Machinists work with metals and other materials and operate lathes, milling machines and other tools to produce shapes to a required finish and size.

What do Machinists do?

  • Read and interpret engineering drawings, blueprints, charts and tables or study sample parts to determine machining operation to be performed, and plan best sequence of operations.
  • Compute dimensions, tolerances and measure and lay out work pieces.
  • Set-up, operate and maintain a variety of machine tools including computer numerically controlled tools to perform precision, non-repetitive machining operations.
  • Fit and assemble machined metal parts and subassemblies using hand and power tools.
  • Verify dimensions of products for accuracy and conformance to specification using precision measuring instruments.

Key attributes for people entering this trade are: communication skills, mechanical aptitude, hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, an ability to work independently, and an understanding of mathematics and physics. Physical condition is important because the work often requires considerable standing and handling heavy objects. This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of other tradespeople such as tool and die makers, mould makers, welders and industrial mechanics (millwrights). Experienced machinists may move into supervisory positions. With additional training they may transfer their skills to related occupations such as tool and die maker, mould maker, industrial mechanic (millwright) or CNC programmer.

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