7232 Tool and die makers

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Lead statement

Tool and die makers make, repair and modify custom-made, prototype or special tools, dies, jigs, fixtures and gauges using various metals, alloys and plastics which require precise dimensions. They are employed primarily in manufacturing industries such as automobile, aircraft, metal fabrication, electrical machinery and plastics, and in tool and die, mould making and machine shops. This unit group also includes metal patternmakers and metal mould makers.

Example Titles

  • die finisher
  • die maker
  • jig maker
  • metal mould maker
  • metal patternmaker
  • metal patternmaker apprentice
  • mould maker – plastics processing
  • mould maker apprentice
  • tool and die maker
  • tool and die maker apprentice
  • toolmaker

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

Tool and die makers

  • Read and interpret engineering drawings and specifications of tools, dies, prototypes or models
  • Prepare templates and sketches, and determine work processes
  • Compute dimensions and tolerances and set up machine tools
  • Position, secure, measure and work metal stock or castings to lay out for machining
  • Set up, operate and maintain a variety of conventional and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools to cut, turn, mill, plane, drill, bore, grind or otherwise shape workpiece to prescribed dimensions and finish
  • Verify machined parts for conformance to specifications using precision measuring instruments such as verniers, callipers, micrometers, co-ordinate measuring machines (CMM) and electronic measuring devices
  • Fit and assemble or disassemble parts using hand tools
  • Test completed tools, dies, jigs or fixtures for proper operation
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Metal patternmakers

  • Machine, fit and assemble castings and other parts to make precision models of required shape such as metal patterns, core boxes and match plates
  • Lay out, shape and assemble patterns of metal, wood, plastic and other materials from blueprints, models or templates
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Metal mould makers

  • Machine, fit and assemble parts to make metal moulds and cores for plastic injection moulding, or other production processes
  • May program CNC machine tools.

Employment requirements

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a four- or five-year tool and die making apprenticeship program or a combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in tool and die making is usually required to be eligible for tool and die trade certification.
  • Tool and die maker trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified tool and die makers upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.
  • Mould makers usually require completion of a four-year apprenticeship or college program in mould making.
  • Trade certification for mould makers is available, but voluntary, in Quebec and Ontario.
  • Patternmakers usually require completion of an apprenticeship or college program in patternmaking.
  • Patternmaking trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Ontario.

Additional information

  • The Red Seal endorsement allows for interprovincial mobility.
  • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Exclusions