Machinists produce one-of-a-kind tools and other items for use in a specific project, as well as batches of the same item for widespread application. If using your technical acumen and hands-on skill to produce precisely tooled parts strikes you as an exciting career, this article will tell you how to get started as a machinist.

Inside Machining

Machinists read job blueprints and, using machine tools, produce precision machine parts, tools and instruments that meet exacting specifications. They select the appropriate material and fabrication tools for the job, determining where and how to cut the piece of material to make the prescribed part. Care is taken with the speed of the operation and the tolerance of the material to friction, temperature and vibration.

Machinists work in machine shops for industries such as automotive, metalwork manufacturing and aerospace. Because of the exacting requirements of modern industrial machinery, the College Board recommends that, in addition to technical skills, machinists need mathematical acumen as well (

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