Scholarships for CNC Machining


Do you like to make things ?  Things like Monster Trucks

We just received more money to give to apprentices that want to learn how to be a CNC machinist in the modern digital manufacturing world.

That will provide low cost training in an industry that will have you working in a year or less.

Working in a field that is High tech, Clean and challenging.

We need people who can think, learn and troubleshoot.

Do real work that you can see.

We have Gene Haas Scholarships

Tuition to get started.  

We have scholarship partners that are giving you help in your career


 CNC Machines Scholarship application $2000

Currently in the US there are 800,000 jobs in the manufacturing middle skills area – Skilled trades that need more than High school degree but not all 4 years of college.  An apprentice CNC Machinist technician fall in that category. We provide that start of one year training and internships that will get you that good paying job and a career for life. As you gain more skill you can advance to a journeyman Machinist or maybe design and CAD-Cam programming to produce code that the CNC machines make parts with. Some machinists become engineers and many companies will PAY for that college.  

A career that will always be needed and never stop learning .


Travers Tools $1250 Tools scholarship

Travers Tool is proud to announce our first ever Metalworking Student Scholarship.  Travers Tool will award $1,250+ in tools to a student enrolled in metalworking or welding program at vocational, technical school, community college or university. As your metalworking experts, Travers Tool is thrilled to sponsor the industry’s next generation of machinists.

Nuts Bolts and Thingamajigs Scholarships

The logo of Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs provides scholarships up to $3,500 for students pursuing degrees that will lead to manufacturing careers.

Mike Rowe Foundation Scholarships


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MFG Day 2018 – Suncoast Technical College

We just did our 4th MFG Day at Suncoast Technical College. To see where do you get training to work in Manufacturing.  We collaborated with Design and Drafting and the new Advanced MFG & Production Technology. All students are in Technology/Engineering STEM programs from Middle and High School.


2018 MFG Button



I had my Go Pro Hat cam on to capture the Days events in the CNC machining area. We had some new CNC machinists running machines and making parts.


We showed them many things like the Titanium Knee – the Edge Factor Motorcycle sprocket and more parts.

I think the pictures tell the story better than I can so I let them speak for themselves


2018 MFG DAY_date

Cannot say enough for the FL-ATE group as they continue to educate our Floridians on manufacturing and education needed for today’s modern Digital factories and workshops.  They create all these logos – schedule tours – provide curriculum for teachers in Middle and high schools to maximize the MFG day experience



FL-ATE Link for MFG Day



I hope we see these students in the future

See you next year !!!!!

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Careers in Manufacturing ? eh…..

Careers in Manufacturing? 

Did you know that 66% of parents and teachers do not recommend a career path in manufacturing even though there are 750,000 jobs available right now.

Middle skill jobs are more than High school and less than 4 year college.

For every 10 Jobs in the USA, seven are skilled trades, two are bachelor degree and one is masters degree.  Middle skill includes Computer technology, health care, construction and high tech manufacturing.   They can lead to more training in higher skills as well.

Midde Skill chart

This chart shows that if you go to college looking for that high skill job,  you may end up at Starbucks with a big student loan debt living at home until your 34. Have a plan………

The perception of manufacturing is that: A) Its a Dirty Job – who wants that.  B) Manufacturing is going overseas – Why put that training to waste if it will be shipped out of the country. C) Its not very interesting and dull work.  – Ugh……….


a) The truth…… The truth its very high tech, clean and modern.  How about making a Titanium knee implant in an air conditioned facility with clean rooms. Or maybe High strength Inconel steel components for Jet engines.  Maybe even hardened steel Plastic injection molds to make your cell phone?  Not dirty….not dull


b) Manufacturing  is still very strong in the US. Workers in China are getting paid better now and its not so desirable to move the work out of the country anymore. We still have the highest technology in the world. Look at Space X landing a rocket back to earth. Who else does that?

c) Manufacturing is very challenging. Non stop need for thinkers who can troubleshoot. Problem solvers.  Never stop learning, technology changes too fast. Computer driven manufacturing that still needs that smart human touch.  Besides you make things. Things that we all need. You can see the fruits of your labor.


Piper Aircraft came to our school to get more graduates. There are many jobs waiting. They have 2 million dollar planes on a 2 year back log.

