New employee training questions (WAY LONG)

To all the bosses and ex bosses,
I have working for me a smart 22 year old young man. This makes my
shop a two man shop. He is proficient at mig welding, can read basic
blueprints, and picks things up fast. He is intelligent and wants to
be a machinist. Since I don't have the luxuries of unlimited time and
money the fellow must learn on the job mostly with some time spent
purely for teaching.
The shop is equipped with manual lathes, mills, grinders, welder
and plasma cutter. It also has a couple cnc lathes and a cnc mill. My
goal is to teach him as much as possible about these machines while
still making enough profit from his labors.
Right now he's getting an overview of the shop and what all the
machines do. He is being taught that .005" tolerance is wide open. My
philosophy about machining is to make all the parts accurate and
beautiful. I was taught this by the man who gave me my first machine
shop job. This means no sloppy work and no scrap parts making it out
the door. All mistakes are recognized and corrected in the shop, not
by the customer. Unreported bad parts can lead to him being fired.
At this time my employee (I'll call him "Mac") is running the cnc
mill. He is learning setup procedures. Using an edge finder, finding
the center of holes with an indicator, setting Z zero by bringing the
tool down to the part and touching off a piece of paper laying on the
part, establishing the location of all the other tools and entering
the offsets are skills he is now learning. Mac is learning about
cutting speeds and how to find out what speed is right for what tool.
Next week I'll start showing Mac how to grind drills. He will be
learning what the drill should look like and how it cuts after being
re-sharpened in the shop. Soon he'll be learning how to grind HSS and
carbide lathe cutters.
My teaching method is to have Mac use grinders with tool rests,
protractors, etc. first in order to see how the tool should look when
ground properly. The distinction between shop ground cutting tools and
bought tools will be shown. This will enable him to grind offhand and
know when the tool is ground properly. I show him things and have him
do what I just did so that he gets the hands on experience so vital to
becoming a machinist. An example of this is when I swept in the head
of the Bridgeport mill and after that was done bolted a rotary table
to the mill and found center with the indicator. He then had to do the
same thing I just did. The mill head was tilted a little and the
rotary table was removed, so he had to start from scratch. He got the
head swept in to .0002" TIR and the same for the rotary table.
I encourage Mac to use his imagination and have told him that I'm
not too proud to listen to and implement any ideas of his that are
better than mine
With the above information in mind any teaching method suggestions
would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,
Eric R Snow,
E T Precision Machine
Reply to
Eric R Snow
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Sounds like you're doing well thus far. Depending on the employee, a good book is either gold or toilet paper. And one of the best "bangs for the buck (and size)" is an old South Bend publication unpretentiously titled "How to run a Lathe".
Reply to
It appears that he will generally have little trouble learning the "how" of this business. I believe that he will be an even MORE valuable employee when he knows the "why". He will become self-directed (which is probably already occurring). It will be more efficient (and more interesting to him) if he understands the factors that are essential to satisfying the customer and making a profit for the business. You are doing an excellent job teaching him the technical aspects of being a machinist - do it right the first time with minimal scrap and wasted motion. Take pride in your work and understand how to produce a high level of quality in the finished product.
I submit that when he knows the tradeoffs that always occur in business, he will be able to meet the customer requirements and schedule as well as figuring out whether a deadline can be met or increased production is possible. The business aspect of being a machinist. He also needs to be challenged with problem solving that will naturally occur as well. Finally, any business is ultimately a people business, even for a machinist. He must learn how to ask questions to clarify requirements. Not every customer walks in with a perfect set of blueprints that explain it all.
Reply to
Thomas Kendrick
| | | Eventually, he will move on--and so you should plan on it in advance.... | | Perhaps you should even encourage his moving on at all times.
This actually may make him want to stay, out of loyalty and respect for you, as long as he understands that he is not "yours." That line: "If you love something, set it free...."
Reply to
carl mciver
Get him a copy of Machinery's Handbook to read and reference. Also understand that you will have to pay him what he's worth as he gains experience or the shop down the street is going to steal him with more pay and benefits. Bugs
Reply to
It sounds like you are doing a good job. I am wondering if there is an apprenticeship program in your state? North of the 49th we have such a system where the apprentice goes to vocational classes for four to six weeks every year. The classes fill in the gaps. There is no shop that does it all. I know of one company that holds back ten percent of the pay then pays it out when the apprentice goes to class. That way the apprentice doesn't run out of money while in school. Up here pay rate is fifty percent of what the journeyman is making then every six months it jumps until full journeyman rate is reached after four years. I would encourage your employee to take the odd night school course or machine tool courses offered by manufacturers. You likely don't have the time but could pick his brain when he comes back. Randy
Reply to
Randy Zimmerman
======================================= See if your local community college has machining, blueprint and possibly QC classes. Pick-up or split the cost.
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
========= also lindsay books has many good manual machining publications. some are dated, but still have many good tip, hints, etc. see
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for general overview [includes some *STRANGE* stuff] see
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for machining specific other webpages cover foundry, plating, injection molding.
terrific values for the money GmcD
Reply to
F. George McDuffee
Thanks to everybody who responded to my questions about training a new employee. It was helpful to see that so far I was doing things mostly the right way and there were some good suggestions that I hadn't thought of. Eric R Snow E T Precision Machine
Reply to
Eric R Snow
That's no longer true, as far as I can tell. I work directly with/under several journeymen as well as a leadhand and their pay varies widely. I started above 50% of the minimum journeyman wage (as all apprentices where I work do) but well below 50% of the maximum.
Large production shops tend to have very abrupt pay rate changes like 2/3 of journeyman's wage for an apprentice, all 4 years. Once the exam is passed, full wage. I'm in a tool shop so I tend to get paid less and have gradual increases throughout my apprenticeship.
Also, apprentices can go on block release (eight weeks, three times over the four year/8000 hour apprenticeship) or can do half a day per week, September through June (roughly). I think there may be some other variations as well...
Some guys get paid for the time in class, some don't.
The above applies to a tool and die maker's apprenticeship. Not sure about a machinist's apprenticeship.
Reply to
Robin S.

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