Machinists

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Also known as:
Automotive Machinist, CNC Machinist, Gear Machinist, Manual Lathe Machinist, Precision Machinist, Production Machinist, Tool Room Machinist

ABOUT MACHINIST CAREERS
Video transcript

Machinists make things. They mount steel billets, brass rods, and other metal stock onto lathes, drill presses, and milling machines and use their skills and tools to shape them into a part that will be used in some other machine. Some machinists produce large quantities of a single part, but most produce small numbers of one-of-a-kind components.

Every job is unique, requiring the machinist to draw on his or her knowledge of different metals and how they behave when shaped. The ability to precisely follow blueprints or other written specifications is an essential skill in this job.

Computers allow machinists to be more productive, so an ability to work with both hardware and software is important. But computers will never replace machinists. No computer can match the skill, the knowledge, and the "eye" of an experienced machinist. After all, when you need only a few copies of a part, it is far cheaper to hire an experienced machinist than it is to pay a computer expert to write the necessary program.

SNAPSHOT
Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments out of metal. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Confer with engineering, supervisory, or manufacturing personnel to exchange technical information.

Fit and assemble parts to make or repair machine tools.

Design fixtures, tooling, or experimental parts to meet special engineering needs.

Evaluate machining procedures and recommend changes or modifications for improved efficiency or adaptability.

Study sample parts, blueprints, drawings, or engineering information to determine methods or sequences of operations needed to fabricate products.

Confer with numerical control programmers to check and ensure that new programs or machinery will function properly and that output will meet specifications.

Program computers or electronic instruments, such as numerically controlled machine tools.

Dispose of scrap or waste material in accordance with company policies and environmental regulations.

Diagnose machine tool malfunctions to determine need for adjustments or repairs.

Lay out, measure, and mark metal stock to display placement of cuts.

Align and secure holding fixtures, cutting tools, attachments, accessories, or materials onto machines.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.