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Precision Machining gives Vocational Students Skills to build Anything

Textbook for precision machining class

Many people are passionate about and fall into the career of precision machining. Precision machine covers many areas of industry. According to, without it we wouldn’t have any idea on how to make structures and machines and our greatest achievements would have taken way longer and near impossible to achieve. Every single piece of machinery, large and small, has at least one component created by precision machining that allows it to work.

Parts created by students or donated to the class for learning purposes

         Marcel Bertrand from Arundel Machine Tool said, “Precision manufacturing is everywhere.  The car you drive, the computer you work on, your cell phone all start with precision manufacturing. Airplanes wouldn’t fly and ships wouldn’t sail without it.  Every tractor in a field and every truck on the road allows you to eat every day. That statement alone says a lot about precision manufacturing!”

Blueprint for students to learn from and/create

According to, many schools now teach the proper ways of machining parts and are preparing students for college and life after college. This provided knowledge helps companies determine who to hire first over the many people they hire to keep up their work force. They also provide many machines for their students to learn how to use so they can continue learning on the job.

CNC machines

Many companies are available all over the world for machining parts. Arundel Machine Tool is one of them and according to, they specialize in security, defense, flight technology, microtechnology and naval technology parts. Bertrand said, “We make parts for Aerospace and Defense.  We also make parts for Oil & Gas and Medical industries.”

Parts take a lot of time and effort to create and are often made from scratch. Marcel Bertrand from Arundel Machine Tool said, “Simple parts can be made in minutes when complex parts are measured in hours and sometimes days.” Companies also must keep up with technology by purchasing new machines when they come out to ensure precision. Marcel Bertrand from Arundel Machine Tool said, “New equipment is purchased every year.  Technology is always evolving so we feel it’s important to keep up with it.”

Milling machines (up front) and lathes (in the background)

When asked what his favorite project on the job was, Bertrand said, “There are no favorite projects but knowing that we help keep this country safe with parts that go directly to the military and the fact that our industry touches almost every life on earth one way or another is very satisfying.  Let’s not forget beyond earth, space travel…” the applications are limitless which make the field an exciting one to work in.

When in a precision machining job you are required to know what you are doing and how you will get it done. When asked what they look for in new hires, Bertrand said, “Good work ethics and mechanical aptitude.”
Bertrand has been working in the machining industry for “34 years.”                             

Various tools used by machinists

Many schools teach precision machining and the vocational school of BRCOT is one of them. They have all the tools and technology needed to learn precision machining. Most of it is old, but the operating systems of CNC machines are close to the same. They have books for learning and they have wrenches, cutting bits for the machines, measuring tools, blueprints and edge finders.

Micrometers and many other tools used by machinists

      Ashton Glidden, a BRCOT student said, “Precision Machining relates to my life in a very interesting way. Everything you do in life relates to precision and accuracy. If you can be accurate with your precision then you will be great in life as well as this profession.” In precision machining school courses people will learn things that they will apply to their life even if they don’t pursue a machining career.

Glidden said, “If you’re doing a job that includes parts with a company or business, you get a deadline. That deadline also applies to life, because bills have deadlines, as well as other things.” People learn in many different ways but precision machining is for people who want to learn and be there to participate. Glidden said, “Precision Machining isn’t something that can just be answered as a simple easy or hard question, it depends on your work ethic and learning style. I tend to be more of a hands on learner, but I can also use books and memory to my advantage.”

In the precision machining world, even slight mistakes can scrap a whole part. No matter how big or small the mistake is. Glidden said, “It is very easy to make a mistake in this profession, as everything extends all the way to thousandths of an inch, and you must be within the part’s tolerance. The lower the tolerance of the part is, the more the customer will be charged, as it is very difficult to make these parts within their tolerances. The measuring tools need to always be calibrated so that you do not mess up on the part’s dimensions, and can make sure that they fit with no their tolerances levels.”
    When asked how precise students are required to be, Cadorette said, “Most of the tolerances are +/- 0.05. Sometimes they are asked to hold a dimension to +/- 0.001.”

People have many reasons for being drawn in to precision machining. Cadorette said, “My sister in law, mentioned to me that the company she was working at, offered an apprenticeship. Pay to get trained. I decided it we the path for me!” Even teachers have their favorite parts of precision machining. Cadorette said, “My favorite project, is teaching students the skills necessary to become successful in precision machining, having them return and share their experiences is priceless!” Companies and precision machining courses often get asked to do things for separate clients that need parts or need help making them.

Cadorette said, “We have worked with Perry’s machine shop a few times. Once in a while a company will ask us to produce parts as long as students can learn lessons from a project. Otherwise I will pass on the offer.”

         Not many people are in the machining industry and know how to machine but those that go to classes for it normally stick with this career. Cadorette said, “Most students, about 80-90% of the class will decide to pursue a career in precision machining.”

Link to photo essay about the BRCOT vocational school:

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