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Lathe & Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, & Tenders, Metal & Plastic

Also called: Computer Numerical Control Lathe Operator (CNC Lathe Operator), Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator), Lathe Operator, Machine Operator

What they do:
Set up, operate, or tend lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread, form, or face metal or plastic materials, such as wire, rod, or bar stock.
On the job, you would:
  • Adjust machine controls and change tool settings to keep dimensions within specified tolerances.
  • Replace worn tools, and sharpen dull cutting tools and dies using bench grinders or cutter-grinding machines.
  • Inspect sample workpieces to verify conformance with specifications, using instruments such as gauges, micrometers, and dial indicators.

Knowledge

Math and Science
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
  • mechanical
Arts and Humanities
  • English language

Skills

Basic Skills
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it

Abilities

Hand and Finger Use
  • keep your arm or hand steady
  • put together small parts with your fingers
Controlled Movement
  • quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
  • change when and how fast you move based on how something else is moving

Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Attention to Detail
  • Dependability
  • Cooperation
  • Initiative
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Concern for Others

Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Object or component oriented development software
  • G-code
  • M-code
Industrial control software
  • Autodesk HSMWorks
  • Computer numerical control CNC editor software
Inventory management software
  • Inventory tracking software

Education

Education: (rated 2 of 5)
high school diploma/GED or
certificate after high school
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Find Training Find Certifications Registered Apprenticeship

Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
Salary
$36,810
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic.