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Thread: The Philosophy of What We Do

  1. #21
    rgsparber's Avatar
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    Tom,

    Initially I was put off by your warning plus the length of your text. But ended up reading and agreeing with all of it. Nicely written!

    Rick
    Rick

  2. #22

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    Thanks, Rick.

    There was an interesting article in the KC Star this AM that dovetails nicely with some of what has been discussed here. It's available at Subscription & Delivery Info | KansasCity.com & The Kansas City Star. Look for Cindy Hoedel's column, 'KC Furniture Business . . .' Some of 'what we do' may need to transform from larger to smaller business formats, but I firmly believe that quality, hand-made products will always be in demand at some level.

    Best,
    Tom

    Oops! I guess they won't let me link like that without everyone having subscriptions. T
    he gist of the article was that a guy who was one of the premier custom furniture builders in KC gave his business to a young guy who had done an unpaid apprenticeship with him. The young fellow had wanted to learn hand woodworking after getting an art and design degree. There are places for handcraft and there are still people willing to learn it if we can just connect those with knowledge with those with desire.
    Last edited by Tom Kurth; 03-20-2016 at 02:31 PM.

  3. #23
    just tinkering
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    Hey there from another new guy. Even though im not quite 40 yet, i see evidence of this everyday as a service manager for a bus place. Kids here who are "trained techs" think im some kind of special fabricator because i can weld and actually build or rebuild parts. Its disgusting, what i do would be common sense and expected in shops in my dads day or they wouldnt have a job. But all these "tech" schools are turning out are parts changers now.

    BMW realized this problem and they have come up with the ultimate solution (and end of decent paying skilled tech jobs). Its a set of goggles that literally diagnoses the car (from the scantool of course) then points on the goggle screen- loosen this bolt with a 10mm wench and turn clockwise. Basically you could give the janitor a pair of these goggles and he could do timing belt change in the same amount of time as one of their "certified techs). Its officially the end of an era im afraid.
    Favorite qoute; " if I knew how it worked, i wouldnt be taking it apart now would I?"

  4. #24
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    I think the Maker movement is the logical progression of what started on YouTube with guys like mrpete222 and oxtools, and cncnyc and tons of other. Mr. Pete/tubalcain is the man. Taking his lifetime experience of being a machinist then shop teacher and in his retirement, pouring it all into video lessons that are just excellent.

    I learned long ago when I couldn't find anybody who could teach me jazz guitar that I just need the info in a good organized manner. It's my effort that makes the difference. A teacher would be great, but if I couldn't find one I'll take a good book. And now even better is a video.

    I'm not a teacher but my impression of young folks is they have only been trained to be consumers. And have been bombarded from a very early age to be ADD. Watch tv. Ever notice that the scene and POV change every 9seconds or less? This is by design and it trains the average person to not be able stay with anything. To make anything takes time, thought and planning. But more and more I'm seeing the other end of the spectrum what has been called Aspergers Syndrome. My son being one. They don't have the need for social interaction and are focused more than probably seems normal. With him it was all about finding what he was interested in(besides video games) and fostering that interest. As long as I found the proper starting point and kept ahead of him with the next part of what he needed to learn, he would just chew through what most of us regular folks would take years in months.

    He worked with me at a YMCA camp one summer when he was 12, living in a tent with teenagers. I was the maintence director and he saw first hand how out in the boonies you could do good if you applied some forethought and was aware of everything around you. Knew something was wearing out and going south so the next time you were in civilization you get what you needed to fix it when you got back. This dillegence led him to the realization applied hardwork pays off.

