CNC Machinist – CNC Operator

A CNC Machinist also known as a CNC operator is the individual who is able to run the CNC machine. They are involved with the understanding of the process of their type of machining and are capable of looking at blueprints of the drawings of parts to be created and setting the machine up in order to produce the part.

A CNC machinist must understand various software programs including CAD and CAM and understand the intricacies of the CNC machine they are in charge of operating. Depending on the industry the individual operator works within, they may be knowledgeable about milling, cutting, drilling and other types of machining.

There are several skills that a CNC machinist must have which include:

- They must be a problem solver to be able to troubleshoot the machine if something goes wrong.

- They need to understand a CNC machine that they are working on and know its capabilities and limitations.

- They must understand the CNC process and how it works overall with the machining type they need to produce.

- They have to be able to identify and use various codes.

- They must be able to identify, locate and use various tools that they may need to load on their machine.

- They should also have mechanical aptitude in working with a variety of machines.

Some CNC machinists are also capable of programming machines but the job could require a separate person to do the programming. If they are a programmer they would also understand how to organize and plan, would be able to read blueprints and have strong math skills.

Another type of CNC machinist actually does both operating and programming. This individual may have a background in Tool and Dye making or Mold Making or they may be a General Machinist. In this case they would have an extensive background in programming with CNC and machining and planning; the other requirement is that they would have entered into an apprenticeship to learn these skills that would have lasted three to four years, which means that some of their training would have been on the job.

As CNC operators continue working with CNC machines they must continually keep up their skills by taking new training so that they can edit CNC programs where necessary. Usually the shop they are working in will upgrade the software occasionally or upgrade the machinery and they will need to be able to process information to these upgrades.

Most CNC machinists have some education but it is usually in the way of a certificate or an apprenticeship program. Since this is a trade, they are able to get experience on the job in some situations. This could be through an apprenticeship or through an entry level position at a company.

Because a CNC machinist is able to do so many things they are generally compensated well. The average salary for a CNC machinist who generalizes is $14.37 to $23.08 an hour. An inexperienced CNC machinist will earn less than one who has lots of experience.


Post time: 01-18-2017