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What Is A Machinist?


As you look for a part to be manufactured or for a person to help you with a CNC Machine, you may ask yourself, “what is a machinist?” Sometimes it’s unclear what a machinist does and what the position entails, and you may think you don’t need a professional, journeyman machinist to do the job right. However, you’d be missing out on some important education and experience if you forgoed a visit to a properly trained machinist to get your parts manufactured. What is a machinist? A machinist is a trained professional who knows and understands how to use machining tools and create and manufacture parts to fit your needs! Read on to learn more!

A Brief History of Machinists

Professional machinists began during the industrial revolution, where developments in technology allowed people to create machines to increase the efficiency and accuracy of manufacturing. In the mid 19th century, machining started to mean something similar to what we define machining as today (the act of manipulating material into a desired shape by the process of turning, milling, and drilling). 

Learn More About the Definition of Machining.

Traditional machinists used tools such as lathes, drill presses, and milling machines. Machining (and machinists) became far more recognized for their importance during the first World War, as machinists were called to help with the war effort by developing tools and weaponry. New developments in lathes, grinders, and other machining techniques were made to increase the speed and accuracy of the machining process. According to American Machinist, the US Machining Industry hired over two million workers during the war, manufacturing over 96, 000 planes in a single year (sixteen times more than had ever been manufactured before, combined), not to mention hundreds of thousands of tanks and machine guns in a very short period of time. This change in production levels and the number of trained machinists flipped the machining industry on its head. As time moved forward, computer-powered machining tools were developed, but the core skills in shaping material to fit a desired scope remains.

What Training Does a Machinist Have?

In Alberta, a machinist is a professional trades position. Prospective machinists become apprentices for four years, which includes a mandatory 1560 hours of on-the-job work as well as 8 weeks of training and education a year. After all the requirements of the apprenticeship have been completed, the machinist can take an interprovincial exam which will grant them a Red Seal. Machinists with a Red Seal are highly qualified in the field and will be able to operate almost every tool in the trade.

What Does a Machinist Do?

A machinist performs the work required to product parts, manufacturing materials into the specified shape and other requirements. Machinists work in many different capacities, from using measuring and hand tools to creating drawings for the project.

Measuring Tools

Machining required extreme attention to detail, so knowing how to properly measure the materials and product is incredibly important.

  • Calipers (plain calipers, vernier calipers, and digital calipers)
  • Rulers, tape measures, and scales
  • Micrometer tools
  • Indicator tools
  • Gauges (center gauges, dial thickness, digital bore, edge finders)
  • Electronic measuring tools

Hand Tools

Much like many trades jobs, machining requires the use of hand tools to help complete a task.

  • Multi-bit Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches of all sizes
  • Pliers
  • Claw hammer
  • Etc.

Machining Tools

Machining tools have changed a lot over the years, moving to more computer-controlled devices being the standard of machining. Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machines are the most popular machining tool as they provide ultimate precision and the ability to mass produce identical products. However, CNC Machines aren’t always used in modern day machining, and there are plenty of tools used that are classified as machining tools. Machining tools can be used for cleaning or grinding a surface, cutting the material, adding holes, and re-shaping the materials. 

  • CNC Machines
  • Drilling machines
  • Milling machines
  • Turning machines (lathes and boring mills)
  • Grinding machines

Do You Need a Professional Machinist for Your Machining Project?

The short answer is, yes! Red Seal machinists are the most qualified professionals to help you complete your project correctly, the first time. With years of experience and time working in machine shops, professional machinists can guide you through the process of getting your project machined, with advice from materials, planning, and manufacturing! If you’re looking to have a custom machining project completed, the best choice is to find a professional machine shop.

Where Can I Find the Best Machinists in Edmonton?

Here at Condor Machinery, we pride ourselves on hiring the best and brightest machinists available. Our expert team of machining professionals can guide you through your projects. Whether you’re in need of AutoCAD drawings, custom CNC machining, or any traditional machining project, our team has you covered! You’ll find the best machinists in Edmonton at Condor Machinery!

Condor Machinery is a full service machine shop in Edmonton, Alberta! We facilitate every kind of machining, from design to production. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your next machining project.

