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:
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.
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.
As an engineering machinist you should:
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.
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