Boom or bust?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Page:   1  2  Next »   Last »

Host

Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most tool and die maker opportunities?

Reply

wanderer in Saint Louis, Missouri

143 months ago

Looking from a purely CAD Tech perspective, they're not reporting very high levels of job satisfaction or job security or good benefits. :-( But, over 11% of the T/D/M workforce is nearing retirement, so I'd imagine these things might improve over the next couple of years. Average pay is pretty decent, though.

Reply

Billy in Ardmore, Alabama

137 months ago

I live in the south and we've been hit hard by manufacturing leaving this country just like the rest of the nation. The only new jobs are the foreign car makers that have set up facilities around, but there are far more people than jobs for them. For the most part you have to "know someone" just to get an interview there. We may be slightly better off than some other areas but things are still not good.

It is definitely a dying trade and many of my friends have found other careers instead. It is true that many are now retiring and that may save the rest of us for a while, but the future in general is bleak for tool and die. It was once a respected and valued profession but not any more. Those days are gone.

Now companies buy dies from China at pennies on the dollar compared to American tooling. The quality doesn't compare, but cheaper is better to the bean counters, you know. Most every aspect of American manufacturing is in jeopardy from cheap overseas labor now and the death of the tool and die trade is just a small part of a much larger crisis that is looming for us all.

Reply

adam in Windsor, Ontario

136 months ago

unless you live in china or mexico do not do tool and die!!!!!!!!!!

Reply

Bill in Toney, Alabama

126 months ago

Yes, it is a dying trade, and it's dying much faster than many would have you believe. Look beyond the articles about a supposed "shortage" and you'll find that machine shops all over the country are closing down, not due to a shortage of skilled labor, but instead due to the hopelessness of competing with foreign shops who can sell their products for less than raw materials cost in this country. We all know automotive is outsourcing, but look at the appliance industry - they're moving overseas too. Industry is either leaving this country or shutting their doors in a hurry. That trend has no hope of reversing either.

Do yourself a big favor and find something else. If you don't you'll look back one day and realize you've invested so much effort for such a short future. I've been in this trade most of my adult life and that's how I feel now. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

Reply

Jeff Van Pelt in South Bend, Indiana

115 months ago

I'm a Tool Maker. I'll be 40 at the end of the month. My Mom and Dad opened Midstates tool and die when I was 12. Been in this business for a long time and I've NEVER seen it this bad.
I haven't worked for Dad for alot of years, but I've never seen Dad's shop in this shape. At one time he had 25 tool makers and 4 engineers... It was a good ol shop... We had so much work, material was outside the shop..Now he has his foreman and one machinist left. Nothing for them to do.
I run the tool room where I'm at and we just laid 3 guys off and lowered the hours down to 4 days. I planted my resume all OVER this country and cant get any calls..
My biggest question is; Where the hell did ALL that money go that keep giving to the auto makers???? Every time we throw money in their pockets, the next day they're shutting the doors to another plant or laying off thousands... Where the hell is it???

Reply

Harinder in Brampton, Ontario

115 months ago

I dont see Tool making coming back soon.But when ever it comes back there wont be enough Tool makers to support this field because of no more apperentices.All tool makers feel bad for choosing this field and the govt not doing anything for them.The bailout are only for auto makers NOT for tool makers.
For tool makers there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

Reply

jfvanpelt in Granger, Indiana

115 months ago

You know what? I've been saying the same thing about tool makers being scarce since I've been in the trade.... I'm very sorry I thought this way... I should've stayed a dumb ass and not learned anything and went to work for an auto maker hangin doors on the line or something for 35 dollars an hour... You know? I'm so disappointed in this country... Not even the people we work for any more know the worth of us...and theres nothing we can do about it.

