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  1. #1
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    Cool Machining a dying trade???

    Hello cnc zone. Me and my brother had an interesting conversation today about younger generations in this trade. I'm fairly young(25 yrs) and my brother is 21. My brother comes up to me after shutin' her down this evening and asks, " dude why haven't we ever had anybody our age work here thats worth a ****?" I had no answer for him. I consider myself fairly decent at machining, especially for my age. I've been doing it for 10 years full time. Dropped out of highschool sophmore year and finished up my GED in homeschool .Needless to say I have a huge jump on 95%+ of people out there these days. Plus my dad is one hell of a machinist, programmer, and engineer. Although he has never spent much time teaching, when I have a question he has an answer.My dad is old school and figures he learned 99.9% of what he knows from trial and error or what have you, so figure it out !! We have had plent of people in there 20's that have worked for us in the last 26 years we have had the doors open. Most being saw bict*** or clean-up. Since I've been working full time, I only remember one kid that was HALF way decent. Smart kid, straight out of some CNC school. Didn't know a whole lot, but for the most part you could stick him on a job that required +/- .005 and he could generally make good parts. Not very impressive by any means, your typically machinist with a few years would have no problem with this. So my question, where does my generation stack up with older generations?? Don't be afraid to be brutally honest! I sometimes am ashamed of my generation. I have quite a few friends that have no clue what they want in life, what interests them for a career,etc...Seems like every generation gets worse in everyway, even outside of machining!! Where do you think USA manufactiring and machining will be in 10-15 years from now as the older generations retire??? Scary thought personally.. Just wondering if I am the only one that has little faith in machinist my age...

  2. #2
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    Seriously? Lack of discipline. Lack of corporal punishment. Lack of education. Lack of knowledge. Lack of problem solving skills. Greedy. Lazy. Feel they are entitled. Want me to go on?

  3. #3
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    lol sadly I have to agree..

  4. #4
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    A very touchy subject with me, and I must, comment whenever I see something like this anywhere. I am 63 yrs old, and enjoyed a 5 1/2 yr. apprenticeship sponsored by my company. It was their duty and, they felt it a commitment, to train and send to school all eligible candidates deemed worthy as the next generation of tradesmen. Industrial leaders today only feel the pinch, in their pockets, when asked why they don't train and formally apprentice anybody in anything anymore. I have lost my given trade as a Master Pattern Maker for sand cast foundries to cheap overseas products. Why we didn't, and don't, make it unlawful to outsource our economy is beyond explanation. We as a nation will soon stand as a third world industrial power. Just my$.02 cents. Thanks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPEEDRE View Post
    A very touchy subject with me, and I must, comment whenever I see something like this anywhere. I am 63 yrs old, and enjoyed a 5 1/2 yr. apprenticeship sponsored by my company. It was their duty and, they felt it a commitment, to train and send to school all eligible candidates deemed worthy as the next generation of tradesmen. Industrial leaders today only feel the pinch, in their pockets, when asked why they don't train and formally apprentice anybody in anything anymore. I have lost my given trade as a Master Pattern Maker for sand cast foundries to cheap overseas products. Why we didn't, and don't, make it unlawful to outsource our economy is beyond explanation. We as a nation will soon stand as a third world industrial power. Just my$.02 cents. Thanks
    I couldn't agree with you more!! If they closed the borders for manufactering, watch this econemy come back in a quick hurry. I think the government has us right where they want us:/...

  6. #6
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    I just realized I never really answered your title question. Yes, machining (in the U.S.A.) is a dying trade. I think there have been many reasons listed already as to why. There is not any one person or even group of people to blame. We are all guilty as a culture and a society, to varying degrees.

    Sadly, I look at the youth of today (under 30ish) and think, "I only have to put up with your cr*p and B.S. for about 30 more years and then I am out of here. And, I will leave you with the mess you are your parents are making."

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by txcncman View Post

    Sadly, I look at the youth of today (under 30ish) and think, "I only have to put up with your cr*p and B.S. for about 30 more years and then I am out of here. And, I will leave you with the mess you are your parents are making."
    +1....althought I have 50+ years to put up with the bull **** My hope is that as real talent dwindles which is bound to happen, I'll have less competition, which means more money!!In theory at least lol.

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    I am 25 years old, I believe I have a lot to learn yet but still hold a lot of knowledge (probably not as much as the original poster). I went to school to be a machinist, it was a two year school that also taught cnc. I never knew a thing about mills, lathes, grinders, etc. until i went there and i was introduced to a whole new world that i loved. I believe we are in trouble as a manufacturing country. One way to overcome in my opinion is to encourage young and old people to keep going in the trade. I work with a gent that is 63and I believe that between the two of us there is nothing we can't overcome. Old practices with new technology.
    Keep up the machining everyone.

  9. #9
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    Yes, it is a dying trade. At least in this country. Our company still has a full apprenticeship, and the younger guys <30 in it for the most part are very sharp, very good machinist. I don't find this to be the norm any longer unfortunately. Let's be honest, 10 years to be a real journey level machinist, to make well under six figures, or a four year degree to be a computer programmer/whatever and make well over six figures and not have to get dirty. Where is the incentive for most of the youth?

