Metal & Plastic Lathe Operators: Turning Machine Careers

Also called: Automatic Screwmaker, Automatic Spinning Lathe Operator, Automatic Spinning Lathe Setter, Axle Turner, Back Facer

Varies

estimated salary

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.

  • Adjust machine controls and change tool settings to keep dimensions within specified tolerances.
  • Replace worn tools, and sharpen dull cutting tools and dies, using bench grinders or cutter-grinding machines.
  • Inspect sample workpieces to verify conformance with specifications, using instruments such as gauges, micrometers, and dial indicators.
  • Start lathe or turning machines and observe operations to ensure that specifications are met.
  • Position, secure, and align cutting tools in toolholders on machines, using hand tools, and verify their positions with measuring instruments.
  • Crank machines through cycles, stopping to adjust tool positions and machine controls to ensure specified timing, clearances, and tolerances.
  • Study blueprints, layouts or charts, and job orders for information on specifications and tooling instructions, and to determine material requirements and operational sequences.
  • Select cutting tools and tooling instructions, according to written specifications or knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Move controls to set cutting speeds and depths and feed rates, and to position tools in relation to workpieces.
  • Refill, change, and monitor the level of fluids, such as oil and coolant, in machines.
  • Install holding fixtures, cams, gears, and stops to control stock and tool movement, using hand tools, power tools, and measuring instruments.
  • Compute unspecified dimensions and machine settings, using 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.
  • 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.
  • Mount attachments, such as relieving or tracing attachments, to perform operations, such as duplicating contours of templates or trimming workpieces.
Work Context

Work Context information for this career will be available soon.

Work Activities
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Read More
Detailed Work Activities
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
  • Set equipment controls to meet cutting specifications.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
  • Read More

Knowledge

Mathematics
  • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Mechanical
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English Language
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills

Operation Monitoring
  • Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
  • Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Monitoring
  • Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Quality Control Analysis
  • Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Read More

Abilities

Control Precision
  • The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
  • The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Near Vision
  • The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Reaction Time
  • The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Read More

Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
Read More

Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Industrial control software
  • Autodesk HSMWorks
  • Computer numerical control CNC editor software
Object or component oriented development software
  • G-code
  • M-code
Inventory management software
  • Inventory tracking software