Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Your experience with machinists and materials sellers?

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 stargazer193857

stargazer193857

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11,213
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Southern Idaho

Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:10 PM

What positive and negative experiences do you have, and how did you get each?

 

 

I have 5 experiences:

 

A bicycle mechanic about 60 years old did an excellent job on jerry rigging my very custom specifications that were way outside the box of standard bikes. I did not have to guide him.

 

A machinist, about 60, told me if I dig a ditch for him, he will use his lathe to make my aluminum tube fit my objective lens and my eyepiece barrel. He did an escellent job with no directions from me. Taught me as I watched. The fit was easy to insert but zero play, and stayed in place.

 

A machinist fresh out of school, 22 years old, negotiated 60 dollars per hour based on estimated time to completion. I asked for triangles 2" wide and 2.2" tall. I calculate he wasted half the metal I gave him, 2 square feet of 4, and then gave me equilateral triangles 1.875" on each side. He told me he was willing to take a lower pay rate, whatever I'd give him for his work.

 

A welder who looked about 25-30 claimed to be super successful with several clients and had pictures of good work. I asked him to cut up some reciprocating diamond blades and butt weld the pieces to some metal sheet of same thickness so they would be twice as long. He wanted $65 per hour. I agreed and asked how many hours it would take him. He did not know. I asked if he would agree to estimate 1 hour for this job and charge a flat $65 even if he gets it done sooner. He agreed. Of the 7.5 inch blade, only 6 inch long pieces came back, and half of them did not meet at 180 degrees or even did not meet dead on. I paid and remembered not to use him again.

 

A metal seller, about 30 years old, had an inventory of aluminum tube. I gave him 2 tubes and asked him to find me two that those would fit nicely inside of and cut off 6" of each, and that outer diameter does not matter. He got out his calipers and measured the diameters of my tubes and then set out measuring the inner diameters of his tubes. He came back with two tubes and said he found ones that are the right size. I paid and left. I got home, and tried to insert my tubes. One was 1/16" oversize, which was fine as I'll shim it. The other is 1/32" under size. I'm not going to drive across town to get a refund. Now I have an excuse to make my own wooden parts and clamps. I might use the extra tube for a different part.

 

 

 

 

The less I've learned is only hire older shop people, that or be very careful with my directions and inspection of the work of the younger ones. They don't make them like they used to.

 

 

What have your experiences been?

Any scope builders ever ordered 10 focusers and got shipped all the factory rejects, or is that just legend? Has not happened to me.


Edited by stargazer193857, 10 June 2021 - 11:27 PM.


#2 luxo II

luxo II

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,797
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:15 PM

Sounds like you went to a "backyard shop". Total amateurs.

 

I've had metal parts machined by TS to 2D drawings I supplied. Even though drawn in mere PowerPoint, the drawings were to accurately to scale and I had carefully measured the dimensions that matter with calipers to 0.1mm. Parts arrived nicely anodised black, they fitted perfectly, the price was OK and happy customer.

 

While they did deviate from what I drew (to simplify machining) they did stick to the critical dimensions - and this is IMHO important - you must show which dimensions matter, and those that do not - with reasonable tolerances you can live with.

 

The second aspect is to understand how the part will be made and make it as easy as possible; unnecessary accuracy, bells and whistles cost their time - and you're paying for it. If you don't know - ask - and start talking to them before they start cutting anything.

 

Admittedly I am an engineer (though not mechanical), I have done a workshop machining course in my distant past so understand how the stuff is made, and a fair hand at technical drawing.


Edited by luxo II, 10 June 2021 - 11:31 PM.

  • stargazer193857 likes this

#3 stargazer193857

stargazer193857

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11,213
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Southern Idaho

Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:30 PM

Sound like you went to a "backyard shop". Total amateurs.

 

I've had metal parts machined by TS to 2D drawings I supplied. Even though drawn in mere PowerPoint, the drawings were to accurately to scale and I had carefully measured the dimensions that matter with calipers to 0.1mm. Parts arrived nicely anodised black, they fitted perfectly, the price was OK and happy customer.

 

While they did deviate from what I drew (to simplify machining) they did stick to the critical dimensions - and this is IMHO important - you must show which dimensions matter, and those that do not - with reasonable tolerances you can live with.

 

The second aspect is to understand how the part will be made and make it as easy as possible; unnecessary accuracy, bells and whistles cost their time - and you're paying for it. And if you state stupid tolerances they will realise you don't know either, ignore that and happily do as they please (ie dimensions will be wrong and it won't fit).

