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

I feel I know my way around most types of metal working machines really well - until a did a stint in building race engines for a small 3 man company , what a dark art the balancer / hone / engine dyno was
I could watch the old owner Chris go to a shelf , eyeball a cam shaft , tell me to slot it into a fresh built sprint car engine , and whamo , 40 extra horse power
What would take me to balance in 3 days would take Chris 1 day , thats drilling for mallory to add weight and everything
What would take me at least a full day of honing to get the right tolerance , the boss could do this in around 3 hrs
I used to put it down to the fact I was using metric bore guages and mics so I was chasing higher tolerancing but really years of experience smoked me every time , learnt a lot from Chris that's for sure
Nothing quite like the sound of 800hp sprint car engine singing a tune on a water brake dyno , ill never forget that , watching one of those engines drink 200L of methanol for a run in / dyno tune was something else.
Feet per gallon?
 
Answer to question if i know machinists that are better then me. - Yea, Most of them, and that does not include the Tool makers I know and have employed.

Now mr Lebanon Jones,,,,
1.- If all you do is program CNC machines what makes you think you are a machinist? You couldn't clean the chip pans of most of the REAL machinists I have hired or even be allowed in the tool room.

2. As far as yo being from California, It figures.
Call me whatever you want, machinist or something else. I'm here to make money. My gripe with most toolroom guys is that they are seen as production support employees and never have to test their mettle against the free market. They can take all week to make that fixture and they get a pat on the back just the same. Cleaning chip pans doesn't make me money, but for what it's worth I'm faster at that as well.
 
Every machinist I know, is a better machinist than me. But then I do other things besides machining, that they can't do.

Analogy: ducatis don't have the best brakes, or the most power, or the best handling. But overall they're the best integrated bike overall and win at the track.
 
No, but I have known a few tool makers and die builders who were better than me I'd say.

I will say my overall machining game is hard to compete with. From programming, to manual, to building dies, I'm pretty damn good at all of it, but I learned from a lot of old school, smart/knowledge/skilled tool makers/die builders who knew what the hell they were doing. My welding could use some work. I'm pretty good at turning out quality looking work in an efficient manor. That's one of my best traits. I get stuff done, but I take pride in making nice looking work. When I get into my work just leave me alone, and let me work. I don't need to have several 5-10 minute yick yack sessions throughout the day. That's what our breaks are for.
 
I've met a LOT of machinists that were better than me. First and foremost, my grandfather has to be about the best machinist I ever had the pleasure of working for. And he was a pain in the ass. Never satisfied, never happy with what I did or how I did it. Never fast enough. I learned a ton. He was so damn fast. Everything he made was a marvel and worked exceptionally well.

I also had the pleasure of working with his right hand guy, who is still a mentor of mine today. His chamfers are ground more accurately than practically anything I make. He is faster than I will ever be.

Those two are exceptional for a myriad of reasons, and stand out against the others for one specific reason. They could do EVERYTHING. Anything. Plastic injection mold? Deep draw stamping die? High speed high precision zero clearance carbide die with an abrasive material like kevlar? Forging die? Production? Prototype? Weird un-heard of material? Plastic? Iron? on and on the things they made. Mill, lathe, grinders of every kind, jig borers, edm's, esoteric knowledge of every sort, literally I'm not sure I could come up with something they didn't make.

The other guys I worked with were good, VERY GOOD. But at ONE thing. I worked with a grinding guy that I swear could perfectly grind something by eye in half the time I could set it up. Another guy I worked with running 5 axis was phenomenal, but I'm not sure he could do anything else. The guy who taught me how to run a lathe probably couldn't run a mill to save his life, but damn was he incredible on a lathe.

So as many have mentioned, you may not need a machinist. I know my first employee won't be a machinist.
 
I'm not a religious person but just saying.

Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
 
Call me whatever you want, machinist or something else. I'm here to make money. My gripe with most toolroom guys is that they are seen as production support employees and never have to test their mettle against the free market. They can take all week to make that fixture and they get a pat on the back just the same. Cleaning chip pans doesn't make me money, but for what it's worth I'm faster at that as well.
You keep coming back to speed as a measurement of how good a machinist is. That is not a reliable metric.
 
You keep coming back to speed as a measurement of how good a machinist is. That is not a reliable metric.
I probably should never had said "good" to begin with, but I wanted to provoke a reaction. What I care about is profitability and at least in my small corner of machining, it is tied very closely to speed.
 
I probably should never had said "good" to begin with, but I wanted to provoke a reaction. What I care about is profitability and at least in my small corner of machining, it is tied very closely to speed.
It was clear to me that by "a machinist that is better" you meant "a machinist that is better at what you do". Otherwise it's entirely subjective.
 
I have seen grinder guys give poor information on you tube, and even a manufacturer video that gave bad info. And then they descended the machine.
There are guys(gals) that can beat the guy who thinks he is best easily on certain things that the best guy has not tried..
 
I probably should never had said "good" to begin with, but I wanted to provoke a reaction. What I care about is profitability and at least in my small corner of machining, it is tied very closely to speed.
Profitability is better served through consistency than it is speed. If you consistently make a good part , reduce waste, and meet delivery time demands you will increase profitability and garner a reputation as a go to business to get stuff done right and on time. Yes speed does play a part in that, but it is not the driving factor. What's great is when you got employees that know when to take that little bit of extra time for the more nuanced parts to make sure they are done right , but at the same time know when something is simple and they get it done and out the door.
 

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Call me whatever you want, machinist or something else. I'm here to make money. My gripe with most toolroom guys is that they are seen as production support employees and never have to test their mettle against the free market. They can take all week to make that fixture and they get a pat on the back just the same. Cleaning chip pans doesn't make me money, but for what it's worth I'm faster at that as well.
If you want to make money, you have to be the manager, not the worker. Every chip tray you clean takes you away from the long term planning that the manager should be / is being paid to be doing. Consider how many chip tray cleaners you could employ for 1 hour of your time. Would that team be faster than you?

Better yet, consider how many chip tray cleaners you could employ for 1 hour of your time to yourself or your family. Would that team be faster than you?

When you do the coalface work, you limit the amount of money you can make because your time is the limiting factor.

If big picture is not for you, don't be the manager.
 
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.
No matter what trade or business you're involved in, there's not many workers that will have the same Moxie you have. Think about when you or we were working for somebody else.
The real reason we work for ourselves, if we're good and passionate about what we do, nobody does it like we do. Be grateful and take only the work you can handle. The customers will either wait or go somewhere else. If they don't like somewhere else, they'll come back.
 
Fastest CNC programmers I have met were production guys who came from big production shops. Where they made thousands of parts where they would chase seconds out of a program to save minutes or hours on the back end.

Job shops aren’t production in that respect. Job shop is more lower numbers, right first time, more cautious. Job shop is someone having the skills to make a low volume replacement part and be right first time without scrapping it.
 








 
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