What is a CNC Programmer?
CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines are used to manufacture functional items including parts for a range of vehicles. CNC machines precisely cut metal for medical, automotive, aerospace sectors, to name but a few.
A CNC programmer, therefore, designs programs and sets up the CNC machines to produce products using blueprints and technical drawings. CNC programmers use CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) programmes to develop the code required to input into the CNC machine, in the form of “G-code”.
Beyond inputting code to program CNC machines, CNC programmers also have to perform test runs, decide on the best cutting tools to use and make amendments to the program, all to ensure precision when cutting. Additionally, CNC programmers have to maintain CNC machines with basic cleaning and upkeep.
Similar jobs to a CNC programmer include; manufacturing technician, machinist, fabricators, assemblers, metal patternmakers, mechanical technicians. These jobs entail working with materials, usually metal, to carefully create precise products according to specifications.
See more: Skills Spotlight: CAD (Computer Aided Design) Tips for Engineers
CNC Programmer Job Description
The job description for a CNC programmer will likely stay consistent across company and location. Although working hours and salary may differ, the day to day responsibilities stay the same for most CNC programmers.
Here is a list of typical responsibilities of the role:
- Read technical drawings and use them to set up CNC machines
- Model cutting paths with software
- Program machines using CAM for coding
- Quality check products and ensure specification is met
- Make adjustments to CNC machine paths
- Evaluate proper tools for cutting various materials
- Assess health of CNC machines and resolve issues if they occur
- Maintain CNC machines with basic cleaning and sharpening
- Assist others with CNC machining if needed