 

Admittedly I am an engineer (though not electrical), I have done a workshop machining course in my distant past so understand how the stuff is made, and a fair hand at technical drawing.

Your professional looking drawings with dimensions and especially tolerances lets them know you are serious and know what you want and also is a document that nails down their requirements in case they don't deliver.


  • ShaulaB likes this

#4 luxo II

luxo II

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,797
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:33 PM

Well... IMHO that goes with buying anything expensive. What staggers me is the lack of thought when people commit to even more costly complex items - starting with wives, cars, and houses.

 

If you don't know - ask - and start talking.


Edited by luxo II, 10 June 2021 - 11:34 PM.

  • PrestonE and Rickycardo like this

#5 MikiSJ

MikiSJ

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,804
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2006
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:54 PM

My son is a master machinist working on gear and steam box assemblies the size of small houses for submarines and aircraft carriers. He holds tolerances to a 'tenth' (0.0001") on #20,000 parts spinning at 90 RPM.

 

I had taken machine ship in high school and when I first went active (1966) in the Navy I was assigned to a Machinery Repairman slot on an aircraft carrier. Maybe it was my age (18 y/o) but I couldn't do anything right in that division. My last gasp to keep my job was to make a water pump bearing out of bronze. The bearing was 4" O.D. and .25" thick. I proudly showed off my work to my CPO supervisor and he promptly kicked me out the shop as he measured the bearing at 4" I.D. but it was .25".

 

Remember: when you ask for something to be made for you, you can have it done: 1) timely, 2) correctly, and 3) inexpensively - pick two! You get what you pay for.


  • HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula likes this

#6 luxo II

luxo II

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,797
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:08 AM

Ah... but the best solutions are often simple ones, though not always immediately obvious.


Edited by luxo II, 11 June 2021 - 01:09 AM.


#7 Oberon

Oberon

    Soyuz

  • -----
  • Posts: 3,686
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2013
  • Loc: Hunter Valley NSW Australia

Posted 11 June 2021 - 04:18 AM

Agree, always talk to find what matters. Sometimes issues I think will be expensive to resolve are routine, no trouble at all. And be open to alternative suggestions. But most of all don’t treat a busy craftsman or professional as they they owe you attention for a small one off, or even have a duty to provide a price; be mindful they are probably doing you a favour with high risk and for trivial compensation.


  • Jon Isaacs and PrestonE like this

#8 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 92,538
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 11 June 2021 - 04:43 AM

Agree, always talk to find what matters. Sometimes issues I think will be expensive to resolve are routine, no trouble at all. And be open to alternative suggestions. But most of all don’t treat a busy craftsman or professional as they they owe you attention for a small one off, or even have a duty to provide a price; be mindful they are probably doing you a favour with high risk and for trivial compensation.

 

:waytogo:

 

I was a research engineer for 30 years and primarily worked with a single machine shop that specialized in working with researchers.  Our group was their largest customer and all our work went through me. Over the years, we built millions of dollars worth of equipment..

 

- Good drawings are important. Don't expect to get something made correctly without proper drawings. 

 

- Make the drawing, discussing the parts with the machinist, modify the drawings. Machinists understand drawings.

 

- I respected them, they respected me. When they had a engineering problem, I helped them out.. 

 

- when I retired, I still helped them out and oversaw them building my designs for other researchers at no cost. One piece of equipment could be 6 figures of work for them. If I need something machined, it just happens...

 

Jon


  • PrestonE, Oregon-raybender, Oberon and 1 other like this

#9 Rickycardo

Rickycardo

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,063
  • Joined: 29 Mar 2009
  • Loc: Bolingbrook

Posted 11 June 2021 - 06:58 AM

As an engineer, machinist and a factory manager I've learned several things over the years.

1. No one will ever care about your project as much as you do.

2. If you want it done right either do it yourself or supervise the person doing it very closely.

3. There's never time to do it right but always time to do it over.

4. Consistency is screwing it up a 3rd time.

5. Control freaks aren't born, they're made.

6. Trust but verify.

7. You're the only one that sees that picture in your head clearly.

8. Every part is different yet similar in a different way.

9. There's comes a point in every project where it becomes necessary to shoot the engineer and finally begin production.

10. Managing a factory, or any complicated process, is just like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire, and you're on fire, and everything is on fire.


Edited by Rickycardo, 11 June 2021 - 07:01 AM.