Custom CNC Machining Service

How does a custom CNC machining service work?

Condor Machinery offers custom CNC Machining Services. What is a custom CNC machining service? A custom CNC machining service is where our expert technicians will walk you through the entire process of developing the parts or machined piece you require. Custom CNC machining services allow you to consult experts throughout the entire CNC machining process. Here’s how it works.


When you bring your custom CNC Machining project to us, the first thing we’ll do is help you develop your concept and the scope of the project. We’ll talk you through every aspect of a custom CNC machining service, from what materials you would like to use, including the benefits and disadvantages of different kinds of materials, what the design process looks like, what the production of your project will look like (including what additional kinds of machining you may need or want), and finally, what your quote is. The development of your custom CNC machining project is a necessary step, as it allows you to fully understand the steps and costs associated with custom CNC machining services, and it gives us at Condor a full understanding of your project needs.


After your custom CNC machining project has been scoped out, then begins the design process. One of the things you will likely need for a proper design for CNC machining is an AutoCAD drawing. 

Read more about AutoCAD here.

AutoCAD is a design program that aids specialists in designing precise drawings. These drawings are necessary for a CNC machine, as CNC machines have the ability to perform incredibly complex machining operations, but they require precise drawings to do so. Our expert team of technicians will bring your custom CNC machining project to life with an AutoCAD drawing that precisely shows exactly what you want developed.


After the design has been approved, we are able to produce your project. Condor Machinery is a full-service machine shop, and our team are experts in CNC machining. Once we have the drawings, we can program the CNC machine to produce your project perfectly. 

Read the details on CNC machining.

Our CNC machines are top of the line, and can produce your custom CNC machining service once or a thousand times, whatever you require!


If you’re mass producing parts with your custom CNC machining service, you may require pin stamping or zinc phosphate coating to prolong your parts’ life. All this can be done with Condor Machinery! Get your custom CNC machining project completed from design to protective coatings, all at a single Edmonton machine shop!

Condor Machinery is a full service machine shop in Edmonton, Alberta! We facilitate every kind of machining, from design to production. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your next machining project.

What Is Reverse Engineering?

laser scan for reverse engineering

Reverse engineering is a process that has been performed for hundreds if not thousands of years. Reverse engineering can help you figure out how something works, and help you know how to recreate something. Although the concept of simple, reverse engineering is not an easy task, and requires a lot of technical knowledge of the industry the object comes from that you are reverse engineering.

What is reverse engineering?

Reverse engineering is the act of taking apart an object, or performing a detailed analysis of the object, in order to understand the components, figure out how the object works, and, in the end, recreate it. Reverse engineering has been used in many industries, from reverse engineering a dish in the culinary world to reverse engineering computer code in the IT industry. However, one of the most prevalent industries reverse engineering comes from is the mechanical and machining industry. Reverse engineering a machine or just a machine part involves taking apart a device and analyzing each part to understand how the device works. 

The process of reverse engineering is called as such because you work backwards in the design process. If you want to truly understand how something works, you will often need to take it apart layer by layer, understanding each component as you go. The tricky part of reverse engineering is that you rarely know how the device was actually designed, so you’re using knowledge from the industry the device comes from to figure out how each component works together. 

Why do people reverse engineer things?

The most prevalent reason people reverse engineer things is in order to recreate them. If you’re looking to replace or reproduce a device or tool, but are unable to source an exact replica, you may want to look into reverse engineering. Reverse engineering can also be used to fix devices. If you’ve lost any instructions or manuals about a device, but want to fix a problem, you can reverse engineer the device to try and understand how the device works so as to assess what needs to be repaired. 

Can anyone reverse engineer a device?

In theory, anyone could reverse engineer a device; however, successful recreation of a device requires training and knowledge of the industry the device comes from. If you’re looking to reverse engineer a device, you’re better off leaving it to a professional. Professional machinists or engineers will be able to reverse engineer a device, figure out how it works, create blueprints for the device, and recreate the device!

Condor Machinery performs reverse engineering! If you have a device you need reverse engineered, contact us for a free estimate! Condor Machinery is your one-stop machine shop. From design and engineering, to manufacturing, to engraving, we do it all!

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