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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Am i a cnc machinist?

    8 months ago I got a full time job as a machine operator in auto part factory. I operate Doosan Puma vertical lathe. I make first part and make sure it is in the tolerance. I change the inserts and make offset to keep sizes under control. I can switch between different programs, and make quality inspection to the parts for diameters and surface finish using different types of gauges. I want to go deep into the trade I'm now 33, it it too late?

    I started to get some online courses on g code and CAD/CAM software. Do you have any suggestions that can help me to improve my skills to get a better job in future. I do not want to work as a machine operator on minimum wage for the end of my life.

    thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    It's never too late , especially at your age .

    I think the biggest mistake guys make is to immediately take a cad cam course before fully understanding the whole machining process .
    Instead , take a few manual machining course's , learn the machine , it's capabilities , and limitations .You'll also learn about tooling and their purposes and limitations as well . The core of cnc machines falls under the same principals .



    If your job allows it , then keep your nose in where there are setups etc happening . Guys are often willing to provide info to help another guy understand the process . There are those who are only out to protect their own job , but a lot of guys including myself look at an educated/informed operator as making our jobs easier . If your job uses a variety of tooling and fixtures etc , then study them and understand how and why they are used . Don't close the door and turn your back to the machine , watch and learn what it's doing and why

    learn your formulas . There are generic calculators online for speeds and feeds . They may be good for a hobby guy who needs that sort of advice . Every quality tool manufacturer offers the recommended sfm for their specific tools for a very good reason . That information can be found in their catalogues or online .

    Learn your codes and how to use them before you take on learning cam . There's not a lot of good that can come out of a programmer who doesn't understand his own programs . It may be ok for hobby , but if you want to be labeled a cnc machinists then you need to seriously know your stuff , and you've got a lot to learn .

    Once you stop learning at this job , move on to the next one that understands you level of knowledge and will give you more of a challenge . Never bs a company as to what you know because you will get called on it . When I was a supervisor I called a few guys out who nearly found themselves reassigned to the deburring room . We all start somewhere and companies understand that . Some companies want this because they want a smart young mind to mold into what will fit perfectly into their company , it's a long term plan . Experienced guys are a great asset but we also become a bit set in our ways .

    Plan on the fact that you will never know it all , but every piece of information and learning experience you get will make you very valuable and closer to the top of the food chain . Production is great to learn and know . Jobbing is another level . Both are good to know because you can always fall back on one or the other . The reason I say this is that production jobs tend to be well thought out , leaned out , and the fixturing has a lot of time and effort put into it so that the job can run off and on for years trouble free . Jobbing tends to be different . Quick (but safe) setups aimed at a fast turn over . It's not to say that their aren't fixtures and other stuff made for the job , but once the job is out the door then so are they

    BTW , If you can get into the milling side of the shop then you'd be better off and learn a lot more . At least thats my opinion

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    It will be even later if you wait a few years!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    313

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    You sound a bit unhappy - find out why. Realise you can't know everything, a lot yes sure, but it takes time and effort and then some and there's always something else to learn. Interests change too but it's important to like what you are doing. Agree with previous post, very sound advice :-)

    Do you want to be an Operator, Designer, Coder, Architect - decide what you want to do but do your homework to find out the requirements. You can do pretty much anything if you really want to but be prepared to work for it :-)

    Cheers,

  5. #5
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    58

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    Ideally, you want to learn programming, setup and machining efficiency for CNC lathes and mills. Almost every shop using CNC has both lathes and mills.
    I started out as a tool-diemaker with a German apprenticeship, way before they ever had CNC and worked in many, many shops in Chicago.
    By luck I got a job with a Swedish company, called SMT( Swedish Machinetools) that manufactured and sold a automated lathe that was the forerunner of CNC.
    I traveled to Sweden for training and learned all of the skills that I could use later to teach Fanuc CNC lathes and mills.
    I have been totally selfemployed since the early CNC controls, for you to learn, go to youtube , put in my name: Heinz Putz, to see a 2 hour DVD that that is a condensed version of all the CNC skills you will need to find a good job.
    If you have any questions, all advice is free,
    Heinz in Columbus, OH.

