People tend to misunderstand what a machinist is and the skills they possess. Given that it takes at least seven (or more) years of technical tool and advanced manufacturing to become a certified machinist, summing up the qualities and skills required for the occupation can be difficult to explain in a simple sentence. So to give context brief to the occupation, a machinist is a person who performs techniques and operations without assistance in all facets of advanced machining techniques and operations. Much of their knowledge is gained through apprenticeship, which requires 576 hours of educational training and 8,000 hours of work learning all aspects of manual machining.
A Machinist’s Skill & Quality Set
Many individuals view machinists as people who operate by hardware and produce/cut materials into what is intended. However, this isn’t always the case as many industries utilizing Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines. Some of the skill sets required for effective machinists are:
- They must have the tolerance to gather and produce engineering parts that have been created from a wide range of materials. In addition to this, they should be able to work within size distinctions that are oftentimes only a hundredth of a single millimeter.
- They must be proficient when handling the latest and current tools at their disposal, whether it be machine tools or measuring and hand paraphernalia. Machinists must also have experience and knowledge about laser cutting, screw machining, stamping, machine maintenance, machine building, machining, metalforming, and other techinical skills required for production.
When it comes to CNC machines, they are milling machines that are automated digitally. The main reason for CNC machine popularity is due to the fact that they reduce manpower, reduce time , and increase the quality of the product being produced. However, these machines do require machinist oversight in the event of failure. For example:
- A CNC machinist should be able to identify and interpret the 2D engineering blueprints/illustrations of the engineering machines or components. In addition to this, the CNC machinist must economically complete and plan the manufacturing of all components when utilizing the available equipment and time.
Aside from the technical aspects of the machine, the machinist must also know how to formulate procedures, set priorities, set schedules, and create a 3D image of the product mentally before it is created. This is a common quality found in expert machinists. Other important qualities include:
- Paying careful attention to errors found in current manufactured equipment or components. If faults or errors are found, the machinist must correct them so the equipment or components can be used properly.
- Maintaining a high level of craftsmanship. This is the most important quality a machinist can possess. They should have no problem finding safe, effective, and economical ways to improve productivity within a company or production.
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