Machine Set-Up Operator

Set up and operate machine tools to machine workpieces.
picture of Machine Set-Up Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$21,000 – $48,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Machine Set-Up Operators do?

Sets up and operates machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, boring machines, and grinders, to machine metallic and nonmetallic workpieces according to specifications, tooling instructions, and standard charts, applying knowledge of machining methods: Reads blueprint or job order for product specifications, such as dimensions and tolerances, and tooling instructions, such as fixtures, feed rates, cutting speeds, depth of cut, and determines sequence of operations. Selects, positions, and secures tool in toolholder. Positions and secures workpiece in holding device, machine table, chuck, centers, or fixtures, using clamps and wrenches. Moves controls to position tool and workpiece in relation to each other, and to set specified feeds, speeds, and depth of cut. Sets up fixture or feeding device, starts machine, and turns handwheel to feed tool to workpiece or vice versa, and engages feed. Turns valve handle to direct flow of coolant or cutting oil against tool and workpiece. Observes operation of machine and verifies conformance of machined workpiece to specifications, using measuring instruments, such as fixed gauges, calipers, and micrometers. Operates bench grinder to sharpen tools. May set up and operate machines and equipment other than machine tools, such as welding machines and flame-cutting equipment.


Should I be a Machine Set-Up Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • Also known as: Fabrication Set-Up Person, Machine Set-Up Person, Set-Up Person

    How to become a Machine Set-Up Operator

    Most Machine Set-Up Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:a9scaa&chl=|no+college+%2875%25%29|certificate+%2822%25%29|associate%27s+%283%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,75
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