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  • Teaching Machine Shop From Home - Opinions?

    I have been a machinist, shop supervisor and teacher of machine shop technology for what seems like forever and I've looked forward to retirement, primarily for the freedom from having to march to the beat of other drummers; but, as I approach retirement I know I will miss it too. You can't do something for an entire career and then suddenly turn it off. I've run a part time business from my home in the past but this too made me a slave to deadlines and agendas set by others and I would prefer to skip going that route again.

    I've gotten a great deal of satisfaction from teaching shop courses and my students have always been very complimentary in voicing their appreciation of my teaching method. As a result I've been considering teaching machine shop (basically lathe and mill) from my home but I have no idea of what I'd be getting into so I thought I would tap the brain bank here at HSM for some opinions. I've already considered liability and intend to check with my lawyer about the value of liability waivers ect.

    My course would be targeted at newcomers to machine shop who wish to learn the fundamentals of using a lathe and mill or to intermediate level students who just want to sharpen their skills. A full blown course would cover everything but individual sessions dealing with one particular shop technique would also be possible, so opinions from HSM newbies would be particularly helpful, but of course I would be very grateful for any and all opinions.

    Thanks in advance !

  • #2
    Great idea and I applaud it. There's a dearth of schools that offer this, but more importantly the instructors. I have to be honest when I say that of the few vocational instructors I've met lately, none seem to have the depth of knowledge and range of skills they should have. You would be experienced enough to offer a quality education.

    I'd be very concerned about liability, and I think much of the price you could charge would be driven by the insurance cost. To my mind that's actually secondary to getting students. Perhaps it's a matter of advertising, but I've offered to give a lesson/spend a few hours with anyone who wants to come to Worcester, and in the past two years only two people have taken advantage of the offer.

    With some proper promotion, and the backing of you attorney and insurance agent, I think it's a noble endeavor.

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    • #3
      Hey Pixman, you spelled Woster wrong! I never did figure out how Worcester got to be pronounced Woster.
      Location: The Black Forest in Germany

      How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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      • #4
        I gotta second pixmans suggestion about liability. in todays world.. meh.

        Course, id likey just get the students to sign a waver... Don't like the fact that dying is your own fault? Find another teacher, Because thats gonna be lesson #1.
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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        • #5
          I know the college professors at the local university machine shop, casting department, and electronic department. I go over there and hang out sorta like a student teacher sometimes. I don't go every day just when I feel like it. It is fun to see what the students are working on an I can offer them a lot of help. I don't get paid a dime. We all go to lunch and that is fun too. I have been doing that less and less, yesterday I worked on my 6 none working push mowers I decided it was time to make another one RUN. I spent about 6 hours making one run like brand new. I have been having a lot of fun building hobby jet engines, steam engines and stirling engines in my home shop. I built 18 custom bicycles that I loan out to the neighbor hood children every day. I hope this gives you some retirement ideas. A person needs to find something to do with their free time when they retire.







          Last edited by gary350; 08-27-2011, 04:12 PM.

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          • #6
            As Pixman knows and stated the getting students could be the tough part. My perspective there is from sport and if you want to coach a particular event that is off the beaten path a bit you are always going to be struggling to find those to keep the whole idea viable.

            Maybe comparing apples and oranges but liability is also quite an issue in sport...my only thought there would be to do it through a school system be it regular classes or extra curricular ("adult ed" ?) but from what you have said I suspect you have gone that route in the past and its not what you are after now.

            Teaching has intrinsic value, the joy in others accomplishments and success but can be hugely frustrating esp when students/athletes don't seem to want it [based solely on personal experiences and hopefully not the case with your endeavor]

            I suppose the other way to go about it would be to take on a large mentoring role to one or two individuals (as part of an apprenticeship program ?)

