“Setups are going a little smoother (mostly);  there is much less wasted time searching for
needed tools; and everyone is showing a little more pride and professionalism
in their tidy new professional  work area.”

Avoiding unneeded tools is just as important as having the ones you need.
Avoiding unneeded tools is just as important as having the ones you need.

PMPA Vice President Tom Bernstein  of Torin Products, a CNC Swiss shop in Columbus Nebraska just shared his experience with Shadow Boards in  the December issue of Production Machining Magazine.
Its an easy read, and it tells as good a story about how to manage as it does about how to create Shadow Boards.
“The benefits are not just financial and measured in saved time. My team is now confident that in this area they exemplify Best Practice.”
File this one under continuous improvement! Read the full story here
In what areas does your team and shop exemplify Best Practice?

When I visit our precision machine shops around the country, I am always impressed at how often the parts being produced look like jewelry.

Well maybe we wouldn't wear this one inside...
Well maybe we wouldn’t wear this one inside…

But sometimes the parts that I see are jewelry- the kind that you wear inside!

PMPA  member Cox Manufacturing Company in San Antonio, Texas is a company that has heart.


This is a valve component in Dr DeBakey's original artificial heart
This is a valve component made for  Dr DeBakey’s original artificial heart

It was made by the precision machinist’s at Cox Manufacturing, who continue to make critically high engineered, high precision parts.

That look like Jewelry.

Cox Manufacturing has Heart. Precision Machinists can make almost anything look like jewelry.

It is our love of the craft. Happy Valentines Day from PMPASpeakingOfPrecision.

For last year’s Heart Shaped Musket Barrel

For How to make jewelery using just a hydraulic press

Heart photocredit.

If you have anyone moving up from shop operations into estimating, quoting, or engineering, I think that this tutorial will make them error proof on conversions. Bookmark this one.

Guest post from NotUrOrdinaryJoe on CR4 Engineering Forum:

Although we don’t do homework here, I thought it would be nice to offer a tip that was very useful. Frequently the point in which students become bogged down is nothing more than getting some answer into the terms that is required. This technique is rather obvious to some, but it couldn’t be any more straight forward.

When you have something like a rate of change of something in one set of parameters and you wish to convert it to another set of parameters the first step will be thinking of the rate as a fraction. So, if you take some rate such as:

X gallons/minute and you want to convert it to Y liters/second

On the left (above) is :

X gallons

Where the magnitude of the rate is X, the terms are gallons (in the numerator) and minute(s) in the denominator. Any step you need to use simply lists the conversion factor in the same way. So to convert you set it up like this:

X gallons 3.785 Liters minute
minute gallon 60 seconds

Note that the number 3.785 is the magnitude of Liters per Gallon, and 60 is the number of seconds per minute. The word “per” is the clue to draw your horizontal line to seperate the numerator from the denominator.

Next, since like terms cancel, you can draw a line through both sets of terms “gallons” and “minutes” leaving only:

X gallons 3.785 Liters minute
minute gallon 60 seconds

The magnitude is X times 3.785 divided by 60

and the left over terms verify that you ended up where you wanted. That is to say that the left over terms (the ones that did not cancel) are Liters per second.

I still remember how easy this became when I first treated it like multiplying fractions together. And it checks your work by looking at the remaining terms. Good Luck and no, we don’t do homework problems.

Speaking of Precision Comment:

For more information on the Factor Label Method  check out Wikipedia entry here.

We were pleased to see this post on CR4 Engineering Forum, Where we have participated for many years. There is only one caveat: the Factor Label Method only works on converting units that share a constant ratio, (linear relationship) rather than a constant difference. For example, it doesn’t work on degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius. See the Wiki link for why.

What indispensable but easy to use technique do you have that makes your technical work easy to do? We’d love to post  and share it as a best practice for our craft.