What do CNC Machinists do?

A cnc machine cutting metal letters with a drill.


Engineer hand on industrial keypad

A computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinist is a job you may have never heard of before. This job is essential to the manufacturing of many common, household goods and machinery. For more information on what CNC machinists do, a manufacturing quote, as well as employment opportunities, visit United Scientific INC online now.

What Does a CNC do?

Now that you know what CNC stands for, you’re probably wondering what does one of these machinists do, exactly?

Simply put, CNC machinists help create parts for larger products by mapping out the specifications of these parts on computer software. The instructions the operator inputs then give an instrument operating instructions, and the ability to make these machine parts.

These commands that are created by an engineer control the speed, movements, and other factors to create the perfect product, whatever it may be. CNC machining is the result of technology and man-power working in total harmony

For example, a computer numerically controlled machinist doesn’t manufacture a new car. They are responsible for a smaller piece of a car–something like a fuel injector or upper shock mount. CNC companies and machinists produce some of the smaller, yet critical parts, that make up all cars.

These machinists use a variety of equipment to create each product or prototype. Some of the different machines they utilize are::

  • Milling
  • Turning
  • Waterjet cutting
  • Laser cutting
  • Turret punching
  • Plasma cutting

Additionally, there are a plethora of materials used in CNC machining. Some materials you may see on the job are: 

  • Brass
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel
  • Steel
  • PVC
  • Polycarbonate

The number of unique products that machinists manufacture, and the equipment they use to make those products can almost guarantee that no two CNC positions are the same.

Closeup of generic CNC drill equipment. 3D illustration.

What Industries Use CNC Companies?

One of the most exciting things about computer numerically controlled manufacturing is the variety of industries that utilize their services. With each new client, new products need to be developed and manufactured, making each product and day a little different.

Here are some of the industries that utilize the services provided by a CNC:

  • Construction
  • Automotive
  • Defense
  • Medical Devices
  • Food Processing
  • Transportation
  • Recreational Equipment
  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace Technology
  • Oil and Gas

Amazing, isn’t it? CNC machining is a crucial component to almost all modern product manufacturing.

What Makes a Good CNC Machinist?

It turns out that certain qualities correlate with being a fabulous computer numerically controlled machinist. 

If you find yourself being excellent at:

  • math
  • have great control of manual dexterity,
  • maintain extraordinary attention to detail
  • have remarkable problem-solving skills, 
  • have a significant understanding of computers
  • preserve superb physical stamina

Being a CNC machinist may be the dream job you never knew you wanted.

CNC machining is a career that is the perfect combination of creativity and practicality and works well for those when an aptitude in mathematics, sciences, engineering, and technology.

Worker pressing programming buttons on CNC machine control board in factory

What Does it Take to Become a CNC Machinist?

Does the world of CNC interest and excite you? Here’s how you can become one.

While each employer will have different requirements for hiring, there are many paths that you can take to pursue becoming a computer numerically controlled machinist.

Typically, some higher education is required to start working within CNC, specifically areas of math, engineering and computer sciences. Some degrees that may work well for following a CNC career path are machining and manufacturing, industrial engineering and industrial automation engineering technology.

Furthermore, an apprenticeship through a trade school or community college program will skyrocket your CNC career to success. These programs last for roughly four years and frequently are paying while you are taking classes and learning critical on-the-job skills.

An apprenticeship-style education environment is indispensable in careers like computer numerically controlled machining. They are so useful because it may provide you with a job opportunity with the company you apprenticed with, once your program and degree are complete. 

Do you see how huge this is? With a paid apprenticeship to become a CNC machinist, you can focus on gaining experience and knowledge in your field without the additional burden of making an income. On top of that, it creates a higher education environment where you’’ start out making money, rather than in piles of student loan debt.    

Here are some colleges to look into to kickstart your CNC career:

  • Universal Technical Institute
  • Lincoln Tech
  • Sullivan University
  • HoHoKus School of Trade & Technical Sciences

Once you’ve landed your dream job as a machinist, you can expect a median salary of around $43,630. That CNC machinist salary will vary depending on your place of employment and cost of living. 

Summarizing it All

This unique career path is ideal for those who love math, engineering, science technology, and hard work. With so many educational and career opportunities to capitalize on, this career is tailored for those who dream of being innovative.

CNC machining is the perfect combination for those who enjoy working closely with technology while still getting to be hands-on. If you are looking for a job with a new problem to solve every day, machining may be the career path for you.

For more information on CNC machining, manufacturing quotes, or employment opportunities contact United Scientific INC. in St. Paul Minnesota today by phone at 651-483-1500 or by email at [email protected].




What Does a CNC programmer do and is it a good job?

A man in yellow hard hat using laptop computer.
Engineer using laptop computer for maintenance automatic robotic arm with CNC machine in smart factory.

Have you ever taken time to think about how the big machines perform tasks “independently†as nobody is there to oversee the process? Who develops the programs that control the processing of plastic and metal parts in the manufacturing industries? The answer: a CNC programmer. 

