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NOC Code: NOC Code: 7232 Occupation: Tool and die makers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
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 automotive, aircraft, metal fabrication, electrical machinery and plastics, and in tool and die, mould making and machine shops. This unit group includes metal pattern makers and metal mould makers. 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 automotive, aircraft, metal fabrication, electrical machinery and plastics, and in tool and die, mould making and machine shops. This unit group includes metal pattern makers and metal mould makers.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3 4 5
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3 4
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read the instructions and safety warnings on product and equipment labels. Read signs in buildings to follow handling and safety procedures such as operating procedures for electrical discharge machines and emergency safety equipment. (1)
  • Read email and notes left by co-workers and supervisors. The email cover a number of work-related topics such as requests for information, instructions for jobs, discussions of technical problems, additions to existing instructions and accounts of events from the previous shifts. (2)
  • Read product descriptions and work instructions on work orders and job files, which provide brief details about the function of the product being produced by the tool and die sets. Reading and understanding this information ensures that what is fabricated matches what was ordered. (2)
  • Read memos, notices and bulletins to learn about upcoming events and changes such as new quality control procedures, training, health and safety concerns and new work practices. For example, read about training for computer-assisted machining or changes to shutdown procedures. (2)
  • Read about new trends, technological developments, tooling practices and procedures in industry, trade and safety publications. For example, read about new machining techniques in Canadian Machining and Metalworking. (3)
  • Read policies and procedures applicable to the work. For example, interpret complex job procedures such as heating and finishing procedures for different metals. Scan safety policies and procedures to apply them to specific situations when fabricating new tools, dies and jigs. (3)
  • Read operating, safety and equipment manuals. In some cases, read manuals cover-to-cover and then refer to them for specific information. For example, refer to equipment manuals for troubleshooting and operating procedures. Read assembly procedures for tool and die sets and jig assemblies. Read about tooling, tool making and material testing procedures in the Machinery's Handbook. (3)
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  • Write brief notes on a variety of workplace forms. For example, describe modifications to parts on work orders and tracking forms. Write short instructions for fabricating and assembling jigs, tools and dies on work orders and requisition forms. (1)
  • Write comments in daily logbooks to create records and inform supervisors and co-workers. For example, write short notes about tool and equipment breakages. Write comments about ongoing fabrication such as grinding and milling of components and the set-up of machines, which are ready to start new jobs. Write brief instructions for co-workers on the next shift about fabricating parts and assembling jigs, tools and dies. (1)
  • Write brief email to supervisors, engineers and technicians to provide and request information. For example, express concerns and request the resolution of discrepancies between specifications and drawings. In some cases, include suggestions for modifications. (2)
  • Write a variety of short reports such as nonconformance, accident-incident and health and safety reports. For example, when prototypes fail to meet specifications, describe problems, deficiencies and proposed corrective actions in short product development reports. (3)
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Document Use
  • Observe hazard symbols and warning and caution signs on materials and equipment. (1)
  • Obtain specific information such as part numbers and marking and defect codes from labels and tags. For example, scan 'red tags' on parts to locate codes and descriptions of defects and nonconformities. (1)
  • Locate information on tracking and quality control forms. For example, locate file and part numbers, quantities, material information, surface finish codes, modifications and completion dates on work orders and files. (2)
  • Follow diagnostic flowcharts and decision trees to troubleshoot the cause of defects and nonconformities in tool and die sets. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, locate material compositions, properties, characteristics and handling procedures in material composition sheets. Locate measurement specifications, tolerances and values such as speed, feed, and temperature rates in specification tables. Use conversion tables for a variety of measurement units and verify materials and parts against bill of material and parts lists. (2)
  • Complete quality control tags and labels. For example, complete 'hold' and 'defective part' tags by entering dates, part, serial and drawing numbers, codes and descriptions of defects and nonconformities. (2)
