Set up and operate machines to fabricate ornamental metal products.
As a Hammer Operator, you’re a lot like a Filler Operator, a Heavy Equipment Operator, or pretty much any other Operator you can think of. Like these Operators, a Hammer Operator sets up machines, makes sure they work properly, and ensures that a high-quality product gets created.
The difference lies in what a Hammer Operator works with day in and day out. You handle high-powered hammers known as forging hammers. These are electronic versions of a regular hammer; they have a lot of power behind every hit, and can make hundreds of hits per minute. They’re used to hammer the sheet metal that makes up the body of airplanes, helicopters, and gas turbines.
Safety is big in this job. Think of when a regular hammer hits the wrong place (like your thumb), and multiply that by thousands. When setting up a hammer for a new job, it’s important that you know exactly how it works so you can see a problem coming before it happens, and turn the machine off if something goes wrong.
You start a job by reading the blueprints that dictate what you’ll be making. You set up the piece of metal to be hammered, clamping it into place firmly so the powerful hits can’t move it incorrectly. After the hammer starts, you shift your focus to keeping an eye on quality. You make sure the hits happen in the right place and go deep enough, and the edges of the hammer don’t become ragged from hitting metal edges.