Machinist Interview #004, Ben Jenkinson of Jimko Machine

JIMKO MACHINE PRODUCTS

Jimko Machine

I want to thank Ben for taking the time to complete my survey. I met Ben through Instagram, and he actually makes the 4 inch handle for our Model 921 Safety Razors. Ben and his team do fantastic work, and I'm very fortunate to have crossed paths with him.

Safety Razor Handle

Give a quick, couple sentence intro stating who you are, what you do, and where people can find you on social media.

    Hi, My name is Ben Jenkinson. My father and I operate Jimko Machine Products in Columbus Nebraska. We are a full service CNC machine shop but we also have 6 Citizen screw machines. I actually came to the #instamachinist party really late but I can be found @ben_jimko on Instagram or at jimkomachine.com .


    How long have you been in Manufacturing?

    I’m afraid I was born with manufacturing in my blood. The first year I got to choose my Halloween costume I was a machinist complete with a “machinist apron” that my Mom made me and a cheap plastic vernier calipers that my dad brought home from his job. My Dad worked at a hydrodynamic bearing manufacturer until I was 8 years old and we would meet him in the parking lot for lunch a couple days a week. I loved looking in the overhead doors at all those machines and all I ever wanted to do is be a “machinist like my dad” ........ When I was 8 years old I negotiated with my Dad that I would work for him for $2.50 a day. My first “manufacturing” job was mainly sweeping and cleaning.

     

    What is your biggest “Win” to date?

    As my own biggest critic sometimes I have a hard time picking out big wins,but 5 years ago when we bought our current shop complete with two bathrooms, a office, multiple 16ft overhead doors all in 10000 air conditioned square foot it was gratifying.

     

    What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome thus far?

    It seems like everyday presents another hurdle to jump, climb or crawl over but I would say my largest hurdle so far has been staffing. I know that I’m by no means alone in this predicament but it seems like it’s so hard to to find and keep qualified people. There are days I would say we are close to over that hurdle but every time we grow it gets set up again...

     

    What do you do when feeling overwhelmed or stressed?

    I have to agree with what Mr. Saunders said in a previous interview that stress is intrinsic in a job shop. Stress seems kinda like gravity in a small business like it’s always there. As I get older I would say I hope I have a little better perspective of priorities and that helps me step back when things get stressful and go the right direction. Another thing that helps me is just being grateful. There are so many people who don’t have a job or have a job they don’t enjoy and I have a job that I can go to everyday that I love no matter how stressful

     

    What is the best shop purchase you’ve made in the last 6 months for $500 or less and why?

    I would say my best purchases that I’ve made under $500 are two different sets of jaws. Through the years we’ve always tended to make our own jaws and since I’ve started using the jaws from @mmm.usa and @carvesmart I’ve realized that it’s more cost effective to build parts and pay people who build jaws for a living to build jaws.

    MMM-USA Jaws

     

    What is your favorite, or go-to, cutting tool?

    My favorite or go tool is another tough one... Can I pick 2? The Garrtool v5c or the Helicaltools hsvr. I have been very impressed chip splitter endmills. We profile a lot of 316L stainless for medical parts and it’s makes a world of difference in chip evacuation. The other go to tool for me has been the helical flute chamfer mills from maritool. They do an awesome job, are double ended and save a ton of time compared to hand deburring.

    Helical HSVRGarr V5C

    Maritool Chamfer Mill

     

    What is one tool or piece of equipment in your shop that you couldn’t live without?

    Except the coffee maker...... I’d say I probably spend the most time with a 6” digimatic coolant proof mitutoyo calipers in my hand

     

    What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone just entering the manufacturing industry?

    There are so many sectors of manufacturing from machine loaders to shop owners but I would say give it everything every time on every part. Don’t cut corners, don’t wait until the finish is bad to roll your insert, don’t wait until you’re parts are almost out of print to make an offset. I tell my guys to make every part in a way that you’re not afraid to write your name on it.

     

    What is one thing that most people may not know about you?

    I get up almost every morning at 435 am. I either run or ride a bicycle almost everyday. In the past 5 years I’ve ridden over 30,000 miles on my bike and ran races up to 50km. Small business owners know that it can be difficult to separate from our jobs for more than 30 seconds at a time but when I’m riding or running I can forget about it and relax for an hour or so and then be ready to go into work focused

    Ben Biking


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