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Become A Tool Designer

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Working As A Tool Designer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $72,486

    Average Salary

What Does A Tool Designer Do

Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Duties

Drafters typically do the following:

  • Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
  • Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Many drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.

Drafters work with CAD so they can create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.

Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.

Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become A Tool Designer

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Education

Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CAD (computer-aided design) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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Tool Designer jobs

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Tool Designer Career Paths

Tool Designer
Product Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Contract Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Mechanical Designer Piping Designer
Design Checker
13 Yearsyrs
Tool Design Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Tool Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Lead Design Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Product Development Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Development Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Product Engineer Product Development Engineer
Project Management Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Engineer Architect Design Drafter
Senior Design Drafter
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer
Senior Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Computer Aide
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Senior Manufacturing Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer Mechanical Design Engineer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer
Senior Mechanical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Product Designer Mechanical Designer Senior Designer
Senior Product Designer
8 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Product Engineer
Senior Product Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Tool Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Tool Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

91.2%

Female

7.6%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

81.8%

Asian

7.9%

Hispanic or Latino

7.8%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.5%

French

10.3%

Mandarin

10.3%

Chinese

6.9%

German

6.9%

Russian

6.9%

Carrier

6.9%

Swedish

3.4%

Turkish

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Mongolian

3.4%

Cantonese

3.4%
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Tool Designer Education

Schools

Wichita State University

10.0%

Macomb Community College

9.2%

Central Connecticut State University

6.7%

Ferris State University

5.8%

University of Northern Iowa

5.8%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.8%

Oregon Institute of Technology

5.0%

Bellevue College

5.0%

Purdue University

5.0%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

4.2%

Vincennes University

4.2%

A-Technical College

4.2%

University of Phoenix

4.2%

Cerritos College

4.2%

Weber State University

4.2%

Lansing Community College

3.3%

Henry Ford College

3.3%

Rock Valley College

3.3%

University of Akron

3.3%

Texas A&M University

3.3%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

19.5%

Mechanical Engineering

18.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

8.6%

Business

7.8%

Industrial Technology

7.8%

Precision Metal Working

5.8%

Engineering

4.9%

Engineering Technology

4.0%

Manufacturing Engineering

3.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.8%

Computer Science

2.3%

Project Management

2.3%

Industrial Engineering

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.2%

General Studies

1.1%

Computer Applications

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.1%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

30.5%

Other

29.4%

Associate

23.0%

Masters

9.9%

Certificate

5.2%

Diploma

1.9%

License

0.1%
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Real Tool Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Tool Designer A-1 Jays MacHining, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 27, 2016 $93,000
Designer Business Intelligence-Informatica Tool APS Healthcare, Inc. Brookfield, WI Nov 22, 2010 $90,000
Tool Designer A-1 Jays MacHining, Inc. San Jose, CA Mar 08, 2010 $90,000
Tool Designer-Unigraphics Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Raynham, MA Dec 01, 2012 $69,971
Tool Designer Concur Engineering Solutions, LLC Warren, MI Feb 11, 2015 $66,400 -
$79,200
Tool Designer Salter Labs Arvin, CA Mar 08, 2010 $61,547
Tool Designer QSD Manufacturing, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 28, 2008 $54,700
Tool Designer QSD Manufacturing, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 25, 2007 $54,700
Tool Designer MRG Tool and Die Corporation Faribault, MN Oct 01, 2014 $45,739 -
$62,400

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Top Skills for A Tool Designer

AssemblyFixturesEngineeringDepartmentCad/CamAutoCADCNCFinalProductCatiaV5PlantLayoutsSolidModelsAerospaceShopFloorDesignConceptsTGDPro-EAssemblyJigsMachineToolsCatiaV4DrillJigsDetailDrawings

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Top Tool Designer Skills

  1. Assembly Fixtures
  2. Engineering Department
  3. Cad/Cam
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed, modified and standardized safe tooling ranging from simple hand tools and assembly fixtures to complicated hydraulic testing equipment.
  • Coordinate with Tool Room Supervisor all tooling modifications arising from the Engineering Department.
  • Utilized the latest versions on CAD/CAM technology in the production of equipment to aerospace requirements.
  • Designed and maintained eyelet & progressive tooling on an Auto Cad platform.
  • Design and detail sheet metal stamping tools, deep draw dies, and assorted fixtures for CNC lathes and welding.

Top Tool Designer Employers

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