Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pet Peeve : The Term "hobby machinist"

Sorry ... but I can't really hold it in any longer.
NOTE: The views expressed here are my personal opinions ... and do not reflect the opinions of the entire Kentech Inc. family.

Can you be a "hobby plumber"?
... Or a "hobby carpenter"?
... Or a "hobby electrician"?
... Or a "hobby engineer"?
... Or a "hobby nurse"?
... Or a "hobby dentist"?
... Or a "hobby soldier"?

I think not.

Over the past 34+ years I have worked hard at my career as a machinist. In addition to being an accomplished CNC programmer who learned that part of my trade in Japan and as an Applications Engineer for Mori Seiki USA among other prominent machine tool builders ... I can operate manual and CNC lathes including VTL's ... manual and CNC milling machines including both vertical and horizontal mills ... OD, ID, surface and cylindrical grinders ... open side planers ... manual boring mills ... drill press ... basically, if you stick me in front of a metalworking machine, I can make you what you want. I can grind and create the cutting tools I need to machine the metal and I can accurately measure the metal I am machining using the measuring tools of my craft.

Picture of my grandfather ...
working at his craft.
Like my father before me, and his father before him ... I am a skilled craftsman who earned the title of Class "A" Machinist through hard work and the perfecting of my craft. I am skilled at my craft because I was taught by machinists ... labored hard ... and learned my craft. I EARNED THE TITLE OF MACHINIST AND WEAR IT PROUDLY. I BUILD THINGS ... QUALITY THINGS ... OUT OF METAL. MACHINISTS MAKE THIS WORLD MOVE.

It appears however, that people would like to degrade my craft ... to allow anyone who tinkers with cutting metal ... to label themselves as a "hobby machinist". I'm flattered that you take pride in the term "machinist" so much that you would like to flatter yourself with that title. However ... IF YOU STRAP A ROUTER TO SOME HARDWARE AND CUT SOME MATERIAL IN YOUR BASEMENT ... YOU ARE NOT A MACHINIST. AND YOU CAN'T SOMEHOW PLACE YOURSELF IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS A MACHINIST BY SIMPLY PLACING THE LABEL "HOBBY" IN FRONT. Just like if you put a band-aide on a cut you couldn't call yourself a "hobby nurse" .... or just because you floss your teeth, that doesn't make you a "hobby dentist".

In the same vane ... you may be a programmer of CNC machinery if you play with G code programming ... but if your CAD/CAM writes the program for you and you have no or little understanding of what the G code means or does ... YOU ARE NOT A CNC PROGRAMMER ... you're a CAD/CAM operator.

So please ... if you have not EARNED the title of MACHINIST ... don't use it ... don't degrade the craft ... don't place yourself in a group without EARNING your place in the group. You can certainly be labelled a metalworker if you work with metal ... or a woodworker if you work with wood ... but that doesn't make you a MACHINIST ... not even a "hobby machinist" ... whatever the hell that is.


Kenney Skonieczny - President
Kentech Inc.

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