Trades & Services
Tool & Die Maker
Tool & die makers operate a variety of computer and mechanically controlled machines to produce, maintain or repair specialist tools.
What does a Tool & Die Maker do?
Tool & die makers operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machines to produce, maintain or repair specialist tools.
As a tool & die maker, you would:
- read blueprints, specfications and sketches of required tools
- use computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM) to create drawings
- mark out the tool design on the 'stock' or casting, following drawings
- set up, operate, and disassemble conventional, manual, and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools
- use CNC machine tools to cut, drill and finish components
- shape parts using a combination of computerised and hand tools
- check the tool's dimensions with precision measuring instruments
- file, grind, and adjust parts so that they fit together properly
- test completed tools and dies to ensure that they meet specifications
- repair and maintain tool-making machinery.
Key skills and interests
To become a tool & die maker, you would need:
- the ability to read engineering drawings and instructions
- good practical skills
- good maths and computer skills
- concentration and dexterity
- a high level of accuracy
- physical stamina
- the ability to work unsupervised.
Working hours and conditions
You would normally work a standard number of hours per week, which may include shiftwork.
You would spend most of your time in a factory or workshop, operating and monitoring machinery.
You would do a lot of lifting, either by hand, or using mechanical hoists. You would stand for long periods of time, and perform repetitious movements. For most jobs you would wear protective clothing such as overalls, boots, goggles and earplugs to dampen the noise produced by machinery.
How to become an Tool & Die Maker?
Entry Level Education
To become a tool & die maker you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Engineering - Mechanical Trade. Generally employers require a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
To become a tool & die maker you usually need to gain an apprenticeship in an engineering trade, and complete the relevant VET qualifications. Employers usually require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
You would receive on-the-job training once you start your apprenticeship. This would include learning how to operate various manual and computer controlled machines, including health and safety procedures.
Overall employment of tool & die makers is projected to decline.
The decline of many manufacturing industries in Australia, and advances in automation for tool making, including the use of CNC machine tools and computer-aided design (CAD), will reduce employment opportunities for tool & die makers.
Opportunities will be best for those with CNC and CAD skills, and will still exist in some specialist engineering and metal fabrication companies.