In my case, my past background on the shop floor has been extremely valuable in my eventually becoming a writer for publications such as American Machinist, Machine Design, and Medical Design. It is much easier to write about manufacturing/engineering and relate to people who are fabricating parts when you actually know how to use a set of manual micrometers and understand how the chip should look when the machine tool is running correctly. And knowing the basics of how to run a centerless grinder, an old screw machine, an injection-molding machine, and a CNC machine tool is priceless. Today, shops are immaculate — a good thing. But, those in the know never forget the sweet smell of cutting oil that permeates the thrilling smoky atmosphere of the old one-man machine shops and traditional factory floors.