blaze and roar —
waters of stream and Sun
beat out Earth’s rhythms
Well, it has been a quick week to pass indeed; Monday I started training full days on the Mazak lasers at work, which use lasers to cut sheet steel into the different flat parts which go into the name-brand skid-steer attachments that we make. My trainee on the plasma punch was doing well enough on his own, and so with a little wheedling of the material handlers to take care of some waste removal at the end of the day (since “Carlos” doesn’t have a forklift license yet) I was free to work lasers all day. More or less.
As one works their way up to being trained on the lasers (and not everyone does or cares to,) they begin to realize that they are a.) more complicated as they go, and b.) really as simple as microwaves.
What a contradiction, am I right? I mean, you could start out on a saw, which is easy as fishin’ — unless you’ve never used it before — then work brake presses and punch presses, where the most pressing thing you have to worry about is “hey, where’s my hand right now?”
This is, of course, assuming that you can measure things using protractors and rulers — and that you’re still in possession of both hands; however, I have often wished for a third to help in the measuring.
Then if you have the inclination, you could move on to either the plasma punch or a laser; and while I make it sound somewhat hierarchical, it’s actually a little more arbitrary. On the one hand, you have to display a certain amount of aptitude and ability to move to something like the plasma punch or the lasers. Guys who don’t want to do something different, guys who seem to resist hard work, and guys who give up on reading six-inch rules in 1/50th scale with protests that they can’t see the markings don’t really move far from low-level work.
In a way that confuses me, because one of the best things about the lasers is that measuring becomes a thing of the past. Previously, I caught a major break by first training, and then mastering (beyond anyone else in the plant) the use of the plasma punch. There, assuming that the machine isn’t out of whack, you can check the first part of a run and run the whole job without issues. This isn’t so with the brake press, where you want to check the dimensions every so often just to make sure things aren’t floating out of true. When you get to the laser it’s pointless to measure because all of that is controlled by the files that tell the laser how to make the parts.
The drawback, however, for being a frickin’ genius on the manufacturing floor is that once you get to this point that the concern for dimensions is replaced by a concern for cut quality, work flow, and — oh, did I mention? These things sometimes spit out parts like no tomorrow. Then you throw into the mix a temperamental sheet stocker and loader (which holds and loads different thicknesses of sheet steel) and when you have an error you have to run to get around the machine before the thing errors out, and then you have to run back to the computer before “B-Dub” (our lead) figures out something’s wrong and fixes it for you like a wiseacre. So you’re literally running in circles all day whether this happens often or not, but the fact remains that you have a job that could better be handled by two guys, but you have to do it all by yourself while being treated like you’re not good enough to do it yourself.
The best I could do was offend our lead enough on Wednesday for him to retort, “Next time (my trainer) is out, you’re on your own!”
Score one for Surfer Rob.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was sans trainer, since he sprained his back moving a clothes dryer. Super busy! Then today I was dealing with a maddeningly unorthodox flow of events at work until my trainer admitted that he had been waiting for me to take the reins; I’m like, hey, thanks for the heads up, dude! You’re only six hours late!
I don’t take flack from nobody.
Anyway, I don’t know if any of you get this, but it all adds up to that I’ve been having an epic week at work — a serious adventure and I’m really enjoying it, but it’s leaving me little breathing room to even think about blogging. I’m catching up on my reading over the weekend (I hope) but in case this slowdown becomes a long-term thing, just know I’m still here, and I’m still hatching plans.
Keep it real adventurous — I’ve got your back.