Do you have what it takes to be a TOP-GUN machinist?
Posted by Bert Maes on December 2, 2009
Computer numerical control (CNC) machining makes all manufacturing processes much easier by automating and speeding up the production of the everyday objects we all know.
What does it take to be a CNC specialist?
- Above all; this is a job for creative minds – creators and makers. People that are willing to produce original, surprising and unusual ideas.
- Highly creative people tend to be independent, nonconformist and unconventional. They are likely to have wide interests, greater openness to new experiences and a more cognitive flexibility and risk-taking boldness.
- CNC machining is not as easy as you might think. You will have to acquire considerable expertise. It is often said that in any chosen domain it takes 10 years of training and effort to fully master the necessary knowledge and skills to produce a work of genius. You can find many examples of genius CNC manufacturing on www.CNCmagazine.com.
- Working with CNC machines means that you will be dealing with a lot of computer work. You have to be very familiar with computer operations.
- You have to have knowledge about blueprint reading to know what to program the machine to do. This is because basic design concepts and construction is hinged heavily on blueprints.
- CAD, blueprint & product specifications must be translated through CAM computer software into a machine-readable format.
- CNC machines only understand commands in a specific programming language, so you will have to learn so called “G-codes” in depth.
- You will have to be very familiar with machining operations: Which machine tools are for which job? How fast can the machine work? What is the rate of feed for the machine? What is the depth of the cut needed for the operation? How do I measure that? What are the right tools and cutting sequences, with efficiency and safety in mind? How should I install the most solid workpiece clamping and positioning solution? What is the best coolant and lubrication mix and how should I regulate and adjust the flow to material needs?
- You must be able to interpret data in the program output stack, comparing test results with design specifications
- In case of any glitch, you will need to learn to perform programming edits and restructure the program quickly.
- You will have to control and prevent damage to tools, materials, or machinery during the production cycle.
- Of course cleaning and removing any waste material in a safe manner is part of the job.
Last, but not least: salaries are very negotiable: companies take care of their CNC specialists as there is always a shortage of skilled enough people to take hold of the position. In Europe, people on manufacturing earn 9% more than others…
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