    He discovered anime at this time and wanted to be able to draw those characters. I got him a little book "How to draw Marvel Characters". He worked for hours and hours out of that book trying to draw stick figures on computer paper he would take out of my printer. As I was walking by and looked at what he was doing he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said "I'll never be able to do this". I said "Chuck, art is like anything else 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.....its just hard work." I thought such a worn out platitude would just bounce off and be dismissed but he just looked at me a long time as that sunk in and went back to work to my surprise. As soon as he had that down he asked me what he should do next and I told him the thing that tripped me up was anatomy. I found "Anatomy for the Artist" a huge hard bound book being blown out for cheap for him and he spent years working out of that. He's worked for Marvel and DC and Darkhorse and other comic co's. And what sets him a part besides his expertise in anatomy is his background is manual art, not digital. Both of which is in short supply in artists his age.

    How can these young folks not come out thinking that they shouldn't be living in a house like they grew up in and everybody on tv is living in? Along with all the stuff that comes with it? I think a lot of us didn't grow up in a world that seemed to be so magic. Where even the poorest person seems to have a cell and a huge flat screen tv.

    My kids grew up without any network tv and saw us struggle to make ends meet. I stayed home with them until they started school because as a mechanic I didn't have health insurance or a wage that could support a family of four but my teacher wife did. They still didn't have a perception of what the world of work is or what it would be by the time they got there. But both of them don't have the short attention span that seems the norm nowadays. More than anything I wanted them to be critical thinkers and to me that's where the schools have failed. The aim it would seem is just manufacture consumers. I found the 6pt doc "the Century of the Self" by the BBC on YouTube very interesting.

    My "problem" was I wasn't raised a consumer. My grandparents were farmers and that made my parents more self reliant I think. And our high school had a track system that put kids of like IQ in the same track so I wasn't educated as a consumer. So I kept coming up against the fact that what I wanted was most times not available or as often as not of poor design/quality. When people talk about freedom, sorry, I don't see it in the marketplace. I see "stuff" but often I have to modify or change the design because that's all that available. I've tried to offer my "improvements" to the manufacturers but either they don't value it or nobody is really paying attention. I'm just glad the net came along and there are places like HMT where I can learn and share my creative approachs to get 'er done and hopefully others can get 'er done too.

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  6. #25
    just tinkering
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveward View Post

    As for philosophy, when I get the chance to chat with eager learners I always suggest they consider the next time they have to work on the same part they are working on now. For example, thinking about the homebuilt airplane example above I'd imagine things like easy access and labeling things were important considerations. Again...our experiences can be helpful if we find ways to share. Sites like this and others really can make a difference.
    Hey dave your response totally made me remember my 1st mentor at a hotrod shop, he sold me 67 mustang and told me i could restore it at his shop, and if i paid attention, he would hire me after.

    I was so frustrated by him constantly getting on to me about labeling everything i took apart and putting it ziplocks by part (left fender bolts etc.). I swore he was just an old man with OCD, then when i was all done and putting everything back together i realized "hey this old guy really knew what he was talking about i would have never remembers what bolts went in this fender" lol.

    Then he taught toolbox organization and taking care of my tools. And how much faster you can be if you actually take 10 minutes at the end of every job to put things back where they belong.

    Now years later (when im alot slower after years of the infantry beating up my body) i let one of my best young techs live with me for a month while he was saving up for his 1st house. We were out in the garage working out of my box and he saw the value in it 1st hand. My servicewriter was also there (another young guy) and they were teasing me about being old and slow, so i made them a bet we would both take apart his door and replace the window motor, under time. Needless to say even though he was much faster than me, the 20 minutes he took looking for tools in his box and the extra 10 minutes using the wrong tool because he couldnt find the right one, i beat him by a solid 10 minutes. The next day at workhe came in 2 hours early to organize his box. Lol. It made me feel pretty proud though that i helped the wayi got helped.
    Favorite qoute; " if I knew how it worked, i wouldnt be taking it apart now would I?"

