Sorry that things have been quiet but we have been on a 6 week trip to New Zealand. It was the only country that my wife and I both had heard so much about and both agreed we wanted to see. So I had to bid farewell to the workshop for longer than I really wanted but you can’t go round to the other side of the world for just the weekend.
We flew Emirates from London to Dubai, Dubai to Melbourne and Melbourne to Wellington with a few hours stop over at each. If we must fly long haul we like Emirates or Virgin whenever possible and Emirates once again was brilliant.
We had considered doing a golfing holiday through a package deal but it ended up like some sort of crazy route march with tee times booked months in advance. Not really a holiday. We chose instead a camper-van do your own thing style tour. We were both a bit apprehensive about being in close confines for 6 weeks (instead of our normal me in the workshop and my wife playing golf). It took a few days to get into the swing of things and work out a routine but once we were sorted it went well.
We covered over 5,000 kms wandering around North and then South Island. We usually booked one night’s camp site ahead. We used the Top10 sites most of the time but also some independent ones. Some sites were very good, some not so good. We had one where we felt like cleaning our shoes when we came out of the toilet block …
We covered a significant part of both islands and were blown away by the scenery. We struck lucky with the weather with the sun following us around on our journey. We did get to play golf but rather than pay NZD200 for a round we played small town courses for NZD30 tops. The courses were beautifully manicured, most were deserted with an honesty box for green fees and we met some interesting people.
I didn’t get to see much mechanical tech but there were a few heritage steam railways and museums that I couldn’t resist visiting.
It is a great destination and despite my reservations, the camper-van was a great way to see things and the 6 weeks flew by. Highlight for both of us was a front seat helicopter flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound via a glacier landing and with blue skies all day. Not many people see Milford Sound in sunshine. We were very very lucky.
The workshop awaits and my newly installed heater will ensure a cosy winter activity session.
Great to be back and it will be even better when we have shaken off the jet lag.
My visit to the MHUB/NYC CNC event also allowed me to visit the IMTS 2018 manufacturing show in Chicago. My goodness what an event. Lots of walking and lots of drooling over the latest technology for wasting metal. Some of the machines were almost as large as my home in the UK. I have never seen so many cutting tools.
I did fall in love however …. with the Datron Neo milling machine. It has a small footprint but a big punch with a 40k RPM spindle, 24 position tool changer with tool checking and an astonishingly elegant software user interface. It is way out of my pocket but for a small prototyping shop or educational establishment I think it will be very attractive.
Rather than have the annual Open House at his factory in Zannesville, John Saunders at NYC CNC decided to have a joint event in Chicago at the MHUB facility under the banner of a Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Summit.
The format was for key presentations together with the attraction of having a tour of the MHUB setup which is a resource facility for product development.
John Grimsmo, a highly respected knife maker, told of his ups and downs prior to his current success. This was followed by Jay Pierson telling his not dissimilar path to his company’s success in the machining work holding market.
After a break for a tour of the facilities there was an update from AutoDesk regarding developments on their wide portfolio of engineering software with particular interest in Fusion 360. There was then a closing Q and A session.
The tour revealed the breadth and depth of the resources available to external organisations at MHUB to help get a product to market. An extensive mechanical workshop, 3D printing, electronic workbenches and software development are just a few of the tools and resources available. It was impressive.
The afternoon and evening passed quickly and it was good to see some familiar faces from my visit to last years Open House and the training course I attended in Zanesville.
As I sat listening to Jay and John I could not help but identify with how they had got to where they are and the parallels with my business days. We may be many years apart but we have all suffered the same ups and downs, long hours etc that are an essential part of getting to success.
My travel agent (aka my adorable wife) has got my airline tickets ready so I can attend John Saunders’ Open House bash at MHUB this Sunday coming in Chicago with 3 days afterwards at IMTS 2018.
Hopefully I will meet up with some of the friends I met at the NYC CNC training week and last year’s Open House plus all the new contacts that I have made via this blog. Also hoping to be blown away with seeing new technology (totally out of my budget) at IMTS.