What Does a Die Designer Do?

A Die Designer (670D) is a skilled craftsperson who helps create dies for stamping, forming, or forging presses. Certification as a Tool and Die Maker is a prerequisite for starting a Die Designer apprenticeship in Ontario.

Learn about the business case for training apprentices in the tool & die field

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Develops plans for single stage or progressive stage dies for stamping, forming, forging, or extrusion presses, according to blueprints of product and knowledge of press characteristics and process limitations: Drafts drawings of dies necessary to form complete forging, stamping, or other part.
  • Determines sequence and number of die stages in which single or progressive cutting, punching, and forming will be accomplished, and type of die sets required to produce complete part, based on knowledge of dies, forming processes, and machines.
  • Drafts scale drawings of each die set, delineating contours and dimensions for manufacture of die.
  • Compares part drawings with wood patterns of cast dies to determine correctness of pattern dimensions and form.
  • May observe setup and tryout of newly developed die set in production machine to determine need for redesign or readiness for production use.
  • Coordinates with and consult other workers to design, lay out, or detail components and systems and to resolve design or other problems.
  • Modifies and revises designs to correct operating deficiencies or to reduce production problems.
  • Lays out and draws schematic, orthographic, or angle views to depict functional relationships of components, assemblies, systems, and machines.
  • Develops detailed design drawings and specifications for mechanical equipment, dies, tools, and controls, using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment.
  • Positions instructions and comments onto drawing 

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 Die Designer you should preferably have a secondary school diploma ideally with senior credits in Mathematics, Science and English, as a 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. Completion of apx. 8,300 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification. General skills can sometimes be transferable to other trades as well. You also need certification as a Tool and Die Maker before entering the Die Designer apprenticeship.

If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enrolling in a Manufacturing Specialist High Skills Major Program.

What’s Your Future as a Die Designer?

Most workers employed as Die Designers work full-time, sometimes in shift work, and often with large manufacturers or in smaller custom shops, occasionally becoming self-employed. Employment opportunities for Die Designers can be found with:

  • motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • machine shops
  • machinery and equipment manufacturers
  • aircraft and parts manufacturers
  • hardware manufacturers

Wage Rate

  • you start at a wage rate that is less than that of a journeyperson die designer
  • this rate increases gradually as you acquire skills and gain competency
  • the journeyperson’s wage rate varies in the range of $14.00 to $28.00 per hour, often with benefits and the opportunities for overtime


Ask Yourself: Is Die Designer For You?

Do you enjoy working with your hands?

Yes      No

Are you pretty good at working with numbers?

Yes      No

Do you prefer to work on different tasks and not the same thing every day?

Yes      No

Is it easy for you to spot differences in size, shape or form?

Yes      No

Can you visualize how things fit together for them to work?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy keeping up with and learning about new technology?

Yes      No

Are you good at planning how to accomplish a task from start to finish?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Die Designer may be for you!

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

  • Machinist
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Construction Millwright/Industrial Mechanic
  • Industrial Woodworker

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