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It seems these days the question is " Where I can I find " rather than " Where can I get this fixed "
Some back ground. When I was stuffing a 312 Thunderbird motor into my 37 Ford hearse, along with a doge gearbox and rear end, and hydraulic brakes, I had 14 different jobs at the machine shops. Using Hot Rod magazine as
a guide, I showed the machine shop how to built the adapter plate for the gearbox engine mating.

On my A7 BSA that we put A10 barrels on, I sent the internal parts to friends at an airline companie's machine shop, for aluminum welding on the cases, and xray inspection of the crank. The cam went to Mundel and Slaughter in DT Auckland to be built up with stellite and reground to Lightning specs.

The above is a small sample of the type of work we used to be able to get done.
These days I could not get the local machine shops to repair the swing arm shaft for my XS400. Apparently there is a place in Calgary that can do the work.
I miss the machine shops. Fortunately there is a retired machinist on my Island. He has a shop with cool lathes and drill presses. Also rides.

Reading this it sounds conflicting. Oh well. But try and find a good frame builder.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Fortunately I have all the basic machine tools for welding, drill, turning, and milling so I don't have to "go outside" for most things - couldn't afford to do what I do if I had to pay somebody else to do it. I even do the odd job for friends.

But you are right! A lot of smaller shops have closed. An engine machine shop I used to bore and plane an antique dozer engine 10 years ago is gone and there is nobody left would would touch such a job.
 

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I'm very fortunate like Dianne in that I have most of the machine tools I need for most tasks. At my part time job I have access to even more, such as better welders, a 55 ton punch press, and so forth.

There are still some things that it's easier to take to a shop, such as cylinder seat boring on HD engine cases. I just don't have enough clearance under the spindle of my mill to get them under there in a holding jig. For situations like that I'm lucky to have Robison's HD which has the grand daddy of old school machine shops. (Also the only AMF Harley "dealership" still in existence.)
 

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I used to frequent a bunch of Harley dealers in Southern, Calif and most of them had fantastic motorcycle related machine shops that could do almost anything for a Harley.

That's what I like about a Harley is that they are so simple that a semi-knowledgeable dealer can fix almost anything.

3D printing will soon change the interface between design and machine shops, when a part can be designed on a computer and fitted to a bike and then given to a machine fabrication shop to duplicate without all the research and design money charged to the consumer.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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No one wants to work anymore. I would be dead in the water if I couldn't repair my equipment for ranch work. It may not look nice and pretty but I can still "fashion" most things and get the job done. But to get precision machining done is near impossible. We have one left in town and when the old man that now runs it dies I doubt seriously if his son will continue. He does work there now and I refuse to leave anything with him even now. He's lazy and couldn't care less if he does what you ask. But I can't complain. He did make me get new toys years ago. A cheap but usable mill and all kinds of nice cutters, torch and welder, heavy vise. Would like a small lathe but even small ones are pricey. I get by on most things.
 

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yeah ... you are right. I think a lot of them wnt out of business. The same goes for some of the Mom and Pop repair shops for motorcycles. we lost a great guy for fixing Yamahas in Los Angeles - for that very reason. He just didnt have enough business. But the guy was awesome - for the work he did.

you can still find the "machine shops" in guys' garages. some of them have got the tools. you gotta look around.

but you are right, Unkle. Theres a part of the Old America thats gone missing, and I dont think that its a healthy sign.

cheers,
dT
 

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My father was a machinist for 50 years. Towards the end of his career when he was in his mid-70's people were still begging him to work for them. There just aren't enough people who can take a raw piece of metal, read a blueprint and fashion something.

He still has all his tools in his basement (hope he lives forever because I remember how hard it was to get that stuff down there and don't want to think of getting it out). I still bring things over for him to make parts for me. For a guy in his mid-80's he a damn goon machine guy.
 

