For the uninitiated, the term tool makers often brings out an image of someone who makes hammers and screwdrivers. But that is not entirely accurate. Actually, a tool maker designs and manufactures the tools that are used by other manufacturing companies to create the products and components they need. Often the tools these manufacturers need are not yet commercially available, and so they need a tool maker to create a customised tool for their precise needs.
What Does a Tool Maker Really Do?
Here are some of the duties of tool makers:
The tool maker takes into account the exact need of the manufacturer client, and then designs the tool that fits the requirements of the client. Often, the tool maker has to work with 2D and 3D computer aided design and manufacturing programs. The design should then be approved by the client before the actual manufacturing process is started.
Once the design has been approved, then the tool maker marks out the tool design on the work piece or stock. The tool maker has to comply with the design specifications exactly. Any error here can be costly.
Now the actually tool fabrication starts. The stock material is cut and shaped with the use of various machines. These include grinders, lathes, and cnc machines. Today, many of these machines are controlled through computers for greater accuracy, speed, and efficiency. However, there are still some tools that can only be produced through manual means.
Often a small sample of the tools is first produced, which is then tested for the proper dimensions. These tests are conducted with micrometres, gauges, and co-ordinate measuring machines. These devices can take very precise measurements to ensure that the manufacturing process is in full compliance with the specifications laid out in the original design. If everything checks out, then the manufacturing continues until the number of required tools is reached. While there are countless types of tools, all the good ones share four basic characteristics: they do what they’re supposed to do, they are very easy to handle, they’re very safe to use, and they can last for a long time.
Tool makers are also often required to oversee or carry out basic machine maintenance as well.
What Industries Need Tool Makers?
The short answer here is that all industries need tool makers in one way or another. However, there are several industries which can be considered among those which have the greatest need for tool makers.
Perhaps the fields which have the most conspicuous need for tool makers are the defence and the aerospace industries. Both industries require systems that involve a high level of complexity and precision. Tool makers are needed in order to produce tools for the manufacture of new and advanced systems.
The medical community is also among those that are highly dependent on tool makers. Check out any hospital, and you’ll realize that there are many machines in use which help ensure the health of patients. All these devices have been produced with the help of specialised tools created by tool makers.