Okay, I’m a machinist and I work with two other guys in the machine shop at a small foundry. There’s myself, the die maker and the shop boss (hereafter referred to as Pete Puma). Now, Pete has already earned my dislike for saying such things as, “The people who jumped from the Towers on 9/11 are in Hell.” and “I don’t think they pay me enough, so I’m not going to work hard until they pay me more.” among others, and today I nearly killed the rat bastard for what he did.
Today, I’m running the CNC machine and I finish one process on the series of parts I’m running, so I pull up the program for the next process. Now, these programs are written in G-Code, which is similar to BASIC, but not nearly as complex. I haven’t really tried to learn G-Code because any time I come up with a better way of doing something in the shop, Pete Puma starts ranting and raving about how I “can’t do it that way!” Nevermind that the company is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and that there’s a backlog of work in the shop which needs to be done, he doesn’t want me to do anything different than what he does. (He leaves the die maker alone, since the boss has said that the die maker’s work is a priority.) So, if I learn G-Code, I’ll have to suffer through twice as many instances of Pete bitching me out for doing what any halfway decent employee would do.
In pulling up the program, I first run it through the simulator on the machine (while teaching myself how to do this in the process) to make sure that Pete hasn’t done his usual job of giving the wrong name to the program. Amazingly enough, it’s the right program, so I pull it up in the editor to take a look at the settings I need to run it. Like I said, I don’t know G-Code, but I’ve done some BASIC programming back in high school (nearly 20 years ago, Pete, BTW doesn’t remember when he graduated from high school), so I can scan the program (which is about 30 lines) and figure out what settings I need to use before running the program. None of it makes any sense.
I look around to see where Pete is, to ask him what the hell’s going on with the program. Pete’s on the phone, talking to one of his friends. I can either wait for Pete to get off the phone, or I can do some dry runs of the machine and see if I can’t figure out what the settings are supposed to be. Given that Pete’s generally on the phone for a long time, I figure that I’m better off doing the dry runs. That way if the owner stops in, at least one of us will look productive. Normally, I’d ask the die maker when I had a question, but he’d gone home for the day already, so that was out.
I do the dry run, and discover that while it looks like the machine’s doing the right operations, there’s no way to set the parts up there and have them come out right without having to make constant adjustments to the machine. Okay, so I’ll have a go at rewriting the program, it’s fairly simple, and I can’t do worse than what Pete’s done.
To give you an idea of how simple G-Code is, the PC we’re using is running Windows 3.0. :::Waits for Dopers to clean splorted beverages off their PCs before continuing.::: The PC itself is a low end 486 machine, definately not big league stuff. You could grab any random person off the street and in an hour or so teach them how to do the kind of stuff Pete does with the machine.
I get the program rewritten, do a dry run test to make sure that it’s going to work the way it’s supposed to (it does), chuck a part up into the machine, and just as I’m getting ready to make the final adjustment needed before I can start running the parts, one of the guys from the foundry comes in and tells me they need me to pour a heat of steel. I glance over at Pete to see if he’s still on the phone (he is), because I know that if he gets to the machine before I get back, he’ll fuck everything up. I go slap on my gear and spend the next twenty minutes pouring steel.
When I get back, I find Pete staring at the monitor on the machine. “Oh, shit,” I think. “Please tell me he’s just walked over here and he hasn’t fucked with anything. Please, please, please.” I spend the next five minutes standing silently behind Pete, not wanting to say anything, because I’m terrified that if I do, Pete will confirm my worst fears. Then I see him stabbing at the keyboard with his fingers, and I clear my throat, hoping that will stop him before he does too much damage to the program. Pete continues jabbing away at the keys for a few minutes, and then turns to me, his face beaming with moronic pride.
“Man,” he says. “I don’t know what happened, but this program was all jacked up. I had to rewrite it from scratch.” :smack:
“Pete,” somehow I manage to keep a calm tone to my voice. “I fixed what was wrong with that program and was just about to start running it when I had to go pour.”
“You couldn’t have.” He then begins a rambling story about what he did and how what I did wouldn’t have worked. Surpressing the urge to beat the shit out of him (not a good idea without the die maker there, since he’s promised to help me hide the body should I ever finally kill Pete), I listen, waiting for him to finish. I then, calmly explain to Pete exactly what I did, how it would have worked, and how I knew it would have worked because I’d tested it. Again, Pete insisted that I didn’t know what I was talking about, so I repeated myself. Pete pauses and appears to think.
“Oh!” He says. “You’re right! That would work! Now, how do I do it?” So I tell him (it only takes me four times before he starts doing what I tell him to). He punches the keyboard and then wanders off. Naturally, I don’t just fire the machine up and start running parts. That would be stupid of me. I do another dry run.
Sure enough, he’s screwed something up. I stop the machine and think, for a second, about calling him back over and getting him to figure out what’s gone wrong, but I know what that will get me. So I go into the editor, spot what looks to be his most likely mistake, change it, and do another dry run. Whaddya know? I fixed it!
At the end of this year, I get my certification from school. When I get that, the first thing I’m going to do is start mailing out copies of my resume to all the machine shops in the area. I realize it’s a long shot that any of them will hire me with the local economy being so bad, but I have got to get away from this moron before my brains rot out.