What Does a Pattern Maker Do?

Pattern Makers (443A)make models in wood, plastic, metal, plaster of paris, or polystyrene to produce castings. These are then used by a mould maker to form a cavity in the sand into which molten metal is poured to form a casting. Patternmaking is divided into two branches, wood patternmaking and metal patternmaking.

Job Related Skills, Values and Interests

  • reading and interpreting blueprints and working by hand or with hand and power tools
  • planning and making a layout for a pattern from a mechanical drawing of the finished article
  • calculating shrinkage and allowances for machining and converting these dimensions to very exact tolerances
  • operating woodworking machines and other machining equipment
  • finishing the pattern by sanding and coating with lacquer to a fine smooth finish
  • making metal patterns from a casting made by a wood master pattern
  • machining castings, filing, scraping and polishing castings to meet exact dimensions
  • working at a variety of tasks that require creativity and great precision
  • acquiring and using knowledge of wood, machining processes, and machine design

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Industrial sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/industrial

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

To become a Pattern Maker you must  complete your secondary school diploma, particularly with credits in mathematics, chemistry and physics, and preferably wood, machine shop and drafting courses, before entry into an apprenticeship of 8,000 hours. You must also successfully complete the required examinations and hours of employment in order to be awarded a Journeyperson certificate. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

What’s Your Future as a Pattern Maker?

Pattern Makers generally work full-time, usually indoors, sometimes standing or on some detail work, while sitting at a bench. Pattern Makers in large organizations are often in contact with other departments, such as the engineering or drafting departments, as well as the core and mouldmakers from the production area. Examples of industries that hire Pattern Makers are:

  • shipbuilding
  • aircraft manufacturers
  • automotive manufacturers
  • implement manufacturers
  • machine and parts manufacturers

Wage Rate

  • apprentices usually start at a wage rate less than  that of a journeyperson
  • this rate increases gradually as you gain competency and skill
  • Fully qualified Patternmakers can earn anywhere from $15.00/ hour to $25.00/ hour or more, often with employee benefits and opportunities for overtime


Ask Yourself: Is working as a Pattern Maker for You?

Do you enjoy working on a variety of tasks requiring creativity and ingenuity?

Yes      No

Do you have a good eye for detail, and the ability to spot flaws?

Yes      No

Do you like working with numbers, and are you precise and accurate at it?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working with your hands, and with tools and mechanical equipment?

Yes      No

Are you the kind of person who takes great pride in doing a job ‘just right ‘?

Yes      No

Can you work independently or in a group to get a job done on deadline?

Yes      No

If you answered yes to most of these questions, a career as a Pattern Maker may be for you!

You may want to explore other jobs that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Mould Maker
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Machinist
  • Tool Designer
  • Engineer
  • Shipbuilder


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