Other Kinds of Projects and Materials
I am currently doing some design work with microprocessors. The first mission is to control a model boat. My intention is to include some computer “smarts” with some of my new projects. Why? Well, because I like to play with the little computers. I will be using machining to make housings for the computer components and some parts for the boat.
I realize that not all machine shop projects are for the making of other machines. The machine shop is intended to shape materials mostly* by lathe turning or milling into a part or product for any use imaginable. I have decided to start looking for those other uses, the freedom of unlimited possibilities.
Some of my recent “other uses” have been with the CNC carving and machining in 2D and 3D. That’s not making another machine but it is certainly machine shop work. The casting of pewter using aluminum molds also involves machine work. Pewter doesn’t “stick” to aluminum. So if I want to make a cast part over and over, I machine the mold out of aluminum. That is machining. Making a master part by machining a metal or wax master then making a rubber mold to make more parts is also not out of bounds in my shop.
I don’t want to become narrow by thinking everything that is machined is part of a machine like a steam engine or IC motor, Ha!
Machining a dozen custom hinges from brass for a woodworking project is still machining.
Also occasionally missing from my thought picture is metal is not the only material that can be machined. I know that is pretty obvious. I have done a lot of machining in wax (mentioned above) and occasionally in plastic. 3D carving with CNC in wood, particle board or Corian material are also materials I have machined.
What I am saying is sometimes the first image I see when I am thinking a machine shop is a metal working shop. Metal work shouldn’t be a limitation of what can be done in a machine shop. My vision is probably ingrained because I was born and lived 40 years in a basic steel making town. (Youngstown, Ohio) Machine shops there made stuff from metal . Plastic is for sissies…
Today it is whatever turns my crank.
*Don’t kill the messenger. Yes there are a lot of other tools and skills.