Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning from the big kids....

If you have followed the blog for a while you have got to see Gabe learn all kinds of stuff over the 2 years he has been with me, pretty rad to think this kid that wondered in to the shop 2 years ago was some punk with no drivers license or GED...

Amazing what a little swift boot in the ass can do for a kid and how just trusting and believing can make someone push themselves to get all the things needed to keep them wheels amoving... Now hes becoming a good fabricator with a GED and a drivers license and going to school to become a machinist so then I can retire and do nothing but write blog post so I can quit getting emails from people about how little I blog because what they don't know is that I am doing secret projects for companies that would strangle me to death if they found out I was talking about their project...

 Ok back to Gabe ha ha because this post is about him and his skills so he can look back and use the blog like myself, to see how silly he was and how much he has grown over the years.

One of the biggest challenges when becoming a prototype fabricator is just understanding things in 3D and what it take to make something work.... Its not always you get to work on flat things that just land perfect 90 degs to each other and a tape measure just hooks too perfectly... I wish, and I am guessing he and every other fabricator out there do to.

But like most of the time, the twisting tubes and odd corners make it more of a brain and eye measurement and truly test your brains understanding of whats missing or whats not straight.

Teaching Gabe is fun, if I didn't enjoy teaching him these skills I wouldn't be making this post. I can't say its been quick either teaching him to think in this Dot to Dot idea, but hes getting it and I am slowly letting him take the wheel on these projects.

Training is one of the biggest things that makes anyone the best ( no news to you, I am hoping), training in the metal working industry basically sounds like a fancy word for WORK but really when it comes down to it, its important in 2 ways the way I look at it....

1. That when you build a lot of stuff and do it start to finish you generate a very rapid thinking and processing and that leads to getting it done quick for when it really matters, for example. -  a customer walks in to your shop with a rush project that you know he has been quoted high on but because you have built a lot of stuff like it, you know the tricks to do it fast and very well which means a returning customer and a good profit margin.

This also helps a lot with quoting which is one of the biggest problems with fabrication and where people fail, if you have built it then you sure as hell know that it takes you X amount of time to do it... Plus tacking on a few extra because you know your buddy is going to swing thru and bug you and that will slow you down plus other factors but for the most part you are very close in the ball park.

2. Just being good at what you do gets Chicks !  I don't think I need to go in to details about that....

Over the last 2 years I have had Gabe making frames out of steel tubing, doing sheet metal, welding, machining and just being an all around fabricator/machinist and builder. I don't know if he will stay around forever but thats not really the reason I teach, I teach so I can learn and be a better teacher of my craft.

The other day we did a warm up set of frames to see what he could think up on his own and kick out to really fancy stuff for the shop. The idea was thrown out there about doing tool box holders and making them based off some designs I had seen at Boeing in their fab shop, but it was his idea and his thinking so I just let him roll on the project.

Heres what we got in about 2 days.

The frames were sent off to powdercoating right away... 
Mostly because the tool boxes were everywhere and unmovable.
Pretty well done !

Boxes are in ! 
Mine are the green ones and his is the orange one. 
One is machining and one for fabrication. 

This is my machining one custom built for tool holder shelves
I can't wait to finish it and get it running!
My favorite color is Kermit the Frog Green 

I made him remove the Jegs sticker if he was to put this stencil on the bottom
As according to proper Boeing style - AEROSPACE DIV. stencil is painted on

This was the warm up for the next project which would test his skills a bit harder...

The project is to build a crazy dirt bike stand for a company ( no name given yet ) that will be for Virtual Reality Dirt Bike Racing and the real bike will be bolted to the stand with a computer inside the stand to run the VR equipment.

I will talk more about this soon when we get more in to the project for right now its just a concept.
I think we did about 50/50 on the work for this beast...
I did most of the layout and design and he did all the tubing bending, nothing and fit up.

Hes pretty stoked...

He did the steel Tig root pass and then I went over it with a single pass with bronze

This is the Aluminum door to access the computer inside. 
There is a lock on it to prevent anyone from messing with it inside.
Not too bad for some wild tubing fabrication
Its only going to keep getting better.....

Hes landed a really rad new job as a fab kid at a famous Hot Rod shop in the Bay Area.... Not going to blow it up yet and talk about it until he at least has a few months in and feeling good... So far things are looking really good !

Enjoy the fruits of learning....

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