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Milling/Planing Machine Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Sets up, operates, or tends milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic work pieces.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Positions and secures workpieces on machines, using holding devices, measuring instruments, hand tools, and hoists.
  • Removes workpieces from machines, and checks to ensure that they conform to specifications, using measuring instruments such as microscopes, gauges, calipers, and micrometers.
  • Verifies alignment of workpieces on machines, using measuring instruments such as rules, gauges, or calipers.
  • Observes milling or planing machine operation and adjusts controls to ensure conformance with specified tolerances.
  • Moves cutters or material manually or by turning handwheels, or engages automatic feeding mechanisms to mill workpieces to specifications.
  • Selects cutting speeds, feed rates, and depths of cuts, applying knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Studies blueprints, layouts, sketches, or work orders to assess workpiece specifications and to determine tooling instructions, tools and materials needed, and sequences of operations.
  • Moves controls to set cutting specifications, to position cutting tools and workpieces in relation to each other, and to start machines.
  • Computes dimensions, tolerances, and angles of workpieces or machines, according to specifications and knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Replaces worn tools, using hand tools, and sharpens dull tools, using bench grinders.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • CNC Machine Operator (Computerized Numerical Control Machine Operator) --
  • CNC Mill Operator (Computerized Numerical Control Mill Operator) --
  • CNC Mill Set Up Operator (Computerized Numerical Control Mill Set Up Operator) --
  • CNC Operator (Computerized Numerical Control Operator) --
  • CNC Programmer (Computerized Numerical Control Programmer) --
  • Machine Operator --
  • Mill Operator --
  • Miller --
  • Milling Operator --
  • Set Up Person --