Difference Between Toolmaker & Machinist?
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  1. #1
    Questionguy Guest

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    I'm just curious what exactly the difference is between a machinist and a toolmaker.

    I know the guys in the shop i'm starting in are either mould makers or toolmakers (don't think they're machinists).

    Whats' the job difference between machinist/toolmaker? What's the wage difference/skill difference? What would one machine over the other?

    Thanks!

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    Machinists are better looking, more productive, broadly knowledgable, and have greater understanding of all things than the doofuses in white aprons. The machinists get the girls (the young single ones - the older ones make fabulous husbands being loyal and affectionate, good with children, and provident).

    Toolmakers have a lower reproductive rate (who would marry one?), stand looking at benches a lot, and never get their hands dirty. Tool makers complain because the can't read the drawing, hate to work with (enter most any material here) and have to ask machinist to perform calculations for them.

    Why they get premium pay, I don't know. Maybe it's to make up for the burden of the "toolmaker" title.

    Yeah, there's a bit of tension between machinists and toolmakersand we all have fun with it. Both are great trades and a worker in either will find a whole vocation to occupy his talents all his career. Toolmakers do carry a bit more responsibility and work more from general direction than detailed drawings.

    I've done a good deal of toolmaking in my day but I'd never present myself as one at a job interview. No toolmakier could hope to get the productivity out of machine tools or be as efficient at fitting and alignment as a good all around machinist.

    As for a precise distinction I'd go as far as: tool makers make tools, jigs, and fixtures for manufacturing and production and a machinist focuses on production machine work and the assembly and fitting of machined parts into working mechanisms.

    Try to make too great a distinction and you inevitable run into an extensive overlap.

    It's sufficient to say that a toolmaker can make one simple part to 40 millionths of an inch in the time it takes a machinist to make 100 complex parts to 0.0005".

    Take away the derisive tone of the above gibe and it becomes a statement of orientation. The toolmaker is a specialist and the machinist a production worker.

    I'd hate them overpaid bastards in white aprons - if I didn't need them so much.

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    Depends where you work. The shop I have worked in for 25 years changed job descriptions 2 years ago. We are part of a large corporation, and H.R. wanted to get the job descriptions the same company wide. I went from being a mold maker to master machinist, pay and responsibilities stayed the same. The rail road used to group anybody who ran a machine as a machinist, if you ran a back hoe you were a machinist. I don't think I have ever seen a breakdown as to what makes you a machinist, tool maker, tooo and die maker, etc., sometimes it gets to be a gray area. Mark

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    If you apply for a job titled 'Machinist' here in NZ, you will find yourself operating a sewing machine. True!
    Whereas a Toolmaker builds press tools, injection moulding dies etc.
    So it depends where you live to as to meaning of job titles

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    Forrest,
    LOL
    That is the funniest thing I have seen on this board in some time. (since the young man was concerned about blowing air into his blood system, I probably should not have laughed at him, but he did not register) Nice to read something humorous once and awhile. This one will go around the plant first thing AM.
    Thanks LOL

  6. #6
    D. Thomas Guest

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    Peter, so what the heck is a "machinist" as we know the term in the US, in NZ ? Chipmonger ?

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    D. It's my understanding the English divide what we in the US call "machinist" into two specialties, "turners" and "fitters". One being the guys who make chips and the other the bench mechanics. I dunno why.

    I interviewed for a job in Australia just for funzies. I gave him a quick verbal on my skills and experience as and "all-around machinist and the foremen couldn't figure out how to categorize me. He thought I was "...'avin' 'im on."

    [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 07-14-2003).]

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    A machinist can be a good toolmaker, while a toolmaker could never be made into a good machinist.
    Just a little good-natured ribbing really.

    I expect a toolmaker to be able to use any machine in the shop and be able to make jigs, fixtures and tooling for production.
    He must have the ability to turn a concept into reality. He can work from precise drawings, napkin sketches or verbal instructions.
    His finished work should leaved me stunned and smiling by the fine finish and detail. And his finished product performs as expected.
    A good toolmaker will impress me with quality. Speed is not as important as quality. I know that quality toolmaking takes a certain amount of time and bid it accordingly.

    A machinist can impress me with both speed and quality.
    I expect to be able to hand a machinist a print and receive finished quality parts in return. He will have learned how to get the most out of every machine he has operated in the shop.
    A good machinist will make me think he is really busting his butt turning out so many accurate parts in such little time while he is actually thinking this job is such a piece of cake and wondering when I'll give him a real challenge.

    I have nothing but the greatest respect for good toolmakers and good machinists.
    It is the ones who think they are great but possess marginal skills that drive me crazy.

