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So: Who is a "machinist" and who is not?

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  • So: Who is a "machinist" and who is not?

    I see posts saying "I am no machinist...", and I see on other sites people dumping on "hobby machinists", etc, etc.

    I think that's a load of crap.

    There are people getting paid to do machining who are not as good as a lot of folks on here. Sorry if that offends anyone, but it's true. I've seen what comes back from some "machine shops", and it has looked like they don't own any mics and haven't changed out their tooling nor sharpened anything since Nixon was President.

    As far as I am concerned, if you can take a drawing, and make a part that conforms to the drawing and looks good, you are a "Machinist", and no two ways about it.

    After that, its all details.... can you do that as fast as this other guy? Could you work fast enough to make a living at it? That sort of thing. Fun for some people in the trade to argue about, but hardly the biggest deal for folks who have no intention of making a living at it. Those issues say NOTHING about craftsmanship, nor skill.

    The work many folks on here do would blow away most of the apprentice projects I have seen pics of.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
    As far as I am concerned, if you can take a drawing, and make a part that conforms to the drawing and looks good, you are a "Machinist", and no two ways about it.

    .
    Pretty Vague JT --- technically did that this morning after a couple cups of coffee and then proceeded to plug up the toilet - only thing missing was the drawing ahead of time but could write something up real quick if you wish?

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    • #3
      I would state that a machinist is one that does it for a living instead of doing it as a hobby or for fun. I guess I could say I'm a amateur mokchinist and serious metal mangler and I can even make parts to size, mostly but I wouldn't want to live on my skills with a lathe or mill, I prefer to have food on the table.

      I made a living as a pipe and pressure vessel welder for 30 years and I have met people that call themselves welders, selling what they do out of their garage or shed but after seeing those welds I would have to say ....ahh...NO. So maybe those that make a living at it and those that can turn out first rate work for fun are machinists and those that think they are but can't do the work are not.
      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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      • #4
        Hi,

        I've been a paid tool and die maker for over 30 years now. Been running shop floors for 20, but I still like to get my fingers dirty too.

        While I have had the opportunity to use some of the very best machines and tooling this entire planet has to offer, I've also been stuck with pure junk. And I still got the job done. My own little home shop is populated by Harbor Freight and Grizzly machines and a mix of eBay tools and top shelf stuff. One thing I've learned is that it's not skill in the tool, it's the skill in the operator. As witnessed by all the clowns I've fired over the years. The title "Machinist" means little to nothing. There are few working at it that even have a diploma for it. And none have a license. At least like I have to licensed as an EMT to work in ambulances.

        Why hang out with what some might consider newbies and hacks, (glances at PM)? I do so because here I often get to see and learn things from a fresh perspective from people who are unaware of the "PROPER WAY" to do something. It's often quite amazing what can be done when you don't know any better. Another thing I've learned is that there is no real wrong way to do things if it works. Just that some methods might have certain advantages that are just different. And those advantages are subject to change. And sometimes when the stars align right, I can even help someone here to get through a problem.

        Dalee
        If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've worked with real machinists. I've been paid to machine parts. I am not a machinist. I can hack out a part and make it work. I can run a lathe and mill. But there are so many more machines to master, so many materials to understand, so much math to master, and the ability to see some complex parts and do setups in the correct order to EFFICIENTLY make the part.
          lg
          no neat sig line

          Comment


          • #6
            I have to agree with Machinist being all encompassing. Nothing in the term implies skill or competence. I'll allow each individual to decide on the level of skill they possess. Myself, I'm a hack. But, a hack Machinist.

            Kind of like all cars are operated by Drivers. Not all of them should be allowed to drive, but they are Drivers. If you operate a machine tool to remove metal you are a Machinist.

            Mike

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            • #7
              A "Machinist" to me is someone who makes what they need with the machines they have at hand, has tricks up their sleeve, at least a handful of years under their belt, and the ability to run several different machines with speed and accuracy. They also need to know the basics of math and science.

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              • #8
                I refer to myself as an "amateur machinist" since the only "formal" training I've had was in high school 60+ years ago. I'm not leery of asking professionals for help and advice, and I've learned much from this site over the years.
                I own stick, MIG & AO welding gear, but I'm not a qualified "welder" by any means. Doesn't mean I can't get the job done cuz I'm not titled.

                Jim

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                • #9
                  I have been doing Tool & Die work for a living since 1974, right after I got out of high school. I went through the Boeing and Cessna tool & die schools in Wichita, KS and worked for them for a total of 5 years or so. Then on to many different job shops. Moved to KC in the early 1980s and worked in tool & die shops here. A lot of places only had worn out machines, but you were still expected to hold tolerances and make time anyway. Did everything on manual machines most of that time. In the beginning there were not even DROs, much less CNC. I could run every machine in most of the shops. Some of the guys I worked with were total hacks and nothing they made was very good. Finally went full time at home in 2006.

                  I have a small but well equipped shop behind the house. My main business is making prototypes of new inventions, but also do repairs and custom production tooling for local businesses. I am very good at this, but so are a lot of other people, so I don't think I am better than anyone else. I have always tried to learn something new every day in order to be at the top of my craft.
                  I got on this forum to learn new tricks and share what I know. No one can live long enough to know all of it, plus there is always something new happening. I try to treat everyone with respect, although I enjoy a good joke or ribbing as much as the next guy, as long as it doesn't go too far and get ugly.

