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I Forge Iron

Manufacturing and Fabrication

John Martin

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I didn't know where to put this, but I am getting to the age where I need to pick an industry to get into, and Manufacturing and Fabrication are two of many that I would like to learn more about. However, I have done many searches on google and yahoo, and I can't find out that much info. If I am not making myself clear, just say so, and I will try to make my question more defined and clear.


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Manufacturing takes all forms and typically pays well. It has been my career for over 30 years in plastic molding and production machining - I started on the floor and eventually worked my way up to running three plants. It was stressful and I'm glad it's in the past, but it did pay quite well - in the 6 figures. In your area, there are still many toolmaking shops and those folks make very good money, so it's a prime choice if you want to work with your head and your hands. It takes many years to make a good toolmaker but the career will pay well and you can do it your whole life, well into your 70's if you choose - while welding and some of the more physically demanding jobs will break you down by middle age. I can count at least six welders I knew (past tense) who all died in their 50's from lung disease and only three of them smoked cigarettes - so the environment probably contributed in a major way. I'm not knocking any trade but the pro welders here can probably comment on the strain of working in the field or in structural work.

The military also offers some excellent training in a variety of vocations. I'm not sure if the classifications still exist but the Navy used to have several machinist grades that guaranteed you would know the trade when you were discharged. You might want to check that out if you have an interest - there are also many other benefits to joining the military.

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