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  8. #26
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    I guess that I am no longer a new guy and I am for sure not one of the longtime members Tonight is actually the first time I sat and read this thread.
    This reply is going to be long and I hope not too boring
    I must say there have been many valid points brought up structured towards the explanation of what is wrong in society as a whole today.
    However I feel we have so far not fully addressed one of the root causes of how the USA for one has strayed from a builder society to a consumer society.
    I believe much of it started with the advent of the production assembly line mentality. Latter spurred even further by the Unions workers on assembly lines were taught very specific skill sets related to the job at which they were to work at and hardly ever cross trained to other tasks.
    TO explain this form a personal experience A young man once came to my shop desiring employment I was busy with 3 lathes going all manual by the way so I asked my wife who at the time had a band saw and a radial drill press going to aske the man a few questions about his skills and how he felt that his becoming an employee in our small machine and fabrication shop would be an asset to us.
    He started in telling her that he was a long time member of the local ### whatever and that he had been a welder for 5 years on an assembly line in **** company.
    OK, she said you say you are a welder did you bring your hood, gloves and a few other tools so you can take a welding test?
    No I don’t own any tools or a hood I never needed my own at **** company they furnished everything.
    I see, she said weld what type of welding can you do can you use a stick welder as well as a mig welder or how about a tig welder?
    UH, I don’t know he said all I have ever done was use a spot welder.
    What else can you do besides run a spot welder? Just a minute I have to reset the band saw and change a bit on the drill press.
    I took shop in school but haven’t done anything like they taught us since I went to work for **** company.
    Well we really need a couple of part time welders who can weld light tubing and some structural steel, all none coded work so you wouldn’t have to worry about being certified Frank does all of the critical welding that might require coded welding Would you like to take a simple welding test? Just a minute, Frank do you want me to have him take a welding test and could he borrow one of the hoods in the office?
    Yeah OK I said.
    How do I turn on the machine?
    You flip that switch right there and hold this gun simply pull the trigger when you want to weld.
    Well after he had wasted countless feet of welding wire and shorted out 2 contact tips he finally managed to burn more holes in the 2” sq. tubing than he made welds, My wife concluded that he just wouldn’t work out in our small shop. I finished with what I was doing on the lathes and rook a few minutes to give him a few pointers on how to weld. After a few more false starts he managed to be able to make a fairly decent bead. We hired him for part time work A year later when he was called back to the company that his Union had been out on strike for He went from being a line spot welder to a Plant maintenance trouble shooter /repairman.
    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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  10. #27
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    So pleased to find this thread; but not surprised. The HMT.net impact is personal; whether as contributor or receiver. And both sides mention desire to foster interest in the young. There is a pool of such students available, beginning with middle schoolers, that extends right through high school. The program is literally worldwide.
    Familiar with or heard of Dean Kamen? He's a remarkable engineer, with all sorts of recognizable products in use. I believe he was producing a medical product in his parents basement before graduating high school. Around 25 years ago, he set out doing exactly what this thread leans to. Mentorship is keystone of his organization, and YOU have skills needed by students drawn to their local build site. He addresses the same issues identified in this thread; by connecting desire with a well (perfectly) developed goal structure. That desire might be just a spark, or a established skillset. Very little "everybody's a winner" PC nonsense, the rewards are attained, not just passed out. It even holds an extensive scholarship program. You'll be amazed at who's who in the corporate support; realizing education alone is not going to repopulate an aging workforce.

