The Machine or the Product?
I like to consider my interest in tools from a philosophical viewpoint. I am not making a decision as to an interest being right or wrong as that is not the purpose. I note and explore the difference I see and am aware there are many reasons for the things I enjoy.
What I find for me is there is seldom a single reason. An interest is like love, there are a number of shades from pale to intense. The colors are seldom just black and white. The spectrum is not static and does vary with the passage of time.
The subject here is tools and machine tools. Specifically, I have explored what I own and use in my own workshop. I use this thought process for all of my areas of interest, It helps me understand myself and why I do what I do Yeah, perhaps I am a little weird thinking about these things, but that’s OK.
I am a technical and analytical type. I am also a bit creative and like to explore how things work. I like mechanical machines and control systems. That’s an area I have worked all my life. I understand the reason; I am just made this way.
I have made an observation about my use of machines and the systems that make them operate. I admit to an early interest in electronics and my nearly 50 years in amateur radio. Computer hardware was an early outgrowth of the radio hobby. I had a working computer before the PC was born. When I got interested in machine tools, the use of computer numeric control (CNC) to operate some of the machines was a natural extension.
My career became involved with installing Building Management Systems (BMS). So it is obvious to me my interest is all about automated devices. I understand what makes them tick and after that, become motivated by what they do or make.
So my hobby was the operation of the machines. I designed them, built them, debugged them, and made them reliable tools. The products they made were important but secondary. That has shifted now with my KautzCraft Studio business in jewelry and woodcraft manufacturing. I am now interested not only how to use the machine but also the products as an output.
My hobby has transitioned from being a CNC enthusiast to a creator using CNC. It may seem subtle but there is definitely a change of view.
I am currently examining the world of 3D printing. That is definitely in the realm of a CNC enthusiast. What I see is that for the hobbyist, it is still in the areas of exploring and tinkering with all the bits and pieces, getting it to a reliable production tool status. The output of the consumer machines is far from outstanding without considerable after work. Not much different than subtractive (milling machine) learning curve.
So is it the machine or the product that it makes a motivator? It’s both in my opinion. I fall in love with the hardware and how it works, then knowing the capabilities, discover an additional love in how I can make it perform and what I can create.
I think I have described the essence of an engineer. It’s a passion and not just a job.