How much does an average machinist make?


View Poll Results: How much do you make an hour (CNC only, no manual machinists)

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  • up to $17

    160 16.21%
  • $18

    70 7.09%
  • $19

    50 5.07%
  • $20

    111 11.25%
  • $21

    49 4.96%
  • $22 and over

    547 55.42%
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Thread: How much does an average machinist make?

  1. #1
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    Default How much does an average machinist make?

    I am wondering how much you guys make an hour. This thread is private so it won't show your username and what you voted in case some are sensitive to that information.

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    Default what to earn

    I own the mill, a vf3, but I am also the machinist that runs it. And the guy that does the cad work and peripheral welding that may be required. The least I will work for is $55.00 per hr and that is only if I have nothing else to do. Average earnings per hour are around $65 I would guess and top out at $120.00 on a number of items where developing better methods of production improve my yield over the origional quote parameters. And of course the improvements are my cash in pocket as the customer still has the price he wanted per my origional bid. Now before you all get excited about what my "wages " are remember that I have significant investment over 20 years in skills aquiring and equipment/building purchases. Here in the southeast there is a shortage of skill, and so it is I hear most everywhere else, and if you are good at cad-cam and welding you can hire on at $30 to $35 per hr. If you are foolish enough to live in a place like California I would expect more for wages as your cost of living is way to high. This requires a very good skill set obviously. Most really good operators I find are not satisfied with that and go into business for themselves. Skill is a dwindling resource and if you look you will find companies that are glad to get a problem solver. My specialty is machining and fabricating for food manufacturers and restaurants and is not dependent on a stupid CPA bean counter CEO whose only ability to manage seems to be to export jobs to china. I choose my market carefully and profit accordingly. And I will not compete against the starving wannabe machinist down the street on price just to get the job. And most importantly, I NEVER DO ONLINE BIDDING. All my work is referal or door knocking. It is a huge mistake to compete against shops that are desperate for a job, any job just so they can keep the doors open for another month in hopes that things will improve. My two cents worth on this topic anyway.

    Last edited by lapuser; 10-13-2006 at 08:10 AM. Reason: further thoughts to add


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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by lapuser View Post
    I own the mill, a vf3, but I am also the machinist that runs it. And the guy that does the cad work and peripheral welding that may be required. The least I will work for is $55.00 per hr and that is only if I have nothing else to do. Average earnings per hour are around $65 I would guess and top out at $120.00 on a number of items where developing better methods of production improve my yield over the origional quote parameters. And of course the improvements are my cash in pocket as the customer still has the price he wanted per my origional bid. Now before you all get excited about what my "wages " are remember that I have significant investment over 20 years in skills aquiring and equipment/building purchases. Here in the southeast there is a shortage of skill, and so it is I hear most everywhere else, and if you are good at cad-cam and welding you can hire on at $30 to $35 per hr. If you are foolish enough to live in a place like California I would expect more for wages as your cost of living is way to high. This requires a very good skill set obviously. Most really good operators I find are not satisfied with that and go into business for themselves. Skill is a dwindling resource and if you look you will find companies that are glad to get a problem solver. My specialty is machining and fabricating for food manufacturers and restaurants and is not dependent on a stupid CPA bean counter CEO whose only ability to manage seems to be to export jobs to china. I choose my market carefully and profit accordingly. And I will not compete against the starving wannabe machinist down the street on price just to get the job. And most importantly, I NEVER DO ONLINE BIDDING. All my work is referal or door knocking. It is a huge mistake to compete against shops that are desperate for a job, any job just so they can keep the doors open for another month in hopes that things will improve. My two cents worth on this topic anyway.


    Online bidding is the worst! The only winner is the buyer.



