While there are now machines that can do more jobs than ever before, the world could still not survive without the work of those with skilled trades. We need people to build, create and repair every day and one of the trades that you might not know a lot about is a tool and die maker. These people are responsible for creating dies, molds, fixtures, jigs, and machine tools that are used during other manufacturing processes. When you start to look around at the supplies at a dentist office for example, to the shelves of a department store you can see how many things would require these supplies and tools.
Tool and die makers are essentially machinists. You will find them building equipment that could be used to make plate brackets or creating a die that could be used on children's toys. They are highly trained by taking both academic courses and doing a number of on site hours as an apprentice and in practical classes. There is a lot of applied science that is used on the job as well as a need for engineering skills. You will find some that are creating tools to make a water heater on a factory floor more efficiently and those that gravitate more towards the artisan side of the profession.
If you're thinking of becoming a tool and die maker then you should be prepared with math, science, design, and engineering credits. You can expect to spend between four and five years in an apprenticeship program before you're able to make machines that will construct seals or farming equipment. Once you are finished your training you will be classified as a journeyman and will be a certified tool and die maker.
There are some who believe that there is going to be less work for those in the tool and die trade in the coming years in developed countries because of the increased possibility of outsourcing. There are many companies that are choosing to make their machinery or other equipment in countries where workers come at a much cheaper rate. But that doesn't mean that there still isn't work to be found in this trade in North America. There are a number of companies that are still looking for quality products that are being created by workers with the proper level of experience.
Working in the field of tool and die making can be very exciting and fulfilling work. It is certainly a quality career option for anyone who has a creative mind and wants to work with engineering principles. It is also a great path to choose if you are interested in technical sales rather than working on the shop floor. For example, Abba Parts requires its sales reps to have a thorough understanding of the mechanical engineering behind their pump parts products. This is a job that you might want to explore once you're done school.
We have provided a list of a few jobs as described above that you may find interesting:
Tool and die engineer at ThinkPath Engineering Services
Mould Maker with The Employment Solution
Toolmaker with Core Team Staffing