Do You Have To Be a Genius To Be a Machinist?

Discussion in 'The Break Room' started by rake60, Oct 7, 2007.

Help Support HMEM by donating:

  1. Oct 7, 2007 #1

    rake60

    rake60

    rake60

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    4,766
    Likes Received:
    113
    A lot of people see machinists as some sort of mad craftsmen practicing
    a witchcraft of converting raw metals into perfect parts.

    Why? Because they can't do it.

    In reality we are able to do what we do because we aren't afraid to try it!

    In this trade we work closely with highly educated engineers that can tell
    us exactly how things should work. When it doesn't work to their plans it
    is because WE did something wrong.

    OK Maybe I'm just blowing off steam from a prior experience.
    I over heard an engineer talking to a junior machinist about issues on a
    job that wasn't going well. His exact words were: "Don't be intimated
    by my intelligence. What do you think is wrong?"

    Intelligence of that sort is very impressive on paper.
    Making the ideas of that intelligence work in metal is a whole different
    world. THAT takes the insight and skill of a craftsman.

    I don't have a tool to do that, but if I use this in a new way it might work.
    300FPM won't cut that material. 200FPM will do it but tear it up. 500FPM
    will destroy the tool but will make the part perfectly.


    Machining is a craft! You can't put in into a carved in stone book.
    Every material and every application is a new venture.

    Can an engineer see that? Nooooo.
    That's fine! They are a product of the "Perfect World" education.

    Can a machinist see it? We have to! It's OUR job to MAKE it work!
    And then we have to explain to the engineer why our way worked when
    theirs wouldn't.

    Smart? I don't know....
    All I know is that when the parts I make go into service they WILL do
    what they were intended to do. If my manor of producing them upsets
    the design engineer I'll be more than happy to step back and hand over
    the controls of my machine to his superior intelligence. :roll:

    So do you have to be smart to be a machinist?
    Yes you do! You have to have the intelligence to see what will actually
    work in a real world application. That might not be found in the pages
    of a published manual. So the engineer will tell you your WRONG!
    When it works, accept being too dumb to understand why, and be
    happy with the fact that IT WORKS! 8)

    We are just uneducated grease monkeys making the parts, tools, and
    make everything that works today a reality.
    Of course there will always be an engineer standing there with a proud
    smile claiming it was because they gave us the basic foundation to
    work from.
    I have two words for them. (Those words are not Happy Birthday) :lol:

    Rick
     
  2. Oct 7, 2007 #2

    Lew Hartswick

    Lew Hartswick

    Lew Hartswick

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    10
    Rake I think you are using an awfull "wide brush" in your comdemnation of
    engineers. Sure there are some like you described but there are lots of
    the kind to listen and pay attention to the shop workers also.
    ...lew...
     
  3. Oct 7, 2007 #3

    rake60

    rake60

    rake60

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    4,766
    Likes Received:
    113
    Lew I didn't intent to condemn engineers when I was typing that post.
    My intention was to show the balance between the book text and real
    life working.

    I had one of my engines at work one day showing it off.
    One of the engineers saw it and said, "Well if you have to turn the
    flywheel to start it it's not very good design"

    I offered him an opportunity to show me a better build, and he said he
    said he didn't have a home machine shop. I offered him mine,
    and even the stock to duplicate the engine.

    His reply was "I don't have time in my life for trivial ventures"
    The laughter of the REAL machinists there at the moment set him back
    to his fantasy cubical.

    Rick
     
  4. Oct 7, 2007 #4

    Cedge

    Cedge

    Cedge

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,730
    Likes Received:
    23
    Lew
    I'm gonna have to back Rick's play on this one, to a point. I've done uncounted projects where said engineers with "superior knowledge" created problems that would have been easily avoided had they been just brilliant enough to consult the poor lowly operator who was going to have to operate their lousy design, once completed.

    These types tend to be hotshots with fresh diplomas and zero practical experience. A few finally wise up and understand that their sheep skin will not replace the skin lost from their ass when they screw up. The rest either fade away over time or become supervisors who no longer have to personally do any design work ...LOL

    I can look at a machine and tell you with nearly 100% certainty whether the engineer ever sweated with a wrench in hand or came by his degree via totally academic effort . All you have to do is look for modularity, care in placement of fasteners and routing of things like cables and plumbing runs. A man with practical working knowledge will build ease of access and a common sense placement of things right into his design. This guy is to be respected and protected from all harm. He's golden.

    The purely academic engineer will stick to his manuals and use his superior knowledge to put some poor operator or maintenance man through hell for many years after the engineer's been fired, promoted or strangled by a crazed mechanic.

    I long ago learned to get past the engineers and speak with the blue collar guy down on the floor. It always armed me with enough real world knowledge that I could hammer the engineer into doing the design right the first time around.

    I always tried to use patience with a new engineer and I always tried to give him a shot at gaining a bit of working knowledge on projects we did. I've even managed to convince a few seasoned engineers to listen to the floor guys and ask questions. It was all quite rewarding. I've also let more than one "know it all" hang himself, while making sure to document his superior knowledge and our attempts to keep him from screwing up.