Is that an interesting job seeing a plane that you were a team member fly off the runway next to the Factory?  PA_M500_A2A_H_Ocean4

Manufacturing just has a perception problem. We need to sound the alarm and let kids know that you can make things that count.  Have a career that makes a difference.

Maybe even – Work now College later.

You can get a skilled manufacturing job and earn a living in a year or less.

Then work for a company that will PAY for your college education!

You can still be an college degree engineer.


Some community colleges even have articulation programs that will give you credit for certifications you may already have from high school or vocational-technical schools.

They also can train you in a one year certificate program or a 2 year Associate degree to be working in the High tech modern manufacturing world.


IMTS Podcast about manufacturing workforce – Click

Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, make up the largest part of the labor market in the United States and in each of the 50 states. All too often, key industries in our country are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these jobs. As the fact sheets show, this skill gap keeps states’ economies from growing and employers from hiring.

Solving the skills gap requires educating students about the various career opportunities within the industry.  The upcoming generation of workers and potential employees want to do work that matters. They also want to pursue a career that offers development and advancement opportunities. Manufacturing is all about solving problems. It’s a challenging industry that is facing unprecedented growth and an unsustainable shortage of workers.



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Become a Modern High-Tech Manufacturing Technician/Machinist


We start classes on Aug 13th.  Suncoast Technical College – Sarasota, Fla. 

In less than a year you can become a vital worker in the high tech manufacturing world.  Good people are needed to make many needed products for the medical – defense – plastics – automotive – motorsports and more. Just about everything that is made, a manufacturing technician/machinist will make.

This is a clean high tech world would very comfortable air conditioned facilities.

Earn good wages $30,000 – $55,000

Our graduates make $14 – $20 per hour after graduation.

100_0891  100_0338
Maybe You are good with your hands and like to tinker.  We also like people who can do computer work to design and produce machine code to run the Computerized manufacturing equipment.  You can be trained to be a quality control inspector as well.

Our program is 40 weeks long and you will have a Career in Less than a year. You will be working on a paid internship before the end of school. You can apply for a scholarship to help pay for most or all of training.

STC donation

We train you to have a life time Career. Not just a job. I have never been without a job once I completed my school at age 26.  Plus you will never learn it all – its a constant learning curve if you want – technology changes and you can ride along with it.


So its up to you to see if you have an interest.

My dad used to say “don’t live your life with any regrets – try it to find out if its for you”



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Class of 2018 Graduation



2018 Grad

We reached the end of another banner and interesting year here at Suncoast Technical College. Everyone has had jobs and offers plus some are going on to more schooling.  Many did internships that were funded by Career Edge.

We had friends and family in attendance as well as past alumni that are all still working.  It was a nice get together. I know its my 5th year doing this but one day I will be able to get through the whole thing with cracking my voice with emotion.

One of our graduates is representing the State of Florida

Skills USA for CNC Milling Competition in Louisville, KY.

So we wrap up another year – we have produced 76 more NIMS Industry Certifications bringing our 4 year total to 359 – which leads the State of Florida. 

We also have had 5 students that have earned the NIMS Certificate of Merit

Earning 7 or more credentials in our one year machining program.

So now we start again on August 13, 2018

We need 18 more machinists. 

STC has we also added another program – Advanced Manufacturing.

So take advantage of these great programs –

Most applicants will have funded scholarships from Pell Grants – VA or Gene Haas Foundation.



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Mission Accomplished Year 5 – 100+ Machinists


We started with no equipment.

We had a local group named CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.

CareerEdge was designed to work on both sides of the labor market – the supply side and the demand side – as well as among intermediary organizations, such as higher education institutions, in order to fuel the pipeline of skilled labor needed by the region’s employers.  Two of the most tangible goals are to help low-skill/low-wage workers advance into higher-skill/higher-wage careers, while providing employers with the workers they need to accelerate growth.
CareerEdge hired Kempton Research and Planning to help us conduct a skills analysis study. The results of this study illustrated the skills gap and articulated misalignment and challenges.  Jeff Maultsby (Economic Development of Sarasota County), Jennifer Behrens Schimdt (SAMA and Atlantic Mold & Design) and Mireya Eavey from CareerEdge presented the findings to the Sarasota County Commission and County School Board Members. CareerEdge spent a significant amount of time advocating to convince the school and commission why it was necessary to move forward with the program proposed. As a result of our efforts, Sarasota County funded the necessary equipment needed $325,000. CareerEdge also provided an additional $25,000. Jeff and Mireya united community partners around this mission and developed a community-wide action plan.

