Machinist Training
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Information about how to become a Machinist or Tool and Die Maker:

Are you mechanically inclined and good at making things and repairing stuff? Then maybe you should consider a career as a Machininst. These are good paying jobs that dont require sitting in an office. You actually get to use machine tools to make things. The job involves using a lathe, milling machine, surface grinder, tool grinder and other machines to cut and shape metal. How to get one of the jobs? First you need some training and experience. Machinist training is done in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, or community colleges or technical colleges, or on the job. To become a fully trained Machinist or Tool and Die Maker takes at least 4 years of technical instruction and on the job training. You will need good math and problem solving skills, and some newer machines use CNC programing which requires some computer skills.

Economic Facts about the Job:
• Median Pay: $40,000 per year or about $19.25 per hour (varies by region)
• Number of Jobs in USA: 438,000
• Expected job growth: 7% (about 3000 new jobs per year)

Machinists normally perform the following tasks:
• Work from blueprints, sketches, or computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files
• Set up, operate, and disassemble manual, automatic, and computer numeric controlled (CNC) machine tools
• Calculate dimensions and position using trigonometry and measuring instruments.
• Install, align, secure, and adjust cutting tools and workpieces.
• Monitor and adjust the feed and speed of machines.
• Turn, mill, drill, shape, and grind machine parts to specifications.
• Measure, check, and test finished parts for defects.
• Deburr all exposed surfaces of parts and products.

Tool and Die Makers normally perform the following tasks:
• Read blueprints, sketches, and specifications, CAD drawings or CAM files to make tools and dies.
• Calculate dimensions, sizes, shapes, and tolerances of the workpieces as needed.
• Set up, operate, and disassemble conventional and computer numeric controlled (CNC) machine tools.
• File, sand, or grind parts to fit them together properly.
• Test completed tools or dies to check that they meet specifications.
• Inspect tools, dies, molds and gages for proper dimensions and defects.
• Smooth and polish surfaces of tools and dies.

Education Requirements:

Apprentices usually need a high school diploma or GED, and will need algebra and trigonometry classes. During high school, students can prepare for careers in machinery by focusing their studies on subjects such as trigonometry, geometry, metalworking, drawing and computer science. Good math, problem-solving, and computer skills are important. Post secondary degrees are not required, but some form of on the job training is needed. Machinists usually train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, community and technical colleges, or just informally on the job. To become a trained tool and die maker normally requires about at least 4 years of technical instruction plus training on the job.

Training Requirements:

Formal apprenticeship programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are the old way of becoming a machinist or tool and die maker, but these programs are hard to get into if you dont know the right people. Apprenticeship programs will likely include paid shop training and related technical instruction lasting 4 or 5 years. Apprenticeship classes are often taught through a local community college or a vocational–technical school. Although apprenticeship programs may be the preferred way to learn on the job, a large number of machinists and tool and die makers now receive most of their formal technical training from community and technical colleges. These students often learn while employed by a manufacturer that supports the employee's training goals and gives the needed on-the-job training. Apprentices should expect to work 6 to 8 hours per day and attend technical classes at night. Trainees often begin as machine operators and gradually take on more difficult assignments. Machinists and tool and die makers must develop good computer skills to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC Lathes and CNC Milling Machines, and computerized measuring machines (CMM). Many machinists become tool and die makers. Even after completing a formal training program, tool and die makers still need years of experience to become highly skilled enough to make high tolerance dies and molds.

Certification Requirements:

There are training facilities, state apprenticeship boards, and colleges that offer certification programs. Completing a recognized certification program provides machinists and tool and die makers with better job opportunities and helps employers judge the abilities of new hires. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials an apprenticeship program brings national standards and competency based assessments to the U.S. metalworking industry. To become a NIMS Certified Machinist, Toolmaker, CNC Setup Programmer or a Certified Journey Worker at any NIMS occupation, the apprentice needs to earn NIMS Certifications by demonstrating satisfactory performance in a required number of competencies. The NIMS National Guideline Standards for Apprenticeship have been certified by the United States Department of Labor. The NIMS Certified Machinist Apprenticeship Program has 28 required competencies. To become a NIMS Certified Machinist, the apprentice must earn 12 NIMS credentials. The credentials require both performance and theory assessments.
For more information about NIMS apprenticeship programs: support @ nims-skills . org or call 703-352-4971. If you send an email you will need to eliminate the blank spaces in the email address that we inserted to foil spammers.

Another place to look is at some of our How To webpages.
How to use a lathe machine
How to use a milling machine
How to use a drill press machine
How to use a band saw machine
How to use a surface grinder machine

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