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CNC Lathe Machinists Duties and Responsibilities
No two CNC lathe machinists are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:
Set Up Machines to Fabricate Parts The main responsibility of CNC lathe machinists is setting up machines to fabricate specific parts that clients need. This setup process typically involves programming CNC machines with instructions, offsets, reference points, and other calculations to create the parts.
Review Blueprints Before programming the CNC lathes, the CNC lathe machinist studies and reviews blueprints to understand the part being fabricated. This also includes interpreting overall engineering plans, surface locations, and machining parameters in order to correctly program the machines.
Inspect Finished Parts Once parts have been fabricated, CNC lathe machinists are responsible for inspecting them for quality and blueprint accuracy. If parts don't pass inspection, lathe machinists are responsible for identifying and reporting the problem to the appropriate supervisors or project managers.
Maintain Inventory CNC lathe machinists are responsible for tracking and maintaining the stock of raw materials used to fabricate ordered parts. Once stock gets low, the CNC lathe machinist places an order for more or reports the low stock levels to the appropriate inventory managers.
Oversee Machine Maintenance CNC machines need regular maintenance, and CNC lathe machinists are responsible for this upkeep. They constantly monitor the machines' performance and identify areas that are lacking. Once problems are identified, the CNC lathe machinist schedules the needed maintenance and supervises it to make sure it is completed in a timely manner.
CNC Lathe Machinist Education and TrainingCNC lathe machinists should have at least a high school diploma or GED when it comes to education. However, most employers look to hire candidates who have participated in an apprenticeship program or have additional certifications in metalworking or manufacturing, such as the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.
CNC Lathe Machinist Salary and OutlookThe Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary of CNC lathe machinists - categorized as machinists and tool and die makers - at $41,700. Machinists in the top 10 percent earn as much as $62,000 per year, while those in the lowest 10 percent make as little as $25,900 per year. CNC lathe machinists typically receive standard benefits packages from their employers that include health coverage and paid time off. They may also receive performance-based bonuses that depend on the machinist's ability to meet production goals. The BLS reports that CNC lathe machinists will experience an employment growth of about 2 percent through 2026. This lower than average job growth is due to increased automation and technological advancements with CNC machines.
Check out the following helpful resources to learn more about CNC lathe machinists and the overall machining industry:
American Machinist Metalworking Network - this LinkedIn group is comprised of metalworking professionals across the country. You can use it to connect to these working professionals, learn more about the industry, and improve your own skills
Practical Machinist - this website is dedicated to anything and everything that has to do with machining and metalworking. Here you can connect with the "largest manufacturing technology community on the web," talk to people on the forum, or read through the eZine to learn more about the industry and the skills you need
Machinery's Handbook - published more than 100 years ago and widely considered the most popular reference book for machinists all over the world, this reference tool covers a huge variety of topics specific to machining and metalworking
Blueprint Reading for the Machine Trades - this book starts with the bare basics of reading and interpreting blueprints before diving into visualization and multiview drawings, among other topics, to help you get up to speed on essential skills
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