Archive for the ‘Motorcycle & Small Engine Repair’ Category

Prepare for a career as a machinist or tool and die maker

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Prepare for a career as a machinist or tool and die maker

Are you good with details? In school, did math come easier to you than some of the other subjects you had to deal with? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it may be time to consider enrolling in technical schools so you can receive the training you need to be a machinist or tool and die maker.

What will you do?

If you’re interested in becoming a machinist or tool and die maker, you’ll do just what these job titles suggest – you’ll use machines to create tools, as well as instruments and precision metal parts. While machinists and tool and die makers share certain duties, it’s important for you to know what makes them different from one another.

What are machinists’ and tool and die makers’ responsibilities?

As a machinist, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says you’ll use blueprints, computer files and other detailed information to produce machine parts that suit certain specifications. You’ll need to be good at following directions, as you’ll need to make sure the items you’re creating are what you’ve been tasked with creating.
If you become a tool and die maker, you’ll also be studying blueprints so that you set up your machines to produce tools and dies that are free of defects and align with predetermined specifications.

What types of items will you make in either profession?

With the knowledge and skills you acquire in technical training schools, you’ll produce precision metal parts, such as simple bolts, hydraulic parts, anti-lock brakes, car pistons and bone screws for orthopedic implants. In this line of work, you’re also likely to create your fair share of one-of-a-kind items.

Meanwhile, toolmakers tend to create precision tools, as well as the types of toolholders that people use to craft materials like metal. Die makers are responsible for making dies and molds that help form ceramics, plastics and other materials into desired shapes.

How do you enter this line of work?

The road to becoming a machinist or tool and die maker is a little longer than it is for other technical careers, as the BLS says it takes four to five years. During this time, you’re likely to spend time in a technical school program and receive plenty of on-the-job training.

Despite the training you’ll receive, it definitely helps to have a mix of technical, analytical and mechanical skills.

What does the future hold?

According to the BLS, employment opportunities for machinists are expected to rise a little slower than they will in other fields, with an 8% growth projected through 2020. No change is predicted for tool and die makers during the same time frame.

If you’re lucky enough to land a job as a machinist, you can expect to make anywhere between $25,055 and $59,238 each year, according to PayScale. Tool and die makers can make even more – anywhere from $36,296 to $71,698.

So do you think you have what it takes to land a job as a machinist or tool and die maker? If so, tell us what appeals to you about this line of work in the comment space below.

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What you need to know about a career in small engine repair

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

What you need to know about a career in small engine repair

If you’re looking for a rewarding, satisfying and potentially lucrative way to make a living, you might want to think about signing up at a small engine repair school. This field can be a lot of fun, and could be the next step in your professional future. But what do these professionals do, and should you join their ranks?

The work

Small engine repair specialists work on all kinds of motors for various machines, from mopeds and lawnmowers to motorcycles and speedboats. They’re responsible for identifying and repairing problems with the engine that prevent it from functioning properly. These professionals inspect various parts of the engine to figure out what’s wrong with it, before replacing and testing it to make sure the engine is working as it should. Small engine repair specialists know how to reassemble engines of various machines, as well as how to perform routine maintenance work such as lubricating moving parts and reinstalling things like spark plugs.

The pay

Depending on what area you want to work in when you’re done with your training at technical schools, the pay for small engine repair specialists can be pretty competitive. Data from Payscale indicates that these professionals can earn an average annual salary of between $19,644 and $48,840, depending on experience.

The outlook

In terms of prospects, the BLS reports that demand for motorcycle repair specialists is expected to increase by 24% through 2020, about 10% more than the average for all occupations. If you choose to specialize in boat and general engine repair when you’re done with technical training schools, you could still be looking at favorable prospects, as the need for these professionals is projected to rise by 21% through 2020.

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Restore classic hogs with a certificate in small engine repair

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Restore classic hogs with a certificate in small engine repair

Nothing beats the freedom of hitting the open road and setting off on a motorcycle road trip. Bikers take their machines seriously, and classic hogs can be worth some serious cash, especially older Harleys and Triumphs. However, motorcycle enthusiasts won’t even get as far as the corner store if their engines aren’t in top condition. If you like the idea of restoring classic motorcycles, you should consider earning a certificate in small engine repair from technical training schools.

Passion for the work

Custom motorcycle repair work can be incredibly satisfying. Imagine taking a rusted old shovelhead engine and restoring it to its former glory – sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, working on classic hogs is certainly rewarding, but to make a living at it, you’ll have to know your stuff.

Many bike restoration specialists get into small engine repair because they’re passionate about fixing up classic hogs. If you love bikes, but don’t know the difference between a piston and a push rod, don’t worry – signing up at technical schools is a great way to learn the basics of small engine repair and begin your journey to becoming a classic motorcycle restoration specialist.

Former glory

One of the most common tasks you’ll encounter as a small engine repair specialist is cleaning the engine prior to working on it. If a classic bike has been sitting neglected in someone’s garage for years, chances are the engine won’t be in great shape. Before you can get to work on sensitive parts like bearings, you’ll need to clean it. Most commercial-grade cleaning agents like Gunk work well for this, but some specialists make their own solutions, especially if they work on older engines.

Rather than rely on manufactured parts, some engine repair specialists choose to craft their own components using tools you’d find in a machine shop, like lathes, mills and presses. One thing you’ll learn at technical schools is that engines are made up of hundreds of individual parts, and if the smallest one breaks or fails, the engine won’t run. Attention to detail, patience and a methodical approach are all traits of the best small engine repair specialists.

