Sultan, WA. man offers "old school" talent.
Shown at right: a Titanium Gavel.
Now, I know that this is just a rediculous hammer, but that wasn't the point. The challenge was to machine it manually, in one piece. (No screw-in handle.) Every dimension on this silly thing was held to .002", just because: I could do it.
This was cut from one piece of solid billet titanium, a 3" bar (left over material from a job). Check out the Maple Burl striker with cork bottom, and a knurled stainless steel sleeve.
This one was presented to Mayor Carolyn Eslick of Sultan WA, my home town. Okay, enough about titanium hammers, its now 2016 and that stuff is so last year.
Just ask Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Computers: "You could take every tool and die maker in the United States, and fit them in the room we are sitting. In China you would need football fields. It was a focus of their education system and so that is the reality." December 2015.
From my own personal experience, every toolmaker that I know has either retired or died. The skills gap in American manufacturing is huge at this point. People identifying as "machinists" are merely operators (button pushers) with little practical knowledge beyond showing up for work each day. Current corporate strategy in manufacturing actually discourages hiring skilled labor, in favor of the lowest common denominator. Little incentive is given to increase useful skills in the individual. As a result, a generation has passed us by with very few young toolmakers, if any.
This skills gap is what will eventually spell the end of good old "Made in the USA".
Here are my stats:
Having been involved in engineering and manufacturing high quality parts and tooling since the 1970's, the phenominal people that I have been fortunate enough to work with often come to mind. It is the priceless knowledge gained from them, and their encouragement that prompted me to start my business in early1987.
Heavy Industry: reverse engineering obsolete machine components and updating to modern performance levels. Quick turn-around machining. Jigs and fixtures. Inspection tools and gages. Shafting manufacture and repair or modifications. Boring, sleeving, threading. Drive components.
Museum Artifact Restoration, for military or aircraft. Fine fabrication.
Racing: 12 years at the dragstrip, 6 in Top Fuel Harley (2000 to 2005)
Designed and fabricated a successful Top Fuel Harley from the ground up. Invented the 5" belt drive now the standard in nitro racing. Originator of the Nitro Cup for Innovation and Technology, an annual award in the CMDRA.
Professionally trained in CATIA V5 Design Software.
Call the shop: (360) 793-2196
It's just me, working in my well equipped (and usually well swept) machine shop. I'll answer the phone, unless I have a machine running; just leave a message. I will call you back. Thanks!
My new 350 lb. six jaw chuck, a very accurate addition to the shop:
"It's all just squares and circles."
-One of my favorite quotes from an early mentor, a toolmaker named Al Hanson.
Most toolmaking and machining can be understood as working with three axis, (X, Y and Z). "Squares and circles", and a little basic math.
The top picture is of a cylindrical Master Square used to calibrate an angle plate.
Pictured above: a three station tool turret for threading aircraft cylinders, custom built for my Nardini 17" lathe. This setup took a bit of development before I was satisfied that it was smooth and precise. It is a real time saver now, on a job I have continually run since 1991.
Pictured below: fixture for repairing Propeller Shafts on the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Radial Engine. This tool does two operations; one horizontal and one vertical. The job is to sleeve the pinion bearing races.
An example of restoration work on very rare engine parts.