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Apprenticeship training

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Scag48, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well, back from 4 days of training. Things aren't quite what I had thought, I figured if I had made it that far, as long as I didn't screw anything up I'd make it through. There are 100 folks that come out for 4 days, my group last week of 50 and another 50 next week. They will be taking 50 out of 100, I feel pretty confident but it's not a for sure thing at this point. However, I feel that I performed well, learned some new control patterns quickly and got the hang of some iron I had never run before fairly well. They are looking for trainability and a lot of guys there had little to no experience running equipment. For someone like myself who runs Cat controls religiously to jump on a Case with 3 lever or Deere controls and get it figured out within an hour or so makes me feel good. I don't have much time on a dozer either and I feel I did pretty well with them as well, the D6R gave me a little trouble when finish grading, but I performed the slot dozing excercises that we were doing well. However, I still won't know for another couple weeks whether I make the cut or not. Here's what I ran:

    Deere 744H, two lever, good machine
    Komatsu WA200-5, awesome machine, everyone loved it, very fast and with the joystick I could really manipulate that machine
    Cat 257BII, better than the A and B series but still needs more juice
    Bobcat 763, junk, hand controls that require you to move the sticks back and forth like old school hand/foot controls, but the joystick tops rotated in and out to control bucket and lift control. I figured it out after a while, ridiculously awkward, even the guys who have never run skid steers had a hard time with it, what a pile of crap, controls aside.
    Deere haul truck, it was older, basically a Bell, probably 20-25 ton, interesting to run that bad boy

    Deere 310E, Deere controls, really awkward at first but I finally figure it out after being used to Cat controls
    Cat 416E, what an awesome machine. She had 1,000 hours on her, Cat control wobble sticks, the cab is way better than Case and so are the ergos
    Case 580SM with 3 lever, 2 weeks old, 50 hours on her. Cab looks super cheap, didn't particularly care for the loader control joystick but oh well, I could run her pretty smooth after 2 hours
    Cat 436 with 3 lever, what a hoss of a machine. 2wd, old, huge, and the backhoe pins were loose, she'd sway all over the place after swinging past about 70 degrees from center

    Cat D6RII with a 6 way blade and Topcon 3D-GPS, pretty new, 1,000 hours I think. Fast, nimble, diff. steer with tiller, had a multi-shank ripper, nice machine
    Deere 650H's, we had two of them going all day, I got pretty good finish grading with them going slow, after a few more hours I could probably speed it up a little.
    Cat D8RII, diff. steer with tiller, what a beast. Can't hardly spin the tracks or overload this machine unless you're a complete idiot, just drop the blade and go. What a blast, just about like driving a house. Loud as hell even with a cab but I loved the crap out of it. I ran it with the side windows open just so I could hear the pads clacking tough in reverse, what an awesome sound. :drinkup:

    Had a great time this last week, met some really cool people. I think I'll be okay and make it through, I'm just nervous.
  2. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,214

    How do you like the hydro. trans on the 200-5 loader? I was at one time bent on getting one, for plowing it was awesome just let up and it would slow itself down.

    I learned on John Deere controls for backhoe/excavator and for the life of me can't figure out the cat/(iso?) controls. I should try to master it but now I likely never will. If you can get use to running different controls you will be more valuable down the road. Sounds like they have a nice mix of brands and with newer stuff that should make it more fun.
  3. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    The Komatsu was awesome, basically there's a dial where you can set your speed range infinately from 1-4 and a direction shuttle on the dash like any other loader. It was great, because you could get it to power down enough when hitting the pile to get her nice and heaped, then lay on the throttle coming back out and she'd smoothly speed up, no loss of material from the clunk of shifting and it seems much faster.

    My backhoe instructor asked everyone before we headed out if anyone had backhoe experience. I don't have much time on backhoes, probably 100 hours, but I told him I was used to Cat controls from excavator. He told me that he was going to screw me up good because he had all three control types out in the backhoe pad, I agreed that 3 lever and Deere was going to throw me for a loop. By the end of the day and about 4 hours on Case 3 lever, I could smoothly run it and be productive enough to not piss of a foreman. Over time, I feel I could learn Deere and 3 lever proficiently. I think I scored good points that day as I did pretty darn well with the Case for having a lot of hours on Cat controls.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    You probably have the most experience in the group so I wouldn't be too worried. Everybody excells at running one type of equipment better than the others.

    Is this for a operating engineers ticket ?

    I would probably go for a hydraulic excavator ticket.
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    This round was just to make it into the apprenticeship program. Once accepted, I start 7 weeks of training in the end of April. I found out I will be able to get my CDL while I'm there before the law changes in July. All I have to do is get my permit, which requires me to pass the written exam and get my DOT health card, then I spend 2 weeks at the grounds driving truck and getting practice. They provide the trucks and fuel, trucks are way nice. They have a water truck, 2 or 3 triaxle dumps, and a nice Pete with a bottom dump to use for class A endorsements. Once I feel comfortable driving truck, someone from the state will come out and run us through a state approved course. Pretty sweet deal, nice trucks to test in, good training, they say even the most beginner of folks wanting to get their CDL pass with flying colors, the training is pretty good.

    As far as the rest of the training goes, I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm not sure if we will be able to to pick which group we want to get trained on or not. If so, I'm going to do dozer and backhoe I think, I want more time on 3 lever. Excavator I have plenty of experience on, I'd probably blow away half the journeymen, I don't need any experience there. I figure that's why I didn't go out to the excavator pad while I was there, they know I have excavator experience, I figured they didn't put me in that group because they didn't need to see it.
  6. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Scag...........I guess the helmet cam would NOT make points at this point in time? :) Glad to see you are doing it.........
  7. Mjh Excavating

    Mjh Excavating LawnSite Member
    Posts: 123


    I have to ask and not trying to offend you, but at your age what is plenty of experience? I'm not talking about tearing down apple trees or digging a foundation. I would like to know actual projects i.e. (bridge work, road work, quarry operations, pipeline work, large scale development work) just curious.
  8. Construct'O

    Construct'O LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Sw Iowa
    Posts: 1,387

    I agree at this point that the excavator would be at the bottom of your list of equipment to start training on.As times goes on some training working around utility lines and pipeline course would be a good learning curve as you finish out.

    Of course me being a dozer guy,what was some of the things with the finish dozer part you did that gave you the most problems?

    Did they have any kind of trenchers or crane there? Will that come later?

    CDL thing sounds like a great deal,as far as i see it.The route your going is going to be a win,win,deal for you.

    Sounds like you have a good chance making the cut.What will happen to the other fifty, will they get there chance just won't make it this time or what?

    Good luck:usflag:
  9. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    I'm confused here. By reading your signature, I was under the impression that you already were a union apprentice.
  10. Fieldman12

    Fieldman12 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,504

    Sound like a good mix of equipment from the top brands. Sounds like they are big on Cat and Deere for the most part. What was you having trouble with on the dozer? I remember back when I started on a dozer. It really helps allot if you can talk to someone that can point some stuff out to you. Remember to always keep an eye on the blade and the more level your work gets the less you have to cut and move the blade. Just take nice smooth cuts. If it is an area that is really bad shape just knock the high spots of and keep working the blade down every pass until level. Remember to also keep your blade good and level side to side. Once you get the hang of it you will love it. You need to feel your work in the seat so to speak. Once you get use to it you wont even think about what to do. It just comes natual. I would say you have a very, very good chance getting in there since most did not have any experiece. I have found out that a persons determination will go along way in life. Kinda like the Tim Mcgraw song (how bad do ya want it).:)

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