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  • Lack of home shop machinests

    Following on from the thread of lack of machinists. I wonder if home shop machinists are slowly shrinking around the world.When I first started reading this forum there seemed to be much more hsm content. It may be because I was a noob and anything for me was new and something to learn.I go on this site every day to get my fix but I feel like a junkie who is not getting his HIGH anymore.It seems we have lost some real good guys with their contributions of knowledge. It takes a special kind of character to have skill but to also not be selfish with your time and try to pass on knowledge.
    I would be curious to know the average age of the members here. I bet you very few young guys are on this forum.
    I suspect the next generation of hsmers will not be talking about lathes and milling machines but rather what is the best 3d printer available.

  • #2
    I think it would tend towards older people myself, it is as we all know a very very expensive hobby, I know of about nil people in my surrounding area, there is a thriving model engineering club just down the road, live steam and such.
    My interests personally are somehow connected to the fact that I had a really good metalwork teacher in school, I think that's where it starts!
    (1961 btw !)
    Mark

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    • #3
      I fear you are right.
      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
      country, in easy stages."
      ~ James Madison

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      • #4
        I think,
        From purely a hobby standpoint, there is just as much, if not more interest from young people who want to "make" stuff.
        But, these days, young people are more interested in Arduino type projects, and 3D printing, than machining. If anything, there has been a resurgence in the quest for knowledge about how things are made, just google around for the "maker" movement. There are tons of college aged kids making 3d Printers in their dorm rooms, exchanging ideas and plans online. Its a different world, but basically the same.

        -Ron (I'm 50 btw, and proud of it)
        "Never bring a caliper to a mic fight"

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        • #5
          I'm 27 (is that still young?) and I've got a mill and lathe in my garage I like Arduino type projects too though...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by plunger View Post
            Following on from the thread of lack of machinists. I wonder if home shop machinists are slowly shrinking around the world.When I first started reading this forum there seemed to be much more hsm content.

            I think the issue is there are a lot more forums now than there used to be.
            -Dan S.
            dans-hobbies.com

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            • #7
              Well done, nice to see that there are some not knocking on the cemetery gate, keep it up, and stay away from them evil shaping machines, they will hypnotise you, well known incorrect fact
              Mark

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              • #8
                Originally posted by plunger View Post
                Following on from the thread of lack of machinists. I wonder if home shop machinists are slowly shrinking around the world.
                -Actually, I suspect not.

                Of course, it depends on what you mean by "home shop". As in machining for a hobby or for fun, or a 'home shop' that does short run small parts for pay.

                And the reason that's significant is because there are probably relatively few "just for fun" home shops in, say, China or India. But there are definitely tens if not hundreds of thousands of "home shops" that actually produce parts for pay, to help the family earn money.

                I won't try to say the US is the only country where people machine just for fun, but I'd suspect we have the largest percentage. And yes, the "just for fun" group is growing- you can buy small lathes and mills from Littlemachineshop, Harbor Freight, Jet, Grizzly, eBay and Amazon. And looking at some of the photos for just a Grizzly warehouse- they have several- their sales are not just a drop in the bucket.

                Doc.
                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                • #9
                  I'm 40 and only have a lathe, but must admit I'm better with electronics than with metalworking. None of my friends from university have metal working equipement, but I know a few guys in our company do. You can sort of get a feel for the type of person who owns metalworking equipment, it's the people who like to make stuff.

                  It's a money and space intensive hobby which is unknown to most people, so that's not helping its popularity. As fewer things can be repaired, the usefullness of having such tools around the home is diminishing as well.
                  I'm a bit weird (amongst my peers) in that I'd like to be able to build whatever I can think of. There's no real rationale behind it, but that's why we call it a hobby...

                  Igor

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by boslab View Post
                    it is as we all know a very very expensive hobby,
                    Actually it isn't really that expensive compared to other hobbies.

                    The cost of a small boat, motor and trailer or the membership for a couple of years at a decent golf club, would outfit a small home shop.

                    Model Engineering or Home Shop Machining what ever you want to call it has always been a primarily older persons hobby. Young people that do get interested usually quit when they leave high school due to college, girls/wives, jobs, mortgages and a general lack of time and of course money. Some get back into it when they get older usually in their 40's or 50's. There is nothing new in this, I have read complaints about this in Model Engineer magazine back into the 1930's, people bemoaning how the end of the hobby is nigh.

                    The biggest problem with this hobby is it is just about the worst advertised one ever!!!!! Also most people that are interested in it do not want to join a club and without a club it is impossible to measure who is in or not, it also makes it harder to promote the hobby. Clubs in our area are slowly failing because of the lack of new members, It is hard to get the word out to those that might be interested and the number of potential new members, as a percentage of the general population very high anyway. It is a bigger problem in NA, then say Britain, because of the distances between smaller population centers makes having enough people available to form a club a big problem. The bigger centers like New England and SO Cal. have it better. Just going to a Model Engineering show like Cabin Fever or NAMES can easily be a trip of several hundred or even thousands of miles because the bigger shows (there is only a few here) will only be found where there is a club/hobbyist density high enough to support it.

                    In NA at least there is more shop equipment being sold then ever, new and used, available at low prices that would shock people of 50 years ago. So who is using it and for what????
                    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

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                    • #11
                      I would think it is increasing but maybe not at the upper skill levels. The cheap machines from China are probably increasing the number of tiny cheap lathes and mills. Harbor Freight being a major player. I think it will continue but the world is changing. Just like we see more CNC and 3D printing now. Electronics has moved more to pre-made microcontroller boards now but that has brought more people into electronics/programming. I thought the home electronics hobby was dying due to the industry moving to tiny surface mount stuff but falling prices on quick turn PCBs, people making their own soldering ovens from toaster ovens, and the growth of microcontroller modules has brought it back.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                        I won't try to say the US is the only country where people machine just for fun, but I'd suspect we have the largest percentage.
                        If you look at the percentage of the population that does machine work "for fun" only (not commercial at all) I would argue that it is higher in Britain then the US.
                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by loose nut View Post
                          There is nothing new in this, I have read complaints about this in Model Engineer magazine back into the 1930's
                          I agree with your post and find it hilarious that its possible to search and replace every instance of machining in your post with ham radio and it would be 100% accurate. And even more insane I know from previous discussion the overlap between machinists and hams is very high. Even the angst is amusingly similar "what if men stop aging, without a pool of fresh old men the hobby will disappear", and even the multi-generational thing that most all the "kids" in the hobbies have a dad who was also into the hobby. In fact I still own and use my grandfathers copy of the machinist handbook (not like the formula for bolt hole circles is going to change much over a couple decades)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ArkTinkerer View Post
                            I would think it is increasing but maybe not at the upper skill levels. The cheap machines from China are probably increasing the number of tiny cheap lathes and mills. Harbor Freight being a major player. I think it will continue but the world is changing.
                            The smaller cheap lathes and mills may encourage more people to try it as the entry costs is smaller, but how many will stay?

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                            • #15
                              Me? Going on 60, feel like I'm in my 30s.

                              I do it for the fun of learning. When I was a kid I'd read about machining projects in Popular Mechanics and other main stream magazines. I loved the idea that I could make things that I could not afford to buy.

                              Now I make things for the joy of making them. I fix things that I could just as easily (and cheaply) buy. Just last week I made a bolt because I needed an odd one and had the materials on hand. It was faster than going to the store. This week I welded together an oven rack just for the practice (and the cupcakes).

                              We need realistic TV shows (like this old house) and magazines to kindle that joy of making things that eventually leads to home shop machinists.

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

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