Tool and die makers produce tools, dies, and special devices that enable machines to make products.
Toolmakers craft precision tools that are used to cut, form, and shape metal and other materials. They produce jigs and fixtures, devices that hold metal while it is stamped or drilled. They also make gauges and other measuring devices. Sometimes they design tools.
Die makers construct metal forms (dies) that are used to shape metal in stamping and forging operations. They also make metal molds that are used to cast dies or mold plastics, ceramics, and other materials.
Tool and die makers use many types of machine tools and precision measuring instruments. They must also be familiar with the properties of many common metals such as the hardness of metals and how much heat they can withstand.
Tool and die makers work from blueprints or instructions. They measure and mark the pieces of metal that will be cut to form parts of the final product. They often do test runs to make sure that plans are correct. They check to be sure that the final product meets requirements.
Modern technology is changing the way that tool and die makers do their jobs. Many tool and die makers now use computer-aided design (CAD) to develop products and parts.
With CAD, workers enter specifications into computer programs. These programs produce drawings for the required tools and dies.
The electronic drawings are processed by a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program that calculates the tool path and the sequence of operations. Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines produce the die.