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Career Profile: Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

Set up, operate, or tend more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 139,500 people employed as multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic in the United States. The median annual salary is $37,630. Entry level employees earn approximately $28,560 per year and senior employees earn approximately $59,700 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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.
  • Measure and mark reference points and cutting lines on workpieces, using traced templates, compasses, and rules.
  • Write programs for computer numerical control (CNC) machines to cut metal and plastic materials.
  • Align layout marks with dies or blades.
  • 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.
  • Remove burrs, sharp edges, rust, or scale from workpieces, using files, hand grinders, wire brushes, or power tools.
  • Perform minor machine maintenance, such as oiling or cleaning machines, dies, or workpieces, or adding coolant to machine reservoirs.
  • Make minor electrical and mechanical repairs and adjustments to machines and notify supervisors when major service is required.
  • Compute data, such as gear dimensions or machine settings, applying knowledge of shop mathematics.
  • Start machines and turn handwheels or valves to engage feeding, cooling, and lubricating mechanisms.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
139,500
Annual Openings:
15,300
Increase in Openings by 2031:
3%
Annual Salary Range:
$28,560 - $59,700
Education Requirements:
High school diploma