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Grinding/Polishing Machine Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Sets up, operates, or tends grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.

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


A person in this career:

  • Inspects or measures finished workpieces to determine conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments such as gauges or micrometers.
  • Lifts and positions workpieces, manually or with hoists, and secures them in hoppers or on machine tables, faceplates, or chucks, using clamps.
  • Sets up, operates, or tends grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces.
  • Observes machine operations to detect any problems, making necessary adjustments to correct problems.
  • Sets and adjusts machine controls according to product specifications, using knowledge of machine operation.
  • Measures workpieces and lays out work, using precision measuring devices.
  • Selects machine tooling to be used, using knowledge of machine and production requirements.
  • Studies blueprints, work orders, or machining instructions to determine product specifications, tool requirements, and operational sequences.
  • Mounts and positions tools in machine chucks, spindles, or other tool holding devices, using hand tools.
  • Activates machine start-up switches to grind, lap, hone, debar, shear, or cut workpieces, according to specifications.

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 bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • 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.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • 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):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Band Reamer Machine Operator -- Tends pneumatic reaming machine that removes burrs from inner surface of copper bands.
  • CNC Operator (Computer Numerically Controlled Operator) -- Operates computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.
  • Gear Lapping Machine Operator -- Sets up and operates gear-lapping machine to lap gears according to specifications, machining instructions, standard charts, and knowledge of gear lapping procedures.
  • Jewel Bearing Facer -- Operates lathe to grind jewel bearings to specified thickness.
  • Jig Grinder Set-Up Operator -- Sets up and operates jig grinding machine to locate and precision-grind holes and contours in metal objects, for example tool, die, and machine parts.
  • Lap Machine Tender -- Tends one or more lapping machines to lap surfaces of metal objects to specifications.
  • Needle Grinder -- Grinds industrial needles to sharpen points, using grinding wheels.
  • Tool and Die Maker -- Makes, repairs and modifies custom-made, prototype or special tools, dies, jigs, fixtures and gauges using various metals, alloys and plastics which require precise dimensions.