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Ask him if he could cut you a helical gear to a specific pitch diameter, the good ones will say...you got the money?;)
 

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Good Machine shop

.....word of mouth and how far behind they are. Our local one is great, knows his stuff but they stay so busy if you want anything done leave it with him so next Christmas you know you'll be getting a least 1 gift!:thumbup:
 

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1980 Malibu said:
I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on determining a good Machinist???


As a man who made his living doing this years back........I would say........

1) Ask to see his set of head plates
2) see if he has a engine balancer
3) Look at the cleanliness of his equipment
4) Does he have a crank grinder?

If the "fast guys" are using him.......................he is most likely the one to use

DEUCE

:D
 

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I would say the best way to determine a good machinist is to know something about engines yourself. You'll know if he's good by checking his work.

Word of mouth would probably be your best indicator, but not always. I've heard people brag on someone's machine work, only to find out they really put out shoddy work.

Good, basic machine work is not hard to do.

Finding someone who truly enjoys their work is not easy to find. Those that are interested in their work ususally will do a god job for you.

Those that are there just to make a quick buck will not.
 

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Re: Re: Ways to Determine a Good Machinist?

Deuce said:
As a man who made his living doing this years back........I would say........

1) Ask to see his set of head plates
2) see if he has a engine balancer
3) Look at the cleanliness of his equipment
4) Does he have a crank grinder?


:D
I wouldn't base my decision on equipment alone. If that was good criteria, the Recons would win hands dowm. We know better than that. What's more important is how he uses the machines he (or she) has. A true love of the job also means a lot. Does he stand behind his work? Does he act like he's in a big rush? Do the garages and dealers in town take their stuff to him? If they have problems, they won't stick with a bad machinist. Also, how does he get his info on the newer engines and techiques? A good machinist stays informed, whether it's AERA affiliation, industry appropriate publications or whatever. Word of mouth is always a good indicator, as long as the mouth knows what it is talking about.

tom
 

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NAIRB, Hit the nail on the head.

I disagree that a shop that is swamped and behind on work is a good indicator. All that tells me is they are not efficient and either need to hire more help or get more machines. Either that or they are lazy. I dealt with a shop like this in the past and all it got me was a long delay several mistakes and no phone calls when a problem was found. I had to stop in weekly and call to get the bad news. He was so busy "I" didn't really matter much to him. He lost my business and everyone else I talked to about him. I wouldn't send my lawnmower engine to him. He runs huge ads and is starting to be in all the magazines b ut, if you talk to anyone that has dealt with him personally MOST will not have good things to say about him. He has all the latest and greatest stuff but, lacks the main item and that's customer service and honesty.

The very best way to find a good machinist is first to ask around and then go visit a few of the shops and talk to the people running the show. If you are a good judge of character you can usually get signs if this is the right shop for you.

Some of the best shops out there don't have the latest and greatest stuff but, they have the experience and skills to make up for it.

Some shops don't do balancing, they will actually send that work out. Most shops in my area don't grind their own cranks either they send that work out as well. This is not a bad thing, what you want is a job that's done right and in a timely manner.

Royce
 

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Everyone around here says take it to Napa lol......But i called this one guy that has a shop about 30 miles from where i live. He seemed real nice, sounded kinda old(note: im 19). He was wantin me to come in and sit down and talk with me about my motor i want to build and what all i want in it ect....
 

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^now THAT sounds like a good machinist

and I actually don't trust guys my age at all (I'm 21) lol

Just because I like the thought of someone having a bit of experience. I like to actually go into the shop and look around at the guys who work there.

When

I just had the original heads on my 383 rebuilt and I turned down several shops because I didn't like the enviroment of the shop at all...

But this shop was nice and clean, straightened out, a couple guys were at work and were really taking time and looking hard at what they were doing.

If you can, go in and look at some projects that were done already, that's what I did here, and it convinced me.

Sure enough, I got those heads back yesterday and they were done very nicely.
 

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I had NAPA install some cam bearings in my 350 for me.
Word around town was "if you go to napa get so-n-so to
do it, not the other guy". So remember, a machine shop is not always one person.