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    Hi lapuser, I know these comments are gonna raise your hackles but wot th' heck, the reason that a country is impoverished is due to shoring up a weak infrastructure, and that starts at the bottom where the inefficient shops stagger along, using out of date methods and no QC.
    I quite sympathise with the one man show and the desperate owner trying to keep the doors open for just one more day, but in the end as nature has decided the weak must fall, so that the resources go to improve the herd and so a stronger group survives.
    Ignore this concept and you are ignoring history, which is what we are part of.
    Man has always shied away from cutting out the deadwood, but a cold winter soon takes care of that and as soon as the spring comes and a strong wind shakes the woodlands, then down comes the deadwood never to bloom again, but in it's place new growth appears and soon a stronger community appears.
    All things being equal, and I speak from the heart, out of date methods never achieve a strong growth potential, and if you are part of that scene then how can you expect to compete against modern procedures.
    For example, if you were running a small shop employing 3 or 4 skilled workers and the sum total of your inventory was a couple of well worn Herbert capstan lathes and a mill or two, and the usuall other rubbish that goes under the title at auction as "oldie but goodie", or even worse "they don't make 'em like this anymore" then you are going to feel the cold when the winter comes, and if your work force is relying on you to put a few crusts on the table, I don't pity them. I worked for dumps like that when I finished my apprenticeship and was looking around for a job.
    Most of these diabolical hellholes with their crap machines and even crappier working conditions and crappier still wages seldom last longer than the steam from a tea kettle.
    The fact that a lot of well established shops that once thrived for years is testament to the changing manufacturing environment. Fail to improve by upgrading and you will fail.
    It cost money to advance but if you don't advance and meet the future head on, then crusts of bread you will have on your table.
    Ian.



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    Well.... I feel rather on the short end of the stick. Being here in Florida and my wage didn't even make it to your poll, I feel that I have been taking shots for years. I work at a small shop as an Operator/Programmer/Button pusher falling asleep from the boredom. We have all the bells and whistles to do complex parts but the owner only uses the CNC mills to do secondary work for the turning section. AAAAaaaghhh I am a pretty fair hand at getting the post processor to do it's job. But it is so seldom used that I forget all the shortcuts that I knew and I get aggrivated. I am the guy in the shop that would be the problem solver. I do fabricate, weld, program, setup and operate the mills as well as the CNC mechanic and tedious deburing crap. For the area the wage is good but when I come on here I have tendency to feel a bit, how would you say..... Raped.

    I enjoy the type of work I do, and try to do it to the best of my ability. I have learned much from the old wise master and try to apply it to the modern way of things. But when they have a certain way of doing things, It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    I am in the process of getting my own place up, doing racecar chassis fab. and CNC machining parts for my shop as to sell to the public. So now I have that many more hats to wear. Engineer, CEO, Secretary, Sales ect...

    Pray for me
    John



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    wow, Right now I here it hard to find qualified help for less than $22an hr and right now it would even cost more as most of the qualified help have got a job.

    So what would that make a fellow that has twenty years in and can do programing set ups runnig of parts R&D work welding (aircraft qualified) and so forth with a list of machines a mile long. That list would include cnc waterjet and machines?

    Locations mid states (OK)

    I should start my own shop!!!!!!!!!!

    John



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    That's what I'm doing!! I am getting tired of all the usual stuff that comes along with being an employee. I get paid less than 17/hr AND I do the repair on the aging CNC Lathes and mills. (Which means I do it for my salary only!! No extra bonus like a paultry $25/hr during my "service call") Hardinge techs. get $85 - $120 per hour plus drive time. Sounds like a fair shake to me. The tech that came out last time was USELESS !! Luckly I had made some specialty tools ahead of time because he only had the basic set you would buy from Sears and nothing else. My shop is litteraly three doors away so I had all of my stuff to help bail him out with. He didn't even know how to use the surface grinder to adjust a bearing shim. Shameful!!

    I too am aircraft cert. welder on 4130 moly, never needed to get aluminum cert. Of course that piece of paper and a buck will get you a cup of coffee at denny's. I once went to get a job and they said as if they were doing me a favor, "I'll give you $10 an hour." I've been pushing the blue light for going on 18 years and your gonna GIVE ME $10 an hour!

    Hope I don't sound bitter but every day I hear more things (jobs) being sent offshore, I am truly afraid for my kids sake. The country that our fathers worked and sweat for is being sold to the lowest bidder compliments of big biz. Ooops! I'm starting to ramble and rant. But the good ol USA is beginning to be the beautiful apple thats rotten on the inside



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    Janos,

    I got the papper on aluminuim and 17-4ph 15-5ph and 300 ss and I am working on the certs for Mag. And like you I find myself having to do the repair on the machine while the other guy gets paid for it. Its almost like if there was not a book with an index for the issue at hand then they can't do it or they have to call six other techs to get it solved.


    blue flame try green on mag. Welding is not what I want to do for a living
    my hat is off to those that do.