  6. #6

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    thanks for ur valuable reply

    I'm really trying to find some online resources (video especially) about manual machining, but nothing helpful until now. If u can suggest something I can start with that will be great.

  7. #7

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    Thank u Mr.Heinz. I just watched the first video and it seems to be interesting.

  8. #8
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    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    Quote Originally Posted by rookie-machinist View Post
    thanks for ur valuable reply

    I'm really trying to find some online resources (video especially) about manual machining, but nothing helpful until now. If u can suggest something I can start with that will be great.
    Tubalcain aka Mrpete222 has full courses on machining. Many available on youtube.

    Check out your local community college. Lots of them have machining courses. After some time you may find that your boss may pay for education if you prove yourself valuable to the company.

  9. #9

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    My employer has apprenticeship programs. I'm trying to apply for the 2019 semester. I hope I can get approval.

    thank u

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    313

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    There are many videos available to watch on-line that show various folks machining various projects. Watch those videos, learn the terminology and note the techniques they use. If you have the facilities, practice, practice practice. Watch some of the amazing CNC videos as well and think what might be involved to be able to program such tool paths. Think how this must have been done without the aid of computers :-)

    Get hold of some trial software for doing CAD/CAM, draw stuff and observe the tool paths generated and if available in those software packages, watch the simulators (in slow motion!). I can highly recommend SimplyCam from MR-Soft Nc Software Tools - with this you can draw stuff and watch the simulations as well as view the G-Code it generates. The trial version would be excellent, won't cost anything to play with it but it won't save your drawings without an inexpensive license.

    Don't be afraid but be careful!

    Best of luck with (and it's nice to hear they have) their Apprenticeships, sounds like you are keen to get one :-)


    Cheers,

    HarryE.

  11. #11

    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    I'll try this software.

    Many thanks for the wishes

  12. #12
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    Re: Am i a cnc machinist?

    metalmayhem gave you excellent advice. Our shop prints out the program for each job. At least they do for lathes which is what I program for. You should have a tooling list. Each operation should have a short description. Study the program. Follow it along as each operation is performed. Hopefully you have a good programmer. Pay attention to the order of the operations and how the tool is driven along its path. Pay attention to which grade of inserts work best on the materials you are machining. What inserts work best for roughing? Which for finishing? What SFM is being used? What feedrates?

    I would love to have you in our shop. I like teaching. No one is interested in learning. A 40 year veteran retired Dec. 2017 and we lost 5 people in 2018. Hired one replacement. I am talking strictly in the lathe department. I program for 27 lathes...and do a lot of setups. We are down to 7 people plus myself on first shift and two guys on second shift. Did I say I would love to have you in our shop?

    The other lathe programmer we had (he quit) and the foreman/programmer/setup guy in the mill department that got fired a few years ago were both the types that would not help out anyone. Fortunately not everyone is like that. Lots of guys are willing to share their knowledge. I force my guys to do as much as possible. I am always willing to answer any question. Want to know how a G76 threading cycle works? I will tell you how every address in the cycle works. The more they can do, the easier my job is.

    You should know some trig, but Machinist calculators make it easier for you once you know the basics. Hopefully you can find a college near you that teaches a few machine shop classes. I had a drafting course before ever seeing a CAD-CAM system. I feel it was a huge help in learning how to use a CAD-CAM system.

    BTW, I was 37 when I got hired as a lathe programmer over 33 years ago. Had never run a lathe, but was pretty good in math. Had been programming in a sheet metal shop where a calculator (no Machinist calculators back then) was our only tool. Had done a couple lathe programs, but worked in a union shop so I didn't get to see them run. Was immediately put on a lathe learning to setup and run them. Personally I think programming is 90% commonsense.

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