Reply

jfvanpelt in Granger, Indiana

114 months ago

I don't know what "budget" he's talking about. I mean, if you've taken the classes... (in our state) then all you have to fulfill is the hours. If you work in a true Tool and Die Shop, then you should put in 4,000 hours of work, and it should be reported to the state accordingly. 1,000 hours Mill; 1,000 hours Lathe; 1,000 hours Grinding/Finishing; And 1,000 hours on the Bench. At least thats the IDEA behind the apprentceship. (People never really did EXACTLY that, but it's how it had to be reported to the state before you got your card.)
I've found that usually after an apprentice gets his card, (If he truly has good experience...because the card don't say crap about the guys abilities,) he usually moves on. Generally the shop he apprenticed at won't move him up in pay equal to what he's worth somewhere else. I've been in this trade for 25 years and to me, your right... Sounds like somebody's blowin smoke up your ass..
Only you know what your worth to this company and know how much pull you can handle... My advice would be to go over your supervisor's head and say; "Look, I'm not trying to start any trouble or make anybody mad... Maybe my supervisor is too busy to tackle this right now...(something like that,) And just tell them that you want your journey papers. I wouldn't talk to them about money or anything at this moment... But just tell them that you've busted your ass to become a journeyman and your not sure what the problem is. It's not a matter of MONEY or BUDGET."
As far as guys saying the jobs aren't like they use to be? They are absolutely right. Years ago, shops quoted, designed, built, and ran off the product. I'm runnin out of space on this post... Watch for my next one.
Jeff Van Pelt.

Reply

dtrani in Brampton, Ontario

114 months ago

this trade is done

Reply

dtrani in Brampton, Ontario

114 months ago

greed ,ceo's,governments,and lack of appretiation of people in this trade is what killed it.I don't blame the chinese I blame our own bloody people who run our finacial instatutions,and our government.They only care for today,not tommrow.What a shame!So good riddens to a trade that to me was like a hobby.To bad ,shame on all of us.

Reply

Joe Brown

113 months ago

www.toolanddieing.com
High-tolerance industries such as aerospace, the "green" technologies, defense are the die maker jobs staying in U.S. & Canada. Good luck

Reply

FrankP

104 months ago

toplist in Singapore, Singapore said: This trade in our country is almost extinct. No more new blood coming in, experienced TM changing trade due to low wages. Customers are moving away to developing countries.. No more light infront!

www.todayestore.com

You're absolutely right on with this one. There really isn't anyone coming into the trade anymore, and in twenty years, guys my age will be getting prepared to retire(I'll be 43 this year) and when we go, there won't be anything left behind us.

Reply

Toolman in Guelph, Ontario

101 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most tool and die maker opportunities?

If you want to make the big bucks and not work very hard
go to a stamping plant, a union one would be your best bet.
If your just starting out I would say go do something else.
Starting is hard and mindless work and does not pay very well,
but if you want to sweep the floor and square up blocks for
$11/Hr Tool and die is for you. It is beter then working
at Tim Hortons and once the electric car takes off you will
be able to write your own paycheck. Don't listen to these other
haters they are probly lazy asses that hang out in the washroom
all day and read the newspaper and wonder why they lost their
jobs. If your willing to work hard and put your time in there
is a future in Tool and Die, if not Tim Hortons is allways hiring

Reply

Jeff in Toronto, Ontario

98 months ago

Biggest mistake of my life. 8 years of working towards a dead end. These days, you are a fool to get into this trade, even with CAD/CAM exp. Do something else.

Reply

patelbrad@*****.*** in Whitby, Ontario

98 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most tool and die maker opportunities?

From my experience as a Tool and Die Maker for the last 15 years, its a waste of time, its a dieing field, suggest u consider something else.

Reply

Steve in Waterloo, Ontario

94 months ago

Part of the problem with the tool & die trade is we never organized a trade union to help protect us from the circumstances we are now facing.As a result many employers have divided the trade into smaller segments creating conflict amongst employees within the plants they operate.(divide & concur). Yes,I believe it is a trade under pressure
at this time but as experienced,quality toolmakers leave and there is no one being trained, now is the time that we should be trying to create a united group for the future.The only people that seem to know the skill level and knowledge required for this trade are the toolmakers themselves. Anyone else think along the same lines

Reply

BigWally in London, Ontario

94 months ago

Been in Tool & Die over 30yrs and yes its just about a dead trade I agree with Steve in Waterloo that we should have had a national union like the electricians IBEW or the millwrights and pipe fitters .. independant of government so we could train apprentices and look after our own pension plans and protect us from government policy that enabled companies to outsource easily . Greed will be the downfall of the North American economy .

