The History Of The Hobby-Machinist

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Founder & Former Member
H-M Platinum Supporter ($50)
Sep 22, 2010

"In 2009, my wife suggested I "get a hobby." I began collecting and repairing antique clocks. Realizing that I would need parts, I decided to look into buying a South Bend lathe to turn some clock wheels. Not knowing anything about this, I searched and found a site I thought would be helpful (which won't be named) that claimed it was a "professional machinist" site.

I tried to get some assistance in getting my "stupid newbie" questions answered regarding my South Bend lathe in the South Bend Forum of this site that bills itself as a "forum for professional machinists". I knew nothing, admittedly. Sure, I made some mistakes, didn't read or search. I was cyberbullied, made fun of, ridiculed, harassed, personally abused, had my personal information spread around on the forum, had my career ridiculed. I even more foolishly tried to defend myself and respond in kind to the miserable trolls at that forum who dumped on me. When I tried to defend himself, I was abused even more, and even had a female moderator on the forum use her editing privileges to edit one of my posts and modify it to post many lies about me and my family. When I tried to defend myself, I was banned. [The libelous posts about me appear on that forum to this very day. They think it makes me look bad, but actually, it shows how cruel people on that forum can be. It claims to be a "professional" forum, but the behavior of most of the people on there is unprofessional, and downright childish.] I went to another forum, and while I had no arguments with anyone on there, I was treated with hostility, and eventually banned by the site administrator, a man who encourages that behavior, despite the fact that he can easily be sued and subject to monetary damages. His explanation was that he banned me "just because."

In response to the above treatment, without a place to get answers, I then started this site on or about September 15, 2010, using free forum software on shared web hosting simply to have my questions answered, stupid or not, without getting abused, defamed, libeled, and hated by so-called "experts" who live on those other forums and abuse others to make themselves feel good about who they are. This site began as a personal site. But soon others who felt the same way began to join. They too, had been made to feel stupid just to get some information they needed by the same crew of miscreants who get enjoyment out of treating others that way on those forums, which included the forum owners and administrators. The people on that other site still hate me to this day, after their many efforts to sink me and this forum failed. They continue their attacks whenever my name or this site come up. I never sued them, though I certainly had grounds to, given their cyberbullying and many false accusations about me. Instead, I went on those sites to let others know about this site, using other names by necessity after I was banned, and was abused over and over again, by those who obviously enjoyed abusing others, and by the forum owner, who feared being exposed as the cruel, arrogant, elitist he is. Nonetheless, I stood my ground. Most people would have given up by then. I did not.

We had a couple hundred members at that time, mostly the curious, some anxious to watch me fail. Some members who had abused me on the other forum joined so that they could cause problems on my new forum. They joined, made public accusations, and then left. Or they joined under false names, and then reported back false accusations on other forums. I insisted that members here behave civilly, or I banned them. I had zero tolerance for the behavior I had endured at the "professional" forum. There was one group on this forum who used my forum resources to organize and attract members to a new forum they were starting [which still exists], and somehow felt that was alright to do. One former moderator jumped ship, and started a machinist video site where he tells about his techniques for doing things, after telling me that this site would die without the deserting members. It was a tough journey. The site faltered a couple of times. Owing to the attitude of many of the denizens of those other forums, I stepped aside as primary administrator of the site, and surrendered the reigns to machinist Tony Wells. And our numbers grew, and grew. And now, it is several years later, and we are still here, still growing, still helping people and preserving the knowledge of machining. Recently, at the end of 2017, I decided to leave the forum to finally get my own shop and machines up and running. I left the forum in good hands. It will not be sold out from under the members as another forum did without telling them. There is a succession plan in place here.

There is no such thing as a "stupid newbie" question on THIS forum. Never be afraid to participate here. Ask whatever you want, whenever you want. We're all here to learn, not to show off how smart we are."

Written by Nelson Timken, founder and former member of this site.
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