Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fine Tuning the New Mantec


Wednesday is usually the day that the shop is closed. Today, though, it was humming all day.

Stefano and Giuseppe and I were working to get the Mantec stone grinding machine fine tuned and completely dialed in. Stefano and Giuseppe are here from Italy for just this week, so there's no time to waste.

The plan is for Stefano and Giuseppe to spend the week carefully walk me through every conceivable maintenance and operational procedure. Everything from cleaning things to replacing and repairing pneumatics, filters, pumps. In general, the division of duties is that Giuseppe handles all the maintenance and software and systems items, while Stefano passes down the "right way" to operate the machine from his perspective as an expert World Cup serviceman (Stefano has worked 6 Olympics and at least a dozen world championships).



This arrangement works for me. As an engineer myself, I appreciate the priorities, the analytical clarity, detail and perfection that Giuseppe imparts. As a ski grinder, I also really like the perspective and tips and tricks that Stefano has - he's an absolute encyclopedia of useful, precise, practical knowledge .

For me, the learning process isn't about how to "grind a ski" nor how to "tune a ski", but instead it's about how to fully utilize this particular Mantec grinder. It makes it much simpler for Stefano and Giuseppe that I already have a thorough understanding of how the machine variables and parameters affect each other, and how they're manipulated to get the structures that are needed.

By the end of the day today, we began loading some of the standard structures into the program memory on the Mantec. Progress. Lots of progress.

Funny stuff happens, of course. Today we stopped at the hardware store in the morning on the way to Ultratune, looking for some M2 metric machine screws. No luck; this is a small town hardware store, way out west. Lots of horse grooming supplies and not many metric screws. But it was funny to watch Stefano and Giuseppe make a bee-line for the cowboy hats! A perfect photo-op!


That's Stefano on the left, and Giuseppe on the right. Cowboys? Or city slickers?

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