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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0154
Post Date 7/18/2017
Title Machinist
City Boulder
State CO

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory (NSO), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The NSO Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Project has an immediate opening for a Machinist (Instrument Maker) at our new machine shop in Boulder, Colorado. The position is expected to last for two years, with possible extension.

The Instrument Maker performs a wide variety of duties of considerable difficulty involving machining, assembly, checking, mounting, heat treating, soldering, etc. of raw materials, parts and equipment and is responsible for the fabrication, assembly and testing of complex mechanical assemblies used in scientific instrumentation. The Instrument Maker is primarily responsible for the fabrication of precision machined parts and routinely involved in the development of scientific instrumentation from concept to implementation. The position involves fabrication, processing, assembly, testing, fitting, etc. of all parts and components to realize final working instrumentation. This position may also require occasional maintenance and support of existing telescope equipment and instrumentation.

Essential Functions:

  • Operate all precision machine tools in a prototype/tool room R&D environment, including conventional mills, lathes, jig bores, grinders, saws, etc.
  • Operate and program CNC mill using conversational and CAD/CAM programming interface.
  • Properly and safely setup all machining operations, including the use of vises, rotary tables, indexers, dividing heads, collet closers, angle plates, clamps, etc.
  • Perform precision inspection techniques involving the use of surface plate, height gauge, gauge blocks, micrometers, calipers, indicators, etc.
  • Perform maintenance on machine shop equipment, including routine maintenance and occasional disassembly, repair and reassembly of machine tools and associated equipment.
  • Troubleshoot and diagnose problems with parts, assemblies and complex mechanisms.
  • Work with other staff and follow procedures to specify and order materials required for current project being worked on, including raw material, fasteners, hardware, components, cutting tools, etc.
  • Responsible for safety of own operations, safety of other shop personnel and machine shop equipment while carrying out day to day functions, as well as reporting unsafe practices or conditions.
  • All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else.
  • Graduation from high school, technical school, recognized toolmaker apprenticeship program or the equivalent.
  • At least eight years of experience in a precision machine shop.
  • Strong mechanical knowledge and experience fabricating and assembling complex mechanical devices.
  • Mathematical aptitude needed to read and operate instruments for the job.
  • Strong mathematical aptitude as related to common machine shop calculations, including use of trigonometry to solve angles, tapers, arcs, bolt circle locations, etc.
  • Ability to operate the machine tools within the required tolerance limits.
  • Ability to read blueprints, sketches, datasheets and other documentation specifying job requirements.
  • Ability to understand and work from verbal instructions to detailed assembly drawings of complex mechanisms.
  • Familiar with the application and interpretation of ASME Y14.5 GD&T.
  • Understanding of both English and metric systems, including ability to work with metric dimensioned drawings, metric machine tool readouts and metric measuring tools.
  • Ability to cooperate with others and work in a team environment with minimal daily supervision.
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines and adhere to strict schedules by making use of efficient and effective machine shop practices.
  • Self-motivated, able to organize and prioritize workload, and work with minimal daily supervision.
  • Proficiency with computers, Microsoft Office, online timesheets and purchasing systems.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Welding skills using MIG, TIG and stick welding equipment.
  • Cutting, brazing and silver soldering skills using oxy-acetylene torch.
  • Ability to perform general sheet metal work using shears and brake presses.
  • Knowledge of SolidWorks.
  • Knowledge of CAD/CAM systems.
  • Knowledge of astronomical scientific instrumentation, opto-mechanical assemblies, handling of optics.
  • Ability to occasionally work at heights and in confined spaces.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 75 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately
  • Must possess sufficient mobility, strength or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) grasp, push, pull, turn or otherwise manipulate tools and mechanisms; b) push, shove, pull or otherwise safely and efficiently manipulate tools or mechanisms; c) lift, hold, maneuver, objects of 50 lbs or more; d) maintain balance while performing work; e) remove parts, systems, tools of 50 lbs or more
  • Some travel may be necessary in or outside the contiguous United States.
  • Ability to work at 10,000’ elevation, sometimes during inclement weather.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0154LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.


  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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