A few months ago, The Owner was in the shop, trying to figure out why it was taking us so long to get the Honda parts out (not grasping the fact that if the parts aren’t in the shop we can’t get them out), and he noticed a couple of parts that I had set to the side. He asked me what was going on with them.
The particular Honda part I was working on, needed a hole drilled in it. Now, the specs on the hole weren’t all that critical, so as long as the hole went all the way through the part and was in the right general area, it was a good part. Why we didn’t cast the part with the hole in it, I’ve no idea. It would have eliminated any machining having to be done on the part, so at any rational place, they would have cast the part with the hole in it, while Amalgamated Moron Manufacturing, it was seen as an opportunity to show off our “skillz.” :rolleyes:
The ones I had set to the side all were ones the drill bit had broken in while I was trying to drill the part. I’d found, that even after digging all the fragments of the bit out of the part, that you just couldn’t try and redrill the hole. If you did, the new bit would shatter or melt instead of drilling a hole. I’d put them aside, since at that point we didn’t have any scrap buckets in the shop, and rather than walking them out to the scrap table one at a time, I’d leave them till I ran out of work and then carry them out.
I explain the situation to the owner and he’s puzzled by all of it. He tells me that I must have not gotten all the pieces out of the hole. I show him one that’s just a shallow pocket, where the bottom of the hole’s clearly visible, pointing out there’s no chips in it, and that I’d tried to redrill ones just like it with the same results. I suggested that the problem might be work hardening.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to machining, metallurgy is one of my weak points. I don’t know very much about the characterisitcs of most metals. I have a general understanding of some of them, so that I know you don’t try to machine tool steel the same way you do aluminum, unless, of course, you like picking broken bits of cutters out of your skin. If you tell me what kind of metal it is, I’ll know a few things about it, but I won’t know a lot. If I can ever find a decent book on the subject, I’ll pick it up and fill the gaps in my knowledge. It didn’t help my ignorance that at AMM they only referred to the general class of alloys when talking about a part. So, for example, instead of saying that a part was made out of 440, they’d just say that it was stainless steel. Accurate, but the 440 tells you the very specific characteristics of that particular stainless steel alloy.
When the Owner and the Mold Maker hear me suggest that the part was work hardening, they both say, “Oh, no. Three hundred series metals can’t be hardened at all.” with that flat finality of tone which says, “I know what the hell I’m talking about, so don’t even bother questioning me about it.” I drop the subject because there’s obviously no point in discussing the matter with them, and I don’t have the resources at my disposal to point out the error of their ways (and getting them to perform an experiment to see if I’m right, is totally out of the question). The Owner starts to suggest that I try to redrill the parts until he hears how much one of the drill bits costs: $16. We’re selling the parts to Honda for half that, so if we want to try and make a profit, then we don’t need to be breaking any more drill bits than necessary.
Last night, finding myself unable to get to sleep, and needing to be up early in the morning so I can chase down a lead on a job, I decide to take a hot bath, to help me unwind. I grab a trade magazine that showed up the other day (I got a free subscription to it, too!) and settle in for a hot soaking. One of the articles is entitled Working With Stainless Steels. When I got to the third paragraph of the article, I sat bolt upright in the tub and started laughing hysterically.
Right there, in print, was proof that the Owner and the Mold Maker didn’t know what they were talking about. Of course, if I had had the magazine with me that day, and showed them the article, I probably would have gotten fired on the spot. :eek:
Then, today, I was surfing one of the machinist BBS’s I go to and someone posted some photos of a job set up that was right up Pete’s alley. The first pic shows the part chucked up in the lathe. (Pete, of course, would have left the key in the chuck had he done the job.) The second pic shows the part apparently being machined. Notice the complete lack of safety shielding. Anything goes wrong with that puppy, and there’s going to be a whole lotta metal flying all over the place at high speed. :eek: