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Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic - 51-4012.00

O*NET-SOC Description

Develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

  • CAD CAM Programmer (Computer-Aided Design Computer-Aided Manufacturing Programmer)
  • Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator (CNC Machine Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Machining Center Operator (CNC Machining Center Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist)
  • Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator)
  • Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer)
  • Machine Shop Lead Man
  • Machining Manager
  • Programmer

SOC Occupation Groups

51-0000 Production Occupations
51-4000 Metal Workers and Plastic Workers
51-4010 Computer Control Programmers and Operators
51-4012.00 Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic

Related Occupations


  • Align and secure pattern film on reference tables of optical programmers, and observe enlarger scope views of printed circuit boards.
  • Analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates.
  • Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
  • Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency.
  • Enter computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media.
  • Enter coordinates of hole locations into program memories by depressing pedals or buttons of programmers.
  • Modify existing programs to enhance efficiency.
  • Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
  • Perform preventative maintenance or minor repairs on machines.
  • Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine's controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
  • Write programs in the language of a machine's controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.

Detailed Work Activities

  • Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
  • Conduct test runs of production equipment.
  • Create diagrams or blueprints for workpieces or products.
  • Determine production equipment settings.
  • Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
  • Enter commands, instructions, or specifications into equipment.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Perform basic equipment maintenance.
  • Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
  • Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces.
  • Program equipment to perform production tasks.
  • Select production equipment according to product specifications.
  • Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Computer Numerically Controlled Machinist (Navy - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • CNC Setup Programmer - Milling
  • CNC Setup Programmer - Milling & Turning
  • CNC Setup Programmer -Turning
  • Tool Programmer, Numerical Control

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Nesting Operator, Numerical Control
  • Tool Programmer, Numerical Control