What does a Lead Machinist do?

A machinist operates computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools, such as lathes and milling machines, to cut and produce precision parts for machines, instruments, and tools. Machinist repair or produce parts using both manual and automated equipment with precise measurements. Essentially, a machinists' goal is to ensure effective production operations and optimize procedures. A machinist typically works in manufacturing plants.

Most machinist have at least a high school diploma, however, a completed apprenticeship or vocational training is preferred. Successful machinists possess excellent mathematical and analytical skills and have great manual dexterity.

  • Review samples, drawings or instructions to understand specifications of output
  • Take measurements and mark material for cutting or shaping
  • Plan the sequence of necessary actions for the completion of a job
  • Select appropriate machines (e.g. lathes) and position or load material for a job
  • Monitor machine while working to adjust the feed, maintain temperature and identify issues
  • Determine and program size of batches and speed of machine
  • Monitor output to ensure consistency with specifications and discard defects
  • Perform routine machine maintenance and repair minor damages
  • Vocational school or apprenticeship preferred
  • Excellent manual dexterity, accuracy and attention to detail
  • Great verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience in using and/or programming manual, semi-automated or automated tools and machines (lathes, grinders etc.)
  • Ability to use precision tools (e.g. calipers) to take accurate measurements
  • Ability to read blueprints, schematics and manuals
  • Knowledge of metal properties and other material
  • Outstanding mathematical skills and analytical abilities
  • Physical stamina and strength to lift heavy items
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.0 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.0 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Lead Machinist Salaries

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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Lead Machinist Career Path

Learn how to become a Lead Machinist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

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Lead Machinist
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L5
Machinist V
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L7
Head Machinist
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Lead Machinist Insights

Read what Lead Machinist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
DonsonDonson
CNC Machinist
10 Feb 2021

“Donson provided me with excellent training and still do this day I am learning great skills!”

Surgical Instrument ServiceSurgical Instrument Service
Machinist
14 Nov 2019

“Thought this was going to be such a nice place to work and grow with.”

Kansas City National Security CampusKansas City National Security Campus
General Machinist
14 Jun 2021

“It's miserable and the only reason so many people work here is because the pay is almost TOO good.”

L.A. Gauge
CNC Machinist
20 Aug 2021

“My opportunity to work for LA gauge was perfectly what I needed to further my career as a career machinist”

Libra Industries
CNC Machinist
9 Jul 2021

“I took a very low initial wage because I’m not afraid to work my way up.”

Basin Precision MachiningBasin Precision Machining
CNC Machinist
27 Dec 2021

“My team was easy to work with and patient with me when I needed a little extra explanation to understand things.”

GerdauGerdau
Mill Operator
17 Oct 2019

“Money and close to home”

Consolidated Precision ProductsConsolidated Precision Products
Tool Maker/Machinist
17 Mar 2021

“good work opportunities and stable”

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Lead Machinist Interviews

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Lead Machinist jobs

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a lead machinist

The most similar professions to lead machinist are:
  • Welder
  • Machine Operator
  • Mechanic
  • Millwright

The most common qualifications to become a lead machinist is a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.