Tool and die makers are skilled tradespeople who are responsible for the creation and maintenance of specialty tools used in the manufacture of goods. They often create tools that are specific to their employer or industry. In addition, dies, punches, and other precision parts related to manufacture are created and maintained. Tool and die makers are required to maintain and meet strict precision guidelines within their position, often working on parts that require minute tolerances to ensure proper performance. They often work closely with both engineers and machine operators to ensure that the tools they create and maintain are performing to specification, and it is often the case that tool and die makers have a hand in the planning and execution of assembly within manufacturing plants and machine shops.
Some of the tools used by tool and die makers include lathes, CNC machines, and grinders. Tool and die makers work primarily with many varieties of metals, but they sometimes need to use other materials to meet the needs of their employer. These professionals often work standard manufacturing hours, which is considered shift work; overtime is sometimes necessary depending on their employer's work volume. Common employers for tool and die makers include machine shops, manufacturing environments, and assembly environments.
Related education is required for tool and die makers. This may include previous on-the-job training, trade school training, or an apprenticeship with a more experienced tool and die maker. Previous experience in a similar position may be required by employers as well.
Tool and Die Maker Tasks
Read blueprints, design, maintain, and build gauges, tools, dies and other equipment.
Test equipment, validate that it meets specifications, and file, grind, and adjust parts as needed.
Inspect, troubleshoot, and repair tooling, dies, and equipment.
Calibrate, set up, and run machines and equipment.