Tool Engine Lathe Set-Up Operator

Set up and operate engine lathes.
picture of Tool Engine Lathe Set-Up Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$23,000 – $52,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Tool Engine Lathe Set-Up Operators do?

Sets up and operates engine lathe to perform machining, such as turning, facing, boring, and threading on rotating metal castings, forgings, and bar stock, to machine tool, die, or machine parts, analyzing specifications and deciding on tooling according to knowledge of metal properties and lathe operation: Studies blueprint or layout on workpiece to visualize machining to be done, and plans sequence of operations. Selects method of holding workpiece according to its size and shape and installs holding fixtures, such as chuck jaws, collets, arbors, and mandrels, to headstock or tailstock, using clamps or wrenches. Lifts workpiece manually or with hoist, and positions and secures it in holding fixture or between centers, using clamps and wrenches, and verifying position with measuring instruments, such as calipers, height gauges, and dial indicators. Selects feed rate, cutting speed, depth of cut, and cutting tool for each operation, according to knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics. Positions and secures cutting tool in tool holder on cross-slide or tailstock. Moves controls to set cutting speed and feed rate and to position tool in relation to workpiece. Starts machine and turns handwheels to feed tool to and along workpiece, or engages automatic feed. Turns valve handle and directs flow of coolant against tool and workpiece. Verifies conformance of machined workpiece to specifications, using measuring instruments, such as micrometer, calipers, and depth gauges. May operate large engine lathe to machine large objects, such as ship propeller shafts, and be designated Lathe Set-Up Operator, Large. May offset position of tailstock to machine tapered surfaces. May mount gears, move levers, and engage threading dial to machine threads, using knowledge of thread cutting. May machine teeth on cutting tools, or duplicate contours from templates or models, using relieving or tracing attachments. May operate bench grinder to sharpen tools. May work on nonmetallic materials, such as plastics. May be required to have specialized experience with particular materials, product, precision level, machining process or size, type, or trade name of machine.


Should I be a Tool Engine Lathe Set-Up Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Engine Lathe Set-Up Operator, Tool

    How to Become a
    Tool Engine Lathe Set-Up Operator

    Most Tool Engine Lathe 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:9ycaaa&chl=no+college+%2854%25%29|certificate+%2844%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,54,54
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