Reply

G in Waterbury, Connecticut

94 months ago

I have been in this for too long. I learned from some very highly skilled guys.(before Wire)When I started the boss took me in his office and said kid you wont get rich but you will be comfertable. The place had about 500 employees and was a good place to work.If you were lucky enough to get in most guys stayed there.Today its closed.They were mostly in the auto industry that explains that doesnt it.You can say I've come full circle State Technical School,State Apprenticeship,and now State Unemployment insurance.RUN FROM THIS TRADE.

Reply

psychmike832@*****.*** in Odessa, Texas

91 months ago

G in Waterbury, Connecticut said: I have been in this for too long. I learned from some very highly skilled guys.(before Wire)When I started the boss took me in his office and said kid you wont get rich but you will be comfertable. The place had about 500 employees and was a good place to work.If you were lucky enough to get in most guys stayed there.Today its closed.They were mostly in the auto industry that explains that doesnt it.You can say I've come full circle State Technical School,State Apprenticeship,and now State Unemployment insurance.RUN FROM THIS TRADE.

go to texas u will find work ,but its not home that s the way it is i miss my home but jobs r everywhere

Reply

Tool Man in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

91 months ago

Get into plastic injection mold design, build, and repair. Lots of jobs there now starting to come back. Know your stuff on Solidworks, Master Cam or similar and keep learning to keep up with the technology. Money is good, especially if you like OT, but you will not get rich without OT. Forty hours will get you about 50 -65K if you are good. With OT, about 30% more. You will have to really bust it and know your stuff to make 90K or above. I have done it, but is hard on the family.

Reply

dfpolitowski@*****.*** in Brooklyn, New York

89 months ago

Tool Man in Eau Claire, Wisconsin said: Get into plastic injection mold design, build, and repair. Lots of jobs there now starting to come back. Know your stuff on Solidworks, Master Cam or similar and keep learning to keep up with the technology. Money is good, especially if you like OT, but you will not get rich without OT. Forty hours will get you about 50 -65K if you are good. With OT, about 30% more. You will have to really bust it and know your stuff to make 90K or above. I have done it, but is hard on the family.

You will have to relocate throughout your life in order to keep your trade. Cause as soon as its cheaper to manufacture the product your making out of the country it will go out of the country. or you will have skilled forgener come on into the country and work next to you being willing to work for half the price your getting. They will lay you off and hire them men or women to take your place. A 90,000 a year wage can easily be cut in half without a back lash. Techs form india will work for half that price in this country. I'm just saying.

Reply

K in Hamilton, Ontario

89 months ago

I started as a Tool and Die Maker in 2000, thought I was the luckiest guy I knew...actually I was...great money,job satisfaction, and RESPECT! I have two Tool and Die tickets,and a CNC Technicians Certificate. I have a great resume,skill, and attitude, but it seems like overnight that any understanding/appreciation for what we can do has gone. Agencies call offering $13.00/hr....I wish I never got into this.

Reply

dfpolitowski@*****.*** in Edison, New Jersey

89 months ago

K in Hamilton, Ontario said: I started as a Tool and Die Maker in 2000, thought I was the luckiest guy I knew...actually I was...great money,job satisfaction, and RESPECT! I have two Tool and Die tickets,and a CNC Technicians Certificate. I have a great resume,skill, and attitude, but it seems like overnight that any understanding/appreciation for what we can do has gone. Agencies call offering $13.00/hr....I wish I never got into this.

Sure, thats what i'm talking about. Why should I spend 5-10year learning to run a milling machine or lathe and all they want to pay me is 13.00hr. If you go to work driving a bus for your local school district they will pay you 12.50hr and there nothing to learn and you'll never be out of work cause kids always need to keep going to school.

Reply

buck in Toronto, Ontario

87 months ago

My father was in the trade and did very well with it.I followed in his footsteps and worked in the trade as a mould maker for 17 years.With all of our work going off shore I left and took up another trade. I think it was the best move I ever made and I have not looked back. It is pretty sad what has happened with manufacturing, who is to blame Government, cheap labour or big business?

