Tool and die makers operate machines that make and repair dies, cutting tools, fixtures, and gauges.

Do you spend all your time in a workshop? Do machines grab your attention? As a tool and die maker, you’ll put your interests to work in an exciting environment- the production floor. You’ll operate a specialized machine that creates either tools or dies and you’ll make sure every workpiece that comes out of your machine is of the best quality.

Reading technical drawings is one of the most important skills to have under your belt; it will allow you to set up pieces and equipment the right way. Tool and die machines are usually computer-numerically controlled (CNC), so you’ll need to be proficient in various software programs and have computer skills in order to set up, adjust, and operate the machine. You might complete these tasks physically, too, which means a high level of strength and fitness will be to your advantage. You’ll inspect the tools or dies that your machine makes, ensuring that every piece is perfect. If there is an issue, you’ll physically modify the piece or adjust machine settings, or perform minor repair work.

Employers will expect you to have some experience, knowledge, and training before applying for the job. Look for an Associate’s degree or a vocational program, along with certification courses or an apprenticeship, in order to make your resume stand out.

Also Known As:

Die Maker, Toolmaker, Tool & Die Machinist

Critical Skills


  • Attention to Detail
  • Comprehend and Follow Visual, Written, and Oral Instructions
  • Metals and Their Properties
  • Safety Regulations and Procedures


  • Basic Computer Skills
  • Communication - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking/Oral
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Interact with Computers
  • Operation and Control
  • Problem Solving
  • Repairing
  • Teamwork
  • Troubleshooting

Key Responsibilities

  • Verify dimensions, alignments, and clearances of finished parts for conformance to specifications
  • Study visual and written instructions to plan machine operations for crafting tools, dies, or assemblies
  • Set up and operate conventional or computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools to shape parts to prescribed dimensions
  • Determine dimensions, sizes, shapes, and tolerances of assemblies
  • Inspect finished dies for quality and defects
  • Assemble parts to make or modify dies and tools using machine and handtools
  • Conduct test runs with completed tools or dies
  • Select metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, based on properties such as hardness and heat tolerance
  • File, grind, shim, and adjust different parts to fit them together
  • Lift, position, and secure machined parts on surface plates or worktables

Special Requirements

  • Heavy Lifting Ability
  • Physical Strength and Dexterity

How to get this job

Experience in tool or die making is nice but not strictly needed.

Next Steps for this job

Experience with small engines or other mechanical products is helpful.

Specific job titles and duties vary by employer so check for details.