Thanks to technological improvements, the days of cranking machines by hand are mostly gone but the demand for machinists has only gone up. Someone still needs to know how to operate and maintain the equipment. In honor of Manufacturing Week, FOX 47's Mallory Anderson discovers how Lansing Community College is training machinists.
Greg Butts, the lead faculty for Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology programs at LCC, shows Anderson what a machinist does and how the machines work in the video above.
"Alright, so in the machining world there's manual machining, and then there's computer, numerical, control machining. But this machine here is kind of an in between machine to kind of transition from the manual machining world to the CNC world," Butts explains.
The machine Butts is showing has handles and cranks on it, he said.
"So I can turn this thing and move it around and use it like we used to use and still use, in some cases."
In the video, you can watch as Butts shows Anderson how he uses the machine to make a threaded bolt.
"We're going to make this bolt. I'm just taking this bolt, it's a piece of aluminum. It's a demo piece, and we're going to make a key ring out of it-- out of this piece of hex stock. So, right now this is my raw material, and I want to turn it into this, and one of the stages is to turn this down to a certain diameter, plus put threads on it," he said.
"Once I have all that information in, look at my little cartoon here, it looks good. I'm going to hit a button that's going to create the code for me, and that's G-Code. So I didn't have to create all of this code."
"(The machine) created (the code) for me based on the questions it asked. So now we're basically ready to go and run this part."
"So we end up with something like this. Now this is made out of aluminum; it's light weight. I would never use this bolt to hold something together because it's just for looks. So what we're doing with it, we're drilling a hole in it, putting a key ring in it, and we use this as a demo project for students when they come in and visit, and they get to do a little hands-on activity. It gives them an idea of what's going on," Butts said.
Stick with FOX 47 this week, as we’ll have more stories about manufacturing, and be sure to tune in Friday, Oct. 5, when Anderson and Barrett Tryon will be live during the evening news inside LCC’s Robotics Lab.