When you hear the word ‘shop’, your mind may picture a small to a mid-sized room where things are sold. But this doesn’t capture what machine shops are.
In this article, we explain what they are and some of the things you are likely to find in a standard shop.
Let’s dig in…
What is a Machine Shop?
A machine shop generally refers to a room, a building, or a company where a machinist uses cutting and machine tools to fabricate parts from one or more materials. Such materials may include plastic, wood, metal, and glass.
Machine shops may be built as small businesses, as a section in a factory, or as a toolroom in a manufacturing company.
These shops usually have machine tools that are specific to the kind of machining being done there. They may also be air-conditioned or at least temperature-controlled.
Parts produced in a machine shop may be the factory’s end product or they may be sold to customers from other industries like the aviation and automobile industry. Also, if you run a manufacturing business, you may need customized parts for your manufacturing process. The production of these parts can be outsourced to a machine shop.
With that being said, a machining business can be capital-intensive because of the huge costs of acquiring machines and equipment required to run the business. It can also be labor-intensive since it often requires the expertise of skilled machinists.
While this is true for machine shops that are focused on repairs, technological innovations like robots, computer numerical control (CNC) like the one used at Evans CNC Machining, and PLC (programmable logic control) have increased the automation in production machining. So, even though they also required skilled hands, product machining is no longer as labor-intensive as it used to be.
What is in a Machine Shop?
The goal of many of these shops is to take a raw material like plastic, metal, wood, or glass and transform it into a desired size, shape, or form. Irrespective of the kind of machining required, certain tools are commonly found in a shop. These tools are typically used to cut, beat, or drill and may include hand tools, automated tools, and deburring tools.
Common hand tools found in machine shops include files, calipers, rulers, vises, clamps, and squares.
The large machines used include saws, shapers, and planers, grinders, drill presses, lathing machines, sanders, and machines that are used for sawing and welding.
Deburring machines are vital to machining and they are used to transform raw parts into finished products by boring, stamping, or cutting them.
These machines are used for parts that come out of the manufacturing process with imperfections like bumps which are often caused by stamping or heat processes.
Deburring ensures that the flawed parts are properly polished and corrected so that they can fit into the rest of the production and serve the purpose that they are meant to achieve. Visit https://www.machinemfg.com/deburring-remove-metal-burrs/ to learn more about deburring methods.
Safety in a Machine Shop
Machining requires a lot of caution and safety because of the kind of equipment being used and the processes involved.
Recall that there are moving parts and cutting parts in some machines. Some shops may also use chemicals in their processes. Some of these chemicals may be hazardous to people who handle them wrongly.
This further explains why machinists are required to be properly trained, educated, and licensed before they work in this line of profession.
Workers are expected to wear protective equipment and clothing like gloves, goggles, nose masks, and coveralls. They also receive some form of safety training so that they can identify hazards like spills.
A machining outfit may also have a safety officer who will periodically inspect the facility to identify and eliminate safety risks. Click here to learn more about machine shop safety.
A machine shop is a place where parts are cut and fabricated as end-products or as inputs for a manufacturing process.
Machining shops use tools that are specific to the tasks that they do. Some of the tools include hand tools like files and shapers and machines like drill presses and lathe machines. Some shops also use machines like robots and computer numerical control machines to automate processes and improve productivity.
Irrespective of the size of the shop, safety measures are required to preserve accidents and prevent loss of life and properties.