It’s what’s on the outside that counts

Once you’ve got an engine into a workable state, some clients will ask you to go the extra mile and add some cosmetic touches to their bikes. If an engine is exposed, you may be tasked with refinishing it so that the engine matches the overall aesthetic of the hog. Polished and coated aluminum engines are very popular with some bikers, so knowing how to do this precision work could bring in some extra customers if you choose to open your own shop.

Although there’s a lot of work involved, small engine repair and custom motorcycle restoration can be very rewarding. With a certificate from technical training schools, maybe you could end up working to restore classic bikes to their former glory.

Do you have any experience with restoring vintage motorcycles? Does this line of work appeal to you? Let us know in the comment space below.

What can you do with a certificate in small engine repair?

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

What can you do with a certificate in small engine repair?

If you’re good with your hands, maybe you’ve found yourself tinkering with your lawnmower in the garage. After all, if you want a job done well, do it yourself, right? Knowing how engines work and being able to fix them yourself can be very rewarding. However, you may not have considered the possibilities that might be open to you when you finish a small engine repair course at technical training schools. So, what can you do with this credential?

Set up shop

For people with a knack for fixing broken-down engines, work is never very far away. Once you’ve finished your small engine repair training program, you can go into business for yourself and start calling the shots.

Small engine repair specialists can work on a variety of motors, from power tools to lawnmowers, outboards to mopeds. Sure, hardware prices have fallen over the years, but people always need someone who’s good with their hands and can get their machines working again. Depending on your skills and interests, you can choose to work as a generalist or specialize in a certain type of engine.

This kind of business is ideally suited to independent contracting. You don’t necessarily need your own premises to start working as a small engine repair specialist – just toss your toolbox in your truck and get the job done where the clients are.

Work in a repair shop

Don’t like the idea of going into business for yourself? Then you could always consider working for someone else in a repair shop.

A lot of tool rental stores and mom-and-pop hardware stores offer engine repair as a service. After all, not everyone has the money or inclination to go out and buy replacement tools every time something goes haywire. Similarly, larger appliances like lawnmowers can be expensive, meaning people are much more likely to want the engine repaired instead of just buying a new one.

In addition to repair shops and hardware stores, a lot of skilled small engine repair specialists work on highly specific types of engines, such as vintage mopeds. While these little scooters may not be as glamorous as a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a small but growing movement has emerged around mopeds, and there’s always work that needs to be done on these aging machines.

Do it yourself

One of the best things about taking a small engine repair class at technical schools is being able to repair your own gear. Ever forked over a wad of cash to fix that pesky lawnmower? Then you’ll realize that being able to disassemble and repair your own equipment could save you a lot of money in the long run.

As well as saving you some cash, fixing your own engines can be really satisfying work. If you’re the type of person who loves spending time tinkering with machines in the garage, small engine repair is a great fit.

What do you hope to do with a small engine repair certificate? Let us know in the comment space below.

Get your hands dirty with a career in small engine repair

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Get your hands dirty with a career in small engine repair

If your garage looks like the final resting place for carburetors, spark plugs and fuel lines, maybe you’ve thought about getting into small engine repair. This field of work is far more than just tinkering with camshafts and pistons – it’s a viable career path for aspiring business owners.

What is small engine repair?

Simply put, small engine repair is the maintenance of motors used in a variety of appliances and power tools. If you’re planning on learning the art of small engine repair, you can expect to work on everything from outboard motors on speedboats to snow blowers, go karts to wood chippers. Anything smaller than the typical engine of a car can be classified as a small engine, and while some professionals choose to be a jack-of-all-trades and fix all kinds of motors, others specialize in the repair of just one or two.

Complex machinery

Just because an engine is considered small doesn’t mean it’s any less complicated than their larger cousins. If you’re thinking about getting into small engine repair, you’ll need to know how motors work, the parts that comprise these machines and how to fix them. If you’re a methodical thinker who likes to know what makes things tick, a career in small engine repair could be an ideal fit.

Some motors are pretty simple, consisting of just six or seven separate parts, whereas others are much more complicated and can be made up of several hundred components. Typically, engines of tools like leaf blowers will be simpler to repair than a speedboat’s outboard. Despite the wide variety in the complexity of small engines, many of these machines share similar parts, such as fuel lines, spark plugs, transistors and ignition systems.

The right tool for the job

Before you can set up shop for yourself, you’ll need to master several skills. Most technical training schools teach small engine repair students techniques such as troubleshooting engine problems, how to work with electrical circuits, diagnosing issues with fuel systems and how to disassemble a variety of motors including two-stroke, four-stroke and outboard.

If you’re thinking about signing up for a small engine repair program at technical schools, it’ll probably help if you know your way around a toolbox. While you can certainly learn the difference between a torque wrench and a hex key, you may find that a basic familiarity with common tools will serve you well.

Similarly, you should probably know at least the basics of how engines work. Principles such as combustion and compression are common to most fuel motors, and knowing how engines work can help you get your training off to a good start.

Small engine repair can be a fun and satisfying career. If you’re the kind of person who loves knowing how things work and takes great pleasure in fixing things, small engine repair could be for you.

What interests you about fixing things? Let us know in the comment space below.

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