This Coordinate Measuring Machine came into the lab last week. I used a CMM machine once at Purdue when I was taking some classes there a long time ago. I was making a top triple clamp for a Honda Hawk that a guy was changing the forks on. By using the CMM I was able to determine exactly where the centers for the fork tubes were and their relation to the center hole for the steering stem. I roughed the part out on my mill then finished it up on the CNC we had at the old school. I was really proud of how it came out. The part sloped down on both sides, had slots and pinch bolts to keep the fork tubes in place, and I was even able to pocket mill the underside of the thing at an angle matching the slope on top. It took quite a bit of thinking but it looked great when it was done. Didn't make any money on that one when the "Think Time" was factored in, but I learned quite a bit. Of course I never had any occasion to use that knowledge later on but sometimes making something really cool is reward enough.
There's also supposed to be a 5 axis machine coming into the lab this summer as well. This is going to play into my decision making process as far as my taking more classes in the future. I would imagine the learning curve on a machine like this is pretty steep and if you were going to take advantage of the abilities of the machine you'd have to have good CAD drawings as in 3D modeling. Again, I don't really need to know how to do any of this type of work but I sure do find it fascinating. Just might keep me working a while longer.
Now, however, I'm going to get started on a few things around the shack and in the shop. I'm going to spin the job wheel, see what comes up, and then get after it. A little something every day.