Being a machinist is precise work that calls for a precise mind. There is an abundance of measuring, cutting, calculating, and use of machines. It’s not a job that is for everyone, but it may be just the right fit for you.
Machinist Job Responsibilities
Machinist utilize machine tools like milling machines, grinders, and lathes to create metal parts. Precision machinists usually make small orders or unique items even though they may make substantial amounts of an individual part. They put their knowledge of the working components of metal and their ability with machine tools to good use to fulfill the operations necessary to make machined products to satisfy certain specifications. The parts machinists produce vary from automobile pistons to bolts.
Production machinists may make make large numbers of one part, more specifically parts needing the use of intricate operations and substantial precision. Several current machine tools are “computer numerically controlled (CNC).” CNC machines carry out the instructions of a computer program to maintain proper cutting tool speed, exchange worn tools, and carry out all necessary cuts to make a part. Machinist usually work with computer-controlled programmers to find out how the programmed equipment will slice a part. It’s the machinist’s job to determine the slicing path, feed rate, and the speed of the slice. The programmer changes the path, feed information, and speed into a list of instructions for the CNC machine tool. Machinists have to be able to use computer-controlled machinery as well as manual machinery in their job.
Maintenance machinists make new or fix existing parts for machinery. After a maintenance laborer or industrial machinery mechanic finds the broken part of a machine, they then inform and give the broken piece to the machinist. Machinists look to blueprints in order to fix broken parts and carry out the same machining operations that were required to produce the original piece. Maintenance machinists operate in several manufacturing industries where production machinists are focused on limited industries.
The technology of machining is quickly advancing and for that reason machinists have to be able to successfully navigate a wide range of machines. Some of the machines out today use water jets, electrified wires, or lasers to cut the part. While a few of the computer controls are the same as other machine tools, machinists have to comprehend the special slicing properties of these different machines. Engineers are constantly producing new kinds of machine tools as well as new materials to machine; for that reason machinists have to always be up-to-date on new machining techniques and properties.
Machinist Training and Education Requirements
There are many paths that lead to becoming a skilled machinist. Several have previously worked as operators, machine setters, or tenders. High school students should have advanced math courses under their belts, especially geometry and trigonometry. Classes in blueprint reading, drafting, and metalworking are useful as well. Advanced positions call for the use of advanced applied physics and calculus. Because of the growing utilization of computer-controlled machinery, fundamental computer skills are required before embarking on a training program. Some machinists complete their learning in the field after high school, but a great deal gather their skills in a combination of on-the-job and classroom training. Formal apprenticeship programs are usually sponsored by a manufacturer or a union and are a great for aspiring machinists, but keep in mind that they can be challenging to get into. More often than not apprentices are required to have a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent; and also have trigonometry and algebra classes.
Machinist Salary and Wages
The median hourly wages of machinists were $17.41 in May of 2008. The middle fifty percent made between $13.66 and $21.85. The lowest ten percent made less than $10.79, and the top ten percent made more than $26.60. Apprentices make substantially less than well-versed machinists, but wages increase rapidly as their skills develop. Most employers are even willing to pay for apprentices’ training courses.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
In order to advance their level of skills and degree of competency, several State apprenticeship boards, training facilities, and colleges offer certification programs. Successful completion of certification programs awards a machinist with more and better career chances and assists employers in deciding the level of abilities of new hires. Journeyworker certification may be awarded from State apprenticeship boards after finishing an apprenticeship. This kind of certification is regarded by several employers and paves the way to better career chances.
Machinist Professional Associations
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) was founded in 1888 by 19 machinists that called themselves The Order of United Machinist and Mechanical Engineers. The association remained clandestine for a number of years because of employer hostility directed at organized labor. In 1889 the first Machinist Union convention convened with 34 locals represented, hosted in the chambers of the Georgia State Senate. Tom Talbot was declared “Grand Master Machinist” and the IAM monthly journal began. At the gathering the union’s name was switched to ‘National Association of Machinists.’ Since The spread of NAM across North America forced the union once again to change their name, this time to ‘The International Association of Machinists.’