I have worked for manufacturing companies as an IT support in the past and always been interested to know about the process in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size. Getting in the shop and working with the material really give me the insight into the usefulness. It is almost like art of the technical aspect of it and I have gained it through the experience. Learning by doing it is the most essential experience because it integrates theoretical what I learn from the classroom with the practical how it is done. Physically do it in the shop and try to meet that standard, it gives me the whole new appreciation and experience of physical contact of what I am making.
To become a good machinist, you need to have a good process plan which can be defined simply as a strategy of steps needed to perform a machining operation or operations. Process plans establish the steps needed to answer these questions: What machine or machines will make the part? What tools will be used in those machines to make the part? How fast will those tools and machines operate to make the part? Also you need to have good technical skills which are those can be learned and improved with practice. Many are the "hands-on" abilities that you need to have in order to become a good machinist.
- Knowledge of G-code programming and program formats for CNC milling machines and lathes
- Knowledge of SolidWorks and MasterCam
- Write, test, and maintain CNC programs
- Ability to select proper tooling for CNC machining operations
- Ability to read prints and instructions
- Capable of set-up and operation of CNC machine tools equipped with XYZ controls
- Skill in the use of semi-precision and precision measuring tools
- Perform lathe operations such as facing, turning, knurling, threading, drilling, grooving and boring
- Perform milling operations such as squaring, drilling, reaming, boring and tapping
- Calculate and set controls to regulate machining factors such as speed and feed
- Edit programs on machine to maintain tolerances related to material movement and tool wear
- Operate both manual and CNC milling machines and lathes safely and accurately to manufacture items based on specific instruction to meet requirements
Houston Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Machining Technology