A machinist is someone who is tasked with using machine tools to produce or amend metal parts to suit different industrial applications from shipbuilding and power generation use to electric motor components and industrial valve making. Unlike in the past, a machinist is required to work with a certain set of machine tools to cut metal objects to meet specific size, shape, and weight.

Over the years, the machine tools required by a machinist have evolved gradually and are generally utilized in the case of computerized numerical control (CNC) machines for milling and turning. These machines enable point-to-point precision and accuracy that is required for producing industry standard metal parts and equipments.

In this post, we will look at the different types of machine tools that a machinist is required to use to cut metal parts and components.
Machinist at work

CNC Milling mMachines

Out of all the tools required by a machinist, perhaps the most important one is a CNC milling and turning machine. These are computerized machines that are programmable via codes to ensure metals are cut with impeccable precision and quality standards. Used primarily in the manufacturing sector, a CNC machine can be configured to automate the cutting process using a wide variety of tools including waterjet cutter, router, lathes, grinders, and more.

Metal Working Lathe Machine

This machine involves using a group of lathes for machining hard materials. In addition to machining metals, a metalworking lathe is also used for machining plastics and other materials. The types of lathes incorporated into the machine are varied. Some of these include engine lathe, bench lathe, and center lathes.


A machinist may also be required to use a shaper machine that works similar to a lathe machine with the main difference being that the cut performed is linear as opposed to helical. There are several different types of shapers including horizontal, universal, vertical, crank, hydraulic, and others. In the case of a vertical shaper, it is often attached to a rotary table to perform cutting on curved surfaces.

Drill Presser

A drill press machine is another tool that comes in different sizes and shapes. In addition to drilling, a drill pres machine can also be sued for reaming, counterboring, and countersinking, as well as inserting small or large holes into metal objects.