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Have you ever met a machinist that was better than you?

Have any of you encountered a machinist that was as fast as you but worked as an employee? Have you ever met a machinist that was even faster than you are? I am convinced at this point that I must be the Lebron James of machining.

I've met a lot of machinists who were better than me.
Funny thing is, they all thought I was better than them.
One thing about this business, you can never learn or know it all - and that's a good thing - there's always something new to learn.

If you go through thinking you've got to be the fastest/bestest all the time, you will be exhausted and disappointed at the same time.

Not everyone wants to - or is cut out to be - a shop owner. No matter how good on a lathe (or mill) they are.
 
Look man I get it, dealing with people is not just the most difficult part of the job, that's the most difficult part of life. Take the calmest, most focused, professional, steely eyed machinist you've ever met. I guarantee one call from his pissed off wife can throw off his whole day. You think 5 axis grinders are complicated, try running 5 meth head welders.
Let's use the data you provided to analyze the problem a bit. You are the best machinist but you work for yourself so obviously you were "unretainable" by someone in some shop at some point. So you are looking for people 1/3 to 1/2 as good as you but that have something you don't, retainability.
I choose not to believe that the only thing standing between you (and me and every other shop owner) and success is a lack of good workers.
I am not in the contract machining world, I spent time there and failed at. I don't see how people do it. I instead focus my machining efforts making parts of things I know something about and selling specifically to people repairing those things.
My take is that you wont have "good" employees unless you start by having a good and healthy relationship with the people that you employ.
Everyone has options, you exercised your options when you deprived your employer of a great machinist to go off on your own.
I think you need to slowdown, find a good person that you are compatible with and train them up letting them know what you can afford to pay them as they develop. It sounds like you want to build a shop, that's an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. It's going to take more time than you'd like and development of all sorts of non machining related skills. There's always hot dog carts.
machines are easy, people are a PITA
 
I think I might be in the top 10% for manual grinding, manual lathe work, duliplicate a machine part, and that or better in cast iron machine tools. So, should rate near top rate.
 
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I think I might be in the top 10% for manual grinding, manual lathe work, duliplicate a machine part, and that or better in cast iron machine tools. So, should rate near top rate.
I those of us that have talked you on here agree completely with your assessment of your talents. Ok maybe you rank your self a little low. I'd put you top 5% in those areas.
 
I'm proud of my skills and it shows in my bottom line. My customers tell me flat out that they send the difficult work to me because nobody else will do it.

The kind of work I do and the caliber of my wife are the only two times I have punched above my weight class in my life. I'm OK at a lot of things but am very good at what I do for a living.

Bottom line is I get paid a lot of money to do exactly what I want. I might not be a great machinist but they guys paying me sure seem to think I am.
 
Honestly no, however the machinists I've met and worked with in my career have all set a pretty low bar IMHO, and also I am not without my crutches - I'd be pretty much dead in the water nowadays without my cad/cam software for example as I haven't hand coded a part in basically two decades.

I am extremely good at what I am good at, and I've made parts that I'd put up against the best and coolest out there, but there are some pretty huge gaps in my skillset - I have very little grinding experience and zero edm experience, never even seen a gear cutting machine in person etc. etc.
 
I will admit that I have never worked in a job shop, but I did work in many companies with in-house shops before starting my own. The machinists at these companies were incredibly slow! Not one of them would even make back their own salary if they worked at a job shop. I can say without an ounce of ego that I am as productive as ten or more of these machinists.

I always assumed that the machinists in job shops were faster. I recently hired an employee as a machinist/cnc programmer. I interviewed 9 candidates who each said they had years of experience cnc programming and prototyping at several different shops. I had them program a simple test part. Many of them struggled with this. I picked the best candidate that I felt could do the job and was able to program the test part reasonably well. Now some months in and he struggles with programming the sort of parts I usually work on. He takes about 5-8x as long to program and the parts run in 2x or more the time as when I program them (I am working on solutions and not looking for advice for this in this thread). I know that employees will never be as fast and I was expecting someone to be 1/3 my output and secretly holding out hope that they would be half my output. Is that unreasonable? For a long time I actually thought I was slow and worked to get faster. Some of the guys on this forum like Marvel say they knock out 20 unique parts for Xometry in a day. I guess it depends on the complexity part, but I could do 4 or 5 in a day start to finish with some effort.

Have any of you encountered a machinist that was as fast as you but worked as an employee? Have you ever met a machinist that was even faster than you are? I am convinced at this point that I must be the Lebron James of machining.

I don't knock out 20 or so unique parts in a day for Xometry............

