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Thread: Are commercial machine shops a thing of the past?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    I think a lot of one-offs are done on a cnc nowadays. I make a drawing for everything on the computer, transfer it over, push the button. Unless it's a couple of holes or lathe work, then I still do the drawing but use a manual machine. The thought of doing something like a slot by hand gives me hives. Used to love turning handles, but there's a limit to everything.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Ogden, UT
    I think there are plenty of machine shops, they're just not the type the op walked into.

    I work in oil and gas. We sub stuff to machine shops all the time.

    It's like most industries, change with the times or you'll probably not be necessary. As someone else posted, who is getting their brakes turned or valve heads machined anymore?

    I listened to a podcast of someone who owns a circuit board manufacturing company. You install his software onto your cad of choice. When you finish your design, you apparently click go and his machines just start manufacturing your design. The software programs it's own software to run the machines. Pretty neat. But less people are needed.

    The future for blue collar is scary. Hopefully careers will be found within the new technologies OR a major policy change will need to happen.

    Imo of course

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    I agree that blue collar manufacturing is in decline in most of the Western economies. However, in our region servicing is on the rise. An example I came across today - a ship on our slip for a full refit and repaint. Based on condition, it looked like it was in for it's last patch up before scrapping but no, it is less than 5 years old. Built by a large neighbour to the north. Great for our economy. Not so great for the ship owners. Cheers

  4. #19
    We have a bunch ,but it's still hard to get anything done. When you call them they seem annoyed and say that they mainly just do work for the tobacco companies. Seem genuinely surprised to get calls

  5. #20
    We have a local machinist and use him all the time. I do do some machining on my own when I can do it simply on a manual mill, but for CNC stuff, we send it out. We (my company) does a lot of prototype work, so we might be the exception. I have been thinking about a little CNC for work but need to look into it more. That would reduce our use of outsourcing.

  6. We still have a lot of Tool and Die as well as prototype and general machine and assembly shops in and around Detroit. WAAAY down from the 70'sand 80's but still busy. And picking up. Hard to find CNC, lathe hands, millwrights, and even CAD designers.

  7. #22
    Several commercial machine shops around here (CT) do very well as 3rd tier suppliers to military/aerospace.
    I work in manufacturing with manual and CNC machinery in a rare USA made product line, no outside work whatsoever.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Berkshire County in Western Ma
    After spending my working life in machine shops, I recently applied for an unusual job and got it. Liz Glynn, an artist from L.A. was working on a big exhibit " The Archeology of Another Possible Future" for Mass MoCA, one of the largest contemporary arts museums right here in our town. She wanted someone who could represent past technology and could speak to patrons about how things work and how they were made. The exhibits ranges from stacks of pallets, to drawings of obsolete or never made inventions, to a catwalk with 3 3d printers. I have my own office/workshop space with pretty much free range to bring in things to take apart, or make, or repair. It's been pretty interesting to be in my space and writing up instructions on the chalkboard for how to repair a worn out steel shaft, or opening up a microwave to label all of the parts and explain to people how it works, or cleaning up the parts from the 3D printers while also explaining how a pen il sharpener sharpens a pencil. I never would have thought. And all this in the museum that's housed in a complex of buildings that were once textile mills, then became the home of Sprague Electric, a world leader in capacitors and other electronic components.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Ankeny Iowa USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Berklich View Post
    We still have a lot of Tool and Die as well as prototype and general machine and assembly shops in and around Detroit. WAAAY down from the 70'sand 80's but still busy. And picking up. Hard to find CNC, lathe hands, millwrights, and even CAD designers.
    Ditto, same around here lots of jobs for machinist and tool and die people, especially if they know CNC, CAD and programing.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2. MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Automation Tech Chinese 6040 Router running on Mach3 and UC400ETH

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