What is a CNC Machinist? What Do They Do?

cnc machinist

CNC Machinists work with CNC heavy machinery to produce tools and parts from plastic, metal, wood, or other materials. CNC heavy machinery is Computer Numeric Controlled equipment. It is incredibly advanced and precise machinery that grinds, cuts, or drills into the material to make parts from it. A CNC Machinist is responsible for setup and operation of a CNC machine.

What Does a CNC Machinist Do?

CNC Machinists are responsible for all work related to operating a CNC machine. The setup and operate the heavy machinery and make sure it runs efficiently and consistently. They have the know-how to make adjustments to the machine as necessary in order to control the speed, path of the cut, and material speed through the machine. They are responsible for quality control and must ensure that the CNC machinery they’re working with are stocked with the necessary materials, are running smoothly, efficiently, and at full capacity, and that the machines are well-maintained.

CNC Machinists also conduct routine checks on output to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity rates of the machines they work with. CNC Machinists must also perform regular quality inspections of finished products from their machines and ensure that the final product is error and defect-free before sending it on to the next stage of the production process.

Some Machinists operate a variety of machines while others specialize in one type of complex machine. CNC Machinists act as builders, craftsmen, mechanics, and quality assurance.

How To Become a CNC Machinist

Becoming a CNC Machinist takes significant preparation, education, and training. Typically, a CNC Machinist does not require a high-level degree, but an associate degree wouldn’t hurt. Most CNC Machinists gain the necessary skills through community colleges and technical schools. Machinists are required to take classes relating to math, engineering, design technology, CAD/CAM operation, and computer technology.

Once you’ve taken the necessary courses and have completed the education portion of the process, you must obtain certification to operate the type of heavy machinery you’ll be working with in your career. There are three levels of certification offered by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). It is up to you to determine the certification level(s) right for you, but no matter which one you choose, from entry-level programming and CNC equipment operation to CNC milling and turning mastery, the certification will set you apart from other candidates and verify to all prospective employers that you have obtained the necessary skills for the job and that your skill level meets the national standards for this line of work.

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CNC Machinist Job Description
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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