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Thread: How it all got started

  1. #21

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    My own introduction to the wonders of the engineering world also started with Meccano, and holding things for my Dad in his workshop. At the time he was studying to become a medical specialist (Ophthalmology). He burglar-proofed our home because he had to go overseas to do his specialist examinations, and I held the bucking bar for the rivetting. Once he had qualified he was able to indulge himself and assembled one of the best-equipped home workshops I know of, and this was all available to me as a schoolboy.
    At highschool we had 2 years of Woodwork, followed by 2 years of Metalwork as an option. Our teacher recognised my interest, and while the others built various items of furniture for their woodwork projects, he assisted me to build a small sailboat. Similarly in Metalwork, I was allowed to make a photographic enlarger. I went on to an apprenticeship as a Fitter and Turner, and followed that with the necessary studies and examinations to qualify as a mechanical engineer when I was 30.
    Sadly, our education system no longer provides those opportunities, and I bought my shaper from a school - the shaper had been unused for some 15 years.

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  3. #22
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    1 Christmas I received a large tinker toy set it was a 6 inch diameter card board cylinder about 2 ft long filled with wooden dowels and spools with holes drilled in them
    While it was a lots of fun I very quickly grew bored with it. The Following year I got 2 of the young engineers dream toys, the Gilbert Erector sets in big red metal boxes.
    1 from my folks and the other from an Uncle. 2 of my cousins got them as well but somehow over time I wound up with all 4 sets. Us kids were always trading things back and forth. I had 1000's of nuts & bolts girders rods brass pulleys rubber belts and lots of small dc electric motors and linkages of all shapes to build things with. A few of my builds would take weeks to complete and I prayed for really bad weather days
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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  5. #23
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    Wow,,,great stories everyone. Marv, you are one of many that learn the hard way that a toilet handle is reverse threads. I was a service plumber almost all of my life. I always will remember running service calls with my father when I was 8-9yrs old. I remembered him always helping people and walking away with money in his pocket. I always told myself that one day I want to help people like my dad does. So when I turned 14 I went for my drivers license test and passed. I came home to show my old man my new license and he said good job son and threw me a set of keys. Well,,the keys where not to his car to take my girlfriend out,,,,the keys where to his service truck. He said he had a few jobs lined up for me and I was happy as could be. As time went on I realized that I kind of fell into being a plumber and realized my own passion was working with metal and not other peoples you know what.iI took a pipe welding course at night when the service calls where done. I tested out of the class early. We had to have our welds stress tested in a 20 ton press. We had to cut a 3/8 plate in half that we butt welded together and one piece was bent to test the root weld and the other half was bent the opposite way to test the cap weld. I still have the old piece of steel on a shelf in my living room to remind me of the time I choose to blaze my own path in life and become my own man. That school helped me land a job at the local machine shop that makes Apollo ball valves. They saw me as a good fit with my background being a plumber and my welding skills. This plant in our town was the steel division of Apollo valves and the few years I was welding there surrounded by some of the best machining equipment I ever seen. I wanted to know all there was to know about how they ran and what they did. I eventually put in for a position running a mill and loved everything about the job. I made my way threw the plant running all the different stages of making all the different components of a ball valve while learning how to machine anything within .005 tolerance of the prints. Unfortunately the 22yrs of plumbing took its toll on my body and the 10hr shifts of standing on concrete at the plant caught up with me and I had to give it up. My body could not keep up with my brain and I left that plant. We where actually blamed for the big oil leak in the gulf when the valve on a oil rig failed and dumped thousands of gallons of crude oil into the gulf. I later found out that our foundry puts a tracing material in all the steel to identify our valves from the competitors. Well we all know that the valve turned out to be a china companies valve that failed and it was a huge benefit for business here at this plant. I still have that old bent piece of steel on a shelf in my living room to remind me of those days and how I went off on my own path.How it all got started-20180731_060958.jpg
    Dave
    "I have not failed...I've just found 10,000 ways that wont work"
    Thomas Edison

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  7. #24
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    Really enjoyed reading this thread especially as ive been feeling my years recently but being of the lego technics generation, reading stories from mechano boys has made me feel like a spring chicken!
    At the risk of sounding like a palm reader i think How it started for a lot of us was decided before we were making conscious decisions, I have young lads come through my work as school or collage work experience, some were always meant to use their hands but never knew it, others want to but no amount of encouragement can replace the enthusiasm with fineness.
    A lot of people have blamed or thanked their fathers for their desire to spend endless hours and quite often money learning and producing things that only ever leads to the exact same process, my dad certainly did this and so did his, my dads brother, my uncle takes things to a biblical level but the more time i spend with youngsters who are from such mixed backgrounds sometimes with no fathers, the more certain i am that its a genetic blessing (or disability my girlfriend says)
    I think it is a possibility that nature Just decided some of us would get more excited about tool catalogues than football shirts and drum sets and our experiences did little more than decide what particular flavour of making we would favour.

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  9. #25
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    How It All Got Started...While this isn't the longest forum topic [yet], it's safe to say no readers haven't some kind of similar history.
    Quote Originally Posted by Turboconqueringmegaeagle View Post
    I think it is a possibility that nature Just decided some of us would get more excited about tool catalogues than football shirts and drum sets and our experiences did little more than decide what particular flavour of making we would favour.
    Before professionalism [as an identity] stole who really generates the products we all depend on, toolmakers and machinists were 'King of the Hill'. You cannot examine any product where their hands and minds haven't put life into a mere idea.
    Including tool catalogs, the items within, football shirts, and drum sets...
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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  11. #26
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    [QUOTE=Toolmaker51;115124]
    toolmakers and machinists were 'King of the Hill'

    It used to be normal to work for the same firm your entire career which is a fantastic way to become truly skilled but having been under continuous employment with the same firm for 10 years, my friends in the city have started asking "what... you still work there?" almost as if i am selling myself short and somehow inferior because their go getter attitude has them in new employment at least every 3 years!

    I think it is also important to remember that 50 years ago before CNC took hold in the tool room and the machinist was king of production it was not uncommon to have one man design teams like Mr Issigonis who not just created a revolutionary motor car but a new assembly line technique which heavily influenced the vehicle itself, if the machinist was king, men like Issigonis were Gods!


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