OLD MACHINE TOOLS
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to do metal work in a machine shop equipped with machine tools that are nearly as old as I am. That means I am required to use the skills and methods that are for sure of an ancient art. We have only one machine that is of the”modern” CNC type and it is so old it requires the use of punched paper tape! No one has punch-readers any more so we use an old laptop to “fool” the controller and that it does well. We use this CNC machine to manufacture the tools and parts needed to restore old railroad equipment to operating condition. Old!, old!, and old!. It sounds like I work in a museum and indeed I do.
I am but one of many volunteers at this museum and we all take as our pay the pure joy of keeping an ancient art and technology alive and useful. As a bonus, we work with some of the most interesting people you will find anywhere. Some are still active in the work-world and some are retired. Their “day jobs”are impressive and wholly consistent with the high level of work ethic that prevails at the museum
For me personally, I take great pride in the fruits of my labor and continue be thrilled by the sight of something useful emerge from a piece of material as a result of my planning and execution of the machining process. It is a nice feeling to have when we see our visitors enjoy the museum and it’s restored historic equipment. Our visitors are always impressed by our shop capabilities and the work we do. So am I.