Tool Machine Setup Operator

Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to machine metal workpieces.
picture of Tool Machine Setup Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$21,000 – $48,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Tool Machine Setup Operators do?

Sets up and operates variety of machine tools, such as radial drill press, lathes, milling machines, shapers, and grinders, to machine metal workpieces, such as patterns and machine, tool, or die parts, usually on custom basis. Analyzes specifications and determines tooling, applying knowledge of metal properties, machining, and shop mathematics: Studies blueprint or layout on workpiece to visualize machining required, and plans sequence of operations. Selects method of holding workpiece. Lifts workpiece manually or using hoist, and positions and secures it to holding device, such as machine table, chuck, centers, or fixture, using wrenches and aids, such as shims, parallel blocks, planter gauges, and clamps. Verifies workpiece position, using instruments, such as surface gauges, height gauges, and dial indicator. Selects feed rate, cutting speed, depth of cut, and cutting tool for each operation, according to knowledge of metal properties, machining, and shop mathematics. Positions and secures tool in toolholder. Moves controls to position tool and workpiece in relation to each other, and to set feeds, speeds, and depth of cut. Starts machine, turns handwheel to feed tool in workpiece or vice versa, and engages automatic feeding device. Turns valve handle to start flow of coolant against tool and workpiece. Observes operation and regulates tool position and action. Verifies conformance of machined workpiece to specifications, using instruments, such as micrometers, gauges, and gauge blocks. May measure, mark, and scribe workpiece to lay out for machining [LAY-OUT WORKER 600.281-018]. May devise ways of clamping workpieces and make special jigs and fixtures as needed. May work on nonmetallic materials. May operate bench grinder or cutter grinding machine to sharpen tools [TOOL-GRINDER OPERATOR 603.280-038].


Should I be a Tool Machine Setup Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • 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.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Combination Machine Tool Operator, Machine Tool Operator, Machine-Tool Operator, General, Set-Up-Operator, Tool See More

    How to Become a
    Tool Machine Setup Operator

    Most Tool Machine Setup 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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