Author Topic: Age and Model Engineers  (Read 15947 times)

Online Jo

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Age and Model Engineers
« on: January 23, 2013, 07:50:48 AM »
I am not sure if this is an age thing but here goes? One of the things that I have always noticed is that Model Engineers tend to be ?older?, I think that the average age of my own club members is about late 70?s. There may be younger members but if there is they either don?t turn up or are engaged in building electric mice/rats and slowly migrate up into live steam versions. The older generation is definitely into Model Locomotives rather than building model engines. The ones we have sadly lost over the last decade were equally into model engines.

When I first started out in this hobby at a tender age of 23, I can remember being inundated by members wanting to ?help?, show me how to do things. As time went on I found that less and less members wanted to engage in helping and guide me learn new things and I have also observed that new younger members were being offered little help.

I have also on a number of occasions had very negative comments from fellow model engineers and observed them being aimed at other youngsters comments that could be summed up with ?what do you youngsters know about model engineering, you weren?t around in the days of steam?. Thankfully the most cutting one in which a prominent member of the Southern Federation recently followed up a similar comment to myself with one along the lines of you don?t even have any engineering qualifications, discovered the naivety of his remark ;D, others may not be able to respond in the same manner :-\.

Ok enough winging. Why are there so few younger model engineers, is the attitude of some older model engineers putting them off and what can we do to encourage more.

Jo
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 08:11:54 AM by Jo »
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Offline spuddevans

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 08:41:49 AM »
Why are there so few younger model engineers, is the attitude of some older model engineers putting them off and what can we do to encourage more.

Speaking as a relative youngster here (at least in my own little world - you should come visit it sometime, the scenery is lovely  :Lol: ) of 37, I have had a fascination with engineering since I was in my early teens, but it wasn't until I had got into my late 20's that I could afford to set myself up with engineering tooling, then I got married and money became tighter again.

I have a friend who loves engineering and would love to have a workshop, but doesnt have the space nor the spare cash or time to spend as he's got a family to support and look after. I think a lot of others are in the same boat, would love to get more involved but have other priorities that come 1st. Then later in life they take these "hobbies" up as they then have the time/money to devote to them.

In short, life today gets filled up with too many things, so hobbies and other interests can tend to get pushed onto the "I'll do that later" pile.


Tim ( one of the fortunate ones who has got some spare time, now has the equipment, but unfortunately has no place to work in..... YET!!! )
Measure with a Micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe. MI0TME

Offline swilliams

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 09:02:10 AM »
"I think that the average age of my own club members is about late 70?s."

I bet the age mix here is a lot more diverse. Now all we need is a club house, some affordable transport and some time off to get there  :DrinkPint:


"Thankfully the most cutting one in which a prominent member of the Southern Federation recently followed up a similar comment to myself with one along the lines of you don?t even have any engineering qualifications, discovered the naivety of his remark ;D, others may not be able to respond in the same manner :-\."

Forget the engineering qualifications. Send that low quality man to deportment college!

Steve

Online Jo

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 09:02:53 AM »
I have had a fascination with engineering since I was in my early teens, a late comer my parents remember having to let me go look at the diggers at the age of 3  ;D but it wasn't until I had got into my late 20's that I could afford to set myself up with engineering tooling, then I got married and money became tighter again.  :disappointed: I know the feeling

I have a friend who loves engineering and would love to have a workshop, but doesn't have the space nor the spare cash or time to spend.

Gaining a workshop can be a problem, in the old days model engineers would let youngsters come an make an engine with them. I offered to a young lad in the village to come and do just that, and his uncle even gave him a set of Stuart No 4 castings to learn with but his parents were worried that he might hurt himself :hellno: so he was not allowed >:(.

[I recognise that for slightly older gentalmen, especially the ones with partners, the opportunity to go to visit a woman to make use of her machines and tools can be missinterpreted by :o both parties. It was not a problem BD but since I have become young free and single again the older apprentices have "dried up"]

Jo
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Offline peatoluser

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 09:19:42 AM »
I think most young people who do get into model engineering do so through an older relative and having access to workshop equipment. To start this hobby from scratch can be expensive and the reasons Tim gave were the very ones that prevented me from entering the hobby for many years

as for youngsters being put of joining a club by the attitude of some older members, well, isn't that what this site is for? A warm welcome and plenty of friendly constructive advice.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if more people begin to find this hobby via forums like ours, than by actual contact with a club, although I dare say that some clubs do actively seek out new members.

peter



Offline Deko

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 09:26:33 AM »
Jo, I agree about some of the older club members (says he 72 y.o.a ). I often met a chap down at the local scrapyard and mentioned that i liked model engineering so we would chat for a good while. Then one day i said i had no interest in locos, that did it, ever after that he would totaly ignore me, and even walk away when i came anywhere near ( no i do'nt have bad BO ) :paranoia: I later found out that he is the chairman of the local ME club.  :shrug:

Cheers Dek. :old:

Offline John S

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 09:40:50 AM »


 It was not a problem BD but since I have become young free and single again the older apprentices have "dried up"]

Jo

Please send post code but don't tell Ower Gert   :LittleAngel:

Seriously my take on it thru experience.

