Beginners guide to machining
Machining is a necessity for some and a passion for many. It is an opportunity to express your creativity as well as make a living. These five tips may help.
You can make small parts on a large lathe but the reverse doesn’t work, so don’t be afraid to invest in big equipment. The more you are able to do, the more you will enjoy it and the more successful you can be. Remember too that equipment is an investment, not an overhead. Equipment lasts a long time and has a good resale value. With this in mind highly investible pieces of equipment that will help any manufacturer are items like Electric Press Brakes which can be found at links including http://www.cotswold-machinery-sales.co.uk/euromac/electric-press-brakes/.
Know your resources
The internet, especially YouTube, is fantastic for quickly finding how to do things. However, some machining has to be conducted on-site or in the field far from an internet connection. A couple of reference books are a sensible addition to any toolbox. A lighter alternative is to keep them in a digital format on an iPad. You need never be without your reference library, and some you can download free of charge.
Machining is satisfying work. If it isn’t working for you there are probably other things you should be doing. Work is always more enjoyable when you plan it and measure your own progress. Also sharing makes everything more fun – so as you learn and have good ideas, contribute them to friends and colleagues either directly or in online forums (such as http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/viewforum.php?f=43).
Confidence makes most things in life easier, but that’s not always the case in machining. Expecting to make mistakes helps make them less likely. When you do inevitably mess up, you need to be philosophical about it – it’s par for the course and mistakes are how you learn. When you’re experienced you will actually value those mistakes fondly because you know that was the moment when you learned a new lesson and grew in skill.
Also, do not despair of your project or materials. Many errors can be rectified with welds or metal bonding adhesives.
Use your creativity
There isn’t always just one right way to achieve something. At times be willing to experiment or at least consider alternative strategies. Often everyone has their own unique perspective to offer. Those who are also creative in conceiving of new worthwhile projects can go on to great heights as senior engineers and project managers.