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My experience getting a new key for my bike reminded me of this. The locksmith did not have a blank to match my bike but had one that was close. 5 minutes later I had a functional new key. I did ask her if there was someone else nearby who might have the right blank and was told that she was the only game in town. This in a city of around 100,000 people. When I got to talking locks and keys with her it came out that she could not do a modern chipped key at all and many of the early chipped keys would have cost over $300 for her to make one that works. As it is she gave me a nice working key for $3.50 for my bike by doing a custom grind on a key blank a bit longer than my bike uses. Real world skills are not just dying out because of cheap replacements. Sometimes the latest technology makes the old way of doing things obsolete, like chips in keys for instance.
 

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Those who have the tools and the ability to machine what you need I wish you were closer. In this area there is only one machine shop with a good reputation and he is so busy doing race work, good luck getting on his list and even more luck getting parts back in a timely manner. He's just too damn busy.

There are one or two other shops but they are one-time-Charlie's. Those who don't know use them one time and never go back. Didn't use to be that way, really sad to see the quality ones go. Guess they just get too old and there is no one to replace them. It's definitely a skill that only a few seem to have.
 

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Our schools don't guide anyone to the trades. They push everyone to doctors lawyers and business types. There is a big gap they don't even talk about. You don't have to me a mathematics expert but that's what they make everyone think. You can learn those skills as you need them to be a good machinist. Yes math is needed but not to the degree they push. Heck I was terrible in math. Hated and flunked algebra. But when I started training to become a draftsman, I finally saw the need for that junk but still never really understood algebra until I got to calculus. We just aren't guiding kids correctly. Not everyone is going to be a rocket scientist. We need to push the trades more starting in high school. Kids need encouragement. Not lofty ideas of things some can never reach which makes them accept welfare instead.
 

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One of the reasons l have chosen to pursue a career in industrial engineering is because it seems that every kid under the age of 30 has dreams of grandiosity that they will become the next great video game developer. Meanwhile, in the real world, there isn't much of a line of guys who are volunteering to get all greasy and plunge a toilet now and then.
 

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It's really crazy that more people don't go into trades, and how many folks look down on those who do.. You can earn a very good income very quickly just by working hard and making good decisions.

I have a great degree in a great industry, but a series of events and circumstances had me fall back to mechanical trades to pay the bills and earn a living for my then young family (still young I guess.) I started working as an equipment mechanic and did for several years prior to my wife and I starting a business - in another trade. We started a Chimney business - simple in concept - and by making good decisions it's doing really well. Taking a needed trade and being smart about things is something any average person can do and do really well for themselves. The possibilities are endless. Our simple business (now becoming quite large - eek!) pays the bills comfortably for our family and has absolutely zero to do with my college degree.

I'm building a Volkswagen right now and had to have some aluminum casting welded - I had a real hard time finding someone who could do it. I did eventually - an older guy who took care of it. Seems like everyone I called was some older guy.

I should cut this short and get off my soapbox - it's a subject that gets me really wound up.
 

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But, cmonSTART, you worked diligently and consistently and you made smart decisions. I think too many people now want instant results without being willing to WORK for them, and they make decisions based on the easiest perceived path, rather then the most effective path.

My first degree had absolutely nothing to do with any of my jobs or careers either. Not even remotely close. Baccalaureate of Arts and Letters with a concentration in German literature. :coffeescreen: I HAD to work hard to make any money.:biggrin:
 

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You are right Eye_m_no_angel about kids wanting instant gratification. But even way back there, school guidance counselors did not encourage kids to go into the trades. Mine told me because of my grades that the best I might do was be a garbage truck driver. That's even after telling him that I really liked drafting. That isn't a good guidance counselor.

I seriously doubt we have any better ones today. I always wished I could find that jerk just to let him know I retired at the early age of 48 as a systems engineer from a large computer firm. Accomplished without a collage degree. Yes, I had to work 4x harder than most but I really wanted him to see what could be done if given encouragement. Had to do that internally myself. Jerk died on me though.