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            • #7
              No idea if it works the same way out where you live, but around here most of the voc-tech schools offer night/adult ed classes for stuff like that and are usually screaming for skilled folks to teach them. You even get paid for it. Not an awful lot of pay, from what I understand, but if your goal is to convey knowledge of the art it is a great vehicle to do so. And you make a few hobby-bucks.

              Might not be the sort of venue you are interested in, but you would have a shop full of other folks machines to teach on as well as advertising, etc. Just a thought...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by gary350
                Gez put a helmet on that kid, if the bike falls over hes gonna smash his skull open!

                But seriously. Helmets. Around here they started fineing people for not having helmets. Kinda stupid untill you realise.. Kids do as they see adults do.

                if none of the adults wear helmets, Kids think its 'Not cool', Since the laws changed.. I went from being one of those kids, to a teenager and then adult who thought NOT wearing a helmet was 'Not cool'. Even though I never once put a single scratch on my helmet. (though, I have only crashed once since wearing it. And once or twice fallen over at near 0 speed due to crazy tight turns on bad ground)
                Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Black_Moons
                  Gez put a helmet on that kid, if the bike falls over hes gonna smash his skull open!

                  But seriously. Helmets. Around here they started fineing people for not having helmets. Kinda stupid untill you realise.. Kids do as they see adults do.

                  if none of the adults wear helmets, Kids think its 'Not cool', Since the laws changed.. I went from being one of those kids, to a teenager and then adult who thought NOT wearing a helmet was 'Not cool'. Even though I never once put a single scratch on my helmet. (though, I have only crashed once since wearing it. And once or twice fallen over at near 0 speed due to crazy tight turns on bad ground)
                  It is the law to wear helmets in TN too. That is my son and this 150ft ride is just for taking a picture. We all ride with helmets I won't ride without one. I do group rides somethings with 2000 bikers 400 miles 6 day ride and camping along the way its the rules there too everyone wears a helmet.

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                  • #10
                    I think if any neighbor kids got hurt riding that tall bicycle,you would have a tough time keeping a jury from suing you for everything you have.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gary350
                      It is the law to wear helmets in TN too. That is my son and this 150ft ride is just for taking a picture. We all ride with helmets I won't ride without one. I do group rides somethings with 2000 bikers 400 miles 6 day ride and camping along the way its the rules there too everyone wears a helmet.
                      So why did you let him break the law and ride 150' without a helmet on a dangeriously high bike? Then take a photo to share with other people to show off that you allowed him to break the law, encouraging others to follow the example?
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                      • #12
                        Couple big issues in my opinion.

                        One... liability as was previously mentioned. Sure, you might be able to get insurance, and it's not a problem if nothing happens, but.... I also think that it could be a challenge to get a company to underwrite a guy teaching classes out of his house. It would be better if it was a "real business", and I don't mean any disrespect to you, but it wouldnt be looked on as favorably from a insurance point of view.

                        Two... do you really want people you don't know running around your shop/house? You might find things disappear on occasion. I'm at the stage in my business where I could use an employee, and have not gotten one because I work out of my house/shop.

                        I think a community ed thing would be a good idea, provided that there was a location it could be taught at (ie, not your place). Maybe have more advanced classes that you offer to select students.

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                        • #13
                          If you are going to do something like that then do it off of your property and set it up as a business. You want to separate it from your personnel life to limit liability. This might make it a no-go cost wise thought.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                          Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                          Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                          • #14
                            Do it online. Make videos.. show people how its done .. for a subscription.

                            Do a search for "The Hand Tool School" -- maybe follow the same model?

                            No liability.. no one in your house.. much larger client base.

                            and you only have to teach each class once and record it.

                            Tony

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Black Forest
                              Hey Pixman, you spelled Woster wrong! I never did figure out how Worcester got to be pronounced Woster.
                              your lucky you dont live in the uk

                              lots of crap like that


                              local; to me ..
                              Harwarden... pronounced Hardone

                              local to Alistair

                              Hawick.. pronounced Hoyk

                              all the best.markj
                              Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 08-27-2011, 01:02 PM.

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