Firstly I am not a model engineer, everything I do is 12" to the foot and usually broken but I do have an interest gleaned from when I started out I had to buy from the shows and same traders we all use today.

A while ago after giving up racing bikes and our local bike club folding i looked round for somewhere else to go one night a weel / fortnight / month with like minded people.
We have two ME clubs local so enquiries made and an invite thrown out and I went up.

To be fair I was made welcome, got a coffee and people were coming up, introducing themselves and asking what loco I was building. When I said I was more into the machinery / engineering side of it they soon wandered off.
After an hour of this I was on my own. Sorry but loco's leave me cold.

Second club was even worse, they have monthly meetings but April to October are running nights at their track which leaves November to March, 5 meetings in a local pub.
One is a ladies night, one is the AGM so I would have to join for 3 nights out per year.

I loose more nights out than this coming back blotto from the pub !  :pinkelephant:

Now as an aside with my ARC CNC hat on [ blatant plug ] we often gives talks on why bother with CNC and to this effect i did a lot of research and some of the main reasons are, lack of formal training but often coming from office / warehouse  / industrial enviroments most are very computer literate unlike what is left of the flat earth society in the clubs.

This then goes on the doing complex parts with little or no special jigs , cams etc to mention the people who are not interested in the journey but more the reward. I.e. they need the part no matter how it's made.

Then there is the group of people [ larger than most realise ] that have a workshop to support another hobby like vintage bike / car restoration.

Lastly and I find this interesting are the people who build a CNC, lets face it compared to an 8' x 4' router it IS a model and then use the MKI to build the MKII and then the MKIII etc.
To them CNC has now become their hobby.

These are all younger people, 25 + and what I'm trying to say is workshops and home shop engineering IS alive and well in this country but it's probably moved on from the old written in stone Model Engineering.

Many of my friends have workshops, some very, very well equipped but none build models. I feel the Yanks [ hawk spit - ding ] have it right when they call their mag Home Shop machinist, it does say a lot more.

Another aside when talking to Dave Fenner the Ex - editor of MEW, he remarked that the issues of MEW that had bikes and cars on the cover outsold the others. lets face it you have to be a right anorak if you can spot a magazine with a dividing head on the cover from 17 paces in W H Smitt Gmbh.


[ Edit] Whilst i was trying this tome Deco's reply came in which further adds to what I mentioned in my opening statements.

John S.

John Stevenson, Nottingham , England

Offline DaveH

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 10:41:08 AM »

Ok enough winging. Why are there so few younger model engineers, is the attitude of some older model engineers putting them off and what can we do to encourage more.

Jo


This is a perennial topic and the "younger" generation probably feel they have more commitments, a young family and all that goes with it. They also spend a lot of time "trying to make a living" than just living.
Nevertheless I feel the "older" model engineers can be a little offish which doesn't help. Let me give you an example CNC, there are "young" people very involved and interested in CNC,  - what happens some old *art tells them it is cheating - "cheating" my goodness there's a bit of encouragement  :facepalm: Well let me tell you what I think cheating is - using DRO's on your lathe and mill - whats up can't you count!

Take this forum, there must be 10 categories ( I haven't counted them) of engine builds, my design, someone else's design, with castings, without castings, with CNC, without CNC, with plans, without plans. What does it matter how one builds/makes it, but on here it matters ............ some sort of snobbery.

That's my little rant  :old:  :whoohoo:
 :cheers:
DaveH




Online Jo

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 10:42:47 AM »
Then there is the group of people [ larger than most realise ] that have a workshop to support another hobby like vintage bike / car restoration.
.....
These are all younger people, 25 + and what I'm trying to say is workshops and home shop engineering IS alive and well in this country but it's probably moved on from the old written in stone Model Engineering.

Many of my friends have workshops, some very, very well equipped but none build models.
....

John S.

John, Many true comments there.

I am currently helping out one collegue with his 1930's Rover who needs to have a cast part remade from scratch. And another youngster who is slowly restoring a 1960's Mustang who needs parts for that... Both with workshops, one with a lathe, but no desires to build model engines yet, but I am working on them :naughty: .

Jo
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Online steamer

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 10:56:45 AM »
All great comments everyone...keep them coming!

