Toolmakers are responsible for all aspects related to creating tools; this involves overseeing and implementing all steps in the process of efficiently producing usable tools. Toolmakers begin with the initial engineering design, mark raw material, and perform basic cutting. Then, they use machine tools to complete the rough outline of the product. Next, they use hand tools to provide proper finishing. Finally, they assemble and test the completed tool to ensure quality craftsmanship. Toolmakers are capable of producing unique custom tools, as well as modifying existing tools to meet specific manufacturing needs.
Toolmakers work in a manufacturing environment, typically in a tool room or shop, which can be a loud and dangerous environment. They must therefore follow strict safety standards when operating equipment and performing their duties. Toolmakers generally work full time in close contact with engineers and other factory workers to assess needs and provide feedback on design and implementation. As they are often required to produce custom pieces with strict specifications, toolmakers must pay excellent attention to detail and be able to communicate well with colleagues to gather information on the designs with which they are working.
Toolmakers are generally required to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as have several years’ experience in the field (often in the form of an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training). Experience within the hiring manufacturer’s industry and its usual tooling needs may be required.
Inspect, troubleshoot, and repair tooling, dies, and equipment.
Calibrate, set up, and run machines and equipment.
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.