What Does a CNC Machinist Do?
A CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinist operates and programs machine tools such as lathes, mills, and grinders that are controlled by a computer to produce precision metal or plastic parts. To produce high-quality parts, machinists set up machines, write and test programs, and make adjustments as needed. In addition, precision measuring instruments are used to ensure that completed parts meet specifications.
CNC machinists work in various industries but are most commonly found working for industrial manufacturers and construction where high-quality custom parts and pieces are frequently needed.
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National Average Salary
CNC machinist salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a CNC Machinist is:
CNC Machinist Job Descriptions
Essential duties and responsibilities
- Retrieve job related information (job routings, part drawing, tool list, work-instruction, in-process inspection sheet, etc.)
- Complete change-over activities (Machine preparation from previous job set-up to new job set-up)
- Complete manufacturing of first part per process instruction
- Review supplied raw-material for dimensions, quantity, defects, and required heat lot/certification numbers
- Manufacture parts to required quantity
- Document manufactured quantities utilizing ERP system
- Inspect and document parts according to in-process inspection sheet requirements
- Troubleshoot parts when issues occur
- Work with the Engineering department to improve machining processes
- Stabilize machining processes to turn over to Operator for production run
- Train Operators as needed on job related items
- Sign off work order utilizing ERP system
- Print a physical document (i.e. router) when required
- Provide tote, documents and parts to next process step
- Maintain work area and equipment in a clean orderly condition and follow prescribed safety procedures
- Document completion of all required processes in ERP system
- Provide end-of-shift report detailing activities of the shift
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty in an exemplary manner. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Education and/or experience
- High School Diploma or GED
- 5 years experience setting up and operating CNC milling and/or turning machines
- Ability to read technical drawings
- Understanding of GD&T
- Experience using measuring tools and gages
- Experience with Siemens and/or Heidenhain controls preferred
- Experience with Deckel Maho Gildemeister (DMG) machines preferred
- Proficient in all Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Visio)
- Experience with a major ERP system
The CNC Machinist performs detailed machine setups, G & M code (CNC) programming, machine process improvement and troubleshooting, and produces machined parts using a variety of CNC machines.
- Perform machine setups quickly, accurately, and efficiently
- Work with engineering and CAM programming department to develop, and improve CNC programs
- Design and aid in the fabrication of fixturing for parts of varying complexity
- Advise supervisor and programming team of technical advancements to increase production
- Operate machines to produce production runs of parts
- Maintain quality standards through understanding of the Quality Management System
- Monitor and document operational and performance issues and provide feedback to supervisor
- Develop and maintain effective working relationships with peers, supervisors, and other staff
- Other duties as directed by supervisor
- High school diploma or GED required; post-secondary CNC education preferred
- 8+ years of CNC machine operation
- G & M code fluency and ability to edit programs
- High level of blueprint reading required
- Proficiency with conversational controls is a plus
- Strong verbal communication and problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail and ability to deal with complexity
- Capable of working in a customer-focused, deadline-driven environment while maintaining a positive attitude
- Interested in learning with, and from, engineering, and programming team to improve operations
As the CNC Machinist for ABC Company, you will have the opportunity to use a variety of precision measuring instruments, inspect in process or finished parts and feature characteristics as well as manufacturing methods to blueprint specifications. This is a chance for you to develop a career within a global business and to help us improve our processes.
- Setting up fixture components for jobs that require CNC Machining
- Understanding and have functional use of CNC code and CNC programming
- Setting machine origins in accordance with the set-up instructions
- Working to machine dimensions and maintain close tolerances and correlated dimensions with a high demand for squareness, concentricity, finish, and parallelism
- Setting and loading all tools in conjunction with set-up instructions to complete assigned jobs
- Ability to lift various items weighing up to approximately 40 pounds
- High School Diploma or equivalent with 2+ years experience in machining operations or a Precision Machining Certificate
- Knowledge of machining methods, cutting qualities of metals and tools
- Ability to read and understand blueprints
- In order to be considered for this opportunity, you must be eligible to obtain and maintain security clearance, which requires USA Citizenship
- Ability to operate various cranes, material handling equipment and various types of machining equipment etc.
How to Hire a CNC Machinist
There are a number of initial considerations when hiring a CNC machinist:
- Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to successfully source and recruit for this role?
- Complexity: Does your project require a senior professional, or is a mid- or junior-level inspector sufficient?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or a permanent requirement?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effort effectively?
- Urgency: How time-sensitive is this need? What happens if it remains unfilled?
- Headcount: Do you have room on your team for a new W2 employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. We recommend the following options when hiring a CNC machinist:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
There are many career sites out there. Here are the two we recommend for a CNC machinist opening:
LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process.
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- What qualities should every CNC machinist have?
- What machines have you worked with? What did you build?
- What machine brands are you used to handling?
- How do you perform routine maintenance on CNC machines?
- What experience do you have reading blueprints and schematics?
- How do you inspect finished goods?
- What is your favorite product you’ve created?
- How do you handle difficult clients?
- Walk me through the process of learning a new machine.
- How do you deal with strict deadlines?
- Tell me about a recent goal you have set for yourself.
- What made you interested in CNC machining?
- What experience do you have with programming?
- Tell me about the most difficult material you had to work with.
- Are you okay with working overtime during busy weeks?