How to become an Engineering Craft Machinist

engineering craft machinist careers

What does a Engineering Craft Machinist do?

Engineering craft machinists create precision engineered parts and components, using machine tools to shape blank metal or plastic sections. The machine tools used include grinding, milling and cutting machines, lathes, drills and presses. Machinists make small quantities of parts for various uses, for example, components used in power station turbines or aero-engines.

Working from engineering drawings and pattern templates, machinists:

  • plan the sequence of the different cuts
  • set-up a roughly pre-formed blank in the jaws of the lathe, or on the fixed bed of a mill or grinder
  • choose and fit the correct cutting tool for the cut
  • calculate cutting speeds, often aided by computer.

Machinists may have to re-position a section several times and carry out different cuts with a range of cutting tools before the part is completed. Usually they machine a small number or batch of the same components at a time.

Some machines are computer-numerically-controlled (CNC), which involves programming instructions into a panel to control the cutting process . See CNC Machinist profile.

What's the working environment like working as a Engineering Craft Machinist?

Engineering craft machinists usually work 39 hours, Monday to Friday. A shift system may operate in large companies with round-the-clock production. Overtime may be available.

Machinists work in factories and workshops, standing at a bench or machine. They wear overalls, protective boots, and ear defenders and goggles where necessary.

What does it take to become a Engineering Craft Machinist?

As an engineering machinist you should:

  • be able to work with great precision
  • have good practical skills
  • be able to understand engineering drawings and instructions
  • be able to calculate cutting speeds and times
  • understand the strengths and other characteristics of metals
  • have some keyboard and computer skills
  • be able to concentrate for long periods
  • have good eyesight
  • be physically fit.

Engineering Craft Machinist Career Opportunities

The main job opportunities occur in mechanical engineering, motor and aerospace industries, and in shipbuilding. There may also be openings in maintenance work for industries that need to replace components regularly, such as railway companies and power stations.

Promotion may be possible, to foreman/woman of a section or workshop. With further training machinists can progress to engineering technician roles.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Engineering Craft Machinist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

The Engineering Careers Information Service (ECIS)

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Facts and Stats:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was only 5ft tall and wore a top hat to make himself look taller
  • Engineering generates more than 40 per cent of the UK¿s national wealth
  • The Box Hill tunnel, part of Brunel¿s Great Western Railway, took five years to dig and at two miles long was the longest tunnel in the world at the time

Courses to help you become a Engineering Craft Machinist