Richard Mercier has been a machinist of more than 25 years, and his father was a machinist, too. Currently working for Soleras Advanced Coatings (a maker of equipment for physical vapor deposition), he occasionally pauses to tweet about what the work of a machinist is like. The result is one of the Twitter feeds I enjoy—a steady stream of glimpses into the craft of someone who values the attention and skill he gets to apply every day. Find him at @mistermachinist. Here is a selection of his tweets:
Well, had a good day machining today. Managed to save a part that was sawcut right to length. Had to machine both ends square. Just made it.
Machining a 5-inch dia. pipe 1/8 inch wall @6ft long, getting lots of vibration, having to machine it in 18-inch sections with steady rest.
We normally use a lot of aluminum jaws, which are nice because I often re-cut my jaws to make sure they are true and the right size.
I like to keep a log of the work that I'm doing each day. It's nice to be able to look back and see how you did it the last time.
Today I modified my magnetic base with a 600-mm-long rod to mount my indicator on for a special job on one of our bigger machines.
I always put special notes in my programs to let others know why I did things that way. I had to machine a dimension oversize for clearance.
Always read your blueprint carefully. I had a program where a groove was omitted and it was because the dimension lines crossed on the print.
I had to drill a 1-inch hole in a pc of stainless steel. I actually step drilled 3 drills to work up to size. It cut easier and with less heat.
Being a good machinist takes a lot of hard work and patience. Sometimes you can only go so fast, and knowing that means a lot.