Apple MacBook Demonstrates Machining to the Average Person

Posted by CNC Reporter on Nov 3rd, 2008.


Back in my machinist days I was often asked what I did for a living. The response from the average person was usually the same… they had heard the terms “machinist” or “machine shop” but couldn’t really explain what they were or what they did. The interested people that actually wanted to understand my profession would ask for examples of immediate things around us that were machined or produced in a machine shop. Sadly, I often found myself looking around the room struggling to find a single object that was machined. My default answer was to point out that our cell phones were made in plastic injection machines that used dies that were machined, so the phones were indirectly produced by machining. This was an abstract image to them yet pointed out the everyday impact that the machining industry has on our lives. Other times I would tell them that nearly 100% of the parts in your car’s engine are produced in mills, lathes and specialized cnc machinery. The real dopey ones would usually reply, “So you make car parts?”

Forget it.

But now a new and popular product has hit the market that is directly produced through machining on machines we use everyday! Enter the new Apple MacBook Pro. If only this was around back in my machinist days I could have ended the awkward conversations by saying, “The new MacBooks are made in machine shops”. Check out the video:

6 Responses for “Apple MacBook Demonstrates Machining to the Average Person”

  1. pha_3drus says:

    The Apple website claims that the Macbook Pro is machined to tolerances on the order of one micron. This is not introducing the laypeople to machining, this is asinine. As a machinist, you couldn’t think of an everyday item produced in a machine shop before 2008?

  2. Editor says:

    The one micron tolerance that Apple claims is a little misleading (one micron equals .00004″). They are referring to the laser machining of the front light holes. Definitely not the machining that most of us are accustomed to.

    pha_3drus… As a former machinist OF COURSE I could rattle off a list that rivaled a Bubba Gump shrimp menu. As a machinist yourself, next time look around your mommy’s house or trailer and try and point out a single item that came directly off a mill. Sadly, it’s not an easy task.

  3. Craig says:

    yes! good article. i can relate when you try and tell distant relatives about your new job at thanksgiving. its sad that it really is hard to look around a room and point out anything that is machined. i leteraly see nothing in my house that is machined!!!

  4. Drew says:

    I run into the same problam now telling people what i am going to school for. Like the author, my default is to mention a cars engine. After a while i started mentioning that nearly all parts used in the Nuclear reactors in Naval ships and submarines are machined. I’m not really sure that the Mac Book Pro is a good example of machining capabilities. Few things are used by everyday people that are machined directly, but like the author says, nearly everything is indirectly made by machinist. Coke bottles, your news papers, comunication network componets, circit boards, and so many more

  5. Joel says:

    Looking around the house I’m not seeing anything machined however, because I installed our flat screen TV, I remember seeing an aluminum casting used to mount the TV to a slick telescoping Sheet Metal wall bracket that had the bolt surfaces machined. Lots of Sheet Metal around the house. Clocks, lamps, locks, hinges and gutters but not much directly machined items.

  6. jdk1.0 says:

    I could tell people about my drill press, or vice, but most people keep those in a garage…
    Also, toaster parts are machined, microwave ovens, any appliances really. Just tell them you can either make everything inside the appliance of their choice, or you can make the machines that create the parts.

    Open up their electric shaver…

    Finally, tell them to watch just about any how things are made show on TV; “Yeah, we make everything you see here …”

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