Hi Keith Fenner,
I Andrew Scott Anderson nominate myself worthy of the tool chest giveaway. I nominate myself because I am young, ambitious, only make enough to support my family, and want to share my skills and abilities with the world. I feel I have the skills to do many things, but no means.
My ultimate goal, like many other machinists, is to have my own machine shop. What sets me apart from others is that I understand the difficulties in entrepreneurship and yet I still have an unquenchable drive to work through that and see what I am capable of.
I also, like some other machinists, have a long list of projects that I have, and would like to get done. I have thought that others may be interested in my projects, so I have thought about making a YouTube Channel.
Because of the requirements for the giveaway nomination, I will start my channel and show you and the world my projects, what I have been doing, and what I have got to do it with. I wish I had the ability to easily show you who I am as a person, and what I am capable of. I struggle with this, so as a result, I ask you to read this extra-long autobiography in my attempts to do so.
Here are some links to my stuff.
I am 33 years old. I grew up with a wonderful mother who supported my creativity all through my childhood. My father was a locksmith by trade, and a tinkerer in his free time. He had a rough childhood and was never social. As a result, he associates all that is good in life with being alone working on his own projects. He never took the time to teach me anything, though I was always interested in what he was doing, and I watched him. He never took the time to know me, and thought he was motivating me to be a better person by telling me that I would never amount to anything every time I failed at something.
Despite my terrible grades and failures in life, growing up I had always wanted to be an engineer. I was and still am a very hands-on person. My father would lock up his things so my brother and I would stay away from them. I remember having all kinds of ideas of things I would like to build, such as go carts, and motorized things. I would figure out ways to get in to the locked garage to work on my own projects.
I had fixed motorcycles that people threw away, turned push lawnmowers into riding lawnmowers, put tiller motors on scooters, and built my own tools. I used to sift through dumpsters to find junk to re purpose. In my teen years I had taught myself how to weld, and made weight lifting equipment, because that is what teens do I guess.
I earned what money I could mowing neighbor’s lawns with my cousin. I had my first job landscaping when I was 14. Sometime after that I landed a job activating cell phones at a call center. I didn’t work there long because I hated that job. I used that money to buy my first truck though. It was a 75’ Chevy 3500 work truck with a standard transmission for $500.
High school was an interesting time for me. It lead up to what some would call a “defining moment” in my life. My mom was going through a mental crisis and for all practical purposes was not present. My dad was, well, himself. I had no motivation to do well in school and no one cared what grades I received, so I didn’t care. I didn’t think I was going to graduate, even though all my peers around me were. I had an overwhelming mountain of credits I was lacking, so I didn’t think it was even possible.
I had one year left of high school. One day, a school councilor was talking to me about it, and laid everything out in front of me. He showed me that it was still possible to graduate however daunting the task was. I made a decision that day that I was going to do what it took to graduate. I spent long hours after school in a remedial classroom every day that school year. I did graduate, and it taught me one of the most valuable lessons in my life: If I worked hard enough at something, despite what others opinions may be, I can accomplish things on my own.
After I graduated, I was convinced my chances of going to college were, well, not possible. I had no job, I had no money, my family had no money, and my high school history wouldn’t land me any scholarships. Even if I did get a scholarship, would I do well enough to keep it? Would I be smart enough to do well? I was thinking probably not.
By this time in my life, the trade towers falling on 9/11 had stirred up quite the commotion. My brother had gone though many jobs and was wanting something different, so he was talking to the ARMY recruiters. I remember the day very well, when my brother told me he was thinking of joining the army. I was in my parent’s laundry room sitting on a pile of clean clothes next to the dryer thinking about life, and he walked in. He tells me he has been talking to a recruiter. He had done this in the past with the NAVY and decided not to. I was surprised he was talking to a recruiter again. He told me about the education benefits. I figured I didn’t have anything else going on, so I told him to tell the recruiter I was interested.
Next thing I know, I am swearing an Oath to defend the country for the next 8 years of my life. Even though the ARMY thought I was smart enough to work on the electrical systems of attack helicopters, I thought I was fooling them. I played the ARMY game. I did what they told me to do, dressed how they told me to dress, stood where they told me to stand, ran when they said run. I served 6 years of active duty and 2 and a half of them deployed. I then joined the ARMY Reserves and I am still a reservist to this day. Little did I know the skills I NEEDED for the rest of my life were being ground into my brain during those first 6 years. The single most valuable skill I learned: Discipline.
It wasn’t until I met my wife that I really had an idea that I was smart. Here was Shannon, this 22-year-old woman, who to me was out of my league. I had met her online, and we had dated for a month. She was in Colorado, working on her Master’s degree in community health nursing. I was in Colorado on military assignment. Yet we both grew up in Utah. She was the smartest most dedicated person I have ever met. She had inspired me to try going back to school. I had just enrolled at my first University and signed up for my first two classes. My Major was going to be in business. I had gone to her house to tell her and share my excitement. I was standing on her doorstep and that’s when she told me it was over.
After she broke up with me, I had to prove to her and myself that I was worthy. She was sure that we were through… I wasn’t. In school, I actually applied myself. I had a reason to try hard. Even if things didn’t work out between us, I felt like now was the time to be someone. I had passed both of those classes with a solid ‘A’ and that’s when I had my second life defining moment. I learned that College wasn’t as hard as I had thought it was, that I was smart enough to do it, and it further solidified in my mind that I can do anything I put my mind to.