  • John Fitzgerald, PrestonE, don clement and 5 others like this

#10 synfinatic

synfinatic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 752
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2013
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 11 June 2021 - 10:24 AM

I've had the exact opposite of the OP.  Had someone with a long career in machining / CAD design and fabricate a part for me.  Long story short, while it did technically fit, the design was ill suited for it's purpose and quickly caused a failure.  What kind of failure?  The kind that causes oil to start leaking out of the engine cases of your motorcycle and onto your rear tire.  Lucky for me I detected this before I was thrown off the bike and injured and was able to return to the pits safely.  Turned out this "master machinist and fabricator" with decades of experience was way over his head and either didn't know or wouldn't admit it.

 

I had a much younger person who also happens to be an instructor at the local college design and fabricate a replacement.  Everything about this new part- the design, fit and finish was far superior.  More importantly the design was far more structurally sound and did not cause oil leaks.

 

That said, I wouldn't infer from this anecdote that young people are better than old people.  Also, the plural of anecdote is not data.


  • brave_ulysses, ShaulaB and HasAnyoneSeenMyNebula like this

#11 don clement

don clement

    Vendor (Clement Focuser)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2,015
  • Joined: 02 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Running Springs, California

Posted 11 June 2021 - 11:03 AM

I decided the best way to fabricate something from an idea is to make it yourself. Learned to make and machine my own stuff and find out what materials work best for my purpose. 

 

Don


  • Jon Isaacs, PrestonE, bbbriggs and 2 others like this

#12 John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

    In Focus

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,819
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2004
  • Loc: near Elkins and Pettigrew, Arkansas

Posted 11 June 2021 - 11:32 AM

I have pretty much decided, on custom parts, if I cannot make it myself,  to just forget about it.  It's very frustrating.


  • Oberon likes this

#13 JamesDuffey

JamesDuffey

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 299
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Cedar Crest NM

Posted 11 June 2021 - 12:13 PM

A clear drawing is the key to letting the machinist know what you want. It doesn’t need to be CAD or even computer drawn. I have had a lot of excellent parts machined on the basis of a hand drawing in pencil on an engineering pad. Most of these were for R&D parts, so the standards may be a bit different for production parts or medical purpose parts. 

 

The drawing should be a good place to start a conversation with the machinist about what you want, what is important and what is not, what material it should be made of, when you want it, and how much you expect to pay. If the machinist doesn’t ask these questions you should prod him. 

 

My worse experience with a machinist was with an experienced tool and die maker who was working at a University shop while going to school. I wanted an adapter made that went from an English thread to metric at one thread per mm. I had a drawing clearly marked. I discussed it with the machinist, clearly pointed out the metric thread requirement, asked if there was equipment available to him that could do that and was assured it was no problem. When I got the part, the metric end didn’t fit. After a couple of go-arounds with the machinist I measured the threads and it was not exactly one thread per mm. I pointed this out to the machinist who angrily produced an English ruler, counted the threads, said there was 25 in the inch and that were 25mm per inch so I had one thread per mm and if I couldn’t do math, or make an accurate drawing, I shouldn’t be complaining. I pointed out that there were 25.4 mm per inch and that his thread was off by that much. He then told me that was impossible to make without a metric lathe, and I shouldn’t ask for impossible things. Of course, that was where we were at when we started looking at my drawing.

 

He later complained to our boss that I was too demanding. A colleague who overheard the exchange came back the next day and volunteered his high school aged son, who had a metric mini-lath for modeling purposes, to do the job, which he did fine and refused any payment other than my offer to fill up his gas tank and some scrap stock that was in the recycling bin. 

 

So, my experience from that event is that age doesn’t really matter; attitude and real knowledge does.


  • PrestonE, Oberon and stargazer193857 like this

#14 MKV

MKV

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,537
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Southeast, USA

Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:11 PM

My problem was of an entirely different nature. I could have made the part(s) I needed but was too busy with other issues. The machinist I hired was very good in everything but communication skills. At some point he even admitted to have "forgotten my order" after I got tired of waiting and inquired what's taking so long. There were other issues with communication. Too bad, but also too much. If you hire someone -- they're not doing you a favor; it's the other way around. You're paying them! But often that seems to escape the consideration with these type of "contracts." They cash your check and and then even "forget" your order! All in all, lesson learned -- if I can make it I'll make it myself. That's my advice too. 



#15 Sean Cunneen

Sean Cunneen

    Let Me Think

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4,118
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Flossmoor Il.

Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:41 PM

My machinist Paul and I have had a relationship for almost 15 years now. I bring him the materials and a rough drawing so he knows what the part should do. I give him dimensions but NEVER tolerances/specs. I pay $10 cash for each operation. Two facing cuts = $20. Two tubes slip fitted to each other $40. I drop the stuff off then I wait... At least a week, never sooner, usually two-ish weeks.

In return he blows me away everytime. At first I would drop off very detailed notes, but those parts never got made. For this kind of work, it needs to be fun for him too. He gets a kick out pics of projects as they evolve, when I use a scope he built parts for at an outreach event and show him pics of kids all lined up... he really gets it.

I tried other machine shops, but the costs just in time to set up machines/buy cutters and to finish the parts so they look good are astronomical!

So my advice... Make friends, get excited about their work, dont be so critical and let them do their work, try anything else and yeah, your gonna have a tough time. Too many customers want to show off how much they know and they want to be Tony Stark and that is an expensive way to be a customer.
  • Jon Isaacs, PrestonE, Oregon-raybender and 2 others like this

#16 RichA

RichA

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,603
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 11 June 2021 - 01:53 PM

What positive and negative experiences do you have, and how did you get each?

 

 

I have 5 experiences:

 

A bicycle mechanic about 60 years old did an excellent job on jerry rigging my very custom specifications that were way outside the box of standard bikes. I did not have to guide him.

 

A machinist, about 60, told me if I dig a ditch for him, he will use his lathe to make my aluminum tube fit my objective lens and my eyepiece barrel. He did an escellent job with no directions from me. Taught me as I watched. The fit was easy to insert but zero play, and stayed in place.

 

A machinist fresh out of school, 22 years old, negotiated 60 dollars per hour based on estimated time to completion. I asked for triangles 2" wide and 2.2" tall. I calculate he wasted half the metal I gave him, 2 square feet of 4, and then gave me equilateral triangles 1.875" on each side. He told me he was willing to take a lower pay rate, whatever I'd give him for his work.

 

A welder who looked about 25-30 claimed to be super successful with several clients and had pictures of good work. I asked him to cut up some reciprocating diamond blades and butt weld the pieces to some metal sheet of same thickness so they would be twice as long. He wanted $65 per hour. I agreed and asked how many hours it would take him. He did not know. I asked if he would agree to estimate 1 hour for this job and charge a flat $65 even if he gets it done sooner. He agreed. Of the 7.5 inch blade, only 6 inch long pieces came back, and half of them did not meet at 180 degrees or even did not meet dead on. I paid and remembered not to use him again.

 

A metal seller, about 30 years old, had an inventory of aluminum tube. I gave him 2 tubes and asked him to find me two that those would fit nicely inside of and cut off 6" of each, and that outer diameter does not matter. He got out his calipers and measured the diameters of my tubes and then set out measuring the inner diameters of his tubes. He came back with two tubes and said he found ones that are the right size. I paid and left. I got home, and tried to insert my tubes. One was 1/16" oversize, which was fine as I'll shim it. The other is 1/32" under size. I'm not going to drive across town to get a refund. Now I have an excuse to make my own wooden parts and clamps. I might use the extra tube for a different part.

 

 

 

 

The less I've learned is only hire older shop people, that or be very careful with my directions and inspection of the work of the younger ones. They don't make them like they used to.

 

 

What have your experiences been?

Any scope builders ever ordered 10 focusers and got shipped all the factory rejects, or is that just legend? Has not happened to me.

Small machinists.  They all want big, well-paying jobs.  Are not motivated to do cheapo one-off jobs.  They like stuff they can bill out at 8hrs or more or simple jobs like cutting 100 pieces of an extruded aluminum shape.  A larger company isn't going to nickel and dime them like a hobbyist might.


  • stargazer193857 likes this

#17 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 92,538
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 11 June 2021 - 02:03 PM

So my advice... Make friends, get excited about their work, dont be so critical and let them do their work, try anything else and yeah, your gonna have a tough time. Too many customers want to show off how much they know and they want to be Tony Stark and that is an expensive way to be a customer.

