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CHAPTER XX. GENERALISATION OF SHOP PROCESSES.
Having thus far treated of such general principles and facts connected with practical mechanics as might properly precede, and be of use in, the study of actual manipulation in a workshop, we come next to casting, forging, and finishing, with other details that involve manual as well as mental skill, and to which the term "processes" will apply.

As these shop processes or operations are more or less connected, and run one into the other, it will be necessary at the beginning to give a short summary of them, stating the general object of each, that may serve to render the detailed remarks more intelligible to the reader as he comes to them in their consecutive order.

Designing, or generating the plans of machinery, may be considered the leading element in engineering manufactures or machine construction, that one to which all others are subordinate, [75] both in order and importance, and is that branch to which engineering knowledge is especially directed. Designing should consist, first, in assuming certain results, and, secondly, in conceiving of mechanical agents to produce these results. It comprehends the geometry of movements, the disposition and arrangement of material, the endurance of wearing surfaces, adjustments, symmetry; in short, all the conditions of machine operation and machine construction. This subject will be again treated of at more length in another section.

Draughting, or drawing, as it is more commonly called, is a means by which mental conceptions are conveyed from one person to another; it is the language of mechanics, and takes the place of words, which are insufficient to convey mechanical ideas in an intelligible manner.

Drawings represent and explain the machinery to which they relate as the symbols in algebra represent quantities, and in a degree admit of the same modifications and experiments to which the machinery itself could be subjected if it were already constructed. Drawings are also an important aid in developing designs or conceptions. It is impossible to conceive of, and retain in the mind, all the parts of a complicated machine, and their relation to each other, without some aid to fix the various ideas as they arise, and keep them in sight for comparison; like compiling statistics, the footings must be kept at hand for reference, and to determine the relation that one thing may bear to another.

In the workshop, the objects of drawing are to communicate plans and dimensions to the workmen, and to enable a division of the labour, so that the several parts of a machine may be operated upon by different workmen at the same time—also to enable classification and estimates of cost to be made, and records kept.

Drawings are, in fact, the base of shop system, upon which depends not only the accuracy and uniformity of what is produced, but also, in a great degree, its cost. Complete drawings of whatever is made are now considered indispensable in the best regulated establishments; yet we are not so far removed from a time when most work was made without drawings, but what we may contrast the present system with that which existed but a few years ago, when to construct [76]a new machine was a great undertaking, involving generally many experiments and mistakes.

Pattern-making relates to the construction of duplicate models for the moulded parts of machinery, and involves a knowledge of shrinkage and cooling strains, the manner of moulding and proper position of pieces, when cast, to ensure soundness in particular parts. As a branch of machine manufacture, pattern-making requires a large amount of special knowledge, and a high degree of skill; for in no other department is there so much that must be left to the discretion and judgment of workmen.

Pattern-makers have to thoroughly understand drawings, in order to reproduce them on the trestle boards with allowance for shrinkage, and to determine the cores; they must also understand moulding, casting, fitting, and finishing. Pattern-making as a branch of machine manufacture, should rank next to designing and drafting.

Founding and casting relate to forming parts of machinery by pouring melted metal into moulds, the force of gravity alone being sufficient to press or shape it into even complicated forms. As a process for shaping such metal as is not injured by the high degree of heat required in melting, moulding is the cheapest and most expeditious of all means, even for forms of regular outline, while the importance of moulding in producing irregular forms is such that without this process the whole system of machine construction would have to be changed. Founding operations are divided into two classes, known technically as green sand moulding, and loam or dry sand moulding; the first, when patterns or duplicates are used to form the moulds, and the second, when the moulds are built by hand without the aid of complete patterns. Founding involves a knowledge of mixing and melting metals such as are used in machine construction, the preparing and setting of cores for the internal displacement of the metal, cooling and shrinking strains, chills, and many other things that are more or less special, and can only be learned and understood from actual observation and practice.

Forging relates to shaping metal by compression or blows when it is in a heated and softened condition; as a process, it is an intermediate one between casting and what may be called the cold processes. Forging also relates to welding or joining [77] pieces together by sudden heating that melts the surface only, and then by forcing the pieces together while in this softened or semi-fused state. Forging includes, in ordinary practice, the preparation of cutting tools, and tempering them to various degrees of hardness as the nature of the work for which they are intended may require; also the construction of furnaces for heating the material, and mechanical devices for handling it when hot, with the various operations for shaping, which, as in the case of casting, can only be fully understood by experience and observation.

Finishing and fitting relates to giving true and accurate dimensions to the parts of machinery that come in contact with each other and are joined together or move upon each other, and consists in cutting away the surplus material which has to be left in founding and forging because of the heated and expanded condition in which the material is treated in these last processes. In finishing, material is operated upon at its normal temperature, in which condition it can be handled, gauged, or measured, and will retain its shape after it is fitted. Finishing comprehends all operations of cutting and abrading, such as turning, boring, planing and grinding, also the handling of material; it is considered the leading department in shop manipulation, because it is the one where the work constructed is organised and brought together. The fitting shop is also that department to which drawings especially apply, and other preparatory operations are usually made subservient to the fitting processes.

Shop system may also be classed as a branch of engineering work; it relates to the classification of machines and their parts by symbols and numbers, to records of weight, the expense of cast, forged, and finished parts, and apportions the cost of finished machinery among the different departments. Shop system also includes the maintenance of standard dimensions, the classification and cost of labour, with other matters that partake both of a mechanical and a commercial nature.

In order to render what is said of shop processes more easily understood, it will be necessary to change the order in which they have been named. Designing, and many matters connected with the operation of machines, will be more easily learned and understood after having gone through with what may be called the constructive operations, such as involve manual skill.
 
(1.) Name the different departments of an engineering establishment.—(2.) What does the engineering establishment include?—(3.) What does the commercial department include?—(4.) The foundry department?—(5.) The forging department?—(6.) The fitting department?—(7.) What does the term shop system mean as generally employed?


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