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Old Dec 12, 2009, 02:23 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
United States, WI, West Allis
Joined May 2007
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Tinkering a dying art.

I read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by reporter Rick Barrett this morning which may be of interest to model builders concerned about the health and future of our hobby. We may just be an endangered species.

http://www.jsonline.com/business/79067122.html

This article appeared on today's front page above the fold. Around here this is taken seriously. Milwaukee beyond being known as the "beer capitol" was also known as the "nation's machine shop".

Quick overview of article's fine points. Poll of 1000 adults done by The Foundation of Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Rockford, IL. Six in ten said they never made or built a toy. 27% had never made or built an item from a list of eight common projects. 60% avoid doing major household repairs including unclogging a drain, leaky faucet, installing an appliance, replacing locks.

A national poll of 500 teenagers, 73% had no interest in a "hands on" career.

There is a serious concern about finding capable blue collar help in the near and long term future. It's troubling especially here because at least one credit of industrial arts is required in high school.

Its no wonder RTR is taking over the hobby. The bigger question is in ten years who will you call to install a new furnace?
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 02:34 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Joined Apr 2009
2,380 Posts
sounds terrible, but i'm thirteen and on my second of 3 planned projects, me and my grandpa did our own boat, currently on a 4800 kv brushless shovelnose on someone's plans, and then i want to do a gasser swamp boat on my own, but i will definitely look into getting other kids into it, and when the time comes, my own children
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 02:43 PM
Registered User
North Central TN USA
Joined May 2006
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I have three teenage grandsons down the street and they fall 100% into the never have, never want to and wouldn't know how to if they wanted to category. Two of them now drive ( four collective accidents in three months) and have no idea where the spare tire is or what to do with it. Their father is very handy but has no patience to show them anything. Of course he just spent $600 he can't afford on some stupid video game thingie for them for Christmas.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 02:48 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Joined Apr 2009
2,380 Posts
you could try to do it against their will, by them a kit for christmas and tell them they can't open any other presents until they agree to do the kit together, with some help from you of course.
(try and give them a simple model to start. maybe a speed boat with a variable resister in the boat under lock and key so that you can slowly speed them up until they get used to the feel of this. was into still models for a bit and hated it until i finally found out about boats and loved it right away.) i might do that myself without the lock and key though, don't want a blown 100$ esc right away.

when they finally get the satisfaction of accomplishing it, they will be happy with it and will want you to get them another .
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 02:56 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Illinois
Joined Sep 2001
25,259 Posts
The short-sightedness of this is astounding.

At work we make it a point to find "tinkerers" and "real" modelers to develop our products. It doesn't matter what they tinker with (models is best of course), just so long as they DO something REAL. At my last place, my boss had converted his Corvette to electric back in the 70's and made it into a magazine (Popular Mechanics, I think). Then he converted it back to gasoline (he still has it, drives it to work now and then). Now he's building an electric from scratch, LiPo powered.

Monday morning I'm interviewing a potential engineer. He's already shown he's a bit of a tinkerer. My job is to see how much HE developed, and how much he bought or found online. (They need to be creative thinkers too.)

Andy
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:14 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Western N.Y. winemaking country
Joined Jun 2005
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Andy has it right in that someone has to be a creative thinker, as well as posessing some degree of manual dexterity, to bring something into being.

I do not believe that manual skills are a dying art, but they are diminished a lot in this age of computers and video games.

There well however be one hell of a wake-up call, when everything breaks, and nobody knows how to fix things---.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:31 PM
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CornelP's Avatar
Bucharest, RO
Joined May 2009
1,995 Posts
Well, I did a bit of part time teaching in the university and the new generations are just as you described it... we were doing some technical drawings (with a pencil, not Autocad) and they were just asking about the parts they were drawing... they did not recognized a common valve because it was sectioned... could not believe it.
But look at the bright side: our skills will still be in high demand in the next 20 years... The average age of an instrument engineer (oil&gas) has gone up to 50...
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:31 PM
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North Central TN USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boaterguy View Post
you could try to do it against their will, by them a kit for christmas and tell them they can't open any other presents until they agree to do the kit together, with some help from you of course.
(try and give them a simple model to start. maybe a speed boat with a variable resister in the boat under lock and key so that you can slowly speed them up until they get used to the feel of this. was into still models for a bit and hated it until i finally found out about boats and loved it right away.) i might do that myself without the lock and key though, don't want a blown 100$ esc right away.

when they finally get the satisfaction of accomplishing it, they will be happy with it and will want you to get them another .
No chance. First, they couldn't put down their %*&#@% cell phones, text phones long enough to open the box, and if they did it would end up in the pile of the other junk they'll get never to be seen again. I have two simple things I bought for the middle one whom I thought might be interested several years ago. I can see them from here, unopened in a closet. I learn quickly. As has been said, they are going to be in for one heck of a shock when they have to get a job and do what they are told, not to mention taking care of an apartment, paying bills, etc.
Their father did ask me to help with a pine box car for scouts. I tried to show the kid what I was doing and why and how to sand it and all he could say was, "Can I paint it now?" Frustrating.
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Last edited by 420TEE; Dec 12, 2009 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:35 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Western N.Y. winemaking country
Joined Jun 2005
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420TEE, like I said, one hell of a wake-up call---.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:50 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Joined Apr 2009
2,380 Posts
yup, huge wake up call, and all you're gonna say is "i told you so"
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:52 PM
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North Central TN USA
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Originally Posted by boaterguy View Post
yup, huge wake up call, and all you're gonna say is "i told you so"
No, what I'll say is "Go text somebody who cares."
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 03:58 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
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or you could do that
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 04:27 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
United States, WI, West Allis
Joined May 2007
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I still have two of the sheet metal projects I made in ninth grade metal shop. One is a galvanized sheet metal dust pan, and the other is a tool box also gsm. A semester of wood shop and a semester of metal shop was required in Milwaukee schools. You also needed two semesters of a industrial arts class in high school.

My senior year we were in a new building with a brand new auto/power mechanics shop, electronics shop, wood shop, machine shop, print shop, and photography lab. I had electronics shop 2nd hour, auto shop 3rd hour, and power mechanics 6th hour. Boaterguy just so I don't get your hopes up I also had Chemistry, Geography, and Geometry. My big regret was not taking Physics which would have been useful in R/C.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 04:46 PM
Grumpa Tom
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
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They shut down all the manual arts classes in Los Angeles school districts and other California cities years ago.
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Old Dec 12, 2009, 05:04 PM
Thermite + ice = Big boom.
boaterguy's Avatar
Canada, ON, Ottawa
Joined Apr 2009
2,380 Posts
you're right, especially when your high school is nicknamed south carelton hick school and is 50 years old, with computers that have windows 95
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