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Tool and Die Maker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Analyzes specifications, lays out metal stock, sets up and operates machine tools, and fits and assembles parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, jigs, fixtures, gauges, and machinists' hand tools.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Verifies dimensions, alignments, and clearances of finished parts for conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments such as calipers, gauge blocks, micrometers, and dial indicators.
  • Studies blueprints, sketches, models, or specifications to plan sequences of operations for fabricating tools, dies, or assemblies.
  • Sets up and operates conventional or computer numerically controlled machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, and grinders to cut, bore, grind, or otherwise shape parts to prescribed dimensions and finishes.
  • Visualizes and computes dimensions, sizes, shapes, and tolerances of assemblies, based on specifications.
  • Inspects finished dies for smoothness, contour conformity, and defects.
  • Fits and assembles parts to make, repair, or modify dies, jigs, gauges, and tools, using machine tools and hand tools.
  • Conducts test runs with completed tools or dies to ensure that parts meet specifications, making adjustments as necessary.
  • Selects metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, based on properties such as hardness and heat tolerance.
  • Files, grinds, shims, and adjusts different parts to properly fit them together.
  • Lifts, positions, and secures machined parts on surface plates or worktables, using hoists, vises, v-blocks, or angle plates.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Machinist -- Sets up and operates a variety of machine tools to cut or grind metal, plastic or other materials to make or modify parts or products with precise dimensions.
  • Mold Maker -- Lays out, machines, fits, assembles, and finishes metal parts to make and repair dies for diecasting of metal products and metal molds.
  • Jig and Fixture Repairer --