Engineers and machinists play a vital role in creating today’s society. Engineers contribute to the design, shape, form, and function of a product, while machinists set up, develop, and actualize engineers’ intended creations.
While this process seems straight-forward, engineers and machinists tend to have conflicting perspectives on the manufacturing process. The conflicts usually arise when both parties try to improvise and “fix” each other’s blind spots.
However, both professionals can build a cohesive team if engineers try to gain experiential skills and machining perspectives to understand why machinists sometimes amend their creations. Here are other reasons why few reasons why.
Why Engineers Should Learn Machining Skills
1.Understanding Possibilities and Limitations
Acquiring machining skills broadens an engineer’s perspective of a design’s challenges and prompts them to find more creative ways to design their masterpieces. First-hand machining experience will help an engineer understand what a custom CNC machining process entails, including all possibilities and limitations.
No doubt, machines differ, and perhaps, gaining experience using high-end equipment may not reflect the operations of a low-cost machine shop.
However, thinking from a machinist’s perspective helps bridge the gap between design concepts and the ultimate product, opening an engineer to alternate order of operations and designs that make more sense.
Similarly, learning the machining language, such as terminologies, and knowing specific machining details grants much more power to both the engineer and the machinist. For instance, creating designs while considering the best machining processes and techniques that’ll go hand-in-hand with the creation simplifies a machinist job, leading to a superior outcome.
2. Improving Communication
No engineer is an island-meaning that collaborating with machinists and applying their skillsets should be a regular part of their jobs.
Of course, this relationship is a two-way street, and gaining machining skills is a great place to start if you want to see things from a machinist’s perspective. Machining skills allow engineers to become open-minded to their machining partner’s ideas, which is key to producing significant parts.
Conversely, most machinists cite poor communication -with most complaining that engineers do not always explain their intentions and wishes when they insufficiently annotate their blueprints and fail to explain their decisions.
Machining skills help engineers and machinists develop a good working relationship with frequent discussions because engineers now understand that machinists may not consistently deliver exact masterpieces.
This knowledge improves communication between the two professionals, allowing them to understand each other’s needs and offer helpful, creative, and insightful ideas to improve a design.
Knowing what can and can’t be done puts engineers ahead of the production process. For instance, one will understand the kind of questions a machinist may have when receiving the design. Considering a machinist’s point of view will help them design according to how hard the masterpiece will be to manufacture, prompting them to consider a different approach for easier milling.
3.Realize a Long-term Effort
The truth is that a quality manufacturing process is possible if the engineering and machining sides comprehend each other’s needs and issues.
What bothers most engineers is when machinists fail to conform to the drawing specs or when they don’t produce optimal results even after following their instructions.
Coincidentally, machinists suggest that engineers change designs and provide incomplete drawings and dimensions just because they can, without rhyme or reason. This makes it difficult for machinists to realize the blueprints using the specified equipment.
While they both seem to suggest that one side bears more responsibility for the arising issues more than the other, the truth is that they can avoid these problems through mutual understanding.
Well, the ability to speak machining jargon helps engineers initiate dialogues concerning their designs. The resulting collaboration is an ongoing endeavor because it allows both parties to add value without creating animosity, ultimately resulting in better production.
4. Develop Appreciation
An insight into the machining world will allow engineers to overlook the “ it’s rare to find a good one” notion and realize how tough this job is. Engineers will learn to respect their manufacturing partner’s expertise when they understand there’s more to machining than following instructions.
Appreciation will initiate constructive criticism instead of dismissal and allow engineers to ask for machinists’ feedback during design review. This is only possible if engineers understand how machinists run the various machine platforms and comprehend its language.
Appreciating that machinists are responsible for creating competitive products allows engineers to know the strengths and weaknesses of manufacturing equipment and give machinists a favorable work environment. This respect and understanding will prevent engineers from telling machinists how they should do their jobs and instead work together.
Plus, understanding a design’s manufacturing limitations prevents engineers from giving unrealistic dimensions and specifications, promoting an optimal manufacturing process.
5.Bridge a Knowledge Gap
The sharp divide between the machining and engineering sides is due to a gap in knowledge. There’s no doubt that the gap is not because of the different skills but from the real-world manufacturing industry’s differing perspectives.
Unsurprisingly, an engineer’s lack of machining skills explains why machinists suggest that the most significant problems working with an engineer are impossible features and poor communication.
Well, an engineer’s education shouldn’t end with their degree, which means that they can supplement and explore their education options with machining.
Having machining skills prevents the apparent disconnect both manufacturing personnel display. Ideally, an engineer that chooses to improve their machining know-how develops the ability to transfer engineering concepts into design realization, thanks to the hands-on experience they acquire in the process.
Utility within context is inarguably useful. Machining skills can prepare engineers with content to refer to if they meet a design that requires them to apply machining concepts. The machining skills become the enabling tools they can use in their designing context.
When engineers supplement their knowledge with machining skills, they can accomplish great designs in manufacturing. Both machining and engineering sides agree that a communication breakdown is the cause of the manufacturing process’s incoherence.
One of the best ways to help resolve this conflict is to see things from both perspectives, which for engineers gaining machining skills.