CareerEdge, a privately funded workforce-development group that focuses on harnessing a community’s full resources, hired Kempton Research and Planning to conduct a skills-gap study. The results were clear.

When asked about the greatest hiring challenges over next three to five years, 38 percent of manufacturing companies named skilled production workers as the most difficult to find — twice the number who answered engineers and four times the number who said sales and marketing people. And 75 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that schools are not preparing workers with skills needed in manufacturing.

CareerEdge — the only organization of its kind in Florida as part of the national Funders Collaborative — helped put together the workgroup that began searching for the best solution. The group included: CareerEdge; Sarasota & Manatee Area Manufacturers Association; SCTI and the Sarasota County School Board; Suncoast Workforce Board; Sarasota County Commission; Gulf Coast Community Foundation; Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; and Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County.


“From the very beginning, there was a spirit of cooperation,” said Jeff Maultsby, director of business and economic development for Sarasota County. “It was really a model effort on how things can be done and should be done.”

“The study was definitive that the jobs were here in this community,”  Todd Bowden said. (Director of SCTI at time and current Sarasota County Superintendent.) He moved swiftly to make a change-order in a building already under construction to accommodate the new machining program’s lab.

The previous Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI) machining program was closed from lack of participation and machinery auctioned.   Sarasota county decides to build a new school in 2012 – But no machine shop in the plans.

The local manufacturers’ organization, SAMA, played a crucial role, representing the 600 manufacturers in the two-county area. Jennifer Behrens Schmidt, president of SAMA and of Venice-based Atlantic Mold & Machining Corp., dug in with SCTI to help move things along, including the development of the precision machining training program. She probably logged the most hours on a volunteer basis.


In an unusual move, local manufacturing leaders were instrumental in creating the materials needed by the program. It was an employer-led curriculum. That cut the cost of machinery in half, because the people in the field knew what was, and was not, needed.


Then I got a note from Haas CNC machinery HFO Tampa salesman Dave Thomas that the school needed an instructor. I was working at defense contractor Lockheed Martin in Orlando at the time but it interested me. And so we begin.

On August 2012 I started the first class of new program with 18 students and we had NO machines for 4 months.  But we learned as much as we could during those 4 months and we didn’t lose any students during that time period.  We did some field trip s and shop tours to educate that way.  Local manufacturer Sun Hydraulics came by with a donation of raw material metals.  Machinery was coming in slowly and electric being hooked up. Director Todd Bowden promised we would be fully functional when we got back from Christmas break.

January 2013 – we come back and everything is working – just as promised. We dug into that big box of donated metals and we went to town.  The rest of those months from January to June we spent being machinists.


Then its June and time to finish. We decide to have an official graduation. All the students have been hired by local companies.  Success. We made it.  We have done the same for the next 4 years. Added some night school as well. Produced 100+ machinists who all have jobs in the local community. Time for Phase 2.

We lead the state in NIMS industry certifications with 358 in 4 years

I guess I have a special feeling for the original class of apprentices. Some graduates are still working and building skills on the job and now training more apprentices. Two of our Graduates have started their own CNC Machine shops.

Even Ivan P. from our first class was recruited to work at the new Tesla Lithium battery plant in Sparks Nevada. I made him promise to send a pic of him in front of the Tesla sign



I just wanted to give a thanks to all that made this happen. Many times we make plans and they don’t come out the way it was planned.  But this time it did.

shop group promo100_0572100_089130156492936_91c2f93e1e_o20171109_115853

“This accomplishment would not have been possible without all involved.”
It is important that we recognize and sincerely thank

CareerEdge Funders

  Sarasota & Manatee Area Manufacturers Association,

Suncoast Technical College

Sarasota County School Board

Suncoast Workforce Board

Career Source

Sarasota County Commission

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County.

Graduation for the Precision Machining & CNC program will be held in the Suncoast Technical  College Conference Center on June 21 at 6:00pm.

We look forward to our continuing journey as we move on to Phase 2 in training and filling jobs in the Manufacturing sector for our community

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CO2 Dragsters – CNC Machining


I have been teaching  CNC machining for the last 5 years at Suncoast Technical College and have over 30 years experience in the trade. When I started in 1984 the CNC machining centers where just starting to become popular but it was a learning curve.  The old time machinists were used to manual machining and did not like the computer driven machines but I think we can see now how important this direction in manufacturing has been.


