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'average model engineer'

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Cyril Bonnett16/08/2014 20:20:48
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The latest Model Engineering has a wonderful piece '21st Century Model Engineering' and says "respect and regard for anyone who can make a model by hand from various bits of scrap steel and brass"

Lasers, history, CNC, cad programs, found cheaper programs………,

Yes £160 or £1600 and you can pay with PayPal if you wish! Then you have to invest in your CNC mill, lathe 3d printer or whatever, hint a lottery win helps and your off.

But then you need time to learn your choice of CAD, perhaps those long wet winter nights if you’re not flooded out and that’s if it’s the right program, then move into the workshop and set up your CNC machinery, then the real fun begins.

Could it be that the “average model engineer” doesn’t have the time or resources and that their hobby is just that, a hobby that many have waited years till retirement to take it up.

Nowadays it seem that to many the prerequisite of any hobby is a healthy bank balance that enables one to invest heavily in whatever is needed, be it a £300 waterproof jacket or boots to the above mentioned cad programs and machinery.

Instead of Model Engineering perhaps can we rename the magazine something along the lines of ‘Splash the Cash, incorporating the defunct model engineering’

At one of the UK’s first commercial ski centres the MD stuck a sign up on one of the lifts, NO DUFFERS, you would be amazed how offensive those whose hobby was weekend skiing, the average skier, found that sign.

. to be continued!

Neil Wyatt16/08/2014 20:31:54
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Like any hobby, it's not what you make, it's what you get out of it. For one persons solving a complex CNC challenge is as rewarding as the next guy finds silver soldering or honing a piston to fit.

I was hugely chuffed with myself today - I repaired a van door release mechanism by welding its back plate back together into one piece. It just worked and I got a nice bead and strong repair. Nothing special? Perhaps not, but that's the first time I've ever succeeded in making a neat looking weld with my arc welder.

Whatever approach people take, its the pleasure of accomplishment and learning that are the rewards.

Neil

Ian P16/08/2014 21:48:15
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Posted by Cyril Bonnett on 16/08/2014 20:20:48:

The latest Model Engineering has a wonderful piece '21st Century Model Engineering' and says "respect and regard for anyone who can make a model by hand from various bits of scrap steel and brass"

Lasers, history, CNC, cad programs, found cheaper programs………,

. to be continued!

Cyril

By 'Model Engineering' do you the 'Model Engineer' magazine?

I found your post very difficult to decipher

IanP

IanT16/08/2014 22:21:01
1945 forum posts
194 photos

I don't think there is any such thing as an "average" model engineer Cyril - we are all quite unique in my experience!

wink

IanT

Steve Withnell16/08/2014 22:22:40
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What I know is manufacturing technologies get cheaper and cheaper, and home workshops become better and better equipped. I suspect the size of the average Model Engineers budget for the hobby has remained unchanged in real terms as long as ME has been published.

Harrogate a few years back - the old Myford company had a lathe on show with a £13,700 price tag. Across the aisles Warco had cracking lathes at <10% of that. The Myford based on a pre 60's design, the Warco to a contemporary design. Old world versus new.

So not sure of the point you are making Cyril.

Steve

John Alexander Stewart17/08/2014 03:03:44
821 forum posts
56 photos

Cyril;

my bee in the bonnet is the fact that steam locomotives are getting larger. 7-1/4 is about 8x heavier than 3-1/2.

For me, to do the larger stuff because of the handling would be prohibitively expensive - I don't want to move nor get a bank loan for a large sum of money. Even the material costs to build are a lot more, of course. 3-1/2 is a ton of fun!

So, I keep building small ones, and do keep putting together CNC machines for fun.

Most of my machines are older than I am, picked up over the last 40 years as they came up for sale.

JasonB17/08/2014 07:54:15
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Is it really "cheque book engineering" to make use of laser cutting? I know several others who like me have found it cheaper to by things laser cut than go out and buy the raw material let alone add on the cost of a couple of cutting discs, hacksaw blade, blunt a cutter, etc. To me that is not just using your money to get there quicker, its the most economic way of doing things.

I assume that you also make all your own nuts and bolts for a model as well, I've also done that on some but have a life so tend to buy most in, maybe thats also cheque book engineering but I can't buy the time.