Dave
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Online Jo

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 11:18:10 AM »

This is a perennial topic and the "younger" generation probably feel they have more commitments, a young family and all that goes with it. They also spend a lot of time "trying to make a living" than just living.

I am not sure, the younger guys I work with have time and money for lots of things that don't choose to do or spend my money on. So many of them with families are off down the gym a few nights a week  :???:, dancing seems to be in fashion :-X, out playing golf :hellno: all day on a Sunday and this is all with in an engineering company. I would say they have more time than I had at their age.

I hear that Babies can be a distraction but our own Dave here shows that that only need be for a few years, then they can add to the fun in the workshop 8).

Funding: Here is an interesting one, a few years ago I priced up my entire workshop, the materials/castings for all my models and the time I have spent doing this hobby against colleagues hobby costs who were into sculling, golfing and classic cars. My model engineering was by far the cheapest hobby :whoohoo:.

Jo
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Online steamer

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 11:18:53 AM »
Hey DaveH,

Do you really feel that way?....like there is snobbery in the forum?....I ask that earnestly...and to be very clear...I am in no way upset by that comment...I want to understand it..

I know I could care less how an engine is made...or even if it's an engine at all!....I enjoy seeing the fruits of the effort...and the thinking process behind it....that "floats my boat".....whether it's a loco, a mill engine or a F8 Crusaider, or a miniature spinning wheel....though having the index set the way it is might set an "image"....but I really don't think ...at least I haven't seen any snobbery....

We had some issues at the "other place"....VERY isolated ones...and with 12000 members....anything can happen.....where someone was getting abusive private emai about a post subject that ...as was put to them...was "OFF TOPIC"....to the point he was going to quit the forum to make it stop!.........I put a stop to that right quick! 8)

I think this place is a very inclusive and tolerant bunch...but I am open to being proven wrong...and will help to mend that if I am.
I think the "index" just makes it easier to find a specific design of engine or engine build.....My Wallaby is a casting set engine....ect.

Warm regards,

Dave     (steamer  MEM)

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Online steamer

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 11:27:09 AM »

This is a perennial topic and the "younger" generation probably feel they have more commitments, a young family and all that goes with it. They also spend a lot of time "trying to make a living" than just living.

I am not sure, the younger guys I work with have time and money for lots of things that don't choose to do or spend my money on. So many of them with families are off down the gym a few nights a week  :???:, dancing seems to be in fashion :-X, out playing golf :hellno: all day on a Sunday and this is all with in an engineering company. I would say they have more time than I had at their age.

I hear that Babies can be a distraction but our own Dave here shows that that only need be for a few years, then they can add to the fun in the workshop 8).

Funding: Here is an interesting one, a few years ago I priced up my entire workshop, the materials/castings for all my models and the time I have spent doing this hobby against colleagues hobby costs who were into sculling, golfing and classic cars. My model engineering was by far the cheapest hobby :whoohoo:.

Jo

Jo

I have twin 10 year olds   a boy and a girl....beautiful kids....love em more than life itself....but to say they are a distraction to my hobby...understates how much work kids are.    I think I am the exception...only because I know how to work unreasonably hard...and am as stuborn as stink!, and that I have my wonderful, understanding and dedicated wife who loves me too...  I don't find many "me's" out there....present company excluded...most people think  I'm nuts!....but that's OK...my family loves me and that's all that matters..

NEMES is a great bunch of people , but true...the average age is a good bit older than me I suspect...but...there are a few "youngin's"

And some don't use CNC!

Dave
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 11:35:47 AM by steamer »
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Offline Tennessee Whiskey

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 11:33:47 AM »
Jo, I really appreciate this thread. We now live in a world where our youth are pretty much given everything and they are entertained by electronics. Building plactic models or wood projects with Dad and Grandad are pretty much things of the past. If we wanted a car we had to find something old and fix ourselves, now they pitch them the keys to a new one. I've watched them take the metal working and skilled labor classes out of schools and replace them with graphic arts and computer skills classes.
And all the while I've watched  quality and pride in craftsmanship all but vanish and their work ethics are terrible. If luring them in by CNC is the route we must take then that's fine and maybe we can instill the rest.  And if mom and dad want to by Junior a new Tormach, we'll at least get to play with it.  :thinking:
Eric

Online Jo

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Re: Age and Model Engineers
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 11:47:52 AM »
[Jo

I have twin 10 year olds   a boy and a girl....beautiful kids....love em more than life itself....but to say they are a distraction to my hobby...understates how much work kids are.   

Sorry Dave: Don't have kids, never will have them, so I am not qualified in these matters. My only exposure to the effort involved is my sister who is a single parent, who actually gets more time for her hobbies than I would have expected.

Jo
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