Reply

Jack in Clinton Township, Michigan

86 months ago

With 27 years in i was with one company 19 years before i was laided off for 7 months, jumped ship and have been working solid for 8 years 6 days a week and 90,000 plus per year. The trade has picked up considerably and hard to find good help. I was told when i was 18 this was a dying trade, and i have made 1.6 million and counting at 45. Work is returning from mexico and overseas and is looking up, cause for lack of a better word they build crapo!. So in a nutshell with all the pessimism ive heard all my life about the trade i must be one of the lucky ones because it been great for me

Reply

tony in Birmingham, United Kingdom

85 months ago

Hi just a quick hello from a tool & die maker in england. We have got it just as bad here! All the coments above you hear in british toolrooms all day, I'm 40 years old been in this trade from the age of 16. They keep saying we have a skills shortage but its only because the pay is not worth the responsability!

Reply

Alan in West Chester, Ohio

83 months ago

I have been a Tool and Die Maker for over 35 years and have seen many changes over the years. When I began this trade as an apprentice, so long ago, it was completely hands on work, skills that had to be physically mastered and acquired. Every aspect of building a complex tool from beginning to end was taught in stages from saw cutting steels to complex contour machining and grinding. The biggest thing that apprentices of my time looked forward to was the assembly or, mounting and then try-out. That was many tools ago. I currently manage a tool and die shop and a stamping dept. for a local manufacturer. I am involved in every aspect of this trade and I can tell you exactly where it is heading.

No longer does an apprentice have to spend years practicing and honing skills like contour grinding or accurately fitting geometrical pieces together or learning the intricacies of a particular machine, the skill of duplicating a replacement part without a drawing and finally the ability to build something as complex as a multistage progressive die without supervision or design.

That was the enticement years ago, to not only get into a trade that paid well but also to learn and develop mechanical skills that would have practical benefits in every aspect of life. The ability to fix something that is broken or to be able to tell what's wrong with something mechanical just by the sound that it makes.

These days however, much of the skill that was necessary for the Toolmaker then, has been replaced with the technology of NC and CNC machines. That’s not really a bad thing. This machining technology can be as fascinating and rewarding for the new apprentice as the learning was for the old. It’s just a very different way to learn a very rewarding occupation.

So, I really just want to say that I do not think that Tool and Die is a dying trade. It is simply evolving. Evolving into something that is very different than what it used to be but, still very worthwhile.

Reply

The Blob in Mississauga, Ontario

81 months ago

Interesting that you can apply to school here in Ontario to become a Tool and Doe Maker and they will have a sponsor waiting for you. Also you are given one year paid training at the sponsor.

Caterpillar closed down a planet here because the employees refused to take a 50% cut in salary and surprising enough tool and die makers were they only ones not asked to take a cut in wages.

Not sure what the future holds and it appears that if there is another down turn manufacturing here is doomed.

Reply

Jake in Toronto, Ontario

81 months ago

The Blob in Mississauga, Ontario said: Interesting that you can apply to school here in Ontario to become a Tool and Doe Maker and they will have a sponsor waiting for you. Also you are given one year paid training at the sponsor.

Caterpillar closed down a planet here because the employees refused to take a 50% cut in salary and surprising enough tool and die makers were they only ones not asked to take a cut in wages.

Not sure what the future holds and it appears that if there is another down turn manufacturing here is doomed.

I've been looking at that same program, thinking about taking it in September. I am curious as to who the sponsor is though. If they are taking on all the people who take the course, sounds like they are really building something up.

Reply

Blob in Mississauga, Ontario

81 months ago

I am not sure who the sponsors are...but what I am bothered about is that the recent news that lots of machinist are losing their jobs at Caterpillar and now Air Canada is closing their plants and moving the work to El Salvador.

Really would love to be in this trade but it seems that there is a race to the bottom in wages and their is zero loyalty to the workers. Got accepted into the apprenticeship but having my doubts...

May just move to Computer programming.