How many do you think he and others like him now are coaching kids straight to welfare? As a society we are failing in the development of rudimentary skills to build on. But I agree the immediate gratification kids want now does not help. Can't help but feel we fail there as well. As a society that is.
 

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Unless the kids are exposed to skilled work, how are they to even know such a thing exists? As far as the trades go, I have rudimentary only skills in many areas. While my kids were growing up I always had them "help" me with my projects. It made a difference for one daughter who took a summer job installing car stereos and alarms. She had learned an important lesson, that if you make the effort you can learn to do something and with practice you can get pretty good at it.
I belong to a non-bike club and one of our monthly programs was a few hours spent in a wood shop. Each person came with an idea of what they wanted to do and we used the tools provided by the shop. I sort of helped the shop manager oversee what the club members were up to and it amazed me how little any of them knew about working with wood. These were almost all very well educated people who just didn't know anything useful in day to day living. Their educations had just been too abstract or too narrowly focused.
 

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We are focused on testing. Dates that don't mean a darn thing in the real world are oh so important to teachers. I think my class was the last one where they still taught you how to think. And they barely did that. But they did give some tests where there was no wrong or right answers. Those are darn hard to make I think. Much easier to ask what date something happened or which train will arrive sooner given certain conditions.

But we are teaching kids to memorize and pass tests. That's it. Heck I even had a 30 hour a week job my last year of high school that I was graded on. It was worth 2 credits. Do they even do that anymore? I bet not. At some point we should be exposing kids to real world tools they'll need.

Wood working, metal working and home economics were stepping stones into the real world. This teach for passing tests and now Common Core are doomed to have kids that are prime for welfare.
 

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I have to agree with the last few posters on this thread. The general thinking of parents has changed greatly since my days of high school and entering a post high school curriculum. Many feel that college is the only answer, and as parents they feel they would be remiss if they did not force their children down the college path because they have been told it is the only path that will allow their child to spread their wings as it were. Not true.

Because of things in my life's situation, I do not have kids of my own. But because of that, I have been involved as sort of a big brother to numerous kids over the years. My goal was not to push college on them as their only choice for success in life. I've always felt I should help guide them to those opportunities that they feel are right for them. There are many opportunities available for those who find a four year college degree is not for them.

The choices are many, in Trade schools there are carpenters, electricians, plumbers, machinist, and the list goes on. And most of these do not require a four year degree, yet they will trained in a craft always in demand.
The military is another possible choice and also a place where it is possible to open doors to further education if you so choose. In most of these trades the person is taught critical thinking skills, which are necessary for most educational learning no matter the trade of skill learned, most all learned skills requires good choices and critical thinking.

Those who figure out a life plan, know what their passion is early in life are lucky indeed. And those who have parents that would back them no matter the choice are even more rare. My concern has always been to help them find their natural talents and what they most enjoy and feel comfortable with. I relate this to my personal situation when I was young. I wanted to learn to play and instrument but hadn't figured out which one. My mother, being an accomplished pianist and singer, naturally wanted me to learn piano. I did not unfortunately. So she picked the clarinet, because there just happened to be one laying around. Hated it. Then she choose the Saxophone, Hated it. And then quite by accident I picked up my brothers 6 string guitar and found I had an affinity for learning bass guitar. I went on to have played this instrument very successfully all of my life. It just fit me, I was comfortable with it, and it came easy to me.... I loved it.

I think it's also necessary to encourage kids to do what they feel comfortable with. Make them aware of the many opportunities but let them choose what is in their comfort zone. If writing programs of computer games is their forte, then that's what will be. We can't all be machinist.... .lol..
 

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Interesting you would bring up music. I've seen that music and art are some of the first things dropped in school budgets. I think it's a big mistake. I've always wondered just how many successful people never played an instrument or vocalized musically. I played trumpet and wife flute. Just wondering if there is a link. Maybe just the simple process of having to practice at a young age starts a person down the self discipline path which is needed for success. Anyone have thoughts on this?
 
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