A machinist is usually a tradesman or skilled professional, who has the appropriate knowledge of materials and tooling needed to make precise and detailed set ups on machining equipment such as, but not restricted to, milling machines, grinding machines, lathes, and drills. Machinists must have excellent control over their tools and be able to precise build intricate parts. They are usually working in a team environment and will work side by side with other machinists, using the most appropriate tools for the job at hand. They must also be able to perform long hours in one location. Machinists must also have excellent endurance and be capable of workmanship in heavy and extreme weather conditions.
Machinists are also responsible for testing the strength of metal parts before they are sent to manufacturers or distributors. They carefully evaluate the tolerances, weaknesses, compresses, stress, tensile strength, tensile length, stresses at break points, and tensile load. Machinists evaluate the properties of metals, especially precious alloys, by melting them and then seeking out stresses in the metal that cause cracking or distortion. Machinists also test metal for strength and hardness by bending it into certain shapes. To test metal for ductility, they use centrifugal force and electrical field tests.
Machinists are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining the machinery tools. Machinists install and repair all types of machine tools in businesses such as automobiles, construction, aerospace, medical, computers, jewelry, woodworking, and the like. They are also involved in the design of machines and working with material engineers and metallurgists. They build machinery tools such as drills, saws, and presses. Machinists often receive special instruction and training to qualify as an automotive mechanic. In other words, all machinists are considered skilled trade workers, not only in their particular trade but in all trades associated with machinery tools.
Machinists work closely with machine operators to fully fabricate or modify machines and complete projects. They may oversee the production and make sure machinist machines are in top shape. Machines often require regular maintenance and adjustments to perform properly. Machinists work with material pilots, electricians, and other machine operators to fully set up and dismantle machines for regular servicing. These machines usually require a lot of training because they are so complex. Machinists must learn how to repair motors, move parts, and handle dangerous fluids.
A machinist's primary tools are hand tools such as a drill press, a lathe, a saw, and others. Other tools may be used by the machinist depending on the job needing to be performed. Some machinists make use of computer software to help them set up and operate machines such as lathes. Computer software is also commonly used by machinists to help them maintain their machinery.
If you are interested in becoming a machinist or tool and die maker, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has a website that contains lists of . . . . . . approved vocational schools and technical colleges that offer machinist apprenticeship programs. Visit the site and look at the list of schools or technical colleges. If you are interested, you should contact the admissions office at each school and inquire about program admission requirements. There are also links on the website to go to the Department of Labor website where you can go to find out more information about becoming a machinist or tool and die maker. Please remember that in order to get hired on as a machinist or tool and die maker, you will have to attend a formal training program that is approved by the BLS.