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Any machinists? #4107058 05/26/16 09:28 AM
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NavyVet88 Offline OP
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Hey guys just wanted to know if there were any machinists here?

I'm slowly beginning to think that I will take the machinists program at my community college and just wanted to know some pros and cons of the trade from those that are there. Thanks.


2013 Honda Civic LX 1.8L 178k M1 HM 0w20 with Fram XG7317
2002 Ford Ranger Edge 3.0L 67k Castrol Edge 5w30 with Fram XG3600
Maintenance Technician by trade, working class for life.
Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107073 05/26/16 09:52 AM
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skyactiv Online Content
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I checked into taking a machinist vocation program in a technical high school eons ago and took automotive instead. They required having taken trigonometry which DQ'd me. So you better be good at technical maths.


Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual
2018 Elantra Sport 6 speed manual


Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107077 05/26/16 10:02 AM
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Falken Offline
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I was a "Machinist" on a Waterjet, doing Drafting, maintenance, etc...

I am an Automech grad as well, took it to beef up my hard skills and to have as personal knowledge.

I am currently pursuing completing a Diploma in University if the classes I need don't get cancelled all the time pushing it forward forever.

I think maybe Machining may have a renaissance in North America over the next 10 years, it might be good to get into.

I would be worried about it as a career though as so much of this stuff went overseas in the past 30 years.

Wages have really suffered as well due to the Global economy, Machinists were very well paid and the job was considered prestigious when I was a kid.

It is a great profession but I would be nervous about external factors affecting employment and payscale.

If I was to run another Waterjet to put food on the table I would have an extremely hard time finding a job... I am comfortable doing what I am doing now with office work.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107090 05/26/16 10:20 AM
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NavyVet88 Offline OP
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Thanks guys. I am currently in my fourth semester in the welding program at the same college that's offering the machinist program. I am using my gi bill to learn more than one trade and my welding instructor said that if I wanted to pursue another program there I should consider the machinist because it will go hand in hand vs diesel mechanic or something more unrelated. He is both a welder and machinist by education.

Another reason I am considering machinist outside of just going solo with welding, is because the vast majority of welding jobs I have looked into around my area(Montgomery) that pay anything worth looking into require 75-100% travel. I knew this going forward with my selection of the welding program initially but as time has went on I've decided that a more home based job/education would be better. Also to not let my welding education be a complete waste I'm thinking of the machinist route so I can possibly be more handy on the job.

Last edited by NavyVet88; 05/26/16 10:26 AM.

2013 Honda Civic LX 1.8L 178k M1 HM 0w20 with Fram XG7317
2002 Ford Ranger Edge 3.0L 67k Castrol Edge 5w30 with Fram XG3600
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Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107115 05/26/16 11:07 AM
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Michael_P Offline
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After 20 years of saving, I finally got a 5 axis CNC. I started with the tiny HF lathes and mills and slowly graduated to the big leagues. I hope to turn it into a second, part time job. I already had some 3D's emailed to me and have made parts. I'll still keep the manual stuff with all the accessories. Just got an indexing table for free. It's not a career for me, but rather a hobby gone awry.
A water jet is my next purchase. The wife already said no water jet unless I buy it with profits from the CNC.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107126 05/26/16 11:23 AM
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Blkstanger Offline
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Take it! I took a Machinist class and a CNC programming class at the same time. I did it just for fun and learned a lot. They taught me trig in the Machinist class.


99 Jeep WJ 4.7 200,000mi. Maxlife 10w30, Fram Ultra.
Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107156 05/26/16 11:45 AM
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Michael_P Offline
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Its a good thing you didn't ask; Any Good machinists? I wouldnt have been able to post.

If you are a machinist, and your nickname is scrappy, maybe its time to re evaluate your career.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107195 05/26/16 12:36 PM
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Yah-Tah-Hey Offline
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Go for it Navy. You have to have an interest in precision and acute attention to detail. Upgrade your math and mechanical drawing skils and also computer skills. You may not become a millionaire but you will always be able to find a job.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107203 05/26/16 12:54 PM
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TMoto Offline
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I'm not a machinist but have been in the distribution side of the industry for many years. Several of our employees are ex-machinists as well.