Reply

Klrskies in Jeffersonville, Indiana

76 months ago

Been in over 30 years. The past 5-10 as a designer as well. For the first time in my career, I don't see a way to maintain my current position and salary. I never thought I'd be needing to consider another career choice but it seems better to do it sooner than later. When I search for jobs nothing close to where I am seems available...and the wage is nearly half.

At 53 Im really depressed watching my trade evaporate.

Reply

bobby in Brookville, Ohio

76 months ago

i live in ohio and work at dayton progress. i guess i got lucky with the place but business is booming for us. we have like 300 employees. i work in a shapes grinding department holding .00002 and it pays like 17 and like 48-56 hours a week. if anyone lives close to that area...check into applying =)

Reply

bobby in Brookville, Ohio

76 months ago

meant .0002

Reply

jalindzy@*****.*** in Silvis, Illinois

75 months ago

If you are willing to move, then tool and die can still be a good career move. If you are expecting that General Motors or Ford will throw up a plant in some country town in nowhere U.S.A. then it probably won't be that rewarding. I am 32 and the youngest tool and die maker at every job I have ever had, with the exception of my current job. The other guy is 6 months younger than me. A little over a year ago, I got pissed at work and went home and threw some resumes online. Long story short I was hired by 3 major companies. I will tell you I turned down Nissan in Murfreesboro Tn., Stihl (chainsaws,leaf blowers,etc)in Virginia Beach,Va. I ended up taking a job in Illinois. They hired 4 of us last year and just approved 2 more tool and die makers to be hired. Again, you have to be willing to move.

Reply

Klrskies in Jeffersonville, Indiana

75 months ago

When I was younger, I didn't experience much difficulty finding jobs, and yes even relocating out west was no problem. Today at 53, there have been a lot of facility closures around me, and when a job is offered it doesn't pay what I'm currently making as a designer. Maybe it's a couple of things...my age starting to be a factor, a shrinking number of good paying jobs available, and me not anxious to relocate away from my current area and family and friends.

I would like to be in Oregon or Washington on the coast, but have not had any offers that would make a comfortable living wage yet...I'll keep looking, I don't expect it to be easy these days.

Reply

jalindzy@*****.*** in Silvis, Illinois

75 months ago

Klrskies,
Are you a toolmaker that has gone on to the design side?

Reply

jalindzy@*****.*** in Silvis, Illinois

75 months ago

Klrskies,
Illinois wasn't on my list of states to want to live in. Especially since it is broke, but it had the best job. As for Oregon or Washington, I haven't seen much there. I suspect it is because in this global economy they aren't in close proximity to the major export ship yards. Plus I am not sure of their labor laws. Many companies are running to "right to work" states. Are you looking for a designer job or toolmaker job? Hopefully this will encourage you.......out of the four of us that were hired last year, our ages were 31,50,53 and 55. The average age of a toolmaker is 55. Most major companies have accepted this fact and age does not hinder someone in the hiring process. In my experience anyway.

Reply

Klrskies in Jeffersonville, Indiana

75 months ago

Yes, I went from a manual machinist at 15, to a mold maker , to cnc toolmaker/ programmer , to designer. I feel I've done my best, but there seems nowhere forward to go these days...years actually. It's the first time in my career I've not felt I'd be secure. Strange how it's changed from then to now.

I keep looking for good jobs, and submitting applications, but nothing very good yet. I'd like to find something where I didn't have to relocate yet. I have a section of the family farm that's been in the family for 4 generations, and am sentimentally attached.

Reply

John in Illinois in Bensenville, Illinois

75 months ago

It is the American consumer that drove our manufacturing off shore. Don't blame congress, don't blame business. The consumer has voted with their pocket books and I hope they like the cost of their dear cheap products. That's my view.

Reply

kevinmays in Charlotte, North Carolina

70 months ago

Jack in Clinton Township, Michigan said: With 27 years in i was with one company 19 years before i was laided off for 7 months, jumped ship and have been working solid for 8 years 6 days a week and 90,000 plus per year. The trade has picked up considerably and hard to find good help. I was told when i was 18 this was a dying trade, and i have made 1.6 million and counting at 45. Work is returning from mexico and overseas and is looking up, cause for lack of a better word they build crapo!. So in a nutshell with all the pessimism ive heard all my life about the trade i must be one of the lucky ones because it been great for me

I feel lucky too. The trade was a little rough to get started because of the lack of apprenticeships being offered in my area Toledo, Ohio that was in 2000. $10 hr. now $24.69 so no I'm not rich but I pretty much job hop and seek out better companies as i choose, much like an electrician plumber or maint. man. Just dont make as much as them. Pound for pound a tool and die maker has to know the most. Compensation just lacks for some reason.

