How can we help your company?

How can we help your manufacturing company?

As we enter year 4 of our successful Precision and CNC Machining training program we would like to address what we do and how we can do our best to help your needs. We have been in contact with many companies and have some that participate on our advisory committee and also belong to SAMA – The local manufacturing association.  I also know that many companies are smaller and time can be precious to run your business. It can be tough to participate in any extra activities but I would recommend that is you can connect somehow it will benefit your business.

My personal experience. I grew up in New England just outside of Boston. I did not have tech school training and was meant to attend college but never made it. Years later I was working in the auto parts industry and met a friend that went to a 6 month school to become a machinist in 1984.  I decided to take a chance and left my auto parts job and went to that school. I have been working as a machinist ever since.

This was a Matsuura CNC from the 80s that I ran.

The CNC Machining business was just starting to hit its stride at that time in the 80’s. It was a good opportunity for me as I was green and the old timers didn’t want to learn the new CNC machines. Since then I have worked at the smallest economically challenged shops to the largest defense contractor. Over 30 yrs. of trade experience working with great people. I learned the CNC training on the job. There was no training. Some companies would sell you a machine and give you 2 days and then you were on your own. We all manually programmed those 80’s machines.  I joke with my students that they are getting way more training than I ever got.


So how can we help?

I have seen many request for jobs in manufacturing. The machine shop trade can sometimes be viewed as a narrow specific skill.  In reality Machining training finds out if a trainee is meant for the manufacturing world, not just cutting metal.  Even in your standard machine shop we have quality control inspection, we have manual machining to go along with CNC machining, we have mechanical assembly, we cut various materials like wood, plastic, foam and more. Sometimes we have thinkers – blue collar engineers, troubleshooters and problem solvers.  Nothing ever goes as planned and we need to adjust and make it work, sometimes with limited items.                That’s the challenge.

Personally I have worked in shops where I learned other skills. I learned precision sheet metal work, I learned how to spray paint, machine repair, learned Cad/Cam programming on many systems, optics machining and more. Constant learning.


So how can we help?       

For your typical machine shop we teach 100% of the basics. The basics including CNC machine setup and operation.  But there are many brands. Most CNC machinery is similar but not exactly the same. I think some of us, including me, have had to deal with those situations and we take what we know and apply it to the “different” machine and figure it out.  I learned 4 and 5 axis CNC Mill and 4 axis CNC lathe on the job. I knew the basics and took it from there. #2 rule in the shop is to not crash the expensive CNC machine.  So you need to just have control while you figure it out especially if you do not have a mentor. Use what you know and to help figure out what you don’t know.  So if you have a different machine or cut different material like granite, wood, foam, plastic, take what you know and figure out what you don’t know.  No machinist will ever know it all but they do need to know how to solve problems.  It would be nice for a new machinist (with training) to continue to have a mentor to work under as they gain more and eventually more independence.

Oh, by the way Rule #1 is Safety.

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What other skills does machining training satisfy?             I call this the 80/20 plan

  1. Quality inspection is one. We learn to read blueprints and follow process documentation. We use measurement training to check work. We learn to use various methods to verify accuracy.
  2. Mechanical assembly – By nature we are always doing this , so this skilll would be a great fit at a company
  3. Machine repair – Same thing. We always need to fix our own machinery and also other peoples stuff that seem to come our way. Because we know how to get a broken bolt out.
  4. Sheet Metal – We know metal – now just need to learn how to use a shear and a press brake. We can measure and we understand CNC controls. We know safety. We can figure out a plasma cutter or a water jet cutter.
  5. Wood working – CNC Routers are getting very popular in the wood working industry. We know CNC just need to figure out wood. There is a guitar manufacturer that uses the same exact CNC Haas Mill that we use – Taylor Guitars.

The 80/20 plan -We train 80 % of the basic needed skills and then a company takes it from that point and teaches their 20% of specific need. It ensures that your people know your system and your way. If you have a good pool of people to pull from then this is a good way to get what you need.

I know when I had to supervise I had people who said they were good. They had the resume and a big tool box but didn’t take long to figure out that it was a bad move. I had better luck teaching someone with minimal experience but could learn. Instead of battling with someone that insisted on a way that we didn’t want it was better to start with less experience in some cases.   I think we all would like to have a walk in be able to jump right on but in reality it doesn’t happen often. Not only are we looking for skill but we are also looking at employability and team skills.


So I think we can provide good workers for your manufacturing business in many areas

Let us know what we can do to help and also anything specific that we may be able to add. One of our advisory team came up with a plan for a time clock. We now have a computer time clock. All trainees need to clock in and out just like a job.  We also do various field trips to companies are always looking for more. We have a one week Job shadow program that brings a trainee in your facility so they can learn. We have internships starting in the month 9 of the 11 month program.

Just to update – STC leads the State of Florida in NIMS certifications that gives our students testing and projects to verify the knowledge they would need to be job ready.  Our school hosted the first state of Florida HTEC conference for manufacturing educators last year. Bringing together instructors and manufacturing associations to build networking. I am also on the national HTEC council representing one year technical schools and I have attended the last 3 national conferences and work with other high level schools to share ideas.

We utilize Career Edge Funders internship grant program. They will fund an intern in your company.  We have added advanced Fast Track CNC training in the evening school that concentrates on CNC Machining on any level for experienced workers.

Our STC facilities list:

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Haas CNC VF2 Vertical Mill with 4th axis

Haas CNC TM1p Vertical Mill

Trak CNC 2 axis mill

Haas CNC 2 axis lathe

Vertical Mills (2) with DRO

Engine lathe (2) with DRO

Surface Grinders (2) 6 x 12

Drill Press – Large

Belt sanders, bench grinders, and de burr equipment

Horizontal, Vertical and abrasive saws

MasterCam X9 (2 seats)

Solid works (2)

AutoCAD Inventor with HSM

15 Haas CNC Tabletop control simulators

Fanuc CNC control training software.

(We also try to cover other various CNC machinery like Fadal, Hurco and more)

Inspection equipment:


Tesa Microhite



Master 3D gage – digital measuring CMM arm with Verisurf (Can also do reverse engineering)

Mitutoyo Optical Comparator

0-6 Mikes (2)

6-12 mikes (1)

Precision pins

Granite plates (4)

Mitutoyo digital height gage



About cncdude5x

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