What Do CNC Programmers Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

Stan T.Career, Job DescriptionLeave a Comment

Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

CNC Programmers develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems. They also write programs in the language of a machine’s controller and store programs on media such as punch tapes, magnetic tapes, or disks.

Other tasks include:

  • Determine the sequence of machine operations, and select the proper cutting tools needed to machine workpieces into the desired shapes.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Analyze job orders, drawings, blueprints, specifications, printed circuit board pattern films, and design data to calculate dimensions, tool selection, machine speeds, and feed rates.
  • Write instruction sheets and cutter lists for a machine’s controller to guide setup and encode numerical control tapes.
  • Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.
  • Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper.

We asked CNC Programmers how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

61%

How meaningful is this job

46%


61% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 46% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, CNC Programmers draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency. They sort shop orders into groups to maximize materials utilization and minimize machine setup time.

A typical day for a Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmer, Metal and Plastic will also include:

  • Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.
  • Enter computer commands to store or retrieve parts patterns, graphic displays, or programs that transfer data to other media.
  • Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.
  • Revise programs or tapes to eliminate errors, and retest programs to check that problems have been solved.
  • Prepare geometric layouts from graphic displays, using computer-assisted drafting software or drafting instruments and graph paper.

We asked some CNC Programmers a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?47% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?49% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?95% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?20% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?13% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?31% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, CNC Programmers also align and secure pattern film on reference tables of optical programmers, and observe enlarger scope views of printed circuit boards. They may also perform preventative maintenance or minor repairs on machines.

On a weekly to monthly basis, CNC Programmers Draw machine tool paths on pattern film, using colored markers and following guidelines for tool speed and efficiency. They might also Compare encoded tapes or computer printouts with original part specifications and blueprints to verify accuracy of instructions.

In addition, they Modify existing programs to enhance efficiency.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Observe machines on trial runs or conduct computer simulations to ensure that programs and machinery will function properly and produce items that meet specifications.

To some CNC Programmers, it is also their responsibility to Determine reference points, machine cutting paths, or hole locations, and compute angular and linear dimensions, radii, and curvatures.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmer, Metal and Plastic, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do CNC Programmers work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
73%


Never
17%


Do CNC Programmers work outdoors?

Never
67%


Once a year
33%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about CNC Programmers

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Related to Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/production/metal-and-plastic-machine-workers.htm
http://www.ntma.org/
http://www.pmpa.org/
http://www.pmaef.org/


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