WHAT DO TOOL AND DIE MAKERS DO?
Why wear a suit and tie when you can work with tool and die? Tool and die makers work with computer controlled machinery and mechanical equipment to cut, shape and finish tools made of metal, or forge die casts for creating molds for materials made out of metal, plastic, ceramic and more.
Tool and die makers use computer assisted design (CAD) software to create designs and turn those designs into blueprints for the actual tools and dies. They make adjustments to the machine to control speed, material feed and path of the cut, as well as make sure the machines are set up properly, working well, and producing quality product. They look at the finished product to ensure it is defect-free and ready for the next step in production.
HOW MUCH DO TOOL AND DIE MAKERS MAKE?
In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly income for tool and die makers was $22.56 or $46,935 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Apprenticeships through a manufacturer or union are a great way to start as a tool and die maker. To be considered, potential tool and die makers need to be good at math, and have a high school diploma. Apprenticeships typically last 4-5 years and include paid training and technical instruction. Skills can also be obtained through a vocational school or community college. Certification is also available.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Analytical Skills: Tool and die makers need to create and read advanced blueprints to create specialized tools and molds.
- Attention to Detail: Precision is key. Tool and die makers need to make sure that their models and finished products are flaw free to the most minute detail.
- Technical Skills: Tool and die makers use CAD software and other computer programs to design and craft tools and diecasts.
- Mechanical Skills: In addition to computer software, tool and die makers use a number of hand tools and large scale machines to finish their products.
- Stamina: Tool and die makers spend long hours on their feet, often bent over in the same position.
THE FUTURE OF TOOL AND DIE MAKERS
As manufacturing overseas and use of computerized systems have grown, tool and die making jobs in this country have gotten scarce. The BLS states that there will be little to no job growth for tool and die makers between 2010 and 2020.