  • Complete process control and quality control checklists. For example, complete fabrication checklists to record data and to indicate that procedures such as heat treatment were used during fabrication. Record the final dimensions of tool and die components and sets, operating specifications and prototype data on quality control forms and use check marks to signify that quality control procedures have been followed. Senior tool and die makers complete inspection checklists to verify that jigs, fixtures, and tool and die sets meet clients' specifications and to note defects and nonconformities. (2)
  • Complete tracking and quality control forms. For example, enter dimensions, part numbers, quantities and explanatory details onto certification records, requisition forms and inspection reports. Enter names, hours, job files and codes onto daily timesheets. Enter part and serial numbers, and record test results on final inspection forms. Senior tool and die makers may complete nonconformance forms to describe defects and nonconformities in parts and equipment and to outline recommended remedial actions. (2)
  • Take data from and interpret a variety of graphs and graphical displays. For example, examine line graphs of temperature readings to verify that heating procedures for hardening metals meet specifications. When testing the functioning of tool and die sets, tool and die makers may identify patterns such as ripples and waves in measurement data for prototypes, which identify design and construction faults of tool and die sets. (3)
  • Locate dimensions and other features on complex shop drawings to fabricate parts and assemble jigs, tools and dies. For example, locate dimensions to complete material layouts. Find depths and widths for milling pockets on die sets. Locate dimensions and angles on drawings to verify the placement of and between parts and sub-units such as tools onto progressive dies. (3)
  • Examine perspective views and assembly drawings to understand the location, orientation and functioning of complex components and sub-assemblies. This understanding is needed to plan tool usage and tooling sequences and to assemble tools, dies, and jigs and the products assembled with jigs. Senior tool and die makers may use assembly drawings to carry out inspections of tools and dies. They use information from pictures to identify design improvements for tool and die sets. (4)
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Digital Technology
  • Exchange email with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Enter and retrieve information about current and past fabrication jobs from the company's databases. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, create a variety of shop drawings for fabrication projects. Set options for the appearance of lines, type and format of dimensioning and perspectives, lighting and textures for modelling. Use computer-assisted machining programs such as Mastercam to control fabrication operations and computer-linked theodolites to plot x, y, and z coordinates of jigs and fabrications. Transfer data files to computer numeric control programs. Use laser tracking programs and coordinate measuring machines to take precise measurements. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss work assignments with supervisors and receive instructions about unfamiliar equipment and tools. Discuss sequences of operations needed and other fabrication details for new tool and die sets, jigs and fixtures. (2)
  • Communicate with supervisors and co-workers such as other tool and die makers, machinists and welders during fabrication, assembling, testing and moving of tools, dies and jigs. Maintain ongoing communications to coordinate tasks and carry out activities correctly, safely and efficiently. For example, discuss sequences of operations, material layouts, assembly and testing procedures when working on joint tasks. Speak with co-workers during shift changes and also discuss solutions to fabrication problems such as ripples in car body panel prototypes. (2)
  • Discuss design modifications with engineers and request missing measurements and technical information from them. (2)
  • Interact with clients on the phone or in person. For example, explain repair needs and costs for equipment brought in for maintenance. Discuss modifications such as the use of different materials and changes to dimensions, and seek approval from clients to proceed. (3)
  • Give instructions, provide directions and offer explanations to apprentices and helpers. Explain fabrication procedures in such a way that apprentices are able to transfer the information to future jobs. For example, give apprentices instructions for sequences of operations, workstation set-ups and tool and tooling path selections. Give reasons for choosing particular materials, operations, tools and tool set-ups. As apprentices and helpers begin the work, provide ongoing direction for the set-up and operation of machines, equipment and testing tools. (3)