At United Scientific, these are the people that keep all our processes moving to manufacture aerospace parts, medical devices, vehicle parts, recreational equipment, and more. Visit our website for more information on what we do and how we do it.

Now, many don’t know the meaning of CNC manufacturing, let alone what it does and why it’s crucial to any manufacturing industry. 

We’re going to share information with you about what a CNC programmer does and the salary you might get if you decide to pursue it as a career.

A little about CNC Manufacturing

For decades, we have seen giant leaps in technology. We’ve had many inventions taking place almost every day for the betterment of our living.

It’s still uncertain what we will have in the future, but we keep our faith in technology as it slowly unravels that mystery as the days go.

However, with CNC manufacturing, you can predict the future of CNC programming. Research that has been done to determine this comes to one end – It will be a highly sought-for career in the future.

CNC manufacturing first came into the limelight in the late 1940s, and since then, it has tremendously transformed industrial production.

Automation is one of the major driving forces of CNC manufacturing. What manufacturers designed almost a century ago is different from what we make today. 

As automated manufacturing continues to take foot in the industrial field, new inventions come, and CNC programming has a significant part to play.

Who is a CNC Programmer

CNC programming in full means computer numerically controlled programming. In other words, the tools or machinery parts are controlled by a computer program to manufacture different products.

The work of a CNC programmer in an industrial line is to create program codes or instructions to run the machine that shapes or cuts products like aviation, automobile, or industrial parts.  

Therefore, a CNC programmer is very vital in any industry. If they are not there, nothing can move. They foresee every manufacturing process and quickly come in when they notice a technical hitch in the machines.

At the Factory: Female Mechanical Engineer Designs 3D Engine on Her Personal Computer, Male Automation Engineer Uses Laptop for Programming Robotic Arm.

A Career in CNC Programming

Since CNC programming is becoming one of the most coveted jobs, being a top-rated CNC programmer is an uphill battle. However, the rewards are worth the hard work. 

The industrial world is getting exposed to the importance of CNC programming. With a 16% yearly growth rate between now and 2026, opportunities are multiplying. The employment gap is growing larger as many people have not come to the knowledge of this goldmine.

Before you embark on this career, there are some qualifications that you should possess.

To begin with, you should be good in technical subjects or at least show some interest in them. You should have a prolific mechanical aptitude and be able to work independently. 

Have an open mind to welcome new ideas to help the technological world at large.

As a CNC programmer, you have a high chance of getting into other highly coveted careers like computer programming, software productions, or information technologies. The remuneration for such jobs ranges from $50k to over $100K in some reputable companies.

Now, CNC programming is at par with these careers. According to Glassdoor, a CNC programmer salary ranges from $40k to $80k, with an average of $58,328 per year. 

Reputable companies are ready to part with over $85k year to pay their programmers. CNC programmers are paid these hefty amounts because employers understand the magnitude of the tasks they perform.

Advantages of becoming a CNC programmer

CNC programming has impacted the manufacture of materials significantly, creating significant advances over the old ways of manufacturing. Some of the improvements seen with CNC are;

  • Accuracy in Production

Since man is to error, machines are not. According to studies, humans have a 23% chance of making a mistake, while mechanical devices can only manage 8%. 

However, the 8% error happens if the system did not undergo servicing. So, the error is entirely on man.

With this in mind, a machine manufactures according to the variables keyed into the system. The results of any product that has gone through the hands of a CNC programmer are accurate and uniform.

  • Operation is Safe

Remember, the work of a CNC programmer is to make numerals in the computer that operates the machines. No one has to operate the machine manually, which would expose them to potential danger. 

In short, the CNC programmer works behind closed doors and leaves every work for the device.

  • The Number of Operators is Minimal.

Once hired as a CNC programmer, you are often doing the work of at least five people. Usually, to manufacture something, you need a supervisor, technician, electrician, and a welder. 

As a CNC programmer, your job is to input the concept of the four people while the machine does the whole task.

  • Uniformity in Designs

Unlike humans, a machine manufactures a complete replica of what it has produced before. In CNC production, every product made is precise; why? The next product manufactured uses the same numerals to create a new product.

  • Reliability

Whenever a CNC programmer is absent, it doesn’t mean that the factory will stop working. The codes and schematics are already in the system ready to go, keeping the industry busy and able to meet customer demands.

Worker controls the CNC machine


CNC programming is a game-changer in the manufacturing world. The benefits of a CNC programmer to any firm are countless, and their tremendous contribution to a production firm is irreplaceable. 

Would you want to have a look at the work of expert CNC programmers? If so, you can visit our site, United Scientific and explore the world of CNC manufacturing, its products, and learn more about a CNC programming is all about.

What Do the Letters “CNC” Mean and How Does CNC Machining Work

A machine cutting metal with the word cnc

CNC Machining Services Decoded

If you’re new to the manufacturing or precision machining world, there’s a unique alphabet to learn and assimilate. As machining technology evolves, so do the language, skill requirements, and associated competencies of that technology.

