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Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic - 51-4034.00

O*NET-SOC Description

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)
  • Lathe Operator
  • Lathe Set Up Person
  • Machine Operator
  • Numerical Control Operator (NC Operator)
  • Screw Machine Operator
  • Screw Machine Tool Setter
  • Setup Operator
  • Turn Operator

SOC Occupation Groups

51-0000 Production Occupations
51-4000 Metal Workers and Plastic Workers
51-4030 Machine Tool Cutting Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-4034.00 Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

Related Occupations


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

Detailed Work Activities

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

Military Crosswalk Titles

  • Advanced Machinery Repairman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • 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)
  • Allied Trades Warrant Officer (Army - Warrant Officer only)
  • Machinery Repairman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Machinery Repairman Apprentice (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Machinery Repairman Journeyman (Navy - Enlisted)
  • Machinery Technician (Coast Guard - Enlisted)
  • Machinist (Marine Corps - Enlisted)
  • Naval Engineering Specialty (Coast Guard - Warrant Officer only)
  • Rubber and Plastics Worker (Navy - Enlisted)

Apprenticeship Crosswalk Titles

  • Cnc Operator - Milling and Turning
  • Engine-Lathe Set-Up Op,Tool
  • Engine-Lathe Set-Up Operator
  • Plate Shop Operator
  • Screw-Mach Set-Up Operator
  • Screw-Mach Set-Up Operator, Single
  • Screw-Machine Operator, Multi Spin
  • Screw-Machine Operator, Single Spin
  • Spinner, Hand
  • Turret Lathe Set-Up Operat

DOT Crosswalk Titles

  • Balance Recesser
  • Barrel Finisher
  • Bell Spinner
  • Chucking-Machine Set-Up Operator
  • Chucking-Machine Set-Up Operator, Multiple Spindle, Vertical
  • Cup-Trimming-Machine Operator
  • Cutter, V-Groove
  • Deburrer, Machine
  • Engine-Lathe Set-Up Operator
  • Engine-Lathe Set-Up Operator, Tool
  • Facing-Machine Operator
  • Fittings Finisher
  • Fountain Pen Turner
  • Grooving-Lathe Tender
  • Knurling-Machine Operator
  • Lap Cutter-Truer Operator
  • Lathe Hand
  • Lathe Tender
  • Rim-Turning Finisher
  • Screw-Machine Operator, Multiple Spindle
  • Screw-Machine Operator, Single Spindle
  • Screw-Machine Operator, Swiss-Type
  • Screw-Machine Set-Up Operator
  • Screw-Machine Set-Up Operator, Multiple Spindle
  • Screw-Machine Set-Up Operator, Single Spindle
  • Screw-Machine Set-Up Operator, Swiss-Type
  • Screw-Machine Tender
  • Setter, Automatic-Spinning Lathe
  • Spinner, Hand
  • Spinner, Hydraulic
  • Spinning-Lathe Operator, Automatic
  • Threading-Machine Operator
  • Threading-Machine Setter
  • Turret-Lathe Operator, Tumble Tailstock
  • Turret-Lathe Set-Up Operator
  • Turret-Lathe Set-Up Operator, Tool
  • Winding-Lathe Operator