Manual Machinist Salary
Job Description for Manual Machinist
Manual machinists are skilled workers who use machine tools in manufacturing plants to cut, shave, slice, drill, and otherwise manipulate a variety of hard surfaces, from wood to glass to metals. While the name implies the hands-on use of these tools, the reality is that many of the lathes, drills, saws, and other implements now have computer controls to assist the manual machinist. Because modern appliances and other components that will use the pieces created by manual machinists can require precise specifications (down to .001 of an inch), even with computers involved, this is a position requiring substantial skill and attention to detail.Read More...
Manual machinists typically specialize in just one or two types of machine. This is important, because the machinist will be expected to be able to tell during a typical shift if their machine — be it a lathe, a grinder, or a drill press — has come out of calibration even minutely. The machinist must monitor the completion of work performed at his or her station and typically makes constant adjustments to account for how repeat use affects the machine tools and the materials worked on.
In some cases, manual machinists develop a suite of skills working on a variety of machine tools, but in this case, typically it is the material — metals, glass, alloys — that the machinist specializes in. In these cases, the material used determines the effects of frequent machining on an assembly line.
Manual machinists typically do not need to have university degrees. Instead, most seek vocational or technical school training after completing a high school diploma or equivalent, and then work in apprentice and assistant jobs in manufacturing to gain practical experience. While some plants require machinists only during regular business hours, many work alternative shifts.
Manual Machinist Tasks
- Perform a variety of manual milling operations such as lathing, milling, cutting, drilling, turning, taping, sawing, grinding and boring.
- Design and fabricate custom tools.
- Use a variety of milling tools such as Engine Lathe, Vertical Boring Mill, Horizontal Boring Mill, Bridgeports, Band Saws, Radial Arm Drills, Calipers, Micrometers, and Scales.
- Read blue prints and other CAD design documents.
Common Career Paths for Manual Machinist
Manual Machinists may not see large compensation differences if they transition into an upper-level role such as Computer Numerically Controlled Operator and Programmer. Computer Numerically Controlled Operator and Programmers on average make about as much as Manual Machinists do.
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Pay by Experience Level for Manual Machinist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Manual Machinists with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $34K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $41K. Manual Machinists see a median salary of $43K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Survey participants who have spent more than 20 years on the job report a predictably higher median income of $48K, demonstrating that compensation is roughly commensurate with experience in the end.
Pay Difference by Location
For Manual Machinists, Los Angeles provides a pay rate that is 25 percent greater than the national average. Manual Machinists will also find cushy salaries in Houston (+12 percent) and San Diego (+6 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Tulsa, 13 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Portland and Dallas (5 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).