Manufacturing experience

Manufacturing experience


Since custom machines are largely composed of machined parts, it is certainly an advantage for a designer to understand how those parts are made.

I have seen prints go out to the shop which quite literally, could not be made. Far more often I have seen parts released that were ridiculously expensive to make for no compelling reason.

I don't make mistakes like that because I am a machinist.

Growing up with access to a machine shop, I was making chip when I was old enough to reach the crank handles. Through reading, watching, trial and error along with the guidance of some master toolmakers, I acquired enough skill to work part time in a job shop during my high school years. After high school, I worked professionally as a machinist in an aerospace shop (Sundstrand Aviation) for seven years where our primary customer was the DOD.

Responsibilities included all aspects of setup, running and inspection of high precision parts in a production environment. Experience with manual turret lathes and mills, horizontal, vertical and hydraulic tracer mills, CNC lathes and CNC vertical machining centers.

That was many years ago but I still have and use a couple lathes and a milling machine for hobby work to this day. I'm not a master toolmaker by any means but I have the knowledge to design parts that are feasible, functional, durable and economical to manufacture.

Manufacturing technologies

In addition to machining, I've worked with many different types of manufacturing methods, processes and technologies.

Each one of these have their own set of design parameters, tolerance specifications and industry standards to deal with.

  Hands on!

I am a very hands on designer!

Just a regular guy who is as comfortable on the shop floor as I am at my desk.

Not the kind of person who releases something and then forgets about it, I take great interest in watching it come together as a finished product that does what it is supposed to do.

I've always fit in well on the floor because I am not too arrogant or proud to listen to an assembler or machinist when they have suggestions, criticism or an idea. There have been many occasions when one of my parts or machines have been made better by input from people in the shop.

I've personally torn a machine down to reverse engineer it on more than one occasion. I have assembled my own machines, I have machined my own parts. Although that is not generally the most efficient use of my time, sometimes it is necessary or prudent.