"Could it be that the “average model engineer” doesn’t have the time or resources and that their hobby is just that, a hobby that many have waited years till retirement to take it up."

So its a prerequisite to be retired to be a model engineer is it? I went to an event a couple of weeks ago and there were about 60 engines there, maybe 50% of owners were of bus pass age but the other half ranged from fortysomethings. These people have to fit their hobby in around a full time job like me and family so are limited to the odd evening or weekends when not running the kids around. Do we exclude all these people from the hobby just because they want to have a running engine and may take a slightly quicker route. Certainly not the attitude that will get new blood into the hobby.

"But then you need time to learn your choice of CAD"

I'd always avoided CAD then I bought a package and withing two weeks had sent off .DXF files to have a complex part waterjet cut that I could not have fitted onto my machines. Anyone younger than me would have studied computers at school and grown up with them so cad is not so hard to learn for these newcommers. Also unless you are going to be knocking out the same old locos as everybody else drawing up an original model these days is almost certainly going to be done with the aid of CAD, very few would use pencil and paper now.

Cad is taught in scools these days so newcommers learn the skills there, much the same way as we were taught metalwork and learn our basic skills. You are also far more likely to find a 3D printer than an old Harrison in the technology department.

Then there are those that may come into ME from other hobbies like Bikes, RC cars or Helis where CNC machined tune up parts are the norm, so they are going to want to make their own parts in a similar way and will already have a good knowleedge of teh electronics side of things.

To me it is the future of ME for those that choose to use it and the hobby needs to move on or stagnate.

J

Andrew Johnston17/08/2014 08:26:00
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It's the sort of insular attitude displayed by Cyril (and some others) that mean I no longer bother posting about what I am doing in the workshop on this forum.

Andrew

Steve Withnell17/08/2014 08:48:54
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Which is a pity Andrew, as you have such a range of interesting stuff going on.

Steve

Howi17/08/2014 09:24:48
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Posted by Andrew Johnston on 17/08/2014 08:26:00:

It's the sort of insular attitude displayed by Cyril (and some others) that mean I no longer bother posting about what I am doing in the workshop on this forum.

Andrew

I agree totally - It was not necessary.

I did post a rather longer rant, but it all went toes up - computers eh! Don't you just love em!

Steven Vine17/08/2014 09:49:13
340 forum posts
30 photos

Cyril

I need a 100m round disc of steel, 15mm thick. I could use a big hammer and a chisel and spend a week chiselling it out of a flat sheet like they did in the 'good' old days. Admirable though it is I really see no fun in that.

It is 2014. Let me get my wallet and buy into some technology. I'm going to buy a machine to MAKE IT EASIER and I don't care what it costs (within reason).

Steve

Fatgadgi17/08/2014 10:15:30
177 forum posts
26 photos

Frankly, I don't care how anyone involved in our hobby makes the call between money and time. Why should any of us - it's a personal choice as to how to spend our spare time.

As one of what seems like a dying breed in this country sometimes, an engineer making his living in a real engineering vocation, I am simply grateful that people of all walks of life have an interest in engineering of any sort !!

Cheers - Will

Michael Gilligan17/08/2014 10:20:24
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A little Sunday morning Statistical pedantry: devil

In terms of Reader Profile ... The Magazine publishers will be less interested in the Average [Arithmetic Mean] than they are in the Mode [most frequently occurring].

MichaelG.

Oompa Lumpa17/08/2014 10:28:23
888 forum posts
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It is the attitude of Cyril and the like that cause me - and others - to have to bugger about with Jurassic fittings such as BA. Move on, move up.

"To me it is the future of ME for those that choose to use it and the hobby needs to move on or die"

Corrected that for you Jason.

"to be continued!"

I rather hope not.

graham.

Ady117/08/2014 11:00:38
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4907 forum posts
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I've had both a "rich" and a "poor" period for my model engineering journey and the poor period has been far more fruitful as far as gaining practical experience was concerned.

In my "rich" period I just bought my way out of trouble and learnt nothing about materials issues and dealing with equipment limitations

John Stevenson17/08/2014 11:16:57
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Everyone replying here is mostly commenting on their own experiences but give a thought to what happens when the flat earth society old pharts die off as they will.

