CNC vs Tool and Die
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    Default CNC vs Tool and Die

    Could anyone give some pros and cons from experience? I'm in a program that offers CNC training and/or Tool and Die after 4 semesters of manual. I still have 2 semesters to make a decision but I hoped to get some input. Thanks in advance.

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    some jobs pay more but are harder to find. i would search craigslist job postings and see what jobs are nearby
    .
    just saying some jobs pay more but you can be job searching for more months looking

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    I've wanted to get "official" certification and training in machining for a few years but haven't put alot of effort into it because it seems that every course defines itself differently. None of them have really matched what I'm learning through experience. Not putting school training down, I just find that it's more about the individual skills and practices you learn rather than the "course" itself.

    In general, and IMHO, CNC machining tends to mean you come out of school a button pusher and you end up learning to be a CNC machinist over time. Not sure about the tool and die part but I'd think it would be more in depth on the skills, but you wouldn't be taught as much in terms of producing parts en mass quickly and efficiently.

    Really just depends on how YOU define your own career and who can help you achieve it.

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    Most schools have a placement office. I would try to get some data from them as to how recent graduates of the programs have fared in the workplace.

    My instincts tell me that there are probably far more CNC than Tool & Die jobs throughout the country but I could be wrong. The other question is that if all other things were equal which path would you prefer? There are many people working at high paying jobs they dislike and the day goes by quicker when you like what you do.

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    Another point to consider is what type of tool&die work you are actually looking for. Example you can serve a 4 year 8,000 hour apprenticeship working with small dies 500 lb. and under then have another few years working with the same company then go work for a large automotive type die shop and you would be learning all over again. I can say this from experience in working for 38 years prior to retiring. In my area around Philadelphia you would be better off getting your training in CNC machining because die maker openings are rarer then brain surgeons wanted. Back in the mid 60's when I started working a die maker could quit his job in the morning and by end of day find another job making around the same money $4.00 an hour. It's all about location.

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    Why not both?

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    Both jobs are available here in North Alabama and usually employers call the school looking for help. Wallace State has an excellent reputation around here. I really would like to do both if I can afford to give an extra semester. As far as pay, it is about even but tool and die offers faster pay growth and higher top-out.

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    If you're not using CNC to make tools and dies....just go home now.

    being a competent tool and die maker involves much more than JUST being a competent machinist. Knowing machining in general and CNC programming/setup in particular is step 1. It might take being knowledgeable in 15 other areas to be a competent "tool maker" but you can't get there these days without a firm grasp of CNC operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neslob660 View Post
    Why not both?
    I concur with this line of reasoning.

    OP: Take an extra term or two if you can and take the CNC coursework after you have gone through the manual side of things. I did this in school (although the program was designed to do it all) and it gave me great insight as to how to make parts in general. Essentially it will give you a good leg up over anyone who's only gotten one of those certs. You can never know too much!

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    My 2 cents, I have been a toolmaker for 16 years now, everything from grinding/fitting to trodes, to cnc programming/milling which is where the majority of my experience lies. I would say go with the tool and die, I assume it's more involved and more precision based teaching/thought processing. Any shop you go to will teach you what and how they want things done, and I haven't seen a good tool shop that doesn't have good programmers and cnc guys. I was given a choice to get more in-depth with either burning or cnc milling, I chose milling/programming since it's more "transferable" so to speak if I ever looked for another job. Get good running a mill and programming for a tool shop, you can get a job anywhere in a job/production setting, although you would probably find it boring after being in a toolroom setting for any length of time. Good luck!

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    Schooling is invaluable. It teaches the theory of why machining works instead of just hand on where you only learn what's absolutely necessary to complete that job. 15years after trade school I still find myself using the odd bit of theory that I never would have learnt on the job. Calculating and Measuring gears for instance. Took 13 years before I had to do that on the job. But I remembered enough from school that it only took a few minutes to remember how to do it. My biggest regret was not taking the CNC course. I would kill for the theory I would have learnt there like. Now there's no time to learn it in detail so I only learn what I have to to get the job done.
    Jordy

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    I'm currently in the 2nd semester out of 4 spent in manual. Then everyone has the same 5th semester which begins on programming and tool and die basics. I'm thinking about going directly into tool and die, then CNC. Thank you all for your input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by totalamateur View Post
    I'm currently in the 2nd semester out of 4 spent in manual. Then everyone has the same 5th semester which begins on programming and tool and die basics. I'm thinking about going directly into tool and die, then CNC. Thank you all for your input.
    I would suggest cnc, way more job potential.

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    In our area, many tool and die shops are downsizing due to the lack of tool and die staff. There is good demand for toolmakers that know what they are doing. I'd suggest to explore if you have the tempermant and inclination to be a toolmaker.

    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by danil View Post
    In our area, many tool and die shops are downsizing due to the lack of tool and die staff. There is good demand for toolmakers that know what they are doing. I'd suggest to explore if you have the tempermant and inclination to be a toolmaker.
    I'm sure the OP appreciates your advise, 3.5 years after he asked his question.

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    Lol, I am just started to use this on the smart phone.... I'm just not as smart as the phone just yet.

    Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk


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