CNC machines and presses get highest priority (versus floor work). Once
management, for whatever reason, wants a certain die in a press or on a
machine, they tend to lean on whomever is getting the die ready. A
couple of weeks ago I had the GM (four management levels above me) on
my butt to get a die on the machine. I missed lunch and lost about five
pounds in sweat (about 31șC, no fans).
Ultimately deadlines are by far the biggest stressor for me.
That would be inviting a world of pain. Weeks of stoning/polishing,
washing presses, running panels by hand, etc. Not to mention you get
yourself on the "list" (next fireable offence will be just that).
The kicker is that anyone one of them could do the job faster and
better than I could. I've been humbled considerably since I started
Is it the kind of place where you can tactfully ask them to throw some
hints your way as they watch you go at it, or do you just have to suck
it up and struggle through the learning curve?
Both, I think. They'll explain things to you roughly once. The rest is
Some guys will hold your hand, others yell until you get it right
(like, red in the face yell). Asking for the same explination a second
time is a big no-no. If they aren't confident that you're listening,
eventually they'll stop talking. This seems to be pretty common
throughout the trades I think.
Too bad the yellers don't understand how much retention goes away when
the attacks begin. It can be tough to focus on the message being
delivered when you're wondering if the person doing the yelling can't
get laid. ;-)
Is sandpaper treated like gold leaf, or can you toss it once the grit
is rubbed off?
While I don't like to admit it, I find that tactful yelling (gentle
persuasion) actually goes a long way with me. I find that leadhands who
aren't willing to explain to people what they've done wrong and how to
fix it (and that they must! fix it) aren't doing their job.
We have a number of "finishing groups" at work. The previous group I
was in had a lot of superstars and was run by a very abrasive leadhand
(abrasive to the inexperienced and the incompetent). The problem with
that leadhand was that he actually *could* out perform everyone in the
group, or at least match the superstars. Dies get rammed through that
group in particular and the pace is fast.
That group wasn't a great group to start in because there's no time to
"learn," only time to "do." However, I did learn how to push myself to
get the job done. I also gained the mentality of doing things correctly
(as time allows) the first time as I would get yelled at for not fixing
mistakes and not finishing a job correctly. Naturally, I could never
finish a job fast enough (and was reminded of that daily, or better).
In my current group, the leadhand is much less abrasive. He gently
explains the job and is reasonably patient about how long it takes to
complete. He is reluctant to go after those in the group who do not
correctly complete their jobs, don't fix their mistakes and don't
complete the job fast enough. I enjoy that social atmosphere, but I
know that I'm not learning as much as I would like. I am grateful for
the difficult education I had before.
We go through sand paper like Taco Bell goes through toilet paper. Once
the dies are hardened, the sandpaper gets dull in about ten or less
strokes (in one spot). A 1.5m long flange section (say a radius of
5.0mm) will eat about half a sheet each of 120g, 240g and 400g emery,
and 600g paper. That's after stoning with a 100g polishing stone.
Naturally the rads are stoned and polished to 240g before hardening as
Large complicated inner panel draw dies eat emery cloth by the box.
This trait will serve you well. Too many people get too wrapped up in
His last name isn't Stamm, is it?
Probably not, but after you described my boss I had to ask. ;-)
Now let me poison the well of your mind with this advise: in twenty
years, when you can't push hard without your whole arm going numb for a
few days, remember the schedules you busted ass to meet. I'm not
saying hard work is bad, but don't wreck your body for someone else's
financial gain. I guess what I really want to pass on is "work
smarter, not harder" every chance you get.
Too bad he doesn't hold people accountable. It is possible to be a
nice guy who expects workers to perform to standards.
How big is your typical sanding block footprint? Do you apply pressure
with your fingers, or the palm of your hand? Would tighter stepover in
the cutter path reduce the handwork time? Do the programmers ever get
to come out and see what they've created, or do they stay locked away
in a dark room?
I hear you. Sometimes I think they invented apprentices to push stones
and paper. Not to say toolmakers don't do it, but...
I'm slowly getting to the point where I'm not the lowest rung on the
ladder. Leadhands get in trouble if they aren't using their resources
efficiently. You can't very well get an apprentice to do draw die
tweaking in a press while a ten year toolmaker stones a draw cavity.
I shouldn't say he's a complete doormat, because he isn't. I just
prefer are more asertive approach.
We don't use sanding blocks. The stones come roughly 8x2x.75" but I
break them into halves or thids before use, unless stoning a very large
plane surface (fairly common on outter panels).
It depends on the geometry of the die. Flat surfaces get very little
attention compared to male rads. Fingers are used for intricate stuff,
palms for longer, straighter rads.
We've actually made excellent progress in this area. I have no idea
what has changed (cutter geometry, material, programming technique, CAM
software, etc) but we used to have to use 40 grit stones, then 60/80
and finally 100 before polishing. Now virtually all rads can be stoned
with 100g, and then polished.
Before we got our high-speed finishing mills, apprentices would stone
continously for months (seriously) because the technology at the time
couldn't cut it faster.
I think the industry has forced management to invest in better
techniques and tools to basically cut more accurate dies faster. The
programmers are a big part of this and they're on the shop floor often
enough. It's hard for me to say anything beyond that as I don't work in
the machine shops.
I do quite a bit of teaching at work, and used to teach at a trade
school. I've found the best way to get someone to *understand* what you
are trying to get across is if you ask the right questions. Telling them
the answer does absolutely no good, it's gone in a flash. But if you ask
them the right questions in a manner that points to the answer, and
*they* come up with the correct answer on thier own, the retention seems
to be years instead of minutes. After they come up with the right answer,
then you can go on to explain the why's, what's and how-to's and thier
mind is like a sponge, because they *want* to know those details.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
This is really kind of sad. Because you are young and inexperienced you
don't recognize that you work for Neanderthals. By the time you realize it,
you'll be one of those guys spouting off to the new guys following you about
"paying your dues" and all that crap that Neanderthals talk about.
You think you're getting a good education. What you're getting is an
indoctrination into the losers club. Because people who treat you like this
are in fact losers. They are just too stupid to see it.
Gary H. Lucas
Can't stand the blaring ghetto blasters. I work in a place with a
hearing conservation program (as in already way too lound) and they
allow idjits to noise up the noisy areas I have to work in. Nothing
like fixing a machine between two ghetto blasters playing different
On Sat, 22 Jul 2006 00:45:02 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
All I have to listen to..is Rancherio or Vietnames music.
Im not sure which one I hate the most. The Viet music sounds like some
sort of Asian funeral music...but Ive heard it before so I can live with
Rancerio music is Mexican polka..and gods how I hate polka....
Umpa umpa umpaumpaumpa umpapa umpapa umpapa....
mumble mumble grumble
Course yesterday...new customer...Merl Haggard, Hank Jr...Big &
Rich....I think Im gonna like that ol boy..and he pays COD too.
The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose
and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.
In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology
has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence,
and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years
. It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaints,
and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been
as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.
Employees who don't get how business works get in the way of the
decision making process by allowing egos and not logic to dictate how
decisions are made is probably the most frustrating thing to deal with
as an employee. As a consultant business is booming because of it.
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