I have often been asked by people the question, what is a CNC Machinist? The best way I can answer this question by first explaining what is a machinist?
What is a machinist?
A machinist, sometimes called the manual machinist is a skilled person trained to operate by hand, machine tools: milling machines, lathes and grinders in order to make or alter small metal parts. They follow blueprints, sketches or even verbal instructions as a guide to make these parts. They make adjustments by turning finely calibrated dials of the machine tools by hand in order to follow these instructions.
The parts can range from very simple to extremely complex and reflects the required skill level of the machinist to make the part. The problem with the manual machining is it can be a long and rigorous process, it’s also the way of the past, don’t get me wrong, the manual machine and machinist are still needed but in a more limited capacity.
These days, the modern machine shops incorporate CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machines. The advantage of the CNC machine over the manual machine is that once they are programmed they can make the same part repeatedly at a much faster rate with only minor adjustments to compensate for tooling ware.
Also the error factor is greatly decreased with a CNC machine that will make the part the same way each and every time which increase quality. On the other hand, the quality of manual machine is greatly dependent on the skill level and care of the manual machinist.
Manual Data Input (MDI)
These CNC machines are operated by a computer control and in some cases may also have manual dial similar to their manual machine counterparts. The computer control on most machines incorporate several screen that holds information such as current position, manual data input (MDI), tooling information, program information, offset information, spindle speed and machine feed rate information and diagnostics.
The machinery and equipment industry is the most favored institutions. They also have button to manipulate these screen and input vital information. To add to this more complicated machine this computer control layouts would vary by machine manufacturer. As the CNC machine became more advance there are other factors that add to this complication such as tool changers, pallet changers, advance axis, probes, multiple spindles, turrets and chucks to name a few.
The CNC machinist has now emerge to handle the more complicated controls. There are several types, such as the operator, setup-man, G and M programmer, cad/cam programmer, EDM operator; they also function in tool-rooms and prototype areas. These are among the many types of CNC machinist that you may find in the help wanted ads in newspapers around the country and employment web sites. The required skill level of these craftsmen may vary from a few weeks of training to many years. This site is here to address these requirements and assist new comers who wish to become a CNC machinist or advance within the trade.