Toolmakers make the precision tools that are used in manufacturing to create products and parts.Job Category:
What you will do:
Toolmakers produce precision tools like jigs, dies and moulds that are used to make parts in manufacturing. You’ll work with metals, alloys and composite materials, known as ‘stocks’ or castings.
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- working with 2D and 3D computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
- marking out the tool design on the ‘stock’ or casting following engineering drawings
- cutting and shaping tools using a combination of lathes, presses and cutting machines
- checking dimensions with precision measuring instruments like
- micrometers and gauges
- carrying out basic machine maintenance
Many machine tools used in industry are computer numerically controlled (CNC). This means a computer program operates the machine, which you may be responsible for setting and operating.
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- design skills and knowledge
- knowledge of maths
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative (drive)
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to analyse quality or performance
- creativity skills
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could start by doing a college course to learn some of the skills you’ll need in this job. In the UK, courses include:
- Level 1 Certificate in Engineering Technologies
- Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Operations
- Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
You can complete an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship or an engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.
You can start as an engineering operative in a workshop or factory and do further training on the job to specialise in toolmaking.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll normally work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work shifts, including nights. Overtime and weekend work may be available.
You’ll be based in a factory or workshop. You’ll wear overalls, ear and eye protectors, and safety shoes for most jobs.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could become a team supervisor, work in machine maintenance or move into quality control.