During the summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to work with Hirsh Precision Products Inc. as a CNC machinist intern. Hirsh is a high-precision manufacturing company located in Gunbarrel, Colorado, that manufactures and assembles parts for a variety of industries including medical, aerospace and energy. I first heard of Hirsh Precision Products through a few personal connections with current employees at the company and thought it would be a great place to expand my engineering experience while completing my undergraduate degree.
Over the course of the summer, I worked in most of the manufacturing cells including CNC mills, CNC lathes, assembly, quality assurance and engineering. I spent about 2-4 weeks in each cell learning how they operated and their importance in the overall scope of the company. I began the summer working in the Quality Assurance Lab, which is the hub for inspection in the entire shop. This location was a great introduction to how parts moved throughout the shop and how to properly inspect parts with respect to their engineering drawings. I was trained to properly operate hand-inspection tools and coordinate measurement machines or CMMs. Additionally, I practiced with geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, which was not included in detail in my undergraduate curriculum. This position taught me how parts are inspected in a professional machine shop and showed me how to better dimension my own drawings for actual design intent of the part.
After the QA Lab, I moved out to the shop floor where I learned to operate CNC mills and lathes. The time in these cells gave me the skills to run CNC lathes and mills and how to properly set up these machines to manufacture the highest quality parts. I worked with many incredibly insightful cell leads who gave me excellent knowledge of their respective systems. At the end of the summer, I could confidently run CNC lathes and mills, complete setups for new parts, diagnose errors, complete tool changes, and understand G and M code for certain machines. I studied engineering drawings and the order of operations to manufacture certain features of parts while running the machines on the floor. This experience also gave me insight to the plethora of tools available to machinists and what tools are used to create certain features.
Finally, I spent the last part of my summer in the assembly and engineering cells. On the assembly side, I observed how certain parts I had helped machine out on the shop floor came together to form final assemblies being shipped to customers. This experience brought together a holistic understanding of part integration into final assemblies. I saw how certain dimensions were selected by the customers to achieve the correct design intent of the part. This position highlighted the importance of well-executed drawings and their effect on the final assembly. In the engineering cell, I worked with a fellow Hirsh engineer to design a system to accurately set out-of-collet measurements during the shrink fit process. At the end of the summer, I had developed a set of part and assembly drawings for subsequent manufacturing. While my summer internship ended before seeing the system fully built, I am happy to have gained valuable design experience in a professional engineering environment.
I had an incredible summer working at Hirsh. I gained valuable experience in a field that I am passionate about and gained confidence in my high precision manufacturing and inspection skills. Not only did the internship help me gain experience in an industry setting, but I also got to work with a group of amazing people who welcomed me and my fellow interns with open arms. I truly felt at home coming to work each day. I hope that Hirsh will continue to offer this program and would encourage other ME students to apply!