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Messages - nucmachinist

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Hi ,
I appreciate the invite . I have read through some of the introductions can tell there are many hundreds of years of experience in many various industries on this forum . That to me makes this an invaluable resource of information and knowledge . Knowledge that in some cases we as a society are losing .
I am brand new to this forum . So I look forward to obtaining much needed knowledge in the area of CNC .
My background in quick order is . Trade school from 1973 - 1976 for general metalworking . Sheet Metal , Machining and Welding . When I graduated from high school in 1977 I started my own welding shop . And had it open until 1980 when I had the opportunity to take a job with the power co.  I started as a helper ( basically an entry level position ) in one of their Nuclear Power Stations . Shortly after that I bid into Mechanical Maintenance Dept and went through an Apprenticeship to become a journeyman power plant mechanic . I also became a certified Pipe Welder . I worked at my home plant as well as traveling to other plants in our fleet until 1989 . I was offered since I had some prior machining exp . To Apprentice in our Machine Shop under the instruction of a Tool and Die Maker from Belgium . I spent 4 years with him and in 1993 he retired and I was given his position as Day Shift Machinist . I currently still hold that position . Other than the welding certs which I gave up in 2008 . I in 2008 was offered to an Apprentice Instructor Position in addition to my Machinist position . Our Apprentice Program is finally bringing some youth into our industry . The co. I work , our union the IBEW and our local State College partnered up and started working on it in 2006 and in 2008 started our first classes . Since then we have  successfully been turning out new journeyman Mechanics , Electricians and Instrument and Control Specs . As of this year we have hired right at 100 new personnel  who have advanced to the journeyman status .
I have always had my own machines and welding equipment at my home as well . I am somewhat of a hoarder so I wont bother to list what all I have :) actually what I don't have would probably be shorter  lol .
In a power plant as a machinist our need for CNC is very limited . Most of what we do is repair work , design and fabrication of a specialized tool , fabrication of an obsolete part . I also do a great deal of in place machining or what could be referred to as field machining . In some case I have to design and build my own field machine to do a specific job  . I actually have had only one CNC machine at our plant and that is an EZ Trac Bridgeport . I had it retrofitted with a Prototrac System in 2006 . I'm sure most of you know that this is mostly a conversational type machine , with mostly canned cycles .
Where I teach at is the College Campus . There they happen to have a Haas Mini Mill and Mini Lathe 07 models with about 20 hrs on them . Mainly because no one there knows how to operate them .
Hence my new interest in CNC . Over the past year I have started retrofitting one of my home mills plus picked up an older Bosto Matic and I am currently building a CNC Plasma Table . So I have purchased a CAD program Alibre . And am struggling trying to learn to use it .  I have followed Mach as a machine controller for a few years now . And decided to use it on my machines . Much of that decision was based on what I saw as far as support from forums like this one for it .
Although in what I do as a Power Plant or manual Machinist I have a great deal of knowledge , thanks to many diligent and patient individuals who over the past thirty years have given me something priceless .That would be their knowledge .
In the area of CNC I truly only know enough to be dangerous lol . I do good to be able to use my android cell phone :)
So please bear with my stupid questions which I will probably have to ask multiple times . My Goal is before I die ( Which hopefully will be awhile longer ) I will become able to use CAD and CAM and the machines I am building somewhat proficiently .

Ken Hall  

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