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Careers in Mechanical Engineering as a CNC Machine Programmer

written by: Haresh Khemani • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 1/28/2010

One great option after completing graduation in Mechanical Engineering is becoming a CNC programmer. As a CNC programmer you write programs for various machining operations and also do planning for production of various components.

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    CNC Machines in Industry

    This is the age of automatism, where almost everything is done automatically. In the earlier days machine operators used to machine the components and manufacture them, which used to be a slow and tedious process. Now, most of the machines are operated by computers and are called Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. All that the machine operator has to do is program the CNC machine as per the requirement of the size and shape of the component. After completing your Mechanical Engineering, taking up a career as CNC machine programmer is an excellent option.

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    CNC Programmer Job Description

    In most of the manufacturing companies there are large numbers of CNC machines, especially in the automotive industries. As a CNC programmer first of all you will have to study the drawings of the components to be manufactured. You will then have to decide various machining operations required to manufacture the finished job. Thereafter you have to decide the sequence in which the machine operations have to be carried out and the amount of material to be removed in each step of the sequence. Depending on the dimensions of the finished job and size of the raw material you will also have to calculate the time required to manufacture the finished job.

    After, carrying out the above exercise a program is written to accomplish various machining operations as per the required sequence and dimensions of the finished job. This program has to be first tried on few samples to see if the final job being produced is of desired dimensions and finished or not. If not, then the changes are carried out in the program. If the samples are found satisfactory, the program is used for bulk manufacturing of the components.

    If there are large numbers of machines where varieties of components are being produced, you may have to write various programs. In fact these days even the machine operators are trained in writing the program for CNC machine. Your job as the CNC machine programmer is not only to write the programs, but also to plan the whole production cycle so that the optimum production targets are set and achieved. Production planning enables keeping all the man and machines being utilized for the maximum production, without keeping these precious resources idle.

    As a CNC machine programmer you have to be expert in programming, and understanding and setting goals. Then you also have to handle a team of operators to motivate them to achieve the targets.

    For further information on specific Mechanical Engineering Career fields, please read more:

    Careers in Mechanical Engineering

    Careers in Mechanical Engineering as a Production Engineer

    Careers in Mechanical Engineering as a CAD Designer

    Careers in Mechanical Engineering as a Power Plant Engineer

    Careers in Mechanical Engineering as a Maintenance Engineer