Teaching for the Modern Machine Shop – Sarasota Style……

I am approaching the 1000 hr mark in our reborn Precision Machining Education Program here at SCTI – Sarasota County Technical Institute.  We had a clean palette to work. A brand new school building, brand new room so why not get all brand new equipment !!  We were working with a grant that gave us a great start towards educating the local workforce into needed manufacturing jobs.  So we made some great purchases.

I have just come from over 25 yrs experience working as a machinist. A CNC Machinist.  When I entered the trade in 1984, I was working at an auto part store. I had bypassed a college career path. Then I met someone who was re-trained as a machinist. I always thought that tradesman jobs ( plumber, electrician, machinist) were in family owned companies or people who had gone to “trade or vocational” schools. There were no trades schools while I was in high school. No post secondary vocational schools, just college.

Anyway, that fellow I met told me about a training school called Boston Tooling and Machining Institute. I went over and they gave me a test and said that I had the aptitude. The school was full-time days so I had to quit my glorious auto parts job. After 500 hours of training on manual machining equipment I was sent to a new job, a new career.

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So then in 1985, I started working in a machine shop , with CNC machinery. CNC …… what is that ?  CNC = Computer Numerical Control.  Computerized machining.  Invented by MIT in the 1950’s. I didn’t see that in the school.  But it’s all new to me anyway. It turned out I hit it at the right time to learn this new technology. Now after almost 30 years , the CNC machinist is the new normal.

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1984 Matsuura CNC Machining Center                  Kitamura MyCenter

Now I have worked at many places from 2 man shops to a 3000 man defense contractor since then.  I also noticed I have never been without a job and my pay jumped. I was reviewing my annual Social Security statements and noticed the increase after machinist school.  Made a big difference. I now had a career.  They even let me run a $950,000 machine !!

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Mazak 5 Axis Mill-Turn Center                                         Haas VF-6

Ok, now on with the story. I had this new chance to teach. It was close to my new home with the sand and surf. New school, new machines. Nice………………..

Now we jump ahead. I have been teaching this new class of raw students who are now getting a new chance to have a career like me. They are getting real close to the end but many successes. I wish I could have blogged the whole year but no better time to start but now, right? I will update our progress as we head to graduation day.  Thanks !!

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IMG_20140131_103552   Machining Instructor










About cncdude5x

Lead Instructor for Precision Machining & CNC Automation Educational Program at Suncoast Technical College -
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