Machinists at our 14,000 sq. ft. machine shop have access to a wide selection of milling, turning, drilling, and finishing machinery as well as a state-of-the-art water jet cutting system. In shop equipment includes marvel saws, 10 ton overhead crane, CNC milling center, 5 ton welding positioner, 100 ton hydraulic press, 48” throat nibbler, metal sheer, brake presses, surface grinder and much more.
Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and machining centers, to produce precision metal parts. Although they may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. They use their knowledge of the working properties of metals and their skill with machine tools to plan and carry out the operations needed to make machined products that meet precise specifications.
Before they machine a part, machinists must carefully plan and prepare the operation. These workers first review electronic or written blueprints or specifications for a job. Next, they calculate where to cut or bore into the workpiece (the piece of steel, aluminum, titanium, plastic, silicon or any other material that is being shaped), how fast to feed the workpiece into the machine, and how much material to remove. They then select tools and materials for the job, plan the sequence of cutting and finishing operations, and mark the workpiece to show where cuts should be made.
After this layout work is completed, machinists perform the necessary machining operations. They position the workpiece on the machine tool—drill press, lathe, milling machine, or other type of machine—set the controls, and make the cuts. During the machining process, they must constantly monitor the feed rate and speed of the machine. Machinists also ensure that the workpiece is being properly lubricated and cooled, because the machining of metal products generates a significant amount of heat. The temperature of the workpiece is a key concern because most metals expand when heated; machinists must adjust the size of their cuts relative to the temperature.
Because the technology of machining is changing rapidly, machinists must learn to operate a wide range of machines. Along with operating machines that use metal cutting tools to shape workpieces, machinists operate machines that cut with lasers, water jets, or electrified wires. While some of the computer controls may be similar, machinists must understand the unique cutting properties of these different machines. As engineers create new types of machine tools and new materials to machine, machinists must constantly learn new machining properties and techniques.