The Future of CNC Manufacturing Education – CNC Manufacturing, Education Reform & Change Management News.

The reasons for poorly skilled CNC machinists

Posted by Bert Maes on February 9, 2010

Forums offer great blog material. They show you many different takes and perspectives on one subject. Here is one:

In August 2008 williamshook2003 posted a message on the American Machinist Forum, title “Poorly trained machinist”.

He said that students fresh from school didn’t learn the basics there. They don’t know how to read a rule or a tape measure, how to hand-sharpen a drill, they don’t know anything about speeds and feeds, anything about basic trigonometry.

flatbeltbob wrote down the story a real-life situation in his shop:

The local high school sent me a junior to observe what goes on in a small machine shop – Just to see if that is something he might want to pursue. I tried to show him how a PI tape works:

–          Never heard of PI, no idea what I’m talking about.

–          OK , back up and lets read a tape measure.

–          How many inches in a foot ?

–          Not sure , but knows 2 feet is longer that one foot.

–          OK , lets look at one inch. If you take one inch and divide it into 8 equal parts, then how many eighths are in one inch?

–          “six?” he says.

Does this represent the future pool of machinist talent ?

Why is that the forum visitors ask themselves:

  • Because they rely too have on their computer skills and CAM software and assume that that program is making the machine cut in the best conditions, williamshook2003 answered.
  • Chuck added: young people see manual equipment as archaic and they state that shops need to get into CNC to be really productive. That is true, but without the training on manual equipment first, new machinists don’t understand what is going to happen when they push the start button on a CNC machine.
  • There are few good instructors,” Byron L. commented, “we haven’t even been taught in any basics, except the first week: using a file.”
  • Industrial Arts, metal shop and other trade related training is taken out of the High Schools. Consequently, we hurt our ability to attract, training and inspire new blood for this and other craft skills, said Eagle_view.
  • Chuck commented as well: the trend of poorly skilled machinists is not surprising as CNC machines are automating the production process, so where and why do we still need highly trained machinists?
  • Shop owner reacted on this statement, saying that we cannot blame the technology. We should blame the employers for not training their employees on the basics. Bluechipfan agrees: “There are actually some really smart talented kids but they need direction and guidance. That, folks, is where WE come in. You will be surprised but it requires great patience and perseverance.
  • Eagle_view takes a bit a broader look (as his name betrays) and says that because kids are being raised without a father figure in the home, they have no idea how to fix things, how to work with their hands and they don’t know anymore how things are made. “When we as a society decided that we were not going to produce anything except for information we kind of burt some bridges that we may need”.
  • According to PackratFXR we have to go back to the basics. The machine tool technology is changing daily, but the operator should know more than changing tools, watching coolant, and feeding raw stock. To fix problems, we need hands-on training!
  • littlebrewman could’t agree more: “I will always have a marketable skill and know that I can survive, cause I can do more than press the green button.”


7 Responses to “The reasons for poorly skilled CNC machinists”

  1. Hilmar said

    But where in europe is best to learn how to become highly trained machinist?

    • Bert Maes said

      Good afternoon Hilmar – and thanks for your great question.
      I would recommend the schools listed at All of these schools are working hard to build the best CNC machining specialist training possible, including the most modern machine tools, workholding, CAM software, probing measuring technology etc.
      Some are further than others at this point, but all will get there.
      In Iceland we are actually looking into the if we can actually support them in becoming the best CNC training center in Iceland.
      Kind regards,

  2. Mel Haar said

    Hiya, nice day.. Your article is quite inspiring. I never imagined that it was possible to carry out something like that until after I looked over your article. You definitely offered an excellent understanding on how this kind of whole process performs. I will always come back for more advice. Keep writing!

  3. Pozdrawiamy i zapraszamy tych którzy chcieli by się doszkolić.

    (translation: “We greet and welcome those who want to learn more”:

  4. no more general math in schools,no more memorizing multiplication tables,the education system is screw up. a person with a good general math background is hard to find coming out of high school.,it starts with math ,good basic math.

  5. Mira said

    By teaming up with among the significant system contractors in the additive manufacturing sector and also collaborations with professionals in the field, comprehensive expertise is jointly produced on every step
    of the process. The firm likewise experienced a drop in orders from consumers in the life as well as health and wellness sciences finish market.

  6. Terisa Hatto said

    If there was some software that not only solved the tough equations but additionally explained the
    solutions, issues could be quite a bit simpler .
    This is the reason this exam is hard and one has to prepare on various points to
    attain good marks in it.

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