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4 yr. old and machining is fun again (project)

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  • 4 yr. old and machining is fun again (project)



    I watch my nephew every once in a while. Today he showed interest in "making something." I thought about it for a bit and started sorting through the scrap bin. I offered, "how about a car?" He was thrilled. He's only four--five in January. So I decided to let him turn a few handles and hold a couple simple tools.

    The aluminum stock was well sized except for one rough face that I milled clean. The axles were hacksaw cut from rod. We discussed using a ruler, and I had him mark where the cut would be. He closed the bench vise as I held the rod. He was surprised that the metal was warm after the cut. I told him to rub his hands together and observe the result; I believe he understood the basic idea I chucked up a drill in my little Rusnok bench mill, and he carefully advanced the quill lever with my help and careful observance. He also advanced the handwheel on the lathe tailstock to drill the holes in the Delrin wheels. Then we used the arbor press to assemble them.

    I was very careful to explain what would happen as I was doing things regardless if he helped or not. I was very cautious of where he stood and what I would allow him to be involved with. He was understandably fearful, hesitant and concerned by the machines. As it turns out, there were a good many things he could lend a hand with. The operations were appropriate for his young age, attention and understanding. Done very safely. I was skeptical at the beginning, never having reared a child or had one before in a (potentially dangerous) shop.

    With the progressive realization in his mind that this stuff was actually looking like a car, he contributed to the design. "Give it a racing stripe!" I asked if we should make one side the front. "Yes!" He drew an angled line, and I milled it to his specification. I am very proud, and I believe he honestly feels like he did something to "make" it himself. The car has been racing across the kitchen floor all evening---going farther and smoother than those check-out line toy cars, I might boast! He's determined to paint it his favorite color, green, tomorrow. Tonight he's fallen asleep with it next to him in bed.

    Sometimes machining is a challenge, a necessary chore or committed obligation. This was nothing but an affective, positive experience. So please remember to make something utterly imprecise, imperfect and simple every so often that begets self-confidence, accomplishment and wonder in another. It's a good thing.

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing that. It reminds me that I need to share with my grandkids.

    Dan
    At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

    Location: SF East Bay.

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    • #3
      Nice story. "Each one teach one", or more if possible. I grew up seeing my father (and his father) making and fixing things, and the experience has served me well. I've always felt that I could do just about anything, and I succeeded enough to persevere. Perhaps you will spark an interest that may grow into valuable skills and confidence. My instructor said that the average age of machinists is about 57, and companies are seeking younger people. Not five years old, though!
      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
      USA Maryland 21030

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      • #4
        Outstanding project for both of you. You are an excelent uncle and a good friend to your nephew. Keep up the teaching and mentoring and he will grow up with a positave edge on life.

        Robin

        PS: Add a Lucas electrical system and he will be on his way to being an electrical repair tech.....
        Robin

        Happily working on my second million Gave up on the first

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        • #5
          Good to read all this!

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          • #6
            you just might have made the best piece of work in your life.....

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            • #7
              Great project...besides a car, you built memories...be sure to put his name and date on it...so his grand children will know when/who it was from...

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              • #8
                Hey !
                When doz he get his first Welding lessons?

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                • #9
                  "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, what the house I lived in was like, or what kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
                  Poster my art therapist wife has in her waiting room.
                  "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

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                  • #10
                    Hey Oldhat it's not welding, it's gluing metal together, just ask my granddaughter who asked me to teach her how to glue metal together, while I was welding some thing . LOL LOL

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                    • #11
                      Good memories/times with a kid never goes away, but bad memories/times can hang around long after you've done your best to correct them.

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                      • #12
                        Arthur,

                        That is excellent basic knowledge for the wee guy, the quality time both of you are having is irreplaceable, but remember as you hold him up near the machines get him eye protection, and remember tiny hands can suffer more appalling injuries than an adult, So safety is paramount I do not go down the road of giving the aforementioned advice lightly, The following happened to me,--- My son who is now 47 years old was in my workshop with me when he was four years of age,(43 years ago) I had a small horizontal bench size milling machine working & he was watching me applying coolant with a brush on to a very thin slitting saw, I turned away for a split second he some how or other managed to give his hand a horrendous gash with the revolving saw
                        Well he was hospitalised with a hand which required a lot of stitching, I ended up suffering from shock, To this day I do not like slitting saws, That accident was entirely my fault, I should have supervised -"Micro managed" him more thoroughly, Machines and things belonging to Dad are fun for a tiny person, But a kids reactions are very fast, & their perception of danger does not exist.

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                        • #13
                          Arthur,

                          Hooray! You did good!

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                          • #14
                            I really enjoyed reading this story, thanks. Even being just 20 years old and not having any kids or even the opportunity, it's quite heartwarming to read about things like that. I can only hope I have moments like that myself.

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                            • #15
                              Great story! He will remember that forever, and I'll bet he'll always have that car.

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