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Career profile Machine Tool Setter

Also known as Cell Technician, CNC Machine Setter (Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Setter), Die Setter, Machine Operator, Machine Technician

Machine Tool Setter

Also known as Cell Technician, CNC Machine Setter (Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Setter), Die Setter

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$26,000 - $59,050 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Inspect workpieces for defects, and measure workpieces to determine accuracy of machine operation, using rules, templates, or other measuring instruments.
  • Position, adjust, and secure stock material or workpieces against stops, on arbors, or in chucks, fixtures, or automatic feeding mechanisms, manually or using hoists.
  • Read blueprints or job orders to determine product specifications and tooling instructions and to plan operational sequences.
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What does a Machine Tool Setter do?

Machine Tool Setters set up, operate, or tend more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot.

What kind of tasks does a Machine Tool Setter perform regularly?

Machine Tool Setters are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Inspect workpieces for defects, and measure workpieces to determine accuracy of machine operation, using rules, templates, or other measuring instruments.
  • Position, adjust, and secure stock material or workpieces against stops, on arbors, or in chucks, fixtures, or automatic feeding mechanisms, manually or using hoists.
  • Read blueprints or job orders to determine product specifications and tooling instructions and to plan operational sequences.
  • Select, install, and adjust alignment of drills, cutters, dies, guides, and holding devices, using templates, measuring instruments, and hand tools.
  • Observe machine operation to detect workpiece defects or machine malfunctions, adjusting machines as necessary.
  • Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, cutters, shears, borers, millers, grinders, presses, drills, or auxiliary machines, to make metallic and plastic workpieces.
  • Change worn machine accessories, such as cutting tools or brushes, using hand tools.
  • Set machine stops or guides to specified lengths as indicated by scales, rules, or templates.
  • Select the proper coolants and lubricants and start their flow.
  • Perform minor machine maintenance, such as oiling or cleaning machines, dies, or workpieces, or adding coolant to machine reservoirs.
  • Remove burrs, sharp edges, rust, or scale from workpieces, using files, hand grinders, wire brushes, or power tools.
  • Make minor electrical and mechanical repairs and adjustments to machines and notify supervisors when major service is required.
  • Start machines and turn handwheels or valves to engage feeding, cooling, and lubricating mechanisms.
  • Compute data, such as gear dimensions or machine settings, applying knowledge of shop mathematics.
  • Move controls or mount gears, cams, or templates in machines to set feed rates and cutting speeds, depths, and angles.
  • Instruct other workers in machine set-up and operation.
  • Record operational data, such as pressure readings, lengths of strokes, feed rates, or speeds.
  • Extract or lift jammed pieces from machines, using fingers, wire hooks, or lift bars.

The above responsibilities are specific to Machine Tool Setters. More generally, Machine Tool Setters are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

What is a Machine Tool Setter salary?

The median salary for a Machine Tool Setter is $37,510, and the average salary is $39,800. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Machine Tool Setter salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Machine Tool Setters earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Machine Tool Setters earn less than $26,000 per year, 25% earn less than $30,410, 75% earn less than $47,650, and 90% earn less than $59,050.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Machine Tool Setters is expected to change by 8.5%, and there should be roughly 15,600 open positions for Machine Tool Setters every year.

Median annual salary
$37,510
Typical salary range
$26,000 - $59,050
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
8.5%

What personality traits are common among Machine Tool Setters?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Machine Tool Setter are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Machine Tool Setters typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Machine Tool Setter tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Machine Tool Setters strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Machine Tool Setters moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Machine Tool Setters somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Machine Tool Setters must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, persistence, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Machine Tool Setters, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Machine Tool Setters need?

Working as a Machine Tool Setter usually requires a high school diploma.

Machine Tool Setters need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Machine Tool Setters

  • 18.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 48.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.1% completed some college coursework
  • 6.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Machine Tool Setters

Machine Tool Setters may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Machine Tool Setters might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Machine Tool Setters

Machine Tool Setters must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Machine Tool Setters need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, control precision, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Machine Tool Setters, ranked by their relative importance.

Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Machine Tool Setters

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Machine Tool Setters frequently use skills like operations monitoring, quality control analysis, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Machine Tool Setters, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.