My opinion is relatively the same as everyone elses. I was taught the trade 4yr ago through a retired bender/sign maker/ shop owner. While beign employed @ a large shop locally here. They didn't have a bender or shop and relied on a source 4hrs away. I saw this as an opportunity which I presented to my current employer who was encouraging to my endavor to become a bender & open my own wholesale shop. This shortly turned to a constant baggering to move it into their shop / sell intrest to them. My independance was rewarded with a termination. The old man who taught me sold me his equipment + 3K for his time and knowledge. Since I have taught 2 and neither are still employeed. Also hired one w/ 15yr ex. who also has left now. I'm in a small town and we do a considerable amount of work for numerous comanies from middle TN , North AL , North MS , . The chat rooms and message boards are a benifit but as for myself when I'm not working I don't generally post or look unless there is something that I have a question about or have been notified by email that I have been asked something. If we do something unusual I try to post. I just don't think for the most part that everyone has the time.