Machinists and toolmakers are often confused for one another. Their expertise and job descriptions might seem similar to an outsider, but as Practical Machinist’s forum members like to point out, there is a significant difference between them.
Tool and die makers are responsible for designing and building molds, dies, and fixtures that allow thousands of products to be made every single day. They are expected to have knowledge of any machine in the shop and must be able to turn a concept (such as a precise drawing or a napkin sketch) into reality.
If you are entering the trade or considering a career in tool and die making, there are a lot of complicated things that you’ll need to learn and master. The best way to master the trade, and usually the most common, is to learn from a mentor. Since that might not be an option for everyone, here are a few books that you should read if you want to become a skilled toolmaker.
Originally printed in 1941, this book provides a complete course of study for those desiring to become machinists, and to help machinists become tool makers. Several years and editions later, this book still contains valuable information.
A must-have for a die maker’s toolbox, desk, or briefcase. Everything reads as if an old-timer is giving you great nuggets of knowledge learned the hard way over an entire career of die making. The Die Makers Handbook is the only book of its kind expressly intended to help avoid the pitfalls associated with stamping designs, die designs, and stamping die function.
Detailed and technical, yet easy to understand, this book is a beneficial reference for die designers and makers. The author, an authority in manufacturing engineering with over 35 years of experience in the aircraft and automotive industries, combines in-depth explanations of die design fundamentals with real-world practices. Each of the 20 chapters included in this book explains and illustrates one step of the die design process.
Although it might seem a little old (the original copyright dates back to 1943), this book presents relevant and fundamental methods, techniques, and practices for designing and manufacturing tools, gages, dies, and fixtures.
This book contains hundreds of examples and guidelines detailing how to improve your current designs or how to utilize new progressive designs that maximize efficiency while minimizing cost. Among the topics covered are die material selection and properties, developing progression stages, grinding, EDM and wire-cut EDM operations, die and strip layout manufacture, and die protection systems and electronic sensors.
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This article was prepared by Practical Machinist, which is solely responsible for its content.
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