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Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic - 51-4011.00

O*NET-SOC Description

Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • Brake Press Operator
  • Computer Numerical Control Lathe Operator (CNC Lathe Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator (CNC Machine Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist)
  • Computer Numerical Control Mill Operator (CNC Mill Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Set-Up and Operator (CNC Set-Up and Operator)
  • Machine Operator
  • Machine Set-Up Operator
  • Machinist

SOC Occupation Groups

51-0000 Production Occupations
51-4000 Metal Workers and Plastic Workers
51-4010 Computer Control Programmers and Operators
51-4011.00 Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

Related Occupations


  • Adjust machine feed and speed, change cutting tools, or adjust machine controls when automatic programming is faulty or if machines malfunction.
  • Calculate machine speed and feed ratios and the size and position of cuts.
  • Check to ensure that workpieces are properly lubricated and cooled during machine operation.
  • Clean machines, tooling, or parts, using solvents or solutions and rags.
  • Confer with supervisors or programmers to resolve machine malfunctions or production errors or to obtain approval to continue production.
  • Control coolant systems.
  • Enter commands or load control media, such as tapes, cards, or disks, into machine controllers to retrieve programmed instructions.
  • Examine electronic components for defects or completeness of laser-beam trimming, using microscopes.
  • Implement changes to machine programs, and enter new specifications, using computers.
  • Input initial part dimensions into machine control panels.
  • Insert control instructions into machine control units to start operation.
  • Lay out and mark areas of parts to be shot peened and fill hoppers with shot.
  • Lift workpieces to machines manually or with hoists or cranes.
  • Listen to machines during operation to detect sounds such as those made by dull cutting tools or excessive vibration, and adjust machines to compensate for problems.
  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine tools, using hand tools.
  • Measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.
  • Modify cutting programs to account for problems encountered during operation, and save modified programs.
  • Monitor machine operation and control panel displays, and compare readings to specifications to detect malfunctions.
  • Mount, install, align, and secure tools, attachments, fixtures, and workpieces on machines, using hand tools and precision measuring instruments.
  • Remove and replace dull cutting tools.
  • Review program specifications or blueprints to determine and set machine operations and sequencing, finished workpiece dimensions, or numerical control sequences.
  • Set up and operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic workpieces.
  • Set up future jobs while machines are operating.
  • Stack or load finished items, or place items on conveyor systems.
  • Stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences.
  • Transfer commands from servers to computer numerical control (CNC) modules, using computer network links.
  • Write simple programs for computer-controlled machine tools.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
  • Calculate specific material, equipment, or labor requirements for production.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Confer with others to resolve production problems or equipment malfunctions.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
  • Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment.
  • Install mechanical components in production equipment.
  • Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
  • Monitor lubrication of equipment or workpieces.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks.
  • Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
  • Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
  • Replace worn equipment components.
  • Set equipment controls to meet cutting specifications.
  • Stack finished items for further processing or shipment.
  • Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
  • Test electrical equipment or systems to ensure proper functioning.
  • Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Aircraft Metals Technology (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Aircraft Metals Technology Apprentice (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Aircraft Metals Technology Craftsman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Aircraft Metals Technology Helper (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Aircraft Metals Technology Journeyman (Air Force - Enlisted)
  • Allied Trades Specialist (Army - Enlisted)
  • Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) Repairer/Technician (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Combat Engineer (Army - Enlisted)
  • Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) Repairer/Technician (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Machinery Repairman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Machinery Technician (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Machinist (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Main Battle Tank (MBT) Repairer/Technician (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Small Arms Repairer/Technician (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Wheeled Vehicle Repairer (Army - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • Aircraft Metals Technology (Machinist/CNC/Welder)
  • Aircraft Metals Technology Specialist
  • Numerical Control Machine Operator

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Automated Cutting Machine Operator
  • Drill-Press Operator, Numerical Control
  • Jig-Boring Machine Operator, Numerical Control
  • Laser-Beam-Trim Operator
  • Lathe Operator, Numerical Control
  • Milling-Machine Set-Up Operator, Numerical Control
  • Numerical Control Machine Operator
  • Numerical Control Machine Set-Up Operator
  • Numerical-Control Drill Operator, Printed Circuit Boards
  • Numerical-Control Router Operator
  • Robotic Machine Operator
  • Router Set-Up Operator, Numerical Control
  • Shot-Peening Operator