Are You a Digital Machinist?
I have been looking at my past but more recent machining activities. I have realized it is almost 100% CNC operations. I now have two Taig CNC mills in my shop. Two? Yeah.
I have to sell the newest one or find a use for it. I have been doing wax carving so I could set up one machine for that and use the other for general metal machining. I am in no big hurry so I will just go with the flow on this.
My shop will remain on the micro/mini size of machining. I think I will be promoting a lot more of what can be done with CNC. I am doing that already so no change there. I don’t have a CNC lathe so maybe that is something for me to explore in more detail. It wouldn’t be too hard to CNC the Taig micro lathe. Perhaps a future project.
I just re-energized my subscription to the hobbyist Digital Machinist magazine. I need to come up to speed on what is the latest happenings in the hobbyist CNC. It’s only published 4X per year so it’s not that big a deal.
I admit I have been off wandering around trying to find a purpose in my hobby activities. For me its been a kind of pre-retirement panic of what am I going to be doing for the rest of my life. I am sure I am not alone with these thoughts. It’s not that I have nothing to do, it’s certain that I will be making things.
Like the special purpose magazine, Digital Machinist – I am thinking a special tab in my blog here or the old THMS website just for CNC activities. Maybe the mag will give me some ideas on subject matter and… Continue reading
The Cutting Edge
I viewed a series of videos called Knifemaking Tuesday’s sponsored by Tormach. The hyperlink in the previous line will take you to the video location in the Tormach website.
The video series is a non professional production but it is an engaging story about a couple of Canadian knife makers, John Grimsmo and his brother Eric Grimsmo. It picks up their story when they first start using the Tormach machine.
John and Eric are a couple of entrepreneurs starting a production knife making business in I assume John’s garage. (I haven’t seen the videos from before Tormach sponsoring.)
The investment they made for all their recent upgrades indicates they must have deep pockets somewhere or the previous knives they sold before using the Tormach tools must have been VERY expensive and profitable. There is a lot of talk about what they are spending on development of the new production system and design run but zilch about profits, then perhaps that is not our business… so to speak. 🙂
Tormach sponsors this YouTube “Channel TV” program because it showcases the Tormach PCNC 1100 machine and a lot of their accessories, except the ATC (Automatic Tool Changer).
This is definitely more an amateur reality TV garage workshop sit-comedy of errors than a typical Tormach training series. There is way too much goofing around and trial and error mistakes for calling it training, but I did learn a bunch about amateurs trying to become serious professional knife makers. I also gathered a bunch of new information about using CNC for knife making. The knife products do look good by the week 26 video.
The video work, even with as low a production effort as seen here, takes a lot of time and effort from the actual work of knife making.… Continue reading
Resting on an Obsession
personal obsession as big as working in my shop on “hardware” projects.
I suspect that creative work is never finished as almost any design engineer, graphic artist or programmer will admit they usually come to a stopping point rather than a finish. There is always that one more little tweak that can be added. At least I find that is true for me. What it becomes is a point of diminishing return and a decision is made that the mission (project) has been accomplished. There is no obsession to keep going.
I think I am at that stopping point in updating my blogs and website displays. Well, maybe it is more of a resting point. I am satisfied with design at the moment. I hope that for my sake it is a rather long rest. Ha! Now I can just need to train myself to just add content material and stop playing with design of the box.
There is an aura of obsessive perfection about a machine shop and the people who enjoy machining. It stems from the general knowledge we work in the realm of one thousandths of an inch (or 0.0254mm). Not so well known is we sometimes get into one ten-thousandths of an inch, thankfully not often.
Some machinists, especially the newer untrained hobbyist types have an overwhelming creative desire or obsession for dimensional (± 0.000) precision. That is not the meaning of my THMS slogan, “One Perfect Part at a Time”.
I know there are times to be critical of exact dimension but that most of the time there is an important thing called tolerance. Good design includes and specifies tolerance.… Continue reading
GWizard – First Looks
A visitor to this blog named Bob Warfield left a comment about a post he made in his blog HERE. Bob is also the creator or progenitor of machine shop “Speeds and Feeds” software called GWizard. It probably isn’t fair to call it just a Feeds & Speeds as it does so much more.
Bob told me he was known for The CNC Cookbook Blog as well as anything. So naturally I had to dive in and take a look. Sure enough there was Bob standing there grinning and holding plate with pumpkin pie. You’ll probably have to scroll way down to find him now (and the pie). This CNC Cookbook is a great place to read and study about the “science” of rotary machining.
I like a guy that doesn’t hide his face from his peers and customers.
I perused carefully everything I could find on that web site. Where was this when I needed it!? Of course always the skeptic, I had to figure out what was the “deal” going on here. The biggest question for any CNC machinist (well at least for me) is how hard can I push feeds and speeds and what are the reasons. It would seem obvious that this sort of program would have been offered long ago. But… it is a very complex subject. Tool manufactures are of course going to shade any such tool program toward their own products.
Bob admits it could be done with a spread sheet and in fact that is how he started. When I first started CNC machining I eventually found the safe speeds for the kind of work I usually do, but it had taken a lot of effort. I could have built a spread sheet myself but the effort would have kept… Continue reading
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… Continue reading