I wouldn’t be able to do another college class for the next year and a half, because my ARMY unit was set to deploy soon. But I had been able to start talking with Shannon again a couple months before I deployed. We both fell hard for each other, and just before I deployed she asked to marry me. I didn’t know she was serious, but I still said yes.
It was a couple weeks into my deployment before I was able to talk to her on the phone. That’s when I realized she was serious. What a time to find out. At least that afforded me the time to formulate a plan to formally propose to her. I knew she loved the ocean, and she loved Hawaii. So on my mid-tour leave from Iraq, it was our plan to meet in Hawaii. I had decided to walk to the cliffs of Hilo with her one morning just before sunrise. I proposed to her there by pulling out a ring just as the sun started to break into view.
We married each other just weeks after I returned from my deployment. Soon after, I was honorably discharged from my 6 years of active duty service and joined the Reserves.
So there I was, a new chapter in life. I had no job again, I was out of active duty, and needed to figure out what to do with my life now. So naturally I decided to start going to school again. Shannon had told me she was fine with whatever I chose to do. I had been around helicopters the last 6 years of my life, I wanted to use that experience to start my career path. I wanted to go bigger. I decided to go to pilot school.
I loved flying helicopters. There is nothing quite like it. I blew through my savings before I realized how competitive the helicopter pilot world is. And admittingly, I wasn’t as good a pilot as most. Multi-tasking just happens to be one of my bigger weaknesses.
While I was in pilot school I had landed a contractor job for the air force building wiring harnesses and installing them in high security observation aircraft for a short time. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed that job until after my contract was up.
Luck would have it that just as I was leaving that job, I was hired as an avionics technician for SkyWest Airlines. It was a night shift job that despite the title, didn’t pay well. It was while I was working this job I decided that I was going to go for my childhood dream of becoming an engineer. I was confident in my abilities, and felt up to the challenge. It was also this year my son Daxton was born.
A Year after working at SkyWest airlines, Shannon had landed a well-paying job teaching at a University and I was able to quit working and go to school full time. It was a struggle going to school full time, and helping to raise a son. After 4 years of schooling, Shannon was pregnant with our daughter Emmeline. Shortly after that news, I had learned that my Reserve unit was ordered to mobilize to Fort Bliss, Texas. Shannon would have gone with me, but she and I both felt like she would have more support living close by her parents, than I would be able to give her on my mobilization.
Emmeline was born while I was mobilized. I was able to get a couple weeks off to see my daughter’s birth and help set up our home for a baby and make life easier for Shannon. After I came back from the mobilization, I started school up again, realizing very quickly that I could not handle full time engineering school and home life at the same time. I should also add that my son Daxton was diagnosed with autism. Between my two kids and school I could not dedicate the time either needed. I had no choice but to put school on hold for long term. After a lot of contemplation and long discussions with my wife we found a flexible hour trade school that I could take machining courses at, and get certified as a machinist.
To fill in the gaps a little here, while I was studying material sciences in engineering school, I grew a great interest in metal casting and machining. This is when I started watching YouTube. My first Channel, and for a long time the only channel I watched was MyFordBoy. I was so intrigued by his ability to cast and machine these projects, that I decided to later build my own metal foundry furnace and try casting myself. It took me a very long time to do, as I had no money or time.
Shortly after I started machining school I fell in love with machining. My peers and instructors could see how quickly I was picking up on things. Because of my military experience I had also developed the ability to explain and teach complicated concepts to others easily. I had become a bit of a teacher’s helper through most of my machining school. Instead of going to the teachers, most of the students would come to me for help.
A group of students and I decided that we were going to sign up to compete in the state Skills USA competition. We competed in the “Automated Manufacturing” event. This is a group event where as a team, we are given instructions to set up a part for manufacturing. We needed to create a computer model of a part, a set of blueprints for it, and program a CNC machine to make the part. A small desk size CNC machine is then set up and we need to machine a plastic version of the part. All of it needed to be completed in a certain time frame. We were awarded first place for Utah and went on to compete in the 2016 national Skills USA event in Kentucky. We first competed for and won our place in the top 10 in the nation. We lost the finial competition, but it was a great experience, and I feel it was still quite the accomplishment.
After graduating from trade school, I had gotten a call from the president of Kimball Equipment Company offering me a job as a CNC machinist/programmer. During our interview he learned of my engineering experience and hired me as a part time CNC Machinist, and part time manufacturing engineer. I have been working there for a year now come October 1st 2017.
I have been planning on buying my first CNC machine for a while, and saving up for it. I thought I could start with a Tormach 1100. My brother-in-law also wanted to sell me his fathers lathe. It was built I believe in the late 1890’s. I talked with Keith Rucker about it a little bit. I ended up buying that from him for a good deal. The lathe is now my first piece of machining equipment, though not very good, it works for now.
My wife quit her full-time job of teaching six months after I started working at Kimball. She has decided to go back to school and get her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. We have since been cutting back on spending and are starting to live on the frugal side. Maybe when she is finished with her schooling I will be able to start saving for the Tormach again. Could be a few years down the road.
Ultimately, I want to start my own business engineering and producing small machinery for specific industrial applications. This may change as I develop. But I want to build up my supply of machining equipment and tools, do odd jobs here and there, and see where that gets me. I was thinking YouTube would be a great tool. As long as I have been watching the machining community on YouTube I have wanted to be a part of it. Teaching others and sharing my projects with the world seems like a lot of fun to me.
Now that you know about me, I figured I would share my projects and ideas via video instead of spending too much time talking about myself.
Thank You for taking the time to read this.