Working with metals, using creativity and using power tools and other machining equipment are all part of a machinist’s daily work. People who enjoy being creative with machinery will find the job of a machinist challenging and rewarding. Working as a machinist requires skill, an attention to detail and precision. Machinists must understand the properties of the materials (metals) that they will be working with, as well as how to use the machining tools and the most effective techniques for each project. They also need to understand the differing effects of various heat treatment procedures on metals and be proficient in performing the heat treatment methods.
CNC Machinists will need further skills in order to handle the duties required of them. CNC machinists must have a vast knowledge of things such as manufacturing materials, computers, codes, laws & regulations, interpreting engineering drawings, and understanding the abilities of machining equipment. Being able to operate both manual and CNC machining tools is necessary as machinists will find a wide range of tasks necessary during the precision machining process.
Skills Machinists and CNC Machinists Need:
- Able to use imperial and metric measurements
- Able to work alone and with concentration
- Ability to use tools and machines
- Good eyesight and coordination
- Accurate and precise measuring
- Able to read technical drawings
- Metallurgy knowledge
- Strong math skills
What Kind of Work will Machinists Do?
Machinists will prepare, set up and operate machining equipment like saws, lathes, grinders, milling machines, drilling & boring machines, shapers, planers, plasma cutters, welding machines and many more tools. These tools are all used to manufacture or re-manufacture a wide range of products made from mostly metals but also other textiles such as plastics, rubbers, fibre glass and others. Machinists can become very specialized or work on a variety of projects encompassing many different fields.
Once you have acquired the basic training (machinist or tool & die certification) you can further your skills by becoming CNC qualified. A CNC machinist will program, prepare and operate CNC metal cutting machines.
The standard tasks that machinists may perform include:
- Studying specs and drawings to choose the best machining operation
- Calculate dimensions, material tolerances and prepare sketches when needed
- Make accurate measurements and markings
- Prepare machines and tools for specific projects
- Operate all types of machining equipment and tools
- Determine and adjust cutting speeds and feeds
- Turning/boring spheres, contours and other surfaces
- Using drills, lathes and mills ream and drill out holes
- Cut serrations, threads, keyways and grooves
- Shape, mill or plane surfaces and gears
- Cutting and filing of metals
- Sand and grind metals
- Test materials for hardness, cracks, and finishes
- Heat treat metals
- Maintain equipment
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