But I do have a couple local customer that my PO's are typically 30-60 unique parts, quantities that are 1-3 usually, that I can easily knock out in a few days, for the most part they are pretty simple 3 axis work, that would be multiple OP's, features on all sides.

For example - I typically work 6-8 hour days if you want to factor in time as to what a day is for me.

Image 1
This was 33 unique parts, 74 total parts, Program, Set Up and Run in 3 days.

Image 2
This was 27 unique parts, 100 total parts, same thing Program, Set Up, and Run, in 4 days.

I don't find these parts difficult at all, I wouldn't consider them complex in any way, it comes down to finding an efficient process to go from part to part quickly. For me I have created a process that makes it very efficient, from dialing my TechDB in CAMWorks and making it work for me, these jobs I typically don't ever select a tool, part surface, feature or line segment, or set any feeds and speeds, I have it all automated to program these type of parts in 3-5 clicks after setting my material type and stock size. I touch off all my tools outside of my machine, and know where my Z is in the machine and its all based on how I program as well, I program my Z from the bottom of stock and any following operations from the bottom of finished part and knowing my vise bed in my machines WC are Z0 allows me to never have to pick up Z offsets, if my part is sitting on a 1.500" parallel my G54, or whatever work offset being used my Z is 1.500". My Y is obviously the fixed jaw and my X is left side of whatever I am stopping on, typically these jobs are ran in my VF3SS, that has 4 vises so I have 4 WCS set, G54 - 57 that allows me to flip parts for any operations accordingly.

Where if you are an average person, shops I've worked at where guys are selecting features one very part, selecting tools inputting feeds and speeds, manually jogging the Z to set each tool in the machine, that becomes a huge waste of time and very inefficient. It's actually why I came up with my way of programming and setting up, running jobs like this as an employee and feeling like it was just taking way too damn long!

Now to the original post question, I've met many machinist that better than me in aspects but in other aspects I would argue I was better.
 

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I think I am darn fast at grinding. Much because I know how to secure a part so it will not go flying, am quick to change wheel to use a courser wheel for roughing, quick to run a chuck full rather that one at a time, quick to cool the part, quick to use a parting wheel when parting can be faster than grinding, quick to fudge up a piece of something to be the size spotter, quick to set a diamond that becomes a size dress spotter so I can grind hours of parts with not measuring, quick to test the chuck with a wheel rub to see it will run tolerance, quick to know what sides of my 123 blocks can be square checkers. quick to use the flat area of my chuck for a surface plate, quick to have my handy plate for a next to me for a checker, quick to have my needed stuff on/ in my push cart so no steps are needed.
Yes, all common for any grinder hand. But takes a long time to learn for a new guy.
 
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I've met plenty of guys who are better than me.

Too bad my boss doesn't want to hire any of those guys.... :eek:
 
My mentor............the guy was a genius. Man, do I miss him.

Linky link:
 
> Have you ever met a machinist that was better than you?

Hundreds, likely thousands. There is so much incredible talent out there, and so many shops doing good work. I've never even touched a 5-axis or a Swiss, and there are people out there that could machine circles around me on a 3-axis CNC or a manual machine.
 
Think pretty much any actual machinist is better than I am. I am not a machinist, I am a steel fab guy turned electrician, that went back to fabrication/manufacturing, that got into machining/Cad/Cam work and enjoy it most of the time who still does some electrical work (which many days pays more then running a single spindle...if i have both the mill and lathe running then I do better machining then doing electrical work.)
 
Any one in any field who does not realize others are better in some aspects of the job is not looking at himself very hard. If you think you are the best you need to look harder. If you think you made no mistakes today you just did not catch them.
Claim is the average teacher makes about 1.000 decisions in one work day. is every decision the best one? No.
Bill D
 
I’ve always wanted to be as good as the top guys but I’ve never had a boss willing to teach and I’ve never had the money or access to the equipment to learn on my own. My bosses never valued taking time out to train. Now I am 36 and 10 years behind where I wanted to be in my life with little to show for it.
Is there any chance that you can switch to a different employer?

Getting into a good company with good learning opportunities really is a game-changer.

I see that you're in a small town in New Zealand. Perhaps not too many good shops around you.
 
I’ve always wanted to be as good as the top guys but I’ve never had a boss willing to teach and I’ve never had the money or access to the equipment to learn on my own. My bosses never valued taking time out to train. Now I am 36 and 10 years behind where I wanted to be in my life with little to show for it.
There are companies in New Zealand that will put in the effort to train, you just need to find them. If you are outside the larger centers you will struggle to find someone. I did a ProE wildfire course in Auckland and there were guys from all over the country doing the course.
 








 
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