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Summary Report for:
51-4034.00 - Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

Set up, operate, or tend lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread, form, or face metal or plastic materials, such as wire, rod, or bar stock.

Sample of reported job titles: Computer Numerical Control Lathe Operator (CNC Lathe Operator), Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator), Lathe Operator, Machine Operator, Machinist, Numerical Control Operator (NC Operator), Screw Machine Operator, Set Up / Operator, Tool Maker

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Inspect sample workpieces to verify conformance with specifications, using instruments such as gauges, micrometers, and dial indicators. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Study blueprints, layouts or charts, and job orders for information on specifications and tooling instructions, and to determine material requirements and operational sequences. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Adjust machine controls and change tool settings to keep dimensions within specified tolerances. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Move controls to set cutting speeds and depths and feed rates, and to position tools in relation to workpieces. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Start lathe or turning machines and observe operations to ensure that specifications are met. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Select cutting tools and tooling instructions, according to written specifications or knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Crank machines through cycles, stopping to adjust tool positions and machine controls to ensure specified timing, clearances, and tolerances. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Lift metal stock or workpieces manually or using hoists, and position and secure them in machines, using fasteners and hand tools. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Replace worn tools, and sharpen dull cutting tools and dies using bench grinders or cutter-grinding machines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Position, secure, and align cutting tools in toolholders on machines, using hand tools, and verify their positions with measuring instruments. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Compute unspecified dimensions and machine settings, using knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Install holding fixtures, cams, gears, and stops to control stock and tool movement, using hand tools, power tools, and measuring instruments. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Move toolholders manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to feed tools to and along workpieces. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Turn valve handles to direct the flow of coolant onto work areas or to coat disks with spinning compounds. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Mount attachments, such as relieving or tracing attachments, to perform operations such as duplicating contours of templates or trimming workpieces. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Adjustable wrenches — Crescent wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Allen wrench — Allen wrench sets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Automatic lathe or chucking machine — Computer numerically controlled CNC lathes; Gang-tool lathes; Swiss turning centers; Swiss-style lathes (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ball peen hammer — Ball peen hammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bench grinder — Bench grinders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Boring tool — Boring heads See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Calipers — Inside digital ID calipers; Outside digital OD calipers; Vernier calipers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Chucks — Lathe chucks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Combination square — Combination square sets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Comparators — Profile projectors; Surface finish comparators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Compasses — Trammels See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Conveyor feeders — Bar feeders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Coordinate measuring machines CMM See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge — Coaxial indicators; Dial test indicators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Drill gauge — Drill gauge sets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ear plugs — Protective ear plugs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • End mills — Center-cutting end mills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Facial shields — Face shields See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Forklifts — Fork trucks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Gage block set — 1-2-3 blocks; Gage blocks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Go or no go gauge — Go/no go gauge sets; Plug gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Grease guns — Lubrication guns See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hacksaw — Mini hacksaws See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Height gauges — Vernier height gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hoists — Jib hoists See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hole gauge — Bore gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Horizontal turning center — Horizontal lathes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Insert carbide — Carbide cutting inserts See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Lathe bit — Cutoff tools; Face/turn tools; Groove tools; Parting off tools See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Micrometers — Digital micrometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Milling vise — Precision milling vises See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Oil can — Oil dispensing cans See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Open end wrenches — Open end hand wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Overhead crane — Electric overhead travelling EOT cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power saws — Power hacksaws See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Protective gloves — Safety gloves See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Protractors — Bevel protractors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Radius gauge — Digital radius gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rubber mallet — Rubber mallets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rulers — Steel rules See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Safety glasses — Protective safety glasses See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Screwdrivers — Straight screwdrivers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sine bar — Sine bars See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Spanner wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Squares — Steel squares See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Straight edges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • T handle tap wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape measures — Push-pull rules See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Taper gauge — Machinists' taper gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tapping machine attachment — Tapping tools See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Thread pitch gauge — Screw pitch gauge See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Threading insert — Hand taps See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Threading machine attachment — Threading tools See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tool holders — Automatic tool changers; Parting off tool holders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tool template sets — Center finders; Electronic edge finders; Mechanical edge finders; Tool probes (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Turret lathe — Automatic turret lathes; Capstan lathes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Two way radios — Mobile radios See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vertical machining center — Vertical machining centers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Vertical turning center — Vertical turning centers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Industrial control software — Autodesk HSMWorks; Computer numerical control CNC editor software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object or component oriented development software — G-code; M-code See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles). See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Select production equipment according to product specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate cutting equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Set equipment controls to meet cutting specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Install mechanical components in production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate grinding equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate metal or plastic forming equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Replace worn equipment components. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Sharpen cutting or grinding tools. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 74% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 86% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Standing — 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 63% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 46% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 68% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 53% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 51% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 62% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 59% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 41% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 36% responded “Contact with others most of the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 32% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 31% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 37% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 31% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 60% responded “Moderate responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 51% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
45   High school diploma or equivalent Help
39   Post-secondary certificate Help
9   Less than high school diploma

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $17.43 hourly, $36,260 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 39,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 7,400
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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