Mold makers construct molds from existing forms for use in casting metal, clay or plaster objects, according to OccupationalInfo. They are responsible for producing precision parts in many different kinds of industries. These professionals must possess a wide range of skills to succeed in this field.
Mold makers prepare molds for production. Their duties might include studying blueprints; determining required machine operations; and considering the finish requirements for a task, according to Tyco Electronics in North Carolina. They usually use machines such as lathes, milling machines, grinding machines and jig borders, according to Array Connector Corp. in Florida, a manufacturer of electrical, military and medical connectors. Mold makers might need to know how to mix modeling material such as plaster powder and water and melt metal pieces using a torch. They also might have to analyze and correct complex mold malfunctions to ensure a mold will produce acceptable parts.
Many mold makers today use computer-aided design and computed numerically controlled machine tools to perform their tasks as well. Mold makers additionally might be responsible for disassembling complex mold tooling for cleaning and repair and performing procedures such as laser welding in their repair work.
Mold makers must be able to inspect products and select the correct shop equipment, precision measurement devices and other tools needed for a job. They also should be able to identify problems during a task and create solutions. Mold makers must have active learning, judgment, time management and organization skills. These professionals additionally must have strong manual dexterity, wrist-finger speed and arm-hand steadiness. They must be exact and able to read and interpret blueprints as well. Mold makers also should have strong math and communication skills in addition to being able to multitask and work with minimal supervision.
Mold makers often work indoors and frequently use their hands to handle, control or feel objects or tools. They usually wear protective or safety attire and might spend a lot of their time sitting or standing. In addition, mold makers often make repetitive motions, twist or turn their bodies to complete tasks and work in an environment with potentially distracting noise levels.
Mold makers usually must have a high school diploma or GED. Employers might prefer a job candidate who has at least an associate's degree in tool making or a related field or who has completed an accredited apprenticeship program in mold making. Employers also look for individuals who have multiple years of experience in mold making or mold maintenance.
Employment of machinists, a category that includes mold makers, is projected to decrease by 5 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. This can be attributed to rising productivity in these professionals with the introduction of newer industry technologies as well as strong foreign competition in the manufacture of goods. Mold makers in 2010 earned between $43,000 and $63,000, according to Payscale.