This new blog is a continuation of my on-going one, archived here. As mentioned previously, my first love is manufacturing, specifically the shop floor. I moved through the ranks the hard way, in one job, working for a half-crazy, old-world machinist, Frank. His motto: "You shalt NOT make scrap." His was the classic old-fashioned shop -- small, dim, smoky, and permeated with the (sweet) smells of cutting oil. The shop was packed with ancient Browne & Sharpe screw machines that pumped-out parts ranging from simple, aluminum brake components to highly complex and tightly dimensioned heart-lung items made from exceptionally hard material. One complex part required drilling about 10 or 15 tiny holes in exact locations around the top. Each hole had to angle exactly and meet at a central point at the bottom of the part. Frank special ordered the 0.005-in. diameter drills from Switzerland. No other shop could make these parts, including large, so-called modern ones. Read Why designers ought to know about manufacturing.
Later, I worked at a Tier One manufacturer of automotive valves, setting-up and running large progressive-die presses that stamped out valve-train washers and forging presses that smashed heated metal-rod blanks into the initial automotive-valve shape. I also set-up and ran automated finishing cells in which there were several machines including a seater that ground finish seat-dimensions and centerless grinders that ground final stem sizes. Tolerances held were plus or minus 0.0001 in. I put myself through college while working third shift, eventually getting a BA in English. When the Tier One went down the tubes, I attended graduate school, getting a MS in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. That led to my second love -- computers and computer software, including CAE, CAD, and CAM. I will occasionally try to link to or discuss interesting or cool software in this blog. Let me know if you have a favorite and I'll feature it.