Topic outline

  • Changes in Manufacturing (1 hr)

    What is manufacturing? The answer is simple yet broad. It means to make something using machinery.

    Though the definition is straightforward, the process often isn't. Some of the machines have grown as complex as the computers and smart phones they make. American ingenuity helped to create the first manufacturing boom, and now a lot of work that used to be done by hand is done by machines. Current manufacturing jobs require a lot more skill and knowledge than before. What might the future look like?

    This topic will introduce you to the evolution of manufacturing.


  • Basic Machines (2 hrs)

    Machines make work easier. For example, before the wheel was invented, people could only transport objects by carrying or dragging them. The wheel and axle is just one of the six different types of simple machines: lever, wheel & axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. You will learn about all of them in this topic.

    All of the simple machines are used throughout the manufacturing process to help save on energy and make production easier. Often two or more simple machines are used together in order to get a better "mechanical advantage."

    Mechanical advantage is the amount of energy you get from a tool compared to the effort you put in. Think of a hammer. As you swing the hammer down onto a nail, your force is concentrated on one small point. You can use very little energy for a great amount of force. If you instead tried to push the nail in with your finger, you would use a great amount of energy and still not be successful.

    The hammer is actually one of the simple machines in action. It is an example of a lever. Levers and other simple machines have been used throughout history to make work easier and more effective, and are still used to help with the manufacturing process.

    Watch this video to learn more about mechanical advantage.

  • Manufacturing Power Sources (1.5 hrs)

    To power a machine, you need an initial power source. The source of the power is most commonly electrical, but often times hydraulics and pneumatics are used in manufacturing too. This topic will show you the basics of each type of power source and how they generate energy.

  • Manufacturing Process (1 hr)

    Look around you--almost everything you see has been processed or manufactured. Because of the variety of products, you need a variety of workers and variety of machines to finish the processes used to make them. Many times these different processes are completed by different companies, each experts in their own fields.

    This topic will show the manufacturing process for some things that are familiar to all of us: money and drinks.


  • Safety in Manufacturing (1 hr)

    The most important part of any job is safety. You work to earn a living, and being unsafe can result in serious injury or even death.

    It is up to you to make sure that you follow every safety precaution. You depend on it, as do your family and co-workers. Your co-workers also want to work in a safe environment. They also have families to go home to.

    Your employer also understands the importance of safety. No one wants someone injured on the job, or worse, killed.


  • Geometrical Tolerancing (1 hr)

    When a part is produced, it needs to be the right size. Think of a nut and bolt. If the nut is too small, it will not fit on the bolt. If the threads do not match up, being either too long or too wide apart, you will not be able to screw them together.

    That is why machinists calibrate their machine before they start: to make sure the parts they are making fit within the right size, or tolerance.


  • CNC Operator (2.5 hrs)

    CNC stands for "Computer Numerical Code." A CNC Operator is the person who programs a machine in the manufacturing process. Every cut, weld, label, or anything else that uses robots or "automated machines" needs to be programmed. In order to do this, a CNC programmer needs an understanding of geometry as well computer skills. Though the work is challenging, it can be very rewarding for those that are able to learn the skill. This topic will go over the work that is performed, some of the different types of CNC machines, and also how those machines are programmed. This video gives a good overview from the perspective of those who do the work.

  • Industrial Maintenance (1 hr)

    The two main jobs of a Maintenance Technician are to maintain machines and then to fix machines if they break down. This video gives a nice overview of the work that they perform.

  • Welding (2.5 hrs)

    Welding is the process of molding together two metal objects. It is a needed skill in any metal shop.

    A bad weld on a frame could be deadly, so good welders need some experience. This topic will go over how welding is used by different companies, and also show you some tips on how the craft of welding works.


  • Employment Knowledge and Expectations (1.5 hrs)

    Because manufacturing jobs have gotten more complicated, the need for skilled workers in the field has grown substantially. A lot more training is required, but the pay for the work has also increased. This topic will look at some of the employment opportunities for CNC operators, industrial maintenance technicians, and welders.