    No predjudice here... it's called long experience

    Steve
     
  5. Oct 7, 2007 #5

    1Kenny

    1Kenny

    1Kenny

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    538
    Likes Received:
    2
  6. Oct 7, 2007 #6

    lugnut

    lugnut

    lugnut

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    5
    yes and yes again
     
  7. Oct 7, 2007 #7

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    7,212
    Likes Received:
    769
    Machinist = Genius ? Hmm interesting question.

    Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration
    -Thomas A. Edison

    In the heyday of steam there was more focus on hands on learning by engineers . I think the engineer machinist thing is a matter of perspective. Just because it looks good on paper does not mean it can be built .
    Design is a series of decisions and trade offs; A balance of form, function, flow, physics and fabrication.

    Engineers for the most part live by formulas. Physics/mechanics and Chemistry are tools to understand the world we live in. Math is the tool we use to understand chemistry and physics. There is something to be said for doing the math. It can save much time that would be wasted on trial and error.

    If Edison had to find a needle in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of a bee and set out to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was the sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90% of his labor.
    Nikola Tesla

    On the other hand there can be advantages to empirical design or seat of the pants engineering. In the home shop we are not making hundreds of parts or critical components. We grab a piece of aluminum steel or brass and make what we need. We can have a usable tool made in the time it would take an engineer to do the calculations and make a drawing and program a cnc.

    There have been hundreds of books written on machining and fabricating I have a couple dozen in my library . I have entire books on such “Small “ subjects as lathe tool bits , cutting fluid , machining of plastic etc. . There are also many useful formulas for speeds, feeds, power, etc.
    Can you be a machinist by reading the books. And not operating machines? Can you run the machines without the books? We need to learn from both..
    Much of what we know as invention is taking known technology and finding a new application such as happened with the telegraph. We machinists learn the basics then find new ways to apply them.
    The strongest Nation is Imagination –
    Are we geniuses Maybe, smarter than the average bear definitely.

    A more pertinent question might be:

    Am I/we a Home Model Engine Machinist or a Home Model Engineer. The answer to that is YES!!!
    Tin
    Will those who say it can not be done please not disturb those who are doing it!!
     
  8. Oct 8, 2007 #8
    Not being a machinist myself (and being effectively scared off it in school metalwork lessons, as it seemed every machine had in the past ripped some poor school boys arm off)... but i do make things, often disparate and weird things.... Anyone who makes anything out of raw materials is a magician and at least a step above the normal "consumer".
     
  9. Oct 8, 2007 #9

    Lew Hartswick

    Lew Hartswick

    Lew Hartswick

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well as my wife ( an M Ed ) tells me in college the saying was
    Those who can, do those who cant teach, thiose who cant teach teach
    teachers.. Or something like that . :)
    ...lew...
     
  10. Oct 9, 2007 #10

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    7,212
    Likes Received:
    769
    Ron:
    what sets us a part from the animals is creativity and invention. even some animals use tools. Every beaver hut is about the same as every other beaver hut. And have been the same for hundreds of years. A machinist that is without creativity is a machine operator or parts feeder.
    Tin
     
  11. Oct 9, 2007 #11

    rake60

    rake60

    rake60

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Messages:
    4,766
    Likes Received:
    113
    I'd forgotten about this until reading your post Tin.

    About 20 years ago I was talking with the 3ed shift foreman while my
    machine was in a cut. An older machinist walked over complaining that
    he needed a form tool for the job he was working on, and the day shift
    tool maker didn't get it done. The foreman told him to go make it
    himself. The guy got a little indignant stating that HE was not a tool maker.
    The foreman told him that he had too many operators and not nearly
    enough machinists on his shift. :shock:
    After the foremen finished throwing his tantrum I found a form tool that
    I had made in my tool box that would meet the need.

    Rick
     
  12. Oct 9, 2007 #12

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    7,212
    Likes Received:
    769
    Rick:
    I think one are where unions have hurt creativity and the nation is job specialization /specifications. Not putting unions down here they have done a lot of good for the working guy too.
    But, the that is not my job attitude and you cant do that that is not in your classification hurts learning. Also it hurts the guy that has figured out a way to boost production and quality. because union contract standard is 20 widgets a day per man.The guy that makes 25 is discouraged by the shop Stuart because his buddy is only making 15 .
    This is one of the great things about the home shop you are the tool maker the layout guy , the lathe operator the mill operator , the inspector the designer the engineer ,the floor sweeper etc.
    Tin
     
  13. Oct 9, 2007 #13

    tattoomike68

    tattoomike68

    tattoomike68

    Well-Known Member HMEM Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    14
    This topic reminds me of this quote.

     
  14. Oct 10, 2007 #14

    bob ward

    bob ward

    bob ward

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    1
    My response to someone saying "I'm not paid to do that" is always that "someone who does no more than they are paid to do will never be paid more than they have to be"
     

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder