Hi There I have spent most of my working life in engineering machine shops.
I started in engineering at age 15. I became a power press setter setting up manual and roll feed power presses up to 150 tons. One of the main components made was the top ring of shock absorbers for the Armstrong Patents Company in Hull. Another large customer was Vauxhall motors. We produced components for Rickman motor cycles, British Sagull outboard motors and many others.
l moved on to a company called Willcox and Gibbs. They were an American company who had a factory in High Wycombe and another factory in Poole. I went there as a drilling machine operator. This was at the time of the 3 day week. We ran out of work and all the men asked to be made redundant. I was asked to stay on and became factory foreman at age 17. I taught myself to machine industrial sewing machine components to very tight limits, often less than 1 thou. This included milling, drilling, turning and surface grinding. I also kept cutters sharp on a Clarkson grinder.
When they shut the factory down after several years, the manager bougt the machines and took over he premisies an we started looking for sub contract work. We produced some items for a lock company in Bournemouth. These made up into a lock controlled cartrdge insertion machine to bolt onto the top of safes. This was mainly sold to garages so staff could put money into the safe without having access to it.
l also also managed to get British Seagull to give us a chance. They gave us a drawing and a pair of sand castings to machine a crankcase for the new 170 outboard. We were a standby as the Seagull buyer had given 5 sets of castings to Villiers. Villiers installed a new CNC machining centre to produce these crank cases and we used a knife and fork. We produce a perfect crankcase and Villiers produced 5 crankcases covered with 4 jaw chuck marks. We received the contract for the new crankcase and went on to get the casing tube line, the gearbox line, the cylinder hads,the casing tube (drive shaft tube) and many other components. The casing tube line included producton silver soldering so I have problay done more silver soldering than most of the people reading this. We probably used about 50 sticks of silver solder a day. When Seagull went bust, the boss closed the factory down due to ill health.
i found a job as a self employed miller on a bridgeport turret mill. This helped me to mill very fast and very accurately. I remember scrapping two components in 3 years. I remember because it cost me money.
I moved to Aylesbury about 3 years later and found a job as a CNC miller. I had not done CNC milling before but had always been interested in computers. I taught myself to CNC mill using the manual. I was supposed to have been taught but the chap eaching me was off sick for six weeks.
I have had many jobs programing and operating CNC mills over the remainng years producing such varied item as military and aircraft components. The only aircraft I would have liked to have produced bits for was Concorde but apart from special purpose jacks for the wings, I never got to do any bits. So basically I started of producing very small sewing machine components and every size up to 4 metre long beams for the Airbus super guppy wing fixture and also many weird ad wonderfull parts of machines.
I am now sort of retired due to ill health and now do next to nothing.
Last online: 09/04/2018 13:52:42
Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!
Love Model Engineering? Sign up to our emails for the latest news and special offers!
You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.
Click THIS LINK for full contact details.
For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.