The Craft of Toolmaking
A toolmaker is a skilled worker who produces and maintains precision tools used in the production of metal, plastic and other materials of all shapes and sizes. The work of a toolmaker involves interpreting drawings and technical data to machine and assemble with great accuracy jigs, fixtures, moulding tools, dies and punches.
Care and attention to detail and high precision are the hallmark of Toolmaking. They operate a range of specialist engineering machines such as lathes, milling machines, Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines, grinding, milling, and boring machines. Drilling and spark erosion equipment are the key skills as are the use of precision, marking out and measuring tools.
Toolmakers require many skills including:
- Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools
- Operating a range of specialist engineering machines
- Interpreting and analysing technical drawings and specifications
- Measuring, marking out, cutting, and machining mild steel, stainless steel, alloy steels and aluminium plate and pipe
Personal Qualities and Skills
An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail. Producing high levels of accuracy demands patience and concentration. You need to be able to read, understand and analyse engineering drawings. Good numeric skills are important to make precise measurements and calculations.
The Toolmaker must have the ability to:
- Solve problems practically
- Communicate effectively
- Strong attention to detail
- Plan and Organise Logically
- Good co-ordination and hand skills
- Work independently and as part of a team
- Show a positive attitude
- Recognise the need for good customer relations
- Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness