What does a Machinists and Tool and Die Maker do?
A machinist and tool and die maker operates and sets up many different mechanically controlled and computer-controlled machine tools used to make precision tools, metal parts, and instruments. Some machinists and tool and die makers use CAD to produce parts and products.
They work in machine shops, factories, and tool rooms, usually on a full time basis. Overtime, nights, and weekends are not uncommon in this job.
How to Become a Machinist and Tool and Die Maker
Machinist and tool and die makers require a high school diploma or the equivalent with suggested classes in math, like geometry and trigonometry, as well as, drafting, metal working, and blueprint reading. Experience with computers is also needed before one can enter a training program.
Machinists usually train in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, or community or technical colleges, and on-the-job. Programs in community colleges and technical schools take 2 years to complete with courses that teach using wielding and cutting tools, blueprint reading, and programming and function of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines.
Tool and die makers commonly receive on-the-job training that lasts 1 year or more. Some manufactures sponsor apprenticeship programs, but can be difficult to enter. Apprenticeship training has paid shop training and related technical instruction that lasts several years. Local community colleges and vocational technical schools often cooperate by providing the technical instruction. The apprentice typically works a 40 hour week and receives technical instruction at night.
Machinist and tool and die makers need to get experience in using computers to work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools and computerized measuring machines. Certification is not required, however, it is certainly advantageous to prove ones competency.
Job Description of a Machinist and Tool and Die Maker
The duties of a machinist typically includes working from sketches, blueprints, or CAD and CAM files. They set up, operate, and dissemble automatic, CMC machine tools, and manual tools. He or she has the job of aligning, adjusting, and securing work pieces and cutting tools as well as monitoring the speed and feed of machines. They shape, drill, turn, grind, and mill machine parts to specifications. He or she presents finished products to customers and may make needed modifications.
The duties of tool and die makers typically include reading specifications, sketches, blueprints, or CAM and CAD files for making dies and tools. They compute and verify tolerances, sizes, dimensions, and shapes of workpieces. He or she operates, sets up, and disassemble manual, conventional, and CNC machine tools. They ensure all parts fit together properly and test tools and dies to meet specifications.