The contributions of the American machinist are felt in nearly every facet of industry - from the production of nuts and bolts measuring within one one-thousandth of an inch in accuracy - to a full scale space shuttle.
Accuracy is the byword of any machined product. After reading blueprints, the machinist must take raw material, and form and fabricate it into a finished machined part. It must meet exact mechanical specifications of the blueprint or electronic solid model. In the development of prototypes, machinists may be working with engineers as a team member.
Machinists must have the skills to operate different types of manual machine tools including mills, lathes, drill presses and grinders. In newer shops, machinists operate CNC (Computer Numeric Control) versions of the manual machines listed previously. Metals such as steel, cast iron and aluminum, plastics, and composite materials are machined. San José City College offers courses that allow students to work with the type of equipment used in industry to get the skills that will get them jobs.
The best employment opportunities for machinists are in urban areas in the San Francisco Bay Area, which pay higher than average salaries.
Machine tool operators may advance to highly skilled machinists, tool and die makers, instrument makers, machine programmers or machine shop owners.
Contacts for program information:
(408) 288-2181 ex. 3836