Career Profile: Die Designer
If you look around your home, you can likely find several objects that were made with special tools. Many of those tools likely came from a die, which is a kind of mould for making tools. Designing a die that works well for its purpose can make manufacturing much easier than it might otherwise be. Working as a die designer can be a useful and rewarding career.
Die designers are part of a whole process that goes into making furniture, building houses, manufacturing cars, and much more. Employers normally have no specific academic requirements for these tradespeople, but most people have at least a high school diploma. Many people in this trade get an associate’s degree or complete an apprenticeship, which normally takes up to four years to complete.
Like in many other trades, being able to read and understand instructions is important for die designers. High school courses in English or writing are helpful for learning these types of skills. These tradespeople should also be able to calculate measurements, estimate costs, and do other tasks that require the ability to work with numbers. Taking math courses can be helpful for these tasks, and classes that teach skills like sawing or welding are also useful. Courses in art, especially drawing, can help people learn the basic principles of designing an object, and computer courses also help to prepare students for this trade.
Learning how to draft with CAD (computer-aided design) software is an important skill for this work. Many die designers create blueprints for their designs using information about what kinds of machines will use the tool and how they work. Being precise is important in this work because a badly formed die will produce faulty tools. People in this trade might also need to study several different machines to be able to suit the needs of different clients. Some designers might want to specialize in a certain type of die, such as one that produces tools for plumbers or electricians, but others might want to work with a more general clientele.
Die designers work mainly with manufacturing, but they can also find work elsewhere, including the geology or geography departments of universities, governments, and other organizations that need special tools. The job could involve making one or two designs for many different customers or working mainly for one company, possibly making die designs for branches of the company across the country. Generally, salaries for die designers begin at about $40,000 per year and can rise to about $78,000, and jobs are likely to be easier to find in areas like southern Ontario, where much of Canada’s manufacturing takes place.
As in many of the trades, a certain amount of endurance is necessary for the work of a die designer. Although most of the work is done at a computer, it can also involve going to factories to see exactly what is needed for the job. The hours can be long when a job needs to be done, but usually die designers work regular days in an office where the working conditions are normally quite good. If you are detail-oriented and are good at problem-solving to find the best design for the job, a career as a die designer might be good for you.
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Payscale. “Average Tool and Die Maker Hourly Pay in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Tool_and_Die_Maker/Hourly_Rate.
Talent.com. “Die Maker Average Salary in Canada, 2022.” https://ca.talent.com/salary?job=Die+Die+Die+Maker#.
Ziprecruiter. “What is a Die Designer and How to Become One.” https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Career/Die-Designer/What-Is-How-to-Become