Work, work, Work……..


Only 6 weeks to go until graduation day. We are just working, learning and growing. Many of our apprentice machinists have been out in shadow/intern positions and already have job offers. Things are starting to come together. We are still pushing ahead and lately the focus has been on CNC setup procedures. We believe this is what most students will see.  The CNC machinist is the new normal. Just about all modern machine shops, whether they are production job shops, tool rooms that support manufacturing, high performance racing, prototype engineering labs, large defense or medical manufacturers or a small 2 man machine shop, they all use some form of a Computer Numerical Control machine – CNC.  

The CNC machine is nothing more than the modern version of the milling machine or engine lathe. The basic machines of any machine shop. But today’s machinists  are put in charge of machinery that start at $45,000 on up to $950,000.  The basic manual milling machine is about $15,000 in comparison. The modern machine shop facility has a major investment and the machinists need to very cautious when operating the equipment.  They need to be taught a format that will ensure safe and efficient operation to produce the high precision pieces needed today.  At SCTI Precision Machining we teach this. 


SCTI Machinists Focus – Pamela Groom.  Pam came to us from Racetrac. Yes she works at Racetrac, 3rd shift. She comes in every morning after her shift and puts in another full day of learning. She is one of top students – who would have thought? I think we never know what we are capable of doing or learning. Anyway she is virtually fearless in her approach and instinctively understands the mechanics of what is needed.  Pam also is very good technically with math, print reading and manual machining. Now she is setting up and running CNC machinery and has even programmed in the G-code language that these machines run on. She is very competent and will make a fine apprentice in any company.

I was asked by a company that had called me that is in the process of moving from Detroit to Sarasota/Manatee county area. They asked ” do the students come from back grounds where the family is in the trade”. I told him no. That these students have undiscovered abilities.  I related how I did not come from a machinist or mechanics background and I found a similar machinist program back in 1984 called Boston Tooling and Machining Institute sponsored by the local manufacturing association.

I was working in auto parts in my late 20’s and did not follow the college path that I was on from high school. I was just messing around racing motorcycles, working menial jobs and getting married soon. Then this machinists school fell into my lap. I was talking to a customer  at the auto parts store who had just completed the course and it peaked my interest. I always thought that trades people like plumbers, electricians, carpenters and machinists had to be taught through family relations and that someone like me had no shot at that kind of career. So I went to that BTMI school, graduated, and got a job that bumped my pay up right away.  So now I know that its possible for many people to have that undiscovered talent. I have been employed as a machinist since then for 30 years.



At SCTI, we have many more undiscovered talent that will be fine machinists and some that may go on to engineering.  I hope they all get new jobs as they embark on this new career journey. It worked for me and I believe it will work for them. Manufacturing in the USA is on the climb again and we are in the right position to take advantage of this opportunity. 

About cncdude5x

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