Where will the next generation come from ? I have news for you they are already with us but treading a parallel path that if you care to look sideways you will see them.

There is a magazine out there called Make and if you care to study historical publishing details they outsell ME and MEW by a factor of 8 and it's growing.

Their reader base is the younger people of both sexes who want to play with making things, OK simple things electronic gismo's, quadcopters and such like bit things that keep them interested. It's not all chequebook engineering, much is seat of the pants carving it out the solid but it interests them and keeps them going.

I was talking to Alan Martin at the Bristol show yesterday, alan is one of the guys running the digital arm of SMEE in an attempt to get new younger members into the hobby but on projects related to the hobby.

They have already done a rev counter for mill or lathe and now working on a dividing project, much like Division master but you get to choose the features.

Thank Christ for people like Alan other wise all we have to look forward to is throwing ourselves on top of Cyril's coffin in a couple of years

Brian Wood17/08/2014 11:19:33
2498 forum posts
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I've read through the comments thus far and find myself agreeing with Neil; it is ultimately about the satisfaction you get in overcoming the obstacles in your way to achieve a personal target; if that also means spending money, so be it.

It is not all about showing other people you have made a widget from baked bean cans or assembled one from a kit of parts that someone else has fashioned, it is what YOU got out of the exercise. There seems to be emphasis on a competitive element that requires one to mine the ore and smelt the iron before you can claim to have 'made it yourself' and little to do with the problem solving skills you have learned in the journey.

My other hobby is Dry Stone Walling, a world away from metal and precision, but it has a skill and fulfillment value all of it's own. At the end of the day you can stand back, look at your creation and enjoy the warm feeling it gives you of knowing that your monument will still be standing, resisting all weathers, in 100 years or more.

End of sermon

Brian

Edited By Brian Wood on 17/08/2014 11:21:04

Neil Wyatt17/08/2014 11:26:01
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 17/08/2014 10:20:24:

A little Sunday morning Statistical pedantry: devil

In terms of Reader Profile ... The Magazine publishers will be less interested in the Average [Arithmetic Mean] than they are in the Mode [most frequently occurring].

MichaelG.

The editor's role is to keep as many readers happy as possible!

I have a mental rule of thumb for any situation where you need to cater for the interests of a small but important minority, it's to bear in mind that EVERY reader is hoping that MOST of the magazine will interest them. You can significantly increase the number of 'happy' readers by increasing variety as long as you make sure there is a good dose of general interest articles each of which will appeal to many readers.

That requires a more sophisticated approach than targeting the mean or mode: one or two articles for beginners, one or two advanced articles, the rest in the middle. And so on in terms of topics, technologies etc. - even in choice of authors and their styles.

Obviously its impossible to get an 'ideal' spread in every issue, but you can approach this over time. If at least 80% of readers feel that 80% of each issue was of particular interest to them, I've probably succeeded.

This is why planning the content of each issue and how it will vary over an extended period is probably the hardest task I have, and why it is invaluable to have a healthy stock of varied articles in hand, even if this means authors have to wait to see their work.

Neil

Russell Eberhardt17/08/2014 11:38:52
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Model engineers have always had amongst them the Luddites and the technophiles. It has nothing to do with money, more to do with having an enquiring mind. You only have to look back at some of the early MEs to see articles about the latest technologies and people embracing them.

Russell.

Ady117/08/2014 11:39:00
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4907 forum posts
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There's far more choice for people nowadays, so any particular subject will have less people

The music explosions in the 60s and 80s came from youngsters who had a choice between playing football and playing a guitar

Celtic won the 1967 European cup final with an all-Scottish-player team

Nowadays there is a mind boggling choice of things for a youngster to pursue, 24/7 entertainment

On the flip side I would never have had a hope of getting into ME stuff without the internet

The other consideration is that the post WW2 period is never going to return

Thousands of machinists and thousands of lathes etc from the war effort and Britain producing bits of metal stuff the length and breadth of the country

That was the golden age and like it or not It's all gone, and it's gone for good

Edited By Ady1 on 17/08/2014 11:42:17

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