 

 

:waytogo:

 

Give them telescopes.. :ubetcha:

 

Jon



#18 Oregon-raybender

Oregon-raybender

    Optical Research Engineer

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1,014
  • Joined: 13 May 2010
  • Loc: Oregon, South Western Coast

Posted 11 June 2021 - 03:27 PM

Respect, is key.  When a VP asks me ( I am the mentor in R/D) why the engineer is complaining about the model shop about the delay of his/her parts. I review the project in detail. I knew what was happening. So I would take the engineer (in most cases it's a newbie, fresh from college, who wants to "prove" themselves) I get them to walk to the shop, first stopping off at the candy machine, chocolate bar of course. Walk into the shop, found the Supervisor. Locate the drawings from the engineer ( bottom of the IN box) The due date was less than week, noted in red numbers. Knowing the project did not need these parts for 5 weeks. I asked the engineer why such a hurry. Because I wanted (need) them or thought this project was important or I am an engineer. I looked at the Supervisor and asked if 4 weeks will be OK, sure Bob, maybe sooner and thanks for the candy bar, my flavor it (placing the drawings half way in the IN box)  (BTW the Supervisor is also aware of the project time frame) As I walked away with the engineer, I told him/her, that machinist in the shop makes $100k a year, twice you do. The reason is simple. The shop supports the whole plant with million dollars machines for coating, running 24/7/360, he / she has 40 years experience in tech, and is on call 24/7. If a machine needs a part, he / she has to make it ASAP.  That Machinist keeps the plant running and is a big wheel in the company, you are new out of the 100 engineers in the company. That is why we have respect for that shop and the folks inside. They make sure everything works and we make money. You are not there yet.  I had 35 engineers under my mentorship while in R/D, I was the old wise one, who I was told by many VPs, you are the only one who has the patience to help guide them. I did this repeat many times. 

 

Starry Nightswaytogo.gif


Edited by Oregon-raybender, 12 June 2021 - 01:56 AM.

  • Jon Isaacs, PrestonE and stargazer193857 like this

#19 MitchAlsup

MitchAlsup

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • -----
  • Posts: 5,525
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2009

Posted 11 June 2021 - 03:47 PM

a) if you have a complete blueprint you can farm out the job to a machinist.

 

b) if you want it done right, do it yourself.



#20 stargazer193857

stargazer193857

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 11,213
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Southern Idaho

Posted 11 June 2021 - 06:55 PM

I walked into a few pipe places and told them I wanted 19mm pipe. They both told me they only do inches there. So I told them 3/4".



#21 a__l

a__l

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,834
  • Joined: 24 Nov 2007

Posted 11 June 2021 - 10:30 PM

My problem was of an entirely different nature. I could have made the part(s) I needed but was too busy with other issues. The machinist I hired was very good in everything but communication skills. At some point he even admitted to have "forgotten my order" after I got tired of waiting and inquired what's taking so long. There were other issues with communication. Too bad, but also too much. If you hire someone -- they're not doing you a favor; it's the other way around. You're paying them! But often that seems to escape the consideration with these type of "contracts." They cash your check and and then even "forget" your order! All in all, lesson learned -- if I can make it I'll make it myself. That's my advice too. 

Curiously, this problem is not limited to the USA.



#22 John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

    In Focus

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,819
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2004
  • Loc: near Elkins and Pettigrew, Arkansas

Posted 12 June 2021 - 06:58 AM

I have found if you don't give an "expected completion date", that most of the time your project never gets done.  Never leave it open ended.



#23 MKV

MKV

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,537
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Southeast, USA

Posted 12 June 2021 - 08:48 AM

I have found if you don't give an "expected completion date", that most of the time your project never gets done.  Never leave it open ended.

There's more to this. Since most of these "independent" contractors use the tools where they work, their access to the machines and scrap materials is never certain, so "expected completion date" is somewhat meaningless. You discover that afterwards.

 

Most of them are not "independent" at all. They work on your project when their bosses are away or not looking, or after work works if they're allowed. Even if they gave you "expected completion date" initially, and run into snags, supply problems, what not, and they'll moan about being too busy or looking for another job, etc., etc. but they'll never fail to immediately cash the partial or full check without which they won't even begin to work.

 

Many of these machinists are members of the CN and similar forums and you'd expect a more relaxed working relationship, more honesty, camaraderie, i.e.  mutual trust and courtesy, etc. Don't.

 

In my case, an 80-mm lens cell was taking too long. My first inquiry after several weeks of waiting, I received a picture of what appeared to be a finished product -- a lens cell with a threaded retaining ring. The only thing that had to be done, according to the machinist was to make two small indentations on the front side of the threaded ring, for the wrench.  I expected the cell to arrive any day after that -- within reason, about 5 working days. Fat chance! When I inquired again, a couple of weeks later, I was told he had "forgotten" about it! For sure he didn't forget to cash the check weeks earlier (normally checks should be cashed when the shipment is made!), and then told me (on a Sunday!) that he is mailing it out and gave me the tracking number (generated by the USPS label).

