Job descriptions and industry overviews

Manufacturing tool maker

25 Jan 2023, 13:36

There are several names for the modern manufacturing tool maker but they all perform a crucial role in the process of making things and are among the most highly skilled people on the factory floor.

Blurred image of a person in an office setting with the text "Manufacturing tool maker" overlayed.

Alternative job titles for this role

  • Factory machine operator
  • Machinist
  • Tool and die maker
  • Production operative

Alternative job titles for this role

Tool and die maker

Die maker

Manufacturing or process toolfitter (or tool fitter)

Mould maker

Precision engineer


Toolmakers cut precision tools like jigs, dies and moulds, which are then used in the manufacturing process to make products. For example, the parts used on a car assembly line or the part of a machine that fills a chocolate shell or that seals a package. Toolmakers make precision tools, special guides and holding devices. They are used to cut, shape and form metal and other materials used in the manufacture of a range of products. Toolmakers use a wide variety of common metals, alloys, plastics, ceramics and composite materials and are knowledgeable in machining operations, mathematics and blueprint reading. Much of the work is done on computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines, so the modern toolmaker must have a solid background in a variety of technical and IT processes.

What the job involves

  • Work with 2D and 3D computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • Mark out the tool design on the 'stock' or casting following engineering drawings
  • Cut and shape the part using a combination of lathes, presses, grinders and cutting machines, which are frequently computer controlled
  • Check the tool's dimensions with precision measuring instruments such as micrometres, gauges and co-ordinate measuring machines (CMM)
  • Carry out basic machine maintenance

How your career can develop

Many manufacturers will take on Leaving Cert school leavers and those holding a certificate and a diploma/PLC in a related course as apprentices and allow time for study. Some will cater for those wishing to take their education further and do a third level course in, for instance, an engineering subject.


  • Interest in engineering
  • Have good hand to eye co-ordination
  • An eye for detail
  • Accuracy
  • Ability to use precise measuring instruments
  • Good verbal and written communications skills
  • Be able to work on their own and as part of a team
  • Aptitude for maths
  • Good IT skills

Typical employers

  • Food and drink companies
  • Engineered product makers
  • Consumer goods manufacturers
  • Printing and packaging companies
  • Electronic goods assembly companies
  • Aviation industry

Typical salary

Graduate/Starting €30,000

Senior/Potential €45,000+ depending on experience

Typical qualifications

Many careers in tool manufacturing industry are available through apprenticeships, leaving certificate and a diploma/PLC in a related course.

Further information

Guide to apprenticeships in Ireland:

Engineers Ireland:

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