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                  • #10
                    . After 25 years of making and pursuing all manner of things, I don't think there is much the average machinist knows how to do that I either haven't done or couldn't figure out. I've also done a fair bit of machining to support my fabrication business (my guys send me with home for the weekend lol) so technically can claim doing it professionally I suppose (yeah ok its stretch, but its my story). None of that has been a complex as say making a triple expansion engine or reconditioning a machine tool. So without hurting my arm too much, I'd likely be on par with a good commercial guy in parts making ability.

                    However there's a big BUT. There is a lot more to being what I consider a machinist than making good parts. Its making good parts AND doing so in the shortest time and minimal scrap. My activities and objectives have perhaps developed skills but they're practiced at a slow leisurely pace. That only halfway fills the boots of commercial guy who has to get good parts out the door with minimal cycle time and always with time pressure
                    Last edited by Mcgyver; 12-17-2016, 03:13 PM.
                    .

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                      Pretty Vague JT --- technically did that this morning after a couple cups of coffee and then proceeded to plug up the toilet - only thing missing was the drawing ahead of time but could write something up real quick if you wish?
                      Did you filter out the coffee grounds before you drank it?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                        I see posts saying "I am no machinist...", and I see on other sites people dumping on "hobby machinists", etc, etc.

                        I think that's a load of crap.

                        There are people getting paid to do machining who are not as good as a lot of folks on here. Sorry if that offends anyone, but it's true. I've seen what comes back from some "machine shops", and it has looked like they don't own any mics and haven't changed out their tooling nor sharpened anything since Nixon was President.

                        As far as I am concerned, if you can take a drawing, and make a part that conforms to the drawing and looks good, you are a "Machinist", and no two ways about it.

                        After that, its all details.... can you do that as fast as this other guy? Could you work fast enough to make a living at it? That sort of thing. Fun for some people in the trade to argue about, but hardly the biggest deal for folks who have no intention of making a living at it. Those issues say NOTHING about craftsmanship, nor skill.

                        The work many folks on here do would blow away most of the apprentice projects I have seen pics of.
                        I agree with you. Keep in mind there are people that work on a production machine that only feed material and remove the finished parts they also call them self a machinist Ha ha

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've got the equipment and have put out runs of parts to spec but I consider myself more of a fabricator than a machinist.
                          I actually enjoy working on the machines more than using them. I admire some of the stuff shown here but I don't have that kind of patience.

                          This discussion brings to mind the age old question:
                          "What do you call a person that graduated from medical school in the bottom 10% of his class?" (a doctor)
                          Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This forum is called a 'vertical slice'. It takes people from all stripes, all classes, any backgrounds, and even any country. The only thing missing is automatically translating languages, and that will come soon. That's why I like this forum. Honestly, that's why I like the OT posts as well. These people are brought together because of a common interest, machining. Titles don't matter.

                            I would not be the least bit surprised to find that posters here had educational degrees or professional certifications they've not bothered to mention. If you count the lurkers, too afraid (or smart) to post, we probably have everything from politicians to nuclear physicists. People with multiple degrees and certifications in widely varying fields are probably a lot more common than you think.

                            The thing is, this is an odd hobby that attracts odd people, for odd reasons. There's a high startup cost and very steep learning curve. It attracts people that PURSUE an interest beyond the casual flirtation, the kind of people that often pursue an education as well. You will get polymaths like Evan, moving from one interest to another, excelling at each in turn. You will get a lot of people that excelled in something entirely different, achieved a level of proficiency at the top of that field, and then moved on to be an amateur here, applying the same focused intellect and drive to excel at something else. And, then you'll get people like me that are just in it to have fun.

                            I knew a guy that had a degree in geography, or some such thing, that ran an electronics design company. He could run circles around me designing circuits, the guy with the paperwork to say I was an expert. He bought a lathe to make pressure enclosures. If he had pursued that then he would be the kind of guy that lurked here, learning. He would probably be able to machine circles around a professional machinist. He was a polymath, excelling at what interested him at that particular time. Do you think he would care about the credentials of some other poster?

                            Me, I could put some letters after my name. Don't care. I don't care what you call yourself, what letters you have, how many years you did X, how many posts you've made, how long you've been here, or what popular topics you've managed to start over the years. All I care about is what you write, in that post, how it makes sense, and how it fits into whatever interest I have that made me waste my time reading it. It's your ideas that matter, and how they are expressed. They, not you, compete against other ideas.

                            Titles are for egos... I don't care. Egos are a waste of time and effort. Ideas matter to me. Ideas compete on merit. Merit of the idea, not the person. Now, that's me, and I'll admit that I'm rather odd in this respect. Then again, this board attracts a lot of odd people. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can call yourselves, or each other, whatever you want. Some of us don't care.

                            David...
                            Last edited by fixerdave; 12-17-2016, 03:34 PM.
                            http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

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                            • #15
                              Plug up the toilet- you're supposed to use toilet paper, not your drawings-
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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