Every machinist works carefully with different types of materials and products. With so many fields now using CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines, it is common for machine workers to do less work with hardware tools that involve cutting, stamping, and drilling, and instead work more with specialized machines. While machines offer precise cuts and are programmed to work with many different kinds of materials, the machinist has the more important job.
These are skills that every machinist should possess to make sure that their job is done correctly and safely:
- Be completely comfortable reading and understanding blueprints and illustrations that will guide your work. Although the technology included in the CNC machines has greatly improved the process of manipulating and cutting materials, have reduced mistakes, and allowed large-scale production, they are only machines that are programmed. Machinists must know how to read engineering designs, decide how the CNC will be milling components, set the parameters on the machine, and then review the results to make sure they are correct.
- Oversee use and care of the machines. A good machinist must understand how to keep the machine in good working order and know all the materials and processes that a CNC is programmed for. A machinist isn’t only the CNC operator—he guards the CNC’s mechanisms to ensure that that are no problems that could cause damage to the machine or slow down the operation and production schedule.
- Know how to use all the tools and materials that are required to manufacture parts and components. That means you must be highly proficient in skills like laser cutting, metalforming, drilling, and screw machining. You must be able to use measuring tools like caliphers or micrometers to determine how much material will be introduced into the CNC machine.
- Work carefully and consider craftsmanship to be the most critical part of his job. A CNC is just a machine. A machinist is responsible for the final output. Machinists must know how to prioritize their workload and properly schedule the CNC machine’s operation in order to stay on task. It’s important to know how to troubleshoot (finding, investigating, and fixing errors in manufactured products) and discover new ways to increase productivity either through CNC processes or by the overall work that a machinist is expected to do.
There’s one final note, too, which every machinist knows: safety is first. Wear protective safety goggles and always follow safety procedures to prevent injury or harm to yourself or others who work with you.