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    The Incentive

    The difference is that the computer guys live in a virtual world (think dream world) that can never become anything more. A machinist takes an idea, represented either concretely on paper or virtually on a computer then applies his skills and knowledge to create a usable real object.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by metal_surgeon View Post
    I am 25 years old, I believe I have a lot to learn yet but still hold a lot of knowledge (probably not as much as the original poster). I went to school to be a machinist, it was a two year school that also taught cnc. I never knew a thing about mills, lathes, grinders, etc. until i went there and i was introduced to a whole new world that i loved. I believe we are in trouble as a manufacturing country. One way to overcome in my opinion is to encourage young and old people to keep going in the trade. I work with a gent that is 63and I believe that between the two of us there is nothing we can't overcome. Old practices with new technology.
    Keep up the machining everyone.
    MetalSurgeon, nice to know there is more people out there my age that love this trade!! Do you know of any other machinist our age in your area that are half way decent? I also believe we need to encourage more people to get into this type of work. But I also know that will only go so far when all proto-type parts that are eventually going to be mass produced are made by US, and once we dial them in, they go straight to china. Go figure right lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by underthetire View Post
    Yes, it is a dying trade. At least in this country. Our company still has a full apprenticeship, and the younger guys <30 in it for the most part are very sharp, very good machinist. I don't find this to be the norm any longer unfortunately. Let's be honest, 10 years to be a real journey level machinist, to make well under six figures, or a four year degree to be a computer programmer/whatever and make well over six figures and not have to get dirty. Where is the incentive for most of the youth?
    You have a good point here...Although I personally could never imagine being behind a computer all day everyday, now days alot of kids are computer savy and not into things I think are cool i.e.dirtbikes,hotrods, wrenching on cars ,machining, guns what have you, They wanna play video games lol.. Why get dirty when they can make more money playing on there computer

  13. #13
    I've spent enough time working with different guys over the years , and most did it because its just a job , while the rest either got off on it , or they were just geared for it and good at it .
    we can blame computers for todays incompetence but my generation wasted much of our money and time in arcades , boozing and banging our heads etc , before that was a generation who tried to see how many people can fit into a vw or a phone booth . Don't forgot the dope smokin hippies
    Elvis (need i say more)
    To each his own , none of us started out knowing it all nor will we leave knowing it all , and as long as there are the few that get off on the trade then there will still be the rest who just need a job .
    Whether or not it will continue to produce a decent wage then i suppose that we'll have to wait and see . I still think about becoming a plumber at times , looks pretty simple for the type of wages they make , at $40+/hr I think i'd get used to the smell (eventually)
    A poet knows no boundary yet he is bound to the boundaries of ones own mind !! ........

  14. #14
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    Cool

    I am a 25 year old machinist who works in the oil industry in Calgary Canada. I would say the trade is dying here too. Even though our provincial (like a state) government says we need 400,000 skilled trades people over the next ten years to keep up with the oil and gas industry here.

    One of the things I noticed during highschool is that most people are encouraged to go to college and university, rather than the trades, And what happens: you end up with a bunch of people who don't even join the work force until they are the 22-25 years old who have student loans, and are most likely only going to be making between 30 and 50,000 per year.

    I grew up in a small town Kimberley British Columbia, a mining town. Our highschool had a great shop program, most of the machines were high quality WWII era manual machines donated to the school by the mine, great machines, And more importantly I had teachers that were really good.

    In my four years of highschool I pretty much did everything a machinist apprentice does in their college training. In Canada the machinist trade is a "certified trade" When you complete your apprenticeship you get your "red Seal" an Inter provincial license that guarantees you certain wages to be a machinist.

    The apprenticeship training guidelines here are regulated by the government "Industry Canada`and the curriculum is about 35 years outdated. I found it very interesting to learn all about manual tool and cutter grinding, dividing heads, shapers, line boring, and filing blocks square and flat to a .002`tolerance might be useful if we find our selves living in waterworld, but the reality is our system needs an upgrade.

    I work for a large shop in Calgary that does some pretty major business. A lot of volume, tight tolerances and difficult materials. We have almost 100 people employed, and less than ten `red seal`machinists. And the only journeyman that are actually good are at a desk programming and the other owns part of the company and just runs around putting out fires.

    I would say out of 100 people, three shifts, there are 5 of us that actually really care about their jobs and about doing a quality job. That really care, who put in a real effort. I have been moving up in the company very fast and have pissed a lot of people off but its because I love what I do, am competitive and take ownership of my work, and now I am running a small department.

    The department has two brand new fanuc ROBODRILLS with DDR, laser tool measuring, renishaw touch probe, all new tooling etc etc, its AWESOME, and I take pride in being clean, having a low scrap rate, a high production rate and really just kicking ass!

    Half the company is mad because after they put me in charge of these two machines ( the smallest department at our company, we have around 50 CNC`s manual, edm, deburring, assembly,Quality control, grinding, multitasking machines, 5 axis, ) they have been cutting overtime and are actually getting caught up on our constant backlog of orders that are late.

