Tool and Die Makers  

Tool and Die Makers


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caliper and micrometer tools used by tool and die makers Tool and die makers craft and repair tools, dies, and guiding devices which enable machines to produce a variety of products from clothing to heavy equipment.  Toolmakers specialize in precision tools and machines used to cut, shape, and form metal and other materials.  They also craft jigs and fixtures which hold metal while it is bored, stamped, or drilled.  Die makers make dies, which are forms used to shape metal for stamping and forging.  They also specialize in metal and plastic molds, ceramics, and composite materials.

Tool and die makers are considered highly specialized machinists, and must be familiar with the hardness and heat tolerance of various materials, as well as machining operations, mathematics, and blueprint reading.  They use a variety of machine tools and measuring instruments, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) to develop parts and products which may then be produced by computer-controlled machine (CNC) operators.  After the parts have been machined, tool and die makers check for accuracy and set up test runs.

Most tool and die makers have four or five years of classroom experience through technical colleges or apprenticeships, as well as paid on the job training.  They need good eyesight, mechanical inclination, strong mathematical skills, and effectively problem solving abilities.  Many go on to specialize in a certain type of tool, mold, or die, and may become licensed as journey workers by state apprenticeship boards after completing a licensed program.

Tool and die makers work in manufacturing plants or machine shops.  They must follow safety rules and wear safety glasses, earplugs, gloves, and masks.  Many work overtime and weekend hours, especially at peak production times.  Tool and die makers may advance to supervisory or administrative positions, or they may choose to start their own shop.

Employment of tool and die makers is expected to decline slightly, but job opportunities will still be good for qualified applicants.  Visit the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association website for more information about education and technology for tool and die makers.

Tool and Die Makers in each State and Washington, DC

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About Tool and Die Makers