In this article, we’ll take a trip through several industry acronyms. We’ll define them for you, and help you understand how you might pursue a career in the leading-edge manufacturing sector of CNC part-making.

At United Scientific, we service the precision machining needs across a wide variety of industries. We are a synergistic partner in projects large and small, with an accuracy rating of 99+ percent. Call us today to begin collaborating on the parts you need to make your business go.

CNC: Computer Numerical Control

Here we go.  Let’s begin with the way parts are machined on both large and small scale with Computer Numerical Control manufacturing.

In the machining methods of yesteryear, a person with a tool was responsible for designing and cutting parts to fit into a finished product. 

Even though the tools in question could use automation to a degree in a production line, a person or team was responsible for manually telling the device what to do and how to do it. Directions for metal or other base material cutting and machining were manually entered into the cutting process. 

This type of implementation meant higher personnel costs, lower product accuracy, and potential limits on large scale projects.

With the advent of CNC manufacturing, a computer software program translates design specs from another program into numbers that cutting machines can read. The numbers correspond to a three-dimensional graph (picture a grid) and direct the tool to make precision cuts in whatever material is being shaped. 

The cutting machine applies the grid numbers to the cuts it makes in the base material and creates a highly accurate cut without human intervention beyond the original coding for the part.

The CNC lathe cutting the steel cone shape parts. The hi-technology automotive parts manufacturing process by turning machine.

CNC Machines

CNC cutting machines come in many shapes and sizes.  Here are a few that we commonly see in today’s factories:

  • Mills: a piece of material moves past a spinning, stationary blade that slices off portions of the ‘blank†as it moves by. A CNC mill can cut in three dimensions.
  • Lathes: In this application, the material to be cut is placed on a spindle and spins at high speed. A stationary blade slices chips of the material as it rotates. An example of a product that’s precision-cut by a lathe is a chess game piece.

Machining a piece of material on a lathe is called “turning.†Lathes are a little less flexible that mills, in that they cut in only two dimensions. However, they come in many variations and remain incredibly functional in CNC manufacturing.

  • Routers: A variation on a mill that cuts wood exclusively
  • Plasma cutters, waterjets, and lasers: all are used to cut flat materials like sheets of metal or plastic
Industrial cnc plasma cutting machine with sparks

CAD and CAM: the software that makes CNC happen.

We can’t discuss CNC manufacturing without also defining CAD and CAM programs. CAD means Computer-Aided Design. CAM means Computer-Aided Manufacturing. CAD and CAM are the drivers for many CNC functions. 

When a product is in the design phase, a CAD designer crafts the shape, size, and specs for the product in the CAD software program. 

Once the CAD program creates the product, it must be translated into G-code. G-code is a programming language that CNC machines understand and use to direct the cuts they make into a block or sheet of material.

Are humans still required to mass-produce products?

Today, many manufacturing machines require different kinds of supervision by humans. That’s where our career discussion begins. 

Gone are the days of large teams of people working on lines and supervising quality. Now, computers tell the machines what to do with greater precision and efficiency. 

There is plenty of human involvement in manufacturing, but it’s at a different level.

The jobs associated with making things center in telling the machines what to do. Translating CAD language into G-Code that cutting devices can read is one example of a machining career path.

Design work in CAD and CAM programs is another production profession. Teaching and training other people computer-based programming and design is also an essential career path in the manufacturing sector.

Engineer, Constructor, Designer in Glasses Working on a Personal Computer. He is Creating, Designing a New 3D Model of Mechanical Component in CAD Program. Freelance Work

Production Jobs and Salaries

In today’s production sector, it pays to have technical knowledge and skills.  Four of the top nine manufacturing jobs in the US today include:

  • Mechanical Engineer: A person who designs, researches, builds, tests, and inspects mechanical devices. This job pays an average salary range of $64-$89K per year and requires the most education. A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is the norm.
  • Instrument Technician: Someone who inspects, repairs, monitors, and calibrates machining devices. This role requires a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree or higher may be preferred. The salary range is for an Instrument Tech is $40-$62K per year.
  • CAD or CAM Draftsman: These are the designers for parts and products. Technical drawing, listening, and collaboration are skills a draftsman must have. You’ll be working extensively with engineers, architects, and product manufacturers. A CAD certificate or associates degree is required. A typical salary range is $37-$49K per year.
  • Quality Control Inspector: These employees perform spot checks on products to make sure they are maintaining consistent quality and accuracy. As an inspector, you’re responsible for making sure the parts produced in the CNC process are a precise and consistent fit for the client’s requirements. A job like this requires a high school diploma and sometimes an Associate’s degree. A typical salary for an inspector is $29-$41K per year.

At United Scientific, Inc., we pride ourselves on our collaborations. We partner with large companies to fill part orders from small to large, with incredible accuracy at greater than 99 percent. 

Our clients know they’ll get quality precision-made parts with each order they place. We deliver on time at competitive pricing. We service our clients with professionalism and reliability every time. Call us or visit our website to get started planning your next precision part order.