What a CNC Operator Needs to Know—At Least

The position of CNC operator requires certain basic skills and abilities. Mike Lynch, a noted MMS columnist, offers his insights into the bare minimum for effectiveness in this important job.

 
Mike Lynch, whose monthly column, "CNC TechTalk," has appeared in Modern Machine Shop magazine since 1990, describes a common situation in the most recent edition of his quarterly newsletter, "The Optional Stop." It goes like this: The manager of a CNC shop starts thinking he or she can fill openings for CNC operator with people who have limited CNC experience, or even limited shop experience, because "anyone can push buttons and load parts."
 
Mike thinks otherwise. His Manager's Insights section in this issue is called, "Bare Minimums for CNC Operators." Mike identifies the seven things a CNC operator candidate MUST understand to serve effectively:
 
1. Shop safety
2. General machine usage
3. Shop math
4. Blueprint reading
5. Tolerance interpretation
6. Measuring devices
7. Cutting tools
 
In the article, Mike explains why each of these items is essential. And, as he points out, most shops will have additional “must haves” to look for. Why is it so important for CNC operators to have the essentials? “When you think about it, they may be the only ones who actually make your company any money—since it is only when machines are running production that your products are getting closer to completion,” Mike writes.
 
Subscriptions to "The Optional Stop" are free. You can sign up here
 
Mike’s monthly “CNC Tech Talk” columns are archived with the rest of the content from each magazine issue of Modern Machine Shop. Click here  to search for the current and past issues of Mike’s column. 
 

Mike is also one of our online experts available for tech help. Click here for details.