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

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.

Median Annual Wage: $36,260

Education: High school diploma or equivalent (45%); Post-secondary certificate (39%); Less than high school diploma (9%)

Projected Growth: Decline (-3% or lower)

Related Job Titles: Machine Operator; Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator); Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist); Computer Numerical Control Lathe Operator (CNC Lathe Operator); Machinist; Lathe Operator; Tool Maker; Set Up / Operator; Numerical Control Operator (NC Operator); Screw Machine Operator

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.

More Production Careers

  • Study blueprints, layouts or charts, and job orders for information on specifications and tooling instructions, and to determine material requirements and operational sequences.
  • Adjust machine controls and change tool settings to keep dimensions within specified tolerances.
  • Move controls to set cutting speeds and depths and feed rates, and to position tools in relation to workpieces.
  • Start lathe or turning machines and observe operations to ensure that specifications are met.
  • Select cutting tools and tooling instructions, according to written specifications or knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Lift metal stock or workpieces manually or using hoists, and position and secure them in machines, using fasteners and hand tools.
  • Crank machines through cycles, stopping to adjust tool positions and machine controls to ensure specified timing, clearances, and tolerances.
  • Replace worn tools, and sharpen dull cutting tools and dies using bench grinders or cutter-grinding machines.
  • Position, secure, and align cutting tools in toolholders on machines, using hand tools, and verify their positions with measuring instruments.
  • Compute unspecified dimensions and machine settings, using knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Install holding fixtures, cams, gears, and stops to control stock and tool movement, using hand tools, power tools, and measuring instruments.
  • Move toolholders manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to feed tools to and along workpieces.
  • Turn valve handles to direct the flow of coolant onto work areas or to coat disks with spinning compounds.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.

  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Selection - Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic.

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