machine shop

The various smells of my working life

the various stinks and smells of my professional life


Perhaps you noticed, I missed a post or two! I am a busy girl now, with three out of four of these things active. So, I am shifting my update schedule to coincide with free evenings. From now on, it’s Mondays & Thursdays!


Occupational Hazards

[warning: graphic stick figure icon violence below.]

… of the Violin Maker:

Last time, Long-haired Luthier demonstrated an example of why we should follow safety precautions. Here are a handful of other warnings, dangers, and precautions one might take in violin making, as found sporadically in my construction notes.

violin maker occupational hazards

… of the CNC operator:

Now, for contrast, here are some warnings and dangers of operating the CNC lathe, posted on the Haas machine that I am training on.

danger and warnings associated with CNC

So much hurt…. These machines are NOT for messing around.

How many ways did poor icon man just get mangled up there? And all by itself on another side of the machine is one final enormous danger plaque :

do not leave stock extending out of the lathe, haas cnc lathe warning




But seriously… you gotta respect these things. Maybe I ought to stick with hand tools after all.

Handcrafted violin maker by day, CNC operator by night

handmade purism vs precision in machining

So this week, I began evening classes at Symbol Training to learn how to operate CNC machines. Quite the opposite end of the spectrum from violin making school, where I am not even allowed to touch the bandsaw. I don’t specifically know what I intend to do with all this training in architecture/design, fine woodworking, and CNC, but it sounds like a good combo for making something really awesome one day. Maybe. But pshh, do I really have to pick a side anyway?? I didn’t think so.

And now, some photographic proof to corroborate the claims made in above illustrations:

graduated spruce plate
This is my spruce plate after it was attacked by a fleet of little round-bottom finger planes. It is about .2mm away from final dimensions here, and I will scrape it to achieve the final thickness.

reading spruce plate thickness with light
It’s unsettling at first, but quite a bit of light passes through that piece of spruce as it approaches final thickness. Take that, Alice Tully Hall!

aluminum cut-off from first day of cnc shop class
This coin, which I cut off from a cylindrical stock of aluminum spinning in the lathe (Manual Direct Input! T02 S1500 M03! Insert! Hand jog, .001, x-axis!), is my token of inauguration into the world of CNC machining. What in the world have I gotten myself into??