    FIRST Robotics Competition | FIRST

    At this site; the opening picture is a hint. One (or more) of those kids almost certainly never had handled a hack saw, seen a caliper, threaded a nut and bolt together, wired an arduino, or helped to create a semi-autonomous robot. This isn't BattleBots, because the rounds continue from local to world finals, but I guarantee, every bit as tense. Failure or breakdown doesn't create instantaneous elimination; the kids are so enthused to re-enter I've seen near complete rebuilds between rounds. Even if they're drawn to participate other than in mechanic/ technical aspects; successful teams are composed to conduct a 'business unit' 'safety team' 'inventory control' 'documentation' even 'advertising' groups.
    That's why YOU have skills that will benefit a team. And then a few weeks later, poof it's done! And next year, many team members return. They'll enter a meet that utilizes a specific but attainable set of regulations. FIRST (capitalized and bold as a trademark) characterizes the atmosphere as one of ''coopertition", mashing up cooperative competition. The general game occurs every year, but the task changes.
    I'll urge any interested parties; gauge their commitment to expanding our family of craftspeople and contact a local team base via the site.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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  12. #28
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    I have been reading posts in this forum for some time, and I think this is the first time I have replied/posted. So much of what I have read I find I am in complete agreement. I find that too many of our young people lack skills or even an interest in learning to advance their personal interests. I have been an engineer for 42 years and I contribute much of my success to my pre-engineering life. During those years, my duties involved helping my father with many projects. I recall one day he came home with a new (new to us but removed from a house scheduled for demolition) with a new furnace. I was his helper, but I knew nothing about installing a furnace. The amount of learning was huge. I learned things I still apply today. I think this translates into my engineering skills. I am a power systems engineer, designing really big current carrying components, which can be though of as a macroscopic version of printed circuit board design. Those skills I learned in my pre-engineering days show up in my present design projects. Some of my best young engineers working for me had a similar pre-engineering life of working with Dad or something similar. It is all about knowing how to think. I believe that thinking process is something innate in the individual and has always been there. I have remarked to my associates, "I don't remember not knowing that" which I explain as innate knowledge. That earlier post on finding your passion and following it is probably nothing more than matching that innate ability to a profession.

    Some years ago, I taught part time at a local community college. I wanted the students to learn why, but some of them were only interested in looking in the book to find a similar problem to aid them in answering the homework questions. Those students would never push themselves beyond the present. That position did not last too long, as I was told the students did not like the "why" approach. The "why" approach is also illustrated by the tools in their place and a place for everything. See, it all fits together. Following that experience, I was involved with a local college's continuing education program. The "why" approach worked well there because most students wanted to know the background. Unfortunately, the program did not generate sufficient revenue and my contribution was no longer required.

    I summary, I can agree with everything which has been written here. Today's children do not make their own way. Too much is given to them, and they are not required to forge their own way and that is unfortunate. Today's philosophy says, "there is an app for that."

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  14. #29
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    I have been reading posts in this forum for some time, and I think this is the first time I have replied/posted. So much of what I have read I find I am in complete agreement. I find that too many of our young people lack skills or even an interest in learning to advance their personal interests. I have been an engineer for 42 years and I contribute much of my success to my pre-engineering life. During those years, my duties involved helping my father with many projects. I recall one day he came home with a new (new to us but removed from a house scheduled for demolition) with a new furnace. I was his helper, but I knew nothing about installing a furnace. The amount of learning was huge. I learned things I still apply today. I think this translates into my engineering skills. I am a power systems engineer, designing really big current carrying components, which can be though of as a macroscopic version of printed circuit board design. Those skills I learned in my pre-engineering days show up in my present design projects. Some of my best young engineers working for me had a similar pre-engineering life of working with Dad or something similar. It is all about knowing how to think. I believe that thinking process is something innate in the individual and has always been there. I have remarked to my associates, "I don't remember not knowing that" which I explain as innate knowledge. That earlier post on finding your passion and following it is probably nothing more than matching that innate ability to a profession.

    Some years ago, I taught part time at a local community college. I wanted the students to learn why, but some of them were only interested in looking in the book to find a similar problem to aid them in answering the homework questions. Those students would never push themselves beyond the present. That position did not last too long, as I was told the students did not like the "why" approach. The "why" approach is also illustrated by the tools in their place and a place for everything. See, it all fits together. Following that experience, I was involved with a local college's continuing education program. The "why" approach worked well there because most students wanted to know the background. Unfortunately, the program did not generate sufficient revenue and my contribution was no longer required.

    I summary, I can agree with everything which has been written here. Today's children do not make their own way. Too much is given to them, and they are not required to forge their own way and that is unfortunate. Today's philosophy says, "there is an app for that."


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