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Instrument Maker Duties and Responsibilities

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Purpose of Classification:

Fabricates, assists in the design, modification, and repair mechanical instruments or mechanical assemblies of electrical or electronic instruments. Manufactures a wide variety of scientific apparatus using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) systems/equipment, and conventional machine shop equipment. Coordinates with faculty members, engineers, and graduate assistants to clarify research requirements and advises on feasibility of construction. Prepares rough and finish sketches from oral instructions, adapts and modifies sketches and blueprints. Repairs, tests, calibrates, and inspects prototype instruments and assemblies. Prepares estimates for projected jobs, and maintains various cost records on each project. Requisitions materials, supplies, and tools. Makes recommendations for equipment purchases.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is first in a series of three classifications and is a journey-level classification. It is distinguished from the Instrument Maker/Designer in that this classification does not supervise and typically has narrower skill range.Incumbents consult supervisor and higher levels more frequently on unusual problems or supervisor may review projects and work. Working conditions include restricted movement, dirty environment, air contamination, intense noise, hazardous materials, lifting or carrying heavy objects.

Examples of Duties:

  • Creates, fabricates, and/or assists in the design of a wide variety of highly technical research and laboratory equipment such as interferometers, mass spectrometers, and microwave cavities.
  • Modifies, repairs, and rebuilds instructional laboratory equipment.
  • Confers with faculty members, engineers, and graduate assistants to clarify research requirements, and advises on feasibility of projected construction.
  • Develops rough and finished sketches of research and laboratory instruments, parts, or equipment from oral instructions, and adapts and modifies sketches and blueprints based on applicable properties and mathematical calculations.
  • Fabricates a wide variety of special laboratory equipment working in metals, plastic, wood, or other materials.
  • Prepares estimates for projected jobs and maintains various cost records.
  • Requisitions materials, supplies, and tools, and makes recommendations for equipment purchases.
  • Designs fixtures, experimental parts, and tooling to meet specialized needs of engineering and research projects; fits and assembles parts.
  • Builds and assists in design of a wide variety of research and laboratory equipment.
  • Sets-up and operates machine tools (e.g. lathe, milling machine, shaper, grinder) to fabricate parts to specifications; uses a variety of hand tools.
  • Analyzes information such as product design, capacity, purpose, and material to be used in fabrication through written specification, drawings, rough sketches, blueprints or verbal instruction to plan layout and sequence of operations.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of and skill with CNC machine experience and GCODE editing.
  • Knowledge of and skill in using CadCam Systems.
  • Knowledge of metal joining techniques and vacuum assemblies.
  • Skill in the use of quality assurance methods and equipment.
  • Knowledge of metal joining techniques and vacuum assemblies.
  • Knowledge of mechanics and applicable mathematics, algebra, trigonometry, and geometry.
  • Knowledge in fabrication, modification, and repair of mechanical instruments and assemblies.
  • Knowledge of metal properties, layout, and machining purposes.
  • Skills in the fabrication, modification, and repair of mechanical instruments and assemblies.
  • Skill in both verbal and written communication.
  • Skill in use of various laboratory equipment.

Minimum Qualifications:

Eight years of experience in the fabrication, modification, and repair of mechanical instruments and assemblies using manual and CNC mchine shop equipment; OR, Completeion of a two year machine tool technology program AND six years' experience related to the fabrication and repair of mechanical devices and instrument assemblies; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience and/or education from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved.


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