring, pump maintenance, pump motor alignment, teamwork ability, general personality evaluation, (by the union and the company). I passed all that. Then they reviewed my resume' again to see where I learned all this. The lack of formal education or OJT cost me the job.

              So it's obvious that a man cannot acquire experience without being employed to do the job. The only thing left is to get a formal education.

              So that's the short version of how I got to this point.


              • #8

                If I still had a shop in industry I'd hire you. Peter
                The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


                • #9
                  I'm curious about your choice of screen names.

                  "An accidental event that involves nuclear weapons or nuclear components but which does not create the risk of nuclear war, known as a Broken Arrow in United States military terminology."

                  Having spent over twenty years working around that sort of stuff, it sure grabbed my attention.

                  I'm impressed with your writing skills. That's going to be a real plus when you apply for a job. Your diverse experience is going to help, too. My guess is that someone will want to put you in a management position before you get to make many chips.

                  Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.


                  • #10
                    I really appreciate the opinions/thoughts. Please keep them coming. I also appreciate the votes of confidence. That just makes me happy.

                    Roger, that's not the first time my "handle" has wrinkled the eyebrow, but I came by it this way...

                    My Dad was one of the first recreational "Irish" deer hunters in our neck of the woods to successfully and consistently take whitetailed deer with a bow and arrow. In campfire sessions of idle chat, he became playfully nicknamed "Arrowhead". Sometime later, when CB radios became popular, we first used them for hunting purposes. They were particularly handy because we ran walker dogs and those dogs would run a deer plum through the next county. It took a team to keep track of them. Well, to use a CB you had to have a "handle". It was an easy fit for Pop to use "Arrowhead" but being a hunting family, me and my step-mom needed handles too. In keeping with the NA theme, she chose "Blue Moon" for herself and I chose "Broken Arrow" for myself. Of course all that was a lifetime ago and almost nobody uses CBs anymore. The name laid dormant for a couple of decades, then one day I signed up for a profile on a hunting forum and needed a "username", so I brushed the dust off of it and have used it so much that if you dig deep enough in your search results, you'll find me on some forum somewhere.


                    • #11
                      I would think #1 your drive and desire is your best asset, your safety and paramedic experience is always desirable, my one doubt is that America seems to be downsizing right now with manufacturing, hopefully you aren't in those zones.......
                      Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....


                      • #12
                        You could always move up to Illinois. Industrial Tech students at my local college have to try very hard NOT to graduate with a job. They have a manufacturing work experience program with several machine shops and manufacturing firms in town, which basically places the students in a real shop on a part-time job basis and they also receive class credit. The vast majority of them get hired on full time
                        Stuart de Haro


                        • #13
                          BrokenArrow, my opinion here, from what you know and your experience, you will be absolutely bored out of your mind in that curriculum. 180 hrs of classes labeled "drill press"??? Looks like its split up half class and half lab, how much can you learn about a drill press??

                          To me it seems like a throw back from the early '70s. Its all good stuff to know, and a lot of it translates directly to the more modern side of things, but the same amount of time is devoted to learning about a drill press as learning CNC stuff. Seems like its meant for kids straight out of high school that don't know what they want to do, but like making stuff and working with their hands.

                          If being a machinist is really what you want to do, if I actually wanted employees, I would hire you in a second, you seem like you have done a lot of hands on work in other areas, you own a welder, so you can't be all bad, and you seem motivated.

                          When I ran a shop for somebody else, the one thing I hated doing was "untraining" and "re-training" susposedly experienced people. The best employees and the ones that rose the quickest and learned the most were the ones that knew little when they came in(and had no problem admitting it), but had a passion for it, the ones when during a tour of the shop would ask 6million questions, stick their heads in all the machines, and even ask if they could just watch for a while.

                          If I were you, I'd go out looking for a job, there is some good oil field stuff in LA, I lost one kid, who went to LA, he was only 25, I was paying him about $8 an hour and he went back to his old job at $21 an hour, and he really didn't know a lot (he could run a manual lathe like crazy though), but he sure was a quick learner.

                          I'd pick choose the courses, if they let you. Blue Print Reading is never a bad thing, and there a lot of people that I have run across that have been doing this for years and years that still can't read a print.

                          Good Luck


                          • #14
                            I agree with bobw53 that you may get bored as hell but like I was saying if you go fast you can fly through the classes.

                            In college I did my 11 week project twice in my first week of class then spent my time doing more advanced projects, most teachers will move you on to things that are more your level to keep you interested.

                            you my find a night class will be enough to go get a job. if you can cut threads on a lathe and set up a mill and dial in a vice you have most guys off the street beat.

                            Being able to run manual machines and sharpen tools by hand will help a bunch if you get into job shop and repair type work.

                            I have done job shop work 90% of the time, so few people can run any machine and weld so finding a job is a peice of cake.

                            CNC is the easy stuff, I worked in shops where we had 20 gray haired old grannys running CNC's.


                            • #15
                              Instead of seeking a job in a papermill try looking around for a small company that looks for people able to learn and do the jobs THEY need. Working on an oil rig I would think you had contact with sub contractors? There is much more in the machinist employment possiblities than just running a drill press or CNC machine slave all day! Think mechanical/machinist instead of just "machinist".