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Career and Education Opportunities for Tool and Die Makers in Detroit, Michigan

Tool and die maker career and educational opportunities abound in Detroit, Michigan. There are currently 16,100 jobs for tool and die makers in Michigan and this is projected to shrink 6% to 15,070 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for tool and die makers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 8.0% over the next eight years. Tool and die makers generally analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.

Income for tool and die makers is about $25 per hour or $53,980 annually on average in Michigan. Nationally, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,430 annually. Incomes for tool and die makers are better than in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work in Michigan, and better than the overall Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

There are seventy-three schools of higher education in the Detroit area, including one within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree to start your career as a tool and die maker. Tool and die makers usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be a tool and die maker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Tool and Die Maker

Tool and Die Maker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, tool and die makers analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.

Tool and die makers lift and secure machined components on surface plates or worktables, using hoists, vises, v-blocks, or angle plates. They also fit and assemble components to make or modify dies, jigs and tools, using machine tools and hand tools. Equally important, tool and die makers have to file and adjust different components to properly fit them together. They are often called upon to study blueprints or specifications to develop sequences of operations for fabricating tools or assemblies. They are expected to verify dimensions and clearances of finished components for conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as calipers and dial indicators. Finally, tool and die makers decide on metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, on the basis of properties such as hardness and heat tolerance.

Every day, tool and die makers are expected to be able to organize information in a variety of ways. They need to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for tool and die makers to inspect finished dies for smoothness and defects. They are often called upon to prepare and operate conventional or computer numerically controlled machine tools such as lathes and grinders to cut or otherwise shape components to prescribed dimensions and finishes. They also conduct test runs with completed tools or dies to insure that components meet specifications, making adjustments as needed. They are sometimes expected to set pyrometer controls of heat-treating furnaces and feed or place components, tools, or assemblies into furnaces to harden. Somewhat less frequently, tool and die makers are also expected to verify dimensions and clearances of finished components for conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as calipers and dial indicators.

and decide on metals to be used from a range of metals and alloys, on the basis of properties such as hardness and heat tolerance. And finally, they sometimes have to measure and scribe metal or plastic stock to lay out machining, using instruments such as protractors and rulers.

Like many other jobs, tool and die makers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Detroit include:

  • Aircraft Parts Assembler. Assemble, fit, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
  • Buffing Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.
  • Heat Treating Equipment Operator. Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
  • Layout Technician. Lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, or machine parts, for further processing. Includes shipfitters.
  • Mold Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Welder. Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
  • Welding Operator. Set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Tool and Die Maker Training

Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills, MI

Oakland Community College, 2480 Opdyke Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304-2266. Oakland Community College is a large college located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,957 students. Oakland Community College has an associate's degree program in Tool and Die Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.