Common Tasks A Machinist May Perform That Require Special Skills

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

When you need something made from metal, you need to find someone with the skills and tools to alter the material for you. Machining steel, aluminum, brass, or an alloy requires special tools and the knowledge that an experienced machinist brings to the table. Their work is highly detailed and requires them to be very patient. Here are some examples of what a machinist can do for you.

Crafting Parts From Raw Metal

If you need a custom part for a project or machine, a machinist can take the material you need used and cut or shape it to your specifications. If you need a hole in it or maybe a channel through it, they will be able to create those as well. The machines they work with are capable of removing material in just about anyway you can imagine. What they can't do, is add material back onto a part so you will want to give the machinist very specific measurements or drawings to work from.

Milling and Drilling

A milling machine or end mill, as it is commonly called, has a table on it that the work can be clamped to. The mill uses spinning cutters that look like a drill bit but have flutes on them that cut from the side. The mill can be run over the top or side of a block of steel or aluminum and the cutter will remove material as it passes over it. The benefit of a mill is that the material can be removed in thousandths of an inch if needed so the precision allows the machinist to work with incredibly tight tolerances. With the right cutting tool on the mill, the machinist can also bore holes, cut channels, or make plunge cuts through the entire depth of the material that is very precise. If you were building a valve, for instance, you would need this level of precision.

Turning Materials

Turning square stock into a round bar or cylinder is often done on a lathe. In this case, the material is clamped to a spinning turret so that the material spins and the machinist can use cutting tools to remove material and reshape the block into the desired shape. The lathe can also be used to the center bore the material. The process basically uses a very long drill bit-like cutter. The cutter is held stationary and the material spins, boring the material out of the center of the stock. This method is commonly used when making a rifle or shotgun barrel because the stock is so long.  

CNC Machining

When a higher rate of production is required, a CNC machine will often be programmed to do many of the tasks that would require several machines traditionally. The CNC machine can do them all in one machine and uses a highly detailed program to ensure that each and every cut is made the same time after time. While this would not be the preferred method for a one-off part that you need to be made, it is commonly used to produce parts in bulk for manufacturing or retail. A machinist still needs to set up the machine and monitor it through its cycle but it does shave a lot of time off the job.

For more information, contact a business such as Tri-State Fabricators Inc.


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