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Machine Tool Technology

What does a Machinist do?

A machinist sets up and operates equipment such as lathes, milling machines, saws, grinding machines, drilling and boring machines, shapers, planers, precision measuring tools, hand and power tools, and related attachments and accessories. These cutting tools are used to manufacture and repair parts and products made from metals, plastics, rubber textiles, fiberglass and space age alloys.

While some machinists specialize and others work on many tools, they are trained to:

  • study specifications, drawings or sample parts to determine the machining operation needed
  • calculate dimensions and tolerances and prepare working sketches if necessary
  • measure and mark the metal
  • assemble machines, install attachments
  • setup and operate tools to perform precision machining operations
  • determine cutting speeds and feeds, then cut and file material
  • turn and/or bore contours, spheres and parallel surfaces
  • drill and ream holes using drills, lathes and mills
  • mill, shape or plane surfaces, mill gears
  • cut threads, keyways, slots, serrations and grooves
  • grind and sand metal surfaces
  • test surfaces for cracks, hardness and finishes using a variety of equipment and applications
  • manipulate metal through the use of heat
  • fit parts to mechanisms and verify dimensions and maintain cutting tools
  • computer numerical control lathes,
  • computer numerical control mills,
  • computer numerical control electrical discharge machines (EDM)