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  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    333

    Advice needed

    Hello, I am a 49yo that lost my non machining related job. I was in a completely different industry. I held onto hope for a year or 2 that work would come back but it has not so time to move on. I have been a backyard self taught machinist for about 20 years on both CNC mill and lathe and conventional machines. I use solidworks and camworks and a haas mill and lathe. Being self taught I am very inefficient at the Cad/cam and don't have much practical machining knowledge. I want to try follow that path and somehow find work in the machining industry. I am looking to take classes to get me to the place that I can work efficiently on both the machines and software but don't really know where to start. Very basic beginner machining, CNc class, software training, more machine training? Can anyone give me advice on where to start? I can model in solidworks slowly and can run 2 1/2 d parts ok and shakey on 3D machining and turning. Thanks in advance for any help.
    Mark

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2004
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    4880

    Re: Advice needed

    Where are you located? If you want to find a class in CNC machining, I'd suggest trying your local community college, if there is one in your area. Failing that, many software packages have online tutorials you can work through at home.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  3. #3
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    May 2014
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    170

    Re: Advice needed

    Do you own machines? Are you looking to get a job or create a job?

  4. #4
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    Sep 2006
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    6374

    Re: Advice needed

    Hi, at 49 you'll be starting at the very bottom with bottom dollar wages.....if you have funds to carry you through for the next 5 years you'll soon be nearing retirement age........it's a hard game to break into when the boss wants someone who will perform.........kids fresh out of school will run rings around you......don't give up your daytime job, no matter how humble it is.
    Ian.

  5. #5
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    May 2014
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    Re: Advice needed

    I have to agree that this is a very real possibility. Thats why I asked if you owned machines. Because the reality is, you can make as much at home part time, then most shops will pay you. I can make as much in two days mowing as I can in the shop.

  6. #6
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    May 2014
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    170

    Re: Advice needed

    I would also say..... If you are going to join the trade as a new guy, find a small 1-5 man shop. There are a lot of small shops where you might be the young buck.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    333

    Re: Advice needed

    Thanks you all so much for the advice. I do own a haas vf2 and a tl1. And a conventional mill and lathe. My hope was to get more efficient so I could try get some small job shop type work as well as designing some of the things I like to make. I have been making a lot of things but everything takes me so long. I feel like I need to get more efficient at everything and that will require? Just not sure what to focus on learning to increase my relatively limited knowledge. I know I have to get properly trained on solidworks/camworks and my haas machines. I was not sure if I should take very basic machine shop classes, whether that would be helpful or not. I know enough to just get by but after 20 or so years of learning in a vacuum I know there are probably so many better ways to do things than how I do them
    Mark

  8. #8
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    Sep 2006
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    6374

    Re: Advice needed

    Hi....be aware from the start....you will be the cheapest tenderer on the block for all jobbing work.....if you aren't you don't get the job.

    In all the work that you get to tender on, less than 10 % will dwell on the higher cost as a quality factor.

    Also, if you are not registered as a business you cannot successfully buy at trade prices or offset your costs as a tax deduction....BTDT........many firms will not trade with you if you are not a business.

    Most of the time your material costs won't allow you to buy at bulk prices due to low volume buying.

    If you are going it alone as a one man show you will not retire with a lump sum for your old age........you have at most 20 years....thinking of 70 years old at retirement...... to make enough money to live on when you can't or don't want to work any more.
    Ian.

  9. #9
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    May 2014
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    170

    Re: Advice needed

    IMO Having machines is a game changer. You can do it Brother. I have some solidworks and hsmworks video's. I dont care for camworks at all, so I have never made any videos using it. But if you need any help or advice, just ask

    If you want to get the work out, it's all about speeds and feeds. Get a good calculator and watch videos and read up on the theories behind high speed machining and radial chip thinning. I use HSMAdvisor.

    The next, and largest issue is work holding. How can we hold this for the least amount of set up's. How can we hold the 200 after that one.

    School.... Well man thats hit or miss. Who's teaching the class? Is he willing to for go all the super basic crap and allow you to focus on the important, money making aspects, speed producing aspects?

    I an tell you from personal experience, if you can run a machine on any level, theres work out there for you. Every place I work the guy making all the money dont know crap about how to make all the money. So why cant you?

    I can talk to you all day about this. Let me know if you need some help. CAD, CAM, Set ups, feeds and speeds, what ever man.

  10. #10
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    May 2014
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    170

    Re: Advice needed

    Another place I think most machine shops screw the pooch.... Products. They all work contract to contract. If you can cad, and you have a mind that allows creative juice to flow, man make stuff. You only need 1 for pictures. Sale one, make one. Thats the beauty of cnc my man. That G code is a million parts in a virtual ware house. Rapid turn around. You have machines some where, so rents being paid on them now.

    You can do it man

  11. #11
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    Jan 2006
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    333

    Re: Advice needed

    Thanks so much. Chuckorlando, that is a very generous offer and thanks for the encouragement! Perhaps if really needed I will send you a pm. Nervous and excited all at the same time

  12. #12
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    May 2014
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    Re: Advice needed

    Not a problem. I have a theory about American Manufacturing and small shops. By small, I mean 1 and 2 man shops out of garages some where. As it sits, you can kill the comp on man hour rates and still take all day. If you and the other guy both bid 10 bucks a part. He has a guy at the machine being payed and work waiting to go on the machine. You do not. He has to get that work out fast and still charge 100hr. You can take your time and bid at a fraction of them and still make more then them.

    You want to compete with China, cancel the rent payment and work from the home shop.

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