Reply

Keith in Wilmington, Illinois

58 months ago

bobby in Brookville, Ohio said: i live in ohio and work at dayton progress. i guess i got lucky with the place but business is booming for us. we have like 300 employees. i work in a shapes grinding department holding .00002 and it pays like 17 and like 48-56 hours a week. if anyone lives close to that area...check into applying =)

What is the company?????

Reply

mdunn.smallqnji@*****.*** in Edison, New Jersey

54 months ago

Host said: Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most tool and die maker opportunities?

I work for a metal stamping company in Edison NJ and we can not find a tool and die person to run our tool room. If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me at mdunn.smallqnji@aol.com We are in need of a short run tool and die maker.

Reply

Jerry in Dayton, Ohio

52 months ago

Toolman in Guelph, Ontario said: If you want to make the big bucks and not work very hard
go to a stamping plant, a union one would be your best bet.
If your just starting out I would say go do something else.
Starting is hard and mindless work and does not pay very well,
but if you want to sweep the floor and square up blocks for
$11/ Hr Tool and die is for you. It is beter then working
at Tim Hortons and once the electric car takes off you will
be able to write your own paycheck. Don't listen to these other
haters they are probly lazy asses that hang out in the washroom
all day and read the newspaper and wonder why they lost their
jobs. If your willing to work hard and put your time in there
is a future in Tool and Die, if not Tim Hortons is allways hiring

You are right, I have been in the Tool & Die industry for over 25 years, and I learned Dies and Troubleshooting of Dies and it is booming everywhere, my phone rings off the hook. If you're experienced and not getting no calls than you are definitely doing something wrong. My best advice is to learn progressive die's or plastic injection molds. You can hit 6 figures if you want to work the overtime. Good luck.

Reply

bill in Odessa, Texas

48 months ago

psychmike832@yahoo.com in Odessa, Texas said: go to texas u will find work ,but its not home that s the way it is i miss my home but jobs r everywhere

yeah.. go to texas,, where theres one to five tool and die shops in the entire state..lol all you will find is oil machining jobs,, no innovation,, no teamwork.. great for a lathe operator

Reply

bill in Odessa, Texas

48 months ago

Keith in Wilmington, Illinois said: What is the company?????

.00002....DAMN!...lol

Reply

Dave Jaune in Detroit, Michigan

41 months ago

We have 7 openings for Tool Makers with Die experience at Metalsa in our Hopkinsville, KY location. You can contact me at dave.jaune@metalsa.com and just note in the subject line this is from the blog. We are a tier 1 supplier of light and commercial vehicles for light duty frames, space frames, suspension modules, body structures, etc.

Reply

richard kolec in Elgin, Illinois

32 months ago

I am a retired mold maker worked at a tool shop for 20 years. Have been in the trade for 40 years. The plant I worked at was a 100 man shop maybe they have 20 people employed. Most of them retired or got out of the trade. the shop can not find anyone even if they paid $35.00.

Reply

1911 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

30 months ago

Wow your right next to me Richard. Location wise. I am 22 years old and just got accepted for tool and die maker. I will also be in a program where they pay for college. There is work out here believe it or not. I think thing have picked up since this post started

Reply

MikeM in Newburyport, Massachusetts

17 months ago

I have been reading this forum and it really seems like a mixed bag for tool and die maker jobs throughout the country. We are located in northeast Massachusetts and have a rapidly growing Stamping operation but have found it difficult to find talented Tool and Die makers locally. Most are retired or a few years away from retirement.
Like many companies we are doing our best to train but we sure would love to here from anyone who has the skill, can't find the work where they live, and would relocate to Massachusetts. We have an add up on Indeed.

Reply

Page:   1  2  Next »   Last »

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.