  • Participate in design, development and problem solving meetings. As experts in tool, die and jig fabrication methods and materials, offer suggestions and advice on design features, materials, and tooling procedures to improve quality and production efficiency. For example, give opinions about what materials to use for different parts of proposed tools, dies and jigs. Make suggestions such as changing designs from a single component to two or more parts. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Schedule and monitor the sequence of events for tooling and die making projects ranging from one day to a year. For example, establish timelines, set sequence of operations and you may schedule small crews or a few apprentices. Calculate the time required to complete each sub-assembly, considering the availability of cutting tools and machines, the complexities of fabrication processes and the knowledge of apprentices. Determine project progress against timelines, report deviations in hours, days and weeks and adjust schedules as necessary. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Take a variety of measurements using rulers, tapes, protractors, meters and digital displays. For example, measure the dimension of parts and the distance between them using rulers and tapes. Monitor and set speed, feed and temperature rates using digital displays. Use gauges to monitor readings such as the pressure exerted on fabricated metal as it passes through progressive dies. (1)
  • Calculate dimensions of fabricated parts and the range of acceptable measurements for fabrication parameters. For example, calculate the amount to remove from the surface of blocks by subtracting specified heights from actual height and adding allowance for finishing procedures. Use specified clearance percentages to calculate the diameter and clearance angles of drill holes. (2)
  • Prepare solutions and mixtures. For example, to mix a diluted plastic compound convert the required compound volume into a weight measurement. Convert the dilution percentage to a ratio and set up a proportional calculation to determine the quantity of solution to add to the plastic compound. (2)
  • Calculate the dimensions of fabricated pieces using measurements from scale drawings when additional dimensions are required to complete material layouts and create reference points. (2)
  • Confirm dimensions of tool and die sets, jig and fixture components and prototypes using precise measurement tools such as vernier callipers, sine bars, angle plates, gauges such as gauge blocks, thread and radius gauges, dial indicators, optical lasers and coordinate measuring machines. For example, measure dimensions and diameters of pocket cuts and bore holes to ten thousandths of an inch using vernier callipers and height gauges. (3)
  • Analyze the geometry of fabricated parts to verify dimensions, distances and angles. Analyze complex shapes and solids into constituent geometric shapes and solids to plan fabrication steps. Use geometric construction to draw and scribe geometric shapes, find centres and align parts. Use formulae to calculate areas and perimeters of plane figures and volumes of solids. Insert measurements into geometric formulae to confirm that parts and components are square, concentric or perpendicular. Calculate dimensions of sub-assemblies and parts using lines, circles and arcs. (4)
  • Calculate dimensions and angles of design features such as bevels, offsets, arc angles and tangent points using trigonometry. For example, calculate arc and radius angles, and tangent points to transfer dimensions from drawings onto work pieces to prepare material layouts. Calculate bevel cut angles and offsets for tool lengths and cutter diameters. (5)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare instrument readings such as temperatures, pressure and amperage to specifications and adjust equipment and tools. Compare measurements to specified dimensions to ensure that jigs, frames, tools and dies have been fabricated properly. (1)
  • Interpret fabrication process data such as feed and speed rates on boring machines, drills and lathes. Use the results to troubleshoot the causes of poor quality fabrications. For example, find roughness on finished journal surfaces is caused by feed rates that are too high. (2)
  • Analyze performance data for tool and die sets under controlled and simulated conditions. Interpret the data to ensure specifications are met, as well as identify problems and performance trends over time that may affect the quality, efficiency and durability of tool and die sets. For example, interpret pressure patterns on prototypes to determine if pressure points are causing premature wear on tool and die sets. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how much stock is required to make components for tools, jigs and dies. Consider the number and size of pieces to be produced and the machining, bending and other procedures required. (1)
  • Estimate the initial machine and equipment settings for testing tool and die sets and producing prototypes. For example, a senior tool and die maker estimates how much pressure to apply at certain temperatures to get even distributions of plastics or metals using settings for similar prototypes. (2)
  • Estimate the time required to complete jobs. For example, estimate the time required to create parts and to complete repairs. Consider the complexity of fabrication tasks, the number of procedures and processes, the quantity of pieces being produced or replaced, familiarity with the work and the availability and skill levels of apprentices. In addition, use experience with similar tool and die sets to make estimates. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Tool and die makers receive their daily assignments from their supervisors but they are responsible for setting the sequence of tasks for the projects they are assigned. Most job tasks are repetitive, but they often work on several projects concurrently, so the ability to manage priorities is critical to their jobs. Changing priorities and lack of materials sometimes complicate their daily job task planning. They may plan their own activities and prioritize tasks to meet scheduled deadlines. They take into account fabrication timelines and activities, which involve other departments and operations. They interact and integrate tasks with a wide range of co-workers and supervisors. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Choose work assignments for junior tool and die makers and apprentices. Consider individual strengths and weaknesses, skill level, work experience and the availability of suitable supervision. In addition, consider apprentices' training plans, previous tasks assignments and skill levels acquired. (2)
