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Details for Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic


Set up, operate, or tend milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic work pieces.


  • Move controls to set cutting specifications, to position cutting tools and workpieces in relation to each other, and to start machines.
  • Move cutters or material manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to mill workpieces to specifications.
  • Observe milling or planing machine operation and adjust controls to ensure conformance with specified tolerances.
  • Position and secure workpieces on machines, using holding devices, measuring instruments, hand tools, and hoists.
  • Remove workpieces from machines, and check to ensure that they conform to specifications, using measuring instruments such as microscopes, gauges, calipers, and micrometers.
  • Select and install cutting tools and other accessories according to specifications, using hand tools or power tools.
  • Select cutting speeds, feed rates, and depths of cuts, applying knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Study blueprints, layouts, sketches, or work orders to assess workpiece specifications and to determine tooling instructions, tools and materials needed, and sequences of operations.
  • Turn valves or pull levers to start and regulate the flow of coolant or lubricant to work areas.
  • Verify alignment of workpieces on machines, using measuring instruments such as rules, gauges, or calipers.
  • Compute dimensions, tolerances, and angles of workpieces or machines, according to specifications and knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Make templates or cutting tools.
  • Mount attachments and tools such as pantographs, engravers, or routers to perform other operations such as drilling or boring.
  • Record production output.
  • Replace worn tools, using hand tools, and sharpen dull tools, using bench grinders.


  • Realistic - 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.


  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

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  • Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
  • Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
  • Plating and Coating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
  • Printing Machine Operators
  • Sheet Metal Workers
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