A Machinist in Mobile Alabama works in a metal fabrication shop and uses specialized tools to create metal parts from mechanical drawings. The job requires an in-depth knowledge of the properties of different types of metals. Machinists must know how to use a variety of complex tools to cut and shape metal parts to precise measurements. Some of the most common tools a machinist uses are lathes, mills, and drills.
A lathe is a tool for cutting away metal from a cylindrical block. The metal part is fixed to a chuck, which is a special type of clamp designed to hold a piece with radial symmetry. The chuck is in the center of the lathe, and it spins the metal part while a cutting tool removes unwanted metal. While several different cutting tools can be used with a lathe, the most common is an insert cutter. It uses a removable tip, and it shapes the outside of the metal piece. If the metal part is a cylinder or tube, a lathe is often the best choice of tool for shaping it.
A mill is another cutting tool, but in contrast with the lathe, a mill uses a rotating cutter on metal that is held in a vise. The most common type of cutting tool in milling is the end mill, which looks similar to a drill bit but can cut in all directions. Milling is the best choice when the metal needs angled cuts, flat cuts, or slots. It’s a little more complicated to set up a mill than a lathe because the fixed metal piece must be level and straight. The vise must be measured, tightened, and remeasured to make sure that it is perfectly straight.
Another piece of equipment in the machinist’s arsenal is the drill press. A drill press is a table to which a piece of metal is fixed. The drill is mounted on to the table, and the drill bit bores a hole in the metal. The angle of the drill bit can be fixed so that drilling is consistent from one piece to the next.
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