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Author Topic: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software  (Read 3116 times)

zridling

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Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« on: September 02, 2006, 02:17:45 AM »
The best reality show that the Discovery Channel has yet to create is one solely about machinists. And for those who don't know, Michael Rainey (mrainey) is our resident coder on this subject. His website, ME Software has a sleek look and attractive color scheme, too. Michael is also a longtime UltraEdit expert, playing a large role in developer feedback, support, and testing of that software for years.

I've long held that students — or anyone really — could learn math in a really fun and pragmatic way by way of studying the Machinery's Handbook, which is the bible of the industry. When I taught junior high math I would pull examples out of the Machinery's Handbook and with the help of some steel, car parts, and various tools, most of the kids who "didn't get math" suddenly understood geometry and trig concepts they never grasped before. You probably wouldn't need ME Software unless you were a machinist or fabricator, but machining is endlessly fascinating. Michael's software has just taken a lot of the mental grunt work out of it, it seems.

Maybe Michael could tell us more such as how he got into machining and what led him to code his programs? We're curious.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 02:19:24 AM by zridling »

mouser

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2006, 04:42:45 AM »
very cool  :Thmbsup:

app103

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2006, 07:02:52 AM »
What amazes me about his software is the fact he codes in Ibasic. I didn't realize just how powerful Ibasic was till I looked at his site.

Ibasic was one of many languages I tried and abandoned in the early days of seeking a language that was right for me. For some reason it just didn't click with me.

Maybe that could be a language you might consider adding to the programming school if mrainey would be so kind as to be the DC ambassador of Ibasic.

mrainey

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2006, 12:41:34 PM »
Zaine, you make a man blush.


My path to machining and programming went something like this:

1. Geography grad student in California - finally hits wall "learning more and more about less and less".  Drops out (1975).

2. No geography jobs, desperate, starts Civil Service job as industrial analyst at Navy aircraft overhaul facility.  Main duties are carrying clipboard and trying not to spill coffee.

3. Sees notice for machinist apprentice program.  Signs up - discards clipboard and tie, keeps coffee cup (1976).  Loves it.

4. Wife gets Masters, finds job in North Carolina, husband dutifully follows (1978).  Zaine understands.

5. Spends year building house out in the sticks.

6. No computer experience, but gets job as CNC Programmer in local machine shop run by visionary redneck who already has eight CNC machines (computer numerical control).  Picks it up quickly and becomes pretty damn good (1980).  Happy as a clam with 8" floppies and hundred-pound computer.

7. Buys first computer - Atari ST - and plays around with GFA Basic and Pascal (1985).  Discovers that programming is fun!

8. Gets tired of constantly having to research machining data and make manual calculations, decides to try writing a helper program.  Uses Quick C on an IBM XT.  Program works fine, three people even pay for it (1993).  Whoa!

9. Tries VB6, not happy.  Bumps into IBasic Standard, feels instant connection.  Writes several freeware programs.  Many users, few thanks, no more freeware (2004).

10.  Writes commercial programs using IBasic Professional.  Sells enough to stay motivated.  Life is good (2005).

11.  IBasic sold by developer (Paul Turley - certified genius, always broke).  New owner disappears, language is now user-supported.  Not good.  Paul creates new language - Aurora - something of a C/C++ hybrid. 

12.  Have a look at Aurora - http://www.ionicwind.com

12.  Story proves that somebody with no math background or natural programming talent can produce something useful.


Software For Metalworking
http://closetolerancesoftware.com

momonan

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2006, 12:51:48 PM »
Absolutely great story, mrainey.  Really shows the power of continuing the search to find a path that works, and the wonderful magic of serendipity.  Inspirational. :Thmbsup:
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

zridling

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2006, 01:52:05 AM »
Quote
Happy as a clam with 8" floppies and hundred-pound computer.

Thanks for sharing Michael, and I'm jealous that you got to play with 8" floppy disks. And here I imagined you got hooked by the machining bug and surfaced on the side of programming after being arrested for a crime you didn't commit, running and hiding among native deaf mathematicians who ran a commune and smuggled you from car to train to donkey to boat, leading you to live a fugitive's life for sixteen years, never being able to write home to Mom, to tell her that her son still cares, and that you hope she got the card you sent her from a lover's hovel somewhere near the Ohio River, but you don't remember where because the postal carrier looked a lot like Kevin Costner in that lousy movie he made about a post-apocalyptic world where mean men beat the living crap out of mailmen for no good reason. Meanwhile, you roamed the West — like Kwai Chang Caine — coming into town hoping to help those who hath no knowledge of advanced machining only to be run out by corrupt and envious law men who saw you as a threat to their way of life. You survived by programming for iron workers, then mechanics, and also schoolgirls who wanted you to make them really cool trinkets they could wear around their necks, until finally, you were spotted eating a discarded turkey leg at the Renaissance Faire and given a job designing chainmail for the local busty women. Turning down many dowries and offers of marriage, you went back to your wife who didn't notice you had left and there you found what really mattered all along — those goddamn 8" floppies!

That's how I see you in my mind. So please don't destroy the illusion with facts.

mrainey

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Re: Michael Rainey's really cool ME (Machining) Software
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2006, 06:36:31 AM »
Whatever you've been smoking - I want some!   ;D
Software For Metalworking
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