The time required for work of such accuracy as is done in the machine shop, and the high cost of skilled labor for efficient work makes machine shop processes very expensive - often excessively so. Modern competition has brought close attention to the desirability of avoiding machine-shop work and of doing what can be done to save time and labor where this grade of work cannot be obviated.

To avoid machine-shop expense, particular effort is now directed to making castings smoother, and many metal articles shaped by cold or hot pressing are used in place of machine-shop products cut from solid metal.

In the machine shop, the work of which is not likely to wane in this age of metal, particular attention is given (1) to placing at the disposal of the highly skilled machinist such drawings, tools, appliances, machines and attachments as will enable him to accomplish most in a given time, and (2) to employing perfected machines, tools, etc., so that efficient metal cutting may progress at as rapid a speed as possible.

Modern practice requires that drawings be made clear and amply dimensioned, tools be of highest quality and kept ready for use, machines be kept clean and adjusted, and in short that every movement of the highly skilled men be toward accomplishing something definite in furthering work and that all unnecessary movements be eliminated. To carry out so refined a system, the highly paid machinist must be directed in the best methods for doing a given piece of work by an efficient and experienced shop superintendent, and all that can be done through preliminary preparations or otherwise by less expensive labor is done to save the time of the highly paid man. The highly paid men are selected and developed because of their aptitude for their work, and judgment must be exercised in their selection.

Much has been written on the determination of the practical rate at which metals can be cut, and no little value has been derived from efforts along this line. It may be said that a machine should be run at as great a cutting speed as the work, the tool, and the machine will safely stand in continued practice.

It is well to understand that there are, in machine-shop work, different degrees of refinement in cutting down and finishing to exact dimensions, according to the different degrees of error incident to various methods and classes of machines.