I was curious about the TSA CO2 balsa wood dragster project. It was not in my teaching area but when I saw that they were working with a tutorial on operating a CNC Router and programming in MasterCam Cad-Cam software it peaked my interest. After all we had hosted the president of MasterCam , Meghan West 2 years ago at our school.  We teach MasterCam as well as all the CNC machining techniques currently used in industry.



This year I wheeled the Techno DaVinci CNC machine into our lab next to our Haas CNC Milling machines. We got it operational with a laptop.  Previously we had done fixture modifications on the CO2 dragster setup as we were not happy in how it worked. So we tried to make improvements.

Going back in time 4 years ago we had made a fixture that fit our 4 axis Haas VF 2 CNC Mill to machine a CO2 shell car. We had no knowledge of the Cuda Country tutorials or the CO2 dragster project. A student from a neighboring high school had come by with a MasterCam File and asked if we could machine his block of balsa wood.    It was funny because when this student showed up with that piece of wood and a USB drive our question was “how are you going to hold that in a machine ?”  He was dumbfounded.  So we made our own fixture. Hey maybe more kids will come with projects?  Then we learned of this TSA competition.

CTE Logo    sponsor-HAAS

Cuda Country

Techno CNC Machine – CO2 Dragsters

So now we had the Techno Da Vinci in our lab this year. I wanted to become proficient at this so I could show others how to do this successfully.  I can’t say I am totally proficient yet but then again you never ever stop learning.

CUDA Country CO2 E Rail Dragster

So I will go over step by step what you will need to do to increase your success in CNC machining your TSA CO2 dragster.

We modified the fixture

We do not use a hammer on the fixture – we removed the black plate and made our own fixture and used 3 deck screws to hold in place.  We used the ball screw on top to get the 180 degree orientation.   Then 2 side screws to clamp. Don’t have any screws facing up near the spindle area as the machining area is tight in the Z direction.

Common issues & problems – From a CNC Machinist Point of View

Setup of fixture and finding part zeros – X Y Z

You need to home the machine in X Y and Z to be able to get your config coordinates

Setup of tooling and coordinates

Set X0 to the back of car body wood blank – so that center-line of tool is set to center-line of the rear of car – then record (write it down) that X coordinate from home position

Set Y0 to center line of the CO2 cartridge hole – record that number

Set Z0 by tool height. – The Cuda Country tutorial has you set the MasterCam Z0 plane to 34 mm above the cartridge centerline.   The Gold end mill tool that comes with the Techno is adjustable.

So you need to set this Gold setting tool – It will be used to touch off the 6MM ball end mill a set distance from the table.. We measured 45mm from table to centerline of the IMTS fixture cartridge hole and we have to add the 34mm for the Mastercam plane set in the Cuda tutorial.  We used a dial caliper to set the 79mm total height – we use imperial measurement so that was 3.110″  verify your measuring tool as people could play with it and have it out of adjustment. The tool has a setting for a drill but we will skip that tool for now.

Its very important to setup and check Config file to make sure it matches your recorded numbers. It may put in a default setting that does not match your numbers.  Especially when you do a new program translate.  Double check the setup page before you hit the start button.  We use ‘Y” for home before run and “Y” to home after run.  Note the pics of the setup config.


The 6 mm ball mill should be extended about 1.25″ out from the collet. You may need to move the spindle motor bracket up so that you have adequate clearance above part and fixture.

Please watch out YouTube video also
STC CNC Machine – CO2 Dragster Setup

Limitations of your CNC machine and how it affects operation and design


100_1619If you design the car very wide you risk not having material to cut. You should also verify by making a Solid shape of the actual Balsa blank. You can do that in Mastercam to make sure your car design fits within the material boundary

Cuts on top and bottom – We usually just make a left and a right side cut. we have seen some designs that needed top cut and bottom cut. This is also time consuming and may require special tooling to go deeper than original plan.

Not looking at CadCam or Techno display verification to identify a crash situation

We have seen many files and heard stories of the cutter coming around the back where the CO2 cartridge hole is and crashes into the fixture.  Please do a verify in graphics to see any errors.  In machining Solid models that Cad Cam program software like MasterCam will try to machine everything it has access to. You may need to set a boundary so the tool path does not wander into areas that may support the part or the work holding fixture it self. The Cuda Country tutorial has you make a small solid rectangle in MasterCam to keep from machining the nose of the car. the car needs some support up front so this will be a check boundary.  We have done similar method in the rear by copying the same rectangle solid and transforming it to the rear to create another boundary on MasterCam student programs that missed this technique.

