CNC machinists work with computer numerical control machinery. While CNC machines are programmed to perform tasks automatically with the utmost precision, machinists are needed to set up the machinery, oversee the machines while they are in operation, and adjust the control speed, material feed, and path to cut, as required.
Machinists working with CNC equipment also need to keep an eye on capacity, maintenance, and materials stock. They may need to perform other tasks like quality control checks too.
Depending on the workplace, a CNC machinist could be responsible for overseeing multiple machines or just one complex machine.
If you want to become a CNC machinist, you will have to gain the right skills and qualifications. But you can get started at home.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become An Entry-Level CNC Machinist?
CNC machining is highly technical, so you need the proper training to become a CNC machinist.
You will need to possess a high school diploma or GED and then learn relevant CNC skills at a further education establishment like a community college.
While it is not necessary to hold a degree, many CNC machinists do have associate degrees because many employers prefer their machinists to have a higher level of education that enables them to be entirely proficient in operating CNC machinery.
How To Get Started At Home
The good news is you can learn many CNC machining skills at home.
You could always start practising your machining skills by finding an affordable used CNC mill for sale or another type of CNC tool.
But the primary way in which you can learn from home is via online courses, many of which provide you with certifications upon successful completion.
It could be helpful to learn G-code and CAD basics for programming CNC machines to understand how the equipment works.
As a machinist, it is also essential to learn topics like:
- Feeds and speeds of CNC machines.
- Geometric dimensions and tolerancing.
- Lean manufacturing.
You could join courses or read books and reputable online content to learn such things. You could also join an online program covering all the basics of CNC machining, such as a Beginner’s Step-By-Step Program to Making CNC Parts or a Beginner’s Course on How to Use CNC Routers.
Brush Up On Other Skills At Home
In addition to specific machining skills and knowledge, CNC machinists need to have other skills.
For instance, CNC machinists continually work with measurements and numbers, so they have good math skills.
Furthermore, CNC machining involves technical writing and comprehension skills so that machinists can read schematics and ensure items are manufactured correctly.
So, if you are starting your CNC machining journey from home, you can read books and use online platforms and apps to improve your math and technical writing skills.
CNC machinists need to possess more generic skills too. You will need to have:
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- High attention to detail.
- Excellent teamwork skills.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Excellent time management skills.
- Manual dexterity and accuracy.
- A good level of fitness and stamina.
- A commitment to safety.
How Much Can You Earn As A CNC Machinist?
The salary you receive as an entry-level CNC machinist will depend on your location, your experience, skills and qualifications, and the company you work for.
On average, CNC machinists in the U.S. earn between $40,000 and $45,000 per year. As you progress to more senior levels, you can command a higher salary.