West LA Hobby Machinists and Inventors

No Summer Schedule.
 The Venice shop will be closed for construction upgrades.  Check back in the Fall.

Last Remaining Community Machine Shop on Westside

A rare opportunity at the Venice Continuing Adult School exists for Westside residents as the Machinist Fundamentals course cranks up Monday & Wednesday nights on the Venice High School campus.  With the whirr of lathes and the boring of milling machines, students at all levels test their creativity while instructor Raul Molina passes from student to student checking on their projects and giving guidance where needed.

Unlike most machine shop courses, which match lectures with specific projects in the shop, the VCAS program allows students to work independently on their own projects.  The number of projects taking place is as diverse as the students taking advantage of the program, ranging from mechanics and hobbyists to engineers, entrepreneurs and inventors. 

In a recent class long-time student Dennis Erickson was working on some replacement parts for his drill press at home.  In the same class other students were working on auto parts, antique mechanical devices, and prototype inventions.  Regardless of the project or skill level, the Machinist Fundamentals course gives each student the workspace, tools, and expertise needed to cut and shape ideas out of raw metal and plastic and into reality. 

A unique aspect of this course, and a disturbing factor considering America’s threatened industrial base, is the overall decrease in vocational programs.  One Santa Monica resident and beginning student had this to say. “I looked all over the Westside to find a machine shop course or community shop where I could work on my ideas.  Being able to get expert instruction has been great.  As an apartment dweller, what I really needed were the tools and a place to use them.  Every Continuing Education program has classes in Jewelry Making, Cooking, or Spanish.  This is the only machine shop course on the Westside.”

Across America Community Adult programs and high schools alike have faced cuts in vocational education.  As machine shop programs at other schools have fallen at the chopping block, Venice High School and the VCAS program has inherited upgrades to the shop beyond what most schools could ever afford.  In addition to the standard milling machines and lathes, there is also a welding station and a foundry for metal molding.

The Venice Community Adult School is offered Winter Spring Summer & Fall.  Enrolment for Machinist Fundamentals class takes place on the Venice High School campus at 13000 Venice Blvd.  As a Fee-Based class, current tution is $150 for 10-Weeks.  Mid-Term enrollment is usually accepted.  
Technical Info:
Logan Lathe in the Venice Machine Shop

Juan with a torch

More Machinist Training

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Link: VCAS Official Site

The Venice Shop  now open for fee-based classes on Tuesday nights 6:00-9:00.  Restarts in New Year January 14, 2014.

Bill Rawuka giving a Milling Machine lesson.
New Students: Take safety-test.  Get checked out on equipment . 

Don't Look Like a Rookie!

Heavy Duty Boots Are Best... because things drop and we like to walk.

Registration: park in the lot off Venice near Walgrove.   Ask directions for Machine Shop.

Registration & Directions

  1. Go into the VCAS office to sign up. Late-afternoon or early-evening is best.  Call for hours (310-577-4230).
  2. The office is located at the NW corner of the Venice HS Campus. 
  3. From Venice Blvd turn into the parking entrance, just East of Walgrove Ave and 1/2 mile East of Lincoln.
  4. The address is 13000 Venice Blvd., Venice CA  90066.
  5. Once you have signed up, the staff will show you where the Machine Shop Class is located.  You will probably need to move your car around back.
  6. Picture of Venice, Walgrove, VCAS Office & Machine Shop.
Recently in The Shop:

SolidWorks - Use your Student ID for Student pricing on CAD software. AutoCad Educational release... 60 months for $160.

Steady-Rest and 4-Jaw-Chuck.

Jay squeeging off the surface-grinder table.

New students first register at the VCAS Office.