Skip to content

5 Machining Tips For Beginners

A few weeks ago some of the American Rotary team headed back to Indiana to visit Dusty Hicks at his machine shop, where we first met with him a couple of months earlier to get to know him and his work.

Dusty is a hobbyist and machinist who enjoys building (and shooting) cannons and working on other projects around the shop. He was kind enough to take a few moments to share with us his top five tips for those who are looking to get into machining and we are glad to show them with you here.

Recap: 5 Machining Tips and Tricks For Beginners:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s how you learn.
  2. Don’t be afraid to get big equipment. You can outgrow small equipment and you can still make small and intricate pieces on large equipment such as a large lathe.
  3. Use your resources. The internet is a goldmine of information for anything you want to learn. One of Dusty’s favorites to learn from on YouTube was Tubal Cain.
  4. Be creative. Everyone’s different and has a unique perspective to offer.
  5. Have fun. It doesn’t always have to be work.

We hope you enjoyed these tips and find ways to apply them to your work. Starting out in any trade is exciting and you may even discover some things on your own over time that you feel others might like to know as well. By sharing insights with others we can all help each other by paying it forward as those did who helped us.

6 thoughts on “5 Machining Tips For Beginners

  • Baxter Abel

    January 12, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I really like your tip to not be afraid to make mistakes when you have machining done. I also like your tip to be creative when doing things like machining. I think it’s really easy for people to forget that things like creativity are important in things like machining. I’ve also heard that machining services are a good skill-set to learn in a technical or trade school, I’ll have to look more into it though!

  • Bernard Clyde

    February 3, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I think it can be nerve racking to make mistakes when learning new machines because it feels like the mistakes you make are a bigger deal. I appreciate you saying that it’s okay to make mistakes because it’s part of the learning process. Once you’ve become comfortable with smaller, simpler machines, I think it’s wise to gradually learn the bigger ones.

  • Bram

    August 8, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Mistakes really are the key to success and learning, so long as you make and learn from them. Do you have any tips for when you have to fix a mistake? Or, any more information on the basics, like finding the edge?

  • Sutton Turner

    September 17, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    I like how you said to simply not be afraid of making mistakes. I have been thinking of getting into CNC machining. Thanks for the tips on machining.

  • Ruth Hawkins

    February 26, 2019 at 1:35 am

    Purchasing bigger equipment may be a big risk to small business since it hasn’t made much income to cover the expenses. Hence, this is a short but very knowledgeable in the business. It teaches us to be more optimistic in business and doesn’t be afraid to try new ones.

  • Michael Lee

    March 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I have been thinking about picking up machining as a hobby. I think that it would be so cool to be able to provide machine shop services. Using Youtube seems like a great place to begin to learn.

Leave a Reply