More Youtube Videos

STC Precision CNC Machining Lab

STC Precision CNC Lab and CO2 setup

Ed Doherty

Precision & CNC Machining Instructor

Suncoast Technical College – Sarasota Florida
Mastercam U

If you have any questions feel free to contact us –

We can also review your project in Solidworks and or Mastercam – Plus we will have Online MasterCam training available to all Sarasota County teachers.









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Time for MFG Tours

Our first MFG tour was to Exactech –  Sarasota – Florida

A medical implant manufacturer based in Gainesville, Florida.    Exactech website


It was founded by a group of surgeons from the University Of Florida ( Go Gators !)     We were able to see how Titanium Implants were made for Hips, Knees and Shoulders.

Exac knee

The team at Exactech has been a great resource and last year they hired some of our top graduates.  2 of them , Mike & Jason, had passed NIMS level 2 CNC machining certifications.  Now they need more machinists as they are getting 4 more CNC machines and just brought another 5 axis on line. We also got to tour the clean room.  Thanks to Rick and the team at Exactech – Sarasota. I’m sure we will be able to supply them with interns this Spring.


MFG Tour # 2 – Choice Mold & Tool 


Next up was a tour this past week of Choice Mold and Tool – which is also connected to Oxtec LLC – a plastic injection molding facililty. They are also in transition from commercial molding to medical plastics with clean room for that industry that supplies large companies like Arthrex Manufacturing in Naples.  Choice Mold was brought on to build more plastic injection molds for Oxtec LLC and other customers. They want to take on Intern this coming spring.  Great news.  we also had some of our drafting students come along to see a modern manufacturing facility.


End of the year and Christmas Break 


We are winding down for our Christmas break, having the annual Xmas party/cookout  (well it is Florida?). We have been getting up to speed on other projects so that we can tackle proficiency in the coming months.

We are using our Verisurf to do some reverse engineering and also to test out measuring on NIMS projects before we send them out for MecTec inspections.

We also all machined a Titans of CNC 1M project as a CNC beginner setup and run job.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all 





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Year 5 Underway – Class of 2018



Well here we are , Year # 5 and on Track to hit the 100+ mark of machinist training set by Dr Todd Bowden the SCTI director back in 2013.  Dr. Bowden is now the Sarasota county School superintendent but he checks in every now and then.


We have another great class and have completed our first semester of 10 wks.  We dig into traditional manual machining and CNC machining.  Learn how to read those blueprints , do a brush up on math and also learn technical details of all the basic processes of machining.

Now we start to add CNC programming basics and how Computer Numerical Control works.  So you have to have computer skills and hands on skills.  From basic band saw to the 4 axis CNC Haas Mill.   Later on will add to our quality control skills with digital measurement from Verisurf and the 3D gage measuring arm.


Now we set up and observe up close with our monitor and GO Pro camera setup to see up close what is going on inside that CNC machine

So we have another 30 wks to go  – and then it will be graduation before you know it.


Now we have added new projects from Titans of CNC academy – Nice…

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What do want to do in your career path?

You just graduated High school – maybe you went to college and it isn’t for you

or you want a career change?

Do you want to learn a Skilled Trade?  in less that a year ? Where you can get a job anywhere in the US?  Learn to be a machinist. A modern High Tech CNC machinist.

Be part of modern manufacturing and making important REAL things.

We have trained 85 modern CNC machinists and in the last 4 years that are all working in less than one year.

Earn national certificates from NIMS that can help you get that better job.

Work in air conditioned technology centers on aerospace, defense, motorsports, medical


you can learn to makes things that count…….

Classes start Aug 14 and they will fill fast



Suncoast Technical College 4748 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, Fl. 34243

Florida residents pay only 1/3 of what a national private school will charge.

Gene Haas Foundation will award scholarships during the school year that can be applied to your tuition


Tuition grants are available  – what are you waiting for


Do you think this is for you?  can you make things?  do you like to figure out puzzles?  can you be in a job in which you NEVER stop learning?

get in the Manufacturing World…. last June one of our top students made $20/hour after graduation

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