  9. #9
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    Hi all, when it comes down to wages or profits then put yourself in the boots of the guy who works for a living and the guy that sets up in business to make a living, because he's sick and tired of trying to get a raise when the inflation goes up and up every year.
    It aint easy. Sometime you have to be prepared to chase the work and relocate to get a better job.
    The worse thing you can do is to work in an area where your kind of job is hard to find because no-one is setting up businesses there. Your labour has no buying power whatsoever.
    The same goes for a bloke who wants to get out from under, and invests in a workshop to do it himself.
    Pretty soon, if the work is around, he'll be wanting to get someone to help him.
    Who makes the profit? It becomes a balance between available labour and available workload, and the less you can pay for your labour the longer you survive.
    One thing with jobs I found, is that you reach a level where you just can't buy materials cheaper than your competitor, so in a neck and neck race who gets shafted? It's always the worker who gets the gristle.
    In the ideal world we will all be getting the rate for the work based upon the profit after all costs are counted and someone is employed to sweep the floor.
    My father gave me a bit of advice when I finished my time and was heading out to look for a job. "Always ask to see the factory before you talk wages". The reason was that if the place looked a bit run down, and the machinery old then there was no money and you'd be exploited to make the place pay.
    I worked in quite a few hell holes in my younger days, getting the experiance, and never found good money in a 'sh1thouse'.
    I despise the guy who sets up on a shoestring and grinds the meagre profits out of the daily expectations of the workforce.
    This is not to say that someone who is not up to the job and expects to get top wack for crap work output is to be given sympathy.
    My father use to tell me about the "good old days" (when were they?) when you could go to town on a Saturday night with Half a crown in your pocket, see a show get a few pints in, take a bus home and still wake up with money.
    I always ribbed him by saying " We don't work for half a' crown a week any more".
    Ian.



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    I'd say I'm closer to the top-end here in Austin at around $25/hr. Austin is notoriously lower paying than Dallas or Houston but much better than San Antonio (do I need to put what state I'm in?). But there is a trade-off as Austin is about the nicest big(ger) city to live in in Texas. I feel decently compensated given my situation. Good, decent CNC Machinists around here earn about $20-$22/ hr. I have a little more education than my co-workers and, at 32 yrs. old, am usually about the youngest in the shop. I graduated w/ Honors from high school, went to college for 4 years, working as a machinist, then dropped out and got my Journeyman's License in Machining. Like Janos, I'm very competant in working on our machines when the need arises. And like a lot of the other guys I've got a wide base of knowledge from grinding and welding to milling and turning. I'm a pretty good programmer and CAD designer, currently using MasterCAM and Solidworks, although I've used quite a few CAM and CAD packages before. Hope this might inspire some of you guys that have similar talent and are looking to move to a nice place to consider Central Texas. As Verfur pointed out where he's from, we're always in need of a good machinist, and they are hard to come by. We'll run ads for over $300 in the Sunday paper and hardly get 3 applications from not so qualified people. Take Care



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    I wonder what the avg. is here in sunny Florida? If there are any ppl that want to chime in. I have thought pretty hard about moving but my shop is more dependant on me going to the track with a sharp pencil and making products that the racing community feels that they "Gotta Have!!" So hopefully with a bit of luck I should have a product line of my own and not require a "weakly" paycheck to keep my head above water.

    Thanks for the word

    John



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    If you want more money, you're going to have to reach for it. Most employers forget about the guys working for them after they've been there for a while, especially if you're still doing the same job. Don't get comfortable! Keep learning. Keep growing. Work yourself out of your present job. Train your replacement. Never get hung up on job security, it doesn't exist. A rudder on a ship that's not moving is perfectly useless. If you're not moving, you won't be able to change direction when, not if, you need to.



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How much does an average machinist make?

How much does an average machinist make?