With no real experience, you might end up entering the industry as an operator rather than as a machinist. Operators typically load and unload parts, press the cycle start button, hit the E-Stop button if something goes wrong, and may deburr parts among other minor tasks. Different companies will have differing tasks and opportunities, so if you have the aptitude and ambition, I would suggest you find a company that you can learn to be a good set-up man or go into programming. A good programmer with multi-axis experience can make a nice career. You may even find a company where you can do both if that's something you enjoy.


Put 2 BITOGers together and you'll get 3 opinions
Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107407 05/26/16 05:33 PM
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Mr Nice Offline
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In any blue collar type job.... its the years of hands on experience that gets you the big bucks.

Whichever field you pursue, you will have to start at the bottom and learn on the job. That means grunt work and not so desirable work to learn your trade / skill set.
I see it daily at my job.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4107748 05/27/16 05:16 AM
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NavyVet88 Offline OP
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I appreciate all the info guys and it has been very helpful. I understand especially from what you guys are saying that there's a lot of math involved which I'm not the best at but I'm not afraid to grab that bull by the horns either. I think I would like to take this course and I have convinced myself to do so! Of course your guys opinions and experience have helped as well!

Starting at the bottom and moving up is all I've ever known and I don't mind rolling my sleeves to some manual labor so I think I will do well!


2013 Honda Civic LX 1.8L 178k M1 HM 0w20 with Fram XG7317
2002 Ford Ranger Edge 3.0L 67k Castrol Edge 5w30 with Fram XG3600
Maintenance Technician by trade, working class for life.
Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4108045 05/27/16 12:09 PM
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Mr Nice Offline
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My neighbor is a union elevator repairman and makes $80K but it's very tough on your body.

Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4108258 05/27/16 03:33 PM
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andyd Offline
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Guys,in order to be a machinist, you have to have something to machine. The amount of machinery made in the USA is shrinking. Find yourself a niche.


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Re: Any machinists? [Re: andyd] #4108274 05/27/16 04:01 PM
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simple_gifts Offline
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Originally Posted By: andyd
Guys,in order to be a machinist, you have to have something to machine. The amount of machinery made in the USA is shrinking. Find yourself a niche.


Often repeated, but very overstated at least in my neck of the woods.

Central and Southern CT is chock full of small hi tech mfg places. Aerospace, medical implants etc. Add to that, no one going into that field and upturns in the economy and there are a lot of opportunities.

The state of CT has partnered with CCSU and many manufacturers to get more people in the trade; formal training... . real jobs. A lot of math... YES; If you asked where you would use tangent sine and cosine, it is here.

TMotos comments are spot on. Our set up guys made over $20/hour and that was 20 years ago.

The downside is it is an unlicensed trade so, like auto mechanics, you are prone to run into some hackers. I consider my 7 years of working @ a 100+ person aerospace job shop (programmer) to have worked with some of the most skilled people I know.

Last edited by simple_gifts; 05/27/16 04:04 PM.

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Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise
Re: Any machinists? [Re: NavyVet88] #4108363 05/27/16 06:07 PM
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I was a Tool & Die Maker.
I would meet people who would say "my Grandfather was a Tool & Die Maker"
It's still needed today, but I think most people would get a job as CNC Machinist.

3-D Printing fascinates me.

Trig is good to know.
It's the calculating of Angles and Distances.
Every triangle has 3 angles and 3 distances.
If any 2 are known, the other 4 can be triged.
Trigonometry dates back to ancient Eqypt.

The easiest way to do trig would be on a calculator.
I use to do it on paper by drawing a triangle and inserting my (2) knowns.
That was actually easier for me.

Not hard to learn.
It can be used for wood-working projects.

Surveyors do it in the field when they can't project a straight line because of trees.

I've only done triangles with a 90* corner.
If no corner is 90*, you need to do more work.

Good luck in your career.

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