Mold makers give form to many of the things we use every day. They make
metal molds for die-casting and for shaping plastics, ceramics and composite
"The trade of mold maker can be considered one step beyond tool and die
making, as one needs all the skills of tool and die making as well as the
understanding of the material flow of the various plastics and compositions,"
says mold maker Jean Kroes.
"You must commit yourself to this career. It's a very active trade, constantly
changing because of the new development of new techniques and new materials."
To create a metal casting, you put a pattern -- an exact model of the finished
metal casting -- in a molding box and then press sand around it. Next, you
remove the pattern and pour molten metal into the mold to produce a metal
A manual mold maker makes the sand molds by hand. A machine mold maker
sets up and operates numerous machines that shape the molds. A machine also
pours the hot metal.
Many mold makers need to understand computer-aided design (CAD) principles.
Specs from CAD systems can be sent to computer-numerically controlled (CNC)
machines to produce a die.
"Intuition also plays a major role in making a mold," says Paul Brown,
a commercial ceramic mold maker in San Diego. "Plus, being able to see in
your mind's eye both a positive and negative space simultaneously."