  • Select the types of materials, supplies, tools, tooling paths and machines to use when completing tool, die and jig fabrication tasks. Consider the properties and characteristics of materials, capabilities of machines, types and complexity of processes, and the degree of precision required in measurements. Use expertise in conjunction with procedures and precedents to inform decisions, as each new piece presents a unique challenge. (3)
  • Decide the sequence of operations such as assembly sequence and the machining order of parts to fabricate tools, dies, jigs and fixtures. Consider what tasks can be completed together, the number and location of parts, parts requiring extra operations such as heat treatments, and the availability of materials. For example, decide to drill holes before cutting angles to ensure parts can be firmly secured as holes are drilled. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Discover that specifications are incorrect or need modifications. Request revised specifications and drawings from engineers and technicians or make changes and then seek approval to proceed. For example, a tool fitter discovers during test runs that folds in metal expand by two degrees during machining. The fitter modifies the fold angle specifications to compensate for the change and requests approval from engineers to modify the specification on drawings. (2)
  • Encounter problems with fabrication processes. For example, find that impractical fabrication task sequences, measurement errors and tooling faults prevent them from proceeding. Ask supervisors and more experienced tool and die makers for advice and suggestions for alternative procedures. (2)
  • Malfunctioning equipment makes further fabrication impossible. For example, when the computer numerical control machines (CNC) malfunction, locate faults such as broken parts and correct them. Install replacement parts and resume fabrication as quickly as possible. (2)
  • Receive complaints from customers about the size, finish and operation of finished tool and die sets and jigs. Work with supervisors and engineers to identify why the failures are occurring, what modifications are required, and what protocols to use to test the effectiveness of changes made. In some cases, perform major overhauls or redesign the tools, dies and jigs to correct the faults. For example, a tool and die maker discovers wrinkles and thin spots in a test prototype. After a review of tooling design and operating data, the tool and die maker discovers that the defects are the result of improper feed speeds and process temperatures. (4)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the capabilities of apprentices when assigning job tasks. Consider skill levels, experience, strengths and attitudes as assessment criteria. Also read training plans and records to review what work they have completed, skill levels achieved and tasks they still need to learn. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality and acceptability of fabricated tools, dies and jigs. Use technical knowledge and established criteria such as safety and shop standards, and customers' specifications to assess compliance. For example, evaluate conformity of dimensions and operational readings to specifications. Analyze simulated test results and data from tool and die sets, jigs, and prototypes to evaluate functionality, quality, stability, and safety. Recommend repairs and adjustments because of these evaluations. (3)
  • Assess the suitability of specified materials such as metals, gluing compounds and lubricants. Look at materials' characteristics and properties, including flexibility, hardness and corrosion resistance. Analyze data and measurements and compare them to requirements and the function of parts or components to which the materials are applied. Use the assessment to recommend alternate materials better matched to performance requirements and design modifications to stay within the characteristic and property limits of materials. Justify these recommendations to supervisors and sometimes to customers. (3)
  • Work with teams of experts to evaluate the feasibility and technical soundness of tool, die and jig designs from both fabrication and quality perspectives. Evaluate the extent to which the designs meet customers' specifications and exploit efficient fabrication procedures and processes. Compare measurements to specifications, complete tests and test reports and examine quality assurance data. Consider the complexity and number of tasks, and the effects operations such as cutting, milling and forming materials will have on subsequent drilling and finishing. Make recommendations for design and fabrication process modifications. (3)
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