    Anyway, I`ll get to the point. Machining is the perfect job for me, I am constantly learning and challenged by the trade. I think our economy needs on-shore manufacturing more than ever. I think more people would be interested in it if they even knew it existed! how many people know really what you do when you tell them you are a machinist!

    The modern machinist has to be proficient at all of the `old school` parts of the trade, the manual side of things (and everyone always overlooks deburring, buffing and polishing, lapping and honing, CLEANING....), however you also need to be great with computers and learning software, actually understanding cnc machines, programming with and WITHOUT cam programs, proper fixture design, high tolerance gauging and inspection ( im not talking +- .005 more like +-.0001) you better know how to read ANSI and ISO drawings and what Geometric Dimensioning and tolerancing is and be able to interpret it properly. You should understand lean manufacturing and Six Sigma quality control.

    I`m ranting.....Our society no longer encourages people to understand manufacturing. We dont worry about how, why or who, just as long as its available in isle 5 at walmart when we need it. Were to busy watching LOST and texting their friends about World of War Craft instead of learning how to build things in the garage with Dad (or mom to be politicaly correct) Things have changed since popular science had instructions to build your own airplane in it...

    The other side to this is the changing global economy and the need for improved manufacturing methods....I`m only 25 and Im keeping a close eye on additive manufacturing, I know machining will be needed for at least the rest of my life in some capacity, however in less than twenty years there is no reason most metal components wont be printed with SLS lasers (3d systems, rennishaw SLS, matsurra lumex avance, sls laser sintering) . No tooling, no fixturing, no metal working fluid, no chips to recycle, no wasted material. With the rapidly changing technology of manufacturing its important to stay on top of the newest and best tools available...

    I could go on....but im wasting time on here when i could be figuring our how these Real Time Custom Macro`s work ZONCE and forall.....

    Machiningnerd

  15. #15
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    To become really, really good at something you need 10.000 hours or more of practice. Maybe 5000 to be above adequate.

    Most young people do not have that kind of time available, get distracted all the time.
    Sven
    http://www.puresven.com/?q=building-cnc-router

  16. #16
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    I read through all of the replies and the real problem as stated here numerous times, is the job-jacking that our US State Dept does by giving tax incentives to companies to move production to countries that pay a skilled tradesman a fish head and a bowl of rice. This is both major parties not just one. The last two presidents continued it, but I remember when the founder was alive Wal-Mart insisted on buying from US companies, and sent consultants if needed to help them learn to compete. Now, 98% of their goods are made overseas. This really began when the old man died, and his five kids took over, and invited in as a board member a lawyer who happened to be the wife of the Governor of Arkansas, who introduced them to the source of most of his/her overseas campaign contributions. Be that as it may, neither party has made any move to change it.
    I saw the results on a major 15 year project in Alabama that I just left after completion,
    We were required to use US parts but were continually assualted by the worst quality foreign junk disguised as US, by US companies buying it and relabeling it. In one case a grade 5 through-bolt was taken out and found to be a piece of rebar with the ends of the correct bolt tack-welded on. I shudder to think what would have happened if it was installed without checking. It was actually more work and probably cost to make the counterfeit that to buy a foreign fake bolt!
    Meanwhile I started to argue with the first comment in this thread, and realized that I had to take the EIT exam (Engineer Intern) after graduation, and then work four years under the observation of a Licensed PE before I could sit for my State PE exam. So I stand corrected. Maybe 8000 hours is enough but I wouldn't quibble. But until the government quits setting up competition against us, I would think skilled trades and engineering are sunk here. My kids say they have witnessed what I put up with and they see no reason to subject themselves to it to seek an engineering degree.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by underthetire View Post
    Yes, it is a dying trade. At least in this country. Our company still has a full apprenticeship, and the younger guys <30 in it for the most part are very sharp, very good machinist. I don't find this to be the norm any longer unfortunately. Let's be honest, 10 years to be a real journey level machinist, to make well under six figures, or a four year degree to be a computer programmer/whatever and make well over six figures and not have to get dirty. Where is the incentive for most of the youth?
    The answer to this is what I have told my two kids:
    If it can be done over the telephone for a fish head and a bowl of rice, it will be.
    A trade here can't be done over the phone.
    Well, not yet anyway, but with 3-D printing they are trying to make it so.

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    Re: Machining a dying trade???

    Quote Originally Posted by millingkevv View Post
    MetalSurgeon, nice to know there is more people out there my age that love this trade!! Do you know of any other machinist our age in your area that are half way decent? I also believe we need to encourage more people to get into this type of work. But I also know that will only go so far when all proto-type parts that are eventually going to be mass produced are made by US, and once we dial them in, they go straight to china. Go figure right lol

    NY here i know a couple my shop only uses steel sourced in the US

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    Re: Machining a dying trade???

    figured i would chime in for some hope maybe

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    Re: Machining a dying trade???

    Quote Originally Posted by tridnt View Post
    figured i would chime in for some hope maybe
    Youth these days don't want dirty hands. They're all prissy little princesses (yes, boys, /men?)
    They want straight out of school and into a desk job as management.
    I think not. They need to get real, otherwise the Chinese WILL decimate all and turn Western civilization into 3rd world.

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