 

I waited 24 hours (that following Monday evening about 11 PM) only to find out "Label Generated" and nothing esle. No confirmation the post office had possession of the package, or that the package is on its way to the destination. After all this dragging around, I wasn't pleased, and I let the machinist about it.  He copped an attitude saying that he did mail it out on Sunday, appreciated my business but that he will no longer take my orders because he doesn't appreciate being called a liar, and I told him I didn't appreciate having my order "forgotten."

 

So that was the end of that short-lived business relationship. It turns out the local small town Post Office was at fault for not having scanned the packages they received that day until after 11 PM! Nice going! So, sloppiness seems to be the new "normal" nowadays, which to me is a real turnoff. When I was younger, business didn't operate like this.

 

So, unless sloppiness is okay with anyone, I highly recommend that ATMs make their own, or hire professional rather than freelance contractors, or get a 3D printer and print your of accessories. Some 3D printed accessories are more than adequate and 3D printers are quite affordable.

 

Turns out, my lens cell wasn't cheap and more importantly wasn't made to specs. I had to end up shimming the ID because too much play despite providing very accurate dimensions for it. There could be only a minimal amount of play because the lens was being used in a kinematic mount and the lens optical axis had to be centered within tight tolerances with respect to the mechanical axes of the mount. In my case the gap was 0.6 mm! That's a canyon. Lesson learned.


Edited by MKV, 12 June 2021 - 08:49 AM.


#24 John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

    In Focus

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,819
  • Joined: 04 Jan 2004
  • Loc: near Elkins and Pettigrew, Arkansas

Posted 12 June 2021 - 09:24 AM

I only deal with those who have full time access to their own tools.  There's a family owned shop about two miles from me.



#25 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 92,538
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:44 PM

Respect, is key.  When a VP asks me ( I am the mentor in R/D) why the engineer is complaining about the model shop about the delay of his/her parts. I review the project in detail. I knew what was happening. So I would take the engineer (in most cases it's a newbie, fresh from college, who wants to "prove" themselves) I get them to walk to the shop, first stopping off at the candy machine, chocolate bar of course. Walk into the shop, found the Supervisor. Locate the drawings from the engineer ( bottom of the IN box) The due date was less than week, noted in red numbers. Knowing the project did not need these parts for 5 weeks. I asked the engineer why such a hurry. Because I wanted (need) them or thought this project was important or I am an engineer. I looked at the Supervisor and asked if 4 weeks will be OK, sure Bob, maybe sooner and thanks for the candy bar, my flavor it (placing the drawings half way in the IN box)  (BTW the Supervisor is also aware of the project time frame) As I walked away with the engineer, I told him/her, that machinist in the shop makes $100k a year, twice you do. The reason is simple. The shop supports the whole plant with million dollars machines for coating, running 24/7/360, he / she has 40 years experience in tech, and is on call 24/7. If a machine needs a part, he / she has to make it ASAP.  That Machinist keeps the plant running and is a big wheel in the company, you are new out of the 100 engineers in the company. That is why we have respect for that shop and the folks inside. They make sure everything works and we make money. You are not there yet.  I had 35 engineers under my mentorship while in R/D, I was the old wise one, who I was told by many VPs, you are the only one who has the patience to help guide them. I did this repeat many times. 

 

Starry Nightswaytogo.gif

 

I agree, respect is key. 

 

In my situation, developing a relationship was important. Prior to receiving my engineering degree in my mid thirties, I'd been a blue collar worker, mechanic, trucker, commercial fisherman. The machinists and I had a lot of common ground. 

 

And I was smart enough to know that very often the machinist knew more about how to make the part than I did.  I had true respect for their skills and knowledge.  Sometimes they would be the source of the solution to a tricky research problem. When a machinist had made a critical contribution, they would be acknowledged in the resulting paper.. 

 

Raybender was right on in terms of real deadlines. If 5 weeks is OK, it'll be done in 4 weeks. If I need it today.. I'll get it today because of the respect I gave them in telling them when 5 weeks was OK.

 

One time many years ago I was at a university in Alabama installing some research equipment we'd built for them.. I realized one part was wrong. I made the new drawing on my laptop, faxed it to the shop (yes, this was a while ago), the next morning, the part was in my hand, delivered by air.

 

I had the opportunity to develop a relationship but I think the same principles apply, true respect, think of the machinist as a friend and resource, not just someone to do something for you..

 

Think they know more than you do about how to make part and work together.. I mean.. you'd be making the part if you could.. 

 

Jon


  • SteveV, Oregon-raybender, don clement and 1 other like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics