"One Perfect Part at a Time"

A Visit to My Personal Machine Shop

I keep judging my shop’s quality. I consider, “Is this as professional as it should be? What are the right tools for me?” I feel it is so much a personal decision; I will never see or believe an answer from anywhere but within my own desires. If I am doing machining just for the challenge and personal pleasure to myself, no one else can tell me what’s right for me. One thing a personal machine shop is… is that it is personal. So be it… it is then a personal machine shop.

Is there a difference between a hobbyist’s machine shop and a personal machine shop? I think it is mostly just a difference in title, but that little change in thought from hobby to personal does make some subtle change in impression. To me it removes the vision of play and non serious application of time. It sounds a bit more “professional”. Maybe even to the imagined ability of producing professional grade work. The roles and actions have not changed at all. It is just word crafting to create subtle changes in how some people relate words to meaning. It is the basis of how “political correctness” works.  What’s the difference between garbage man and sanitary engineer?

I have never had a hobby where quality wasn’t important. Many hobbyists find a way to maintain the very highest standards and output from the skills and equipment they have and can afford. Hobby machinists for example, can generally produce with a far better standard than is needed for professional work. Even with “hobbyist” machines.

I feel describing my shop as a “personal machine shop” can be an image enhancement to the non hobby person. The same reason the personal computer (PC) is now seen as a professional tool. The first PC’s were all hobbyist toys. I was one of those very early hobbyists trying to figure out how I could answer the question, “So what can it do… besides blink the LED lights?” It was all about the bits and bytes back then. I was thrilled but it seemed few other folks understood. To them personal computers were, “just a hobby” to be dismissed as something trivial, a plaything.  Far little did they understand back then… I was helping change the world!

I am happy with the shop I have. My self-examination answer keeps coming back, “This shop IS just perfect for me. It fits my personal needs.” So maybe I will occasionally use the term “Personal Machine Shop” even though it sounds a bit snooty. So what, it’s all just a part of the fun. Perhaps it will help remove some doubt that my hobby isn’t something to be considered serious business. I’ll actually be poking fun at the non-enthusiast snoot who just doesn’t understand he or she is being catered to…  The rest of you can call it a hobbyist’s machine Shop.  🙂

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