Overview of Careers in Manufacturing & CNC
Would you like to work in a career that requires both mental and hands-on skills—doing creative high-precision work? Graduates in the Manufacturing & CNC fields are involved in forming and assembly of products from metals, plastics and composites. Sketches or computer-aided drafting (CAD) drawings are converted into three dimensional parts, to very close tolerances, using a variety of manual and computer-aided machine tools (CNC). These products range from consumer items such as automobiles and home appliances to satellites and sophisticated medical equipment. Virtually everything purchased made of metal, plastic, or composites was ether produced directly, or with tools constructed by those in manufacturing and CNC careers.
The following represent some of the career specialties De Anza will qualify you for:

career pix 1CNC Machinist - operates and writes programs for computer numerical controlled (CNC) lathes and milling machines. Must be able to read blueprints or CAD files, select cutting tools and align the workpiece in the machine. Throughout the machining process the CNC machine is adjusted to deliver the required part dimensions and surface finishes while maintaining short cycle times. A good understanding of precision measurement is required for inspecting finished parts.

Research & Development Machinist - must have the same knowledge as the CNC Machinists. Additionally, they operate conventional (manually operated) lathes, milling machines and perform various abrasive machining operations such as grinding, honing and lapping. Has a working knowledge of a wide variety of manufacturing processes such as heat treating of materials and electro-discharge machining (EDM). Works closely with engineers and builds, assembles, and tests mechanical devices. Basically this person must be able to form almost any part from metals, plastics or composites.

Other Advanced Careers:

After obtaining the knowledge and skills to be a Research & Development Machinist, with additional training several other interesting and high-paying professions are available.
Examples are:

Tool and Die Maker - makes and often designs special tools and dies used in mass production of sheet metal products.

Plastic Mold Maker - builds and often designs metal molds for producing plastic part


CNC Machine Programmer - writes computer programs that control CNC machine tools.writes the computer programs that controls CNC machine tools. Typically these are programs which have a higher level of difficulty than those written by the CNC Machinist. These programs may be for specialized four to six axis CNC machines to produce parts having complex surfaces and features.

career pix 2Manufacturing Systems Technician - is involved in the setup, maintenance, and sometimes operation of a large variety of automated equipment used to manufacture and assemble integrated circuits and other electronic equipment. Similar knowledge is required for those who support other automated industries such as computer peripherals and food processing. The Systems Technician must be diversified, having a background in hydraulic and pneumatic systems, machining, mechanical components, and programmable logic controllers (PLC).

Product Model Building - fabricates full size or scale models of new products during the design stage. These prototype models are generally made of plastic foam, waxes, or other non-metalic materials and are used to evaluate the esthetics, feel and fit of products. Demonstrates the building of these models by hand or with CNC machines. This is an interdisciplinary career, utilizing a background in sketching, machining and artistic hand sculpting abilities.

Working Conditions:

While most work is performed in a computer lab, or machine shop, conditions vary greatly depending on the type of job being performed and the place of employment. Some manufacturing work may expose employees to hazards from equipment, and high noise levels. Modern equipment and safety procedures have almost eliminated these risks. In the San Francisco Bay area, where much of the manufacturing is related to the electronic industry, working conditions tend to be relatively clean and safe. As an example, it is not uncommon for machine shops, especially those involved in research and development, to reflect an office-like environment.