So-n-so did do a nice job on the cam bearings:)
 

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Creepy, yep, thats a real good point. I had a simialer situation happen to me from a shop in Fenton MO. I found out my regular guy wasnt there anymore...I used em anyway...big mistake
 

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Well, I have had my stomach full of bad machine work so I have some insight. First, I have gone to the guy that all the fast guys go to and got screwed. He did not torque plate hone, o-ring, or properly clean my block. It ended up trashing the main bearings and costing me the replacement of all bearings rings and gaskets along with turning the new Eagle crank. He did not stand behind the work at all and basically blamed it on anything he could think of that could have caused it. Even when I brought up the fact that there was dirt and crap in the oil passaged when I removed the plug he said it could have been a dirt dobber that built a nest when the block was sitting waiting to be built.

I then took it to the general machine shop that I had a good experience with on a stock rebuild and let him look it all over. He found that the "fast guy" machinist did not brush the oil passages at all and they were still full of dirt and rust. He explained that building engines out of old stuff that has sat around for years is much different than building all Dart Block engines where little cleaning is needed. Makes sense to me.

I also had an interesting experience while talking to the first machinist when trying to figure out why my engine was loosing oil pressure. He was dynoing an 1100 HP 630 cid NA engine that kept burning pistons. He showed me the plugs and it was obviously too lean and was having unaudible detonation, but I thought I would let him figure that out. After all he is suppose to be the expert. Well, he burned 5 sets of pistons and had to rebore the engine since after 5 rehones the bores were out of tolerance and leak down was off base. He did all this on a $30,000 engine on the customers dime. I lost alot of confidence in him after that. Keep in mind this is the fast guy machinist who is always busy.......

I think that it comes down to pride of work and the need to have satisfied customers. If you have heard of problems with a shop that were not fixed I would stay away for sure.
 

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Dont trust anybody.You cannot blame a machine shop for dirt in an oil pasage if you assembled the engine yourself.I have had good and bad experiances and some questionable ones.I found a shop that grinds cranks,and they did a crank for me when I was in a rush.The crank wiped out after 1 run.I told him to grind it to the low side of spec,but he missed 1 journal,and I didnt check that journal either and the rest is history.I usually get my cranks done by a crank shop in northern Jersey that has a long turn around period for "same crank" service.and I always tell them to grind to the low side of spec. and they usually do pretty good.On one crank I brought to the machine shop I use for my balance work,they told me that the crank company I use is a bunch of jerks and that they should repolish the crank for me because my crank grinder always makes them tight.I didnt let them do it,and the crank was fine.
Most of the machine shops I go to are dirty little hole in the wall performance machine shops.I know of a shop that is a neat place with all sorts of shiny stuff,a flowbench,a dyno,and a few race cars sitting inside,and he sure knows his stuff,but dont be surprised when he refuses to use anything you bring to him for machining.Everything he has is better then what you have,and to get a 500hp 350 built by him you leave the shop with an aftermarket headed solid roller 11:1 motor that cost about 10 grand,and he thinks he is slick because he grinds all the part numbers of the stuff he uses so that other people cant ro his secrets.I build faster engines then his out of junk and they last longer too.
I have seen some big name machineshops that just dont know horsepower,and they start every chevy performance job with a flat piston 355,and just throw stuff at it.I farm out all my machine work and build engines for local racers in my house,and I havent had a bad engine yet.
My advice is that if you are planning to assemble the engine yourself,then check everything before you assemble it.Clean out every oil passage you can get to,check crank endplay and rod side clearance,and at least use plastiguage on the main and rod bearings.The crankshaft should turn free in the bearings with the caps torqued down.The camshaft should spin free by hand and with the timing gear on the cam,the thrust face on the gear and the front of the block should meet together.Clean every oil hole in the crank and clean the pistons and pins real good before installing them,check the ring end gaps and open up any tight rings with a fine hand file.It is hard to measure piston clearnce with any common tools,but you should know that if you install a forged performance piston into a dry cylinder with no oil on it,the piston should go in with no resistance and with the top of the piston at the top of the block you should be able to get a litle rock back and forth when you push back and forth on the top of the piston.This isnt exactly a scientific method,but I have found some toght cylinders with it,and tight cyliders are much worse then ones that are a little too loose.If you follow all that advice,there isnt much else the machine shop can mess up besides the balance job.Good luck.
 
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