    Les

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    I always considered myself a repairman that also makes his repair parts. I like to think that I'm an "all-arounder's all-arounder."

    I make pieces more from samples and sometimes make them from what I descern would go where a part is (gulp) MISSING! Obsolete stuff seeks me out from all corners!

    So what the hell does this make me??

    Be gentle, please!

    hehehehe

    Richard

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    Richard,

    You sound like someone I would like to have around when:

    All hell breaks loose,
    When all hell doesn't break loose

    Along with me on that 110 day backpacking trip

    When the lake goes dry and it don't rain no mo .

    You sound like a creative/inventor type of guy, problem solver, fix it all when there is nothing to fix it with type of guy.

    And we don't have enough of your type when we need em.

    TMD

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    Richard,How about a Dixieland version of McGuyver?(sp?)

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    I work in a production stamping support shop. Sometimes the most beautiful thing in the world is the one man that will do a job just as crude as you ask him to to make the deadline...... A real toolmaker in my opinion is able to decide for himself when it needs to be tenths of thousands or tenths of inches tolerance. One of the great wastes is doing things better than needed without cause. All it does is drive up the price for the end user. There really is not much distinction in my mind between toolamker and machinist, but I will admit, there is a big difference in technique between running one and running thousands. Most people never really see both sides. The guys who tune the mega power cnc machines and get all that can be got are just as skilled as the guy who can hold tenth-thousandths(ok, maybe a little exaggerated here) on a pedestal grinder........and deserve the same pay.

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    `.....them overpaid bastards in white aprons ...`

    Nice post Forrest , and as usual long enough to be comprehensive.
    Fun to read with a bag of salt at hand.

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    Good post Willie.

    A Toolmaker has more hands-on knowledge than the engineer. When I worked in a large Tool/Die shop, the engineers would give the blueprints to us. We would produce the machine/parts, making needed changes along the way, and then the engineer would change the prints to correctly match the parts. I'm not cutting down the engineers, but this is the way R/D works.

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    Richard Rogers,
    You deserve the Humanitarian Medal of Honor.

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    Well, I guess I came out on the assessment better than I had feared!

    McGyver? Honored.

    I think I'm really just a gadget junkie. Isn't this the support group for that "condition?"

    That is ---- support making it WORSE, and increasing the "condition" Hope so!!

    Richard

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    I just had to step in on this one.

    Forrest - my shop aprons are blue! And yeah you machinists can make thousands of precision parts, but it takes you forever to set up the machine and you have to have the toolmaker "tweek" a toolholder or something.

    Having worked as a toolmaker for a lot of years, most toolmakers work from concepts. I have built injection molds from a part print and nothing else. I have built gaging with the instruction "we want to check this dimension right here". The list would go on and on. A "good" journeyman toolmaker or moldmaker will have 2 or 3 apprentices working under him.

    Good toolmakers are hard to find these days. When I went to trade school, there were 18 guys when we started and I graduated with 5 others. The same school now has trouble attracting students. It is not a "cool" job.

    I got out of the shops to further my education. As my friends tell the story "he got a lobotomy and then his degrees". I still have a building full of machines and tools and I run the toolroom here at work during vacations. But in spite of what Forrest says, its the Manufacturing Engineers that get the girls.

    JR

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    Thanks JR. I was hoping to attract some opposition.

    As a machinist in good standing, I will grant you license to wear the coveted blue apron. Gimme your address and I send you a permission slip.

    ME's attract women? How could that be with their time and motion study lovemaking - click the stopwatch: "Excellent dear. Eleven seconds. Now we won't miss Jay Leno's monologue - or would you rather watch the video I got from Milacron again?" And they drive old Volvos! All those pencils and pens and clipboards! Sheesh.

    Well, maybe a toolmaker would see that as high romance.

    Machinists, however are good at running slow motion through a vast field of wild flowers to the arms of their loved one(s) - in fact that's where the film industry picked up the image.

    The romance novelists and Heffner are always calling me for new ideas to spice up their stories. It would give us machinists a break if the toolmakers would take up the slack in the creative romance department but that's a hope in vain.

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    Uh -

    Hmmm, seems someone 'round here has discovered the 'li'l blue pill'.... Now I'm wondering how much Pfizer pays the toolmakers who make the molds for Viagra?

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    Shees guys, all these words to explain the difference between a machinist and a toolmaker.

    When I started Trade school, way back in 1942, I overheard the machine shop instructors discussing "toolmakers and machinists",so at the end of the day I buttonholed one of the instructors and asked,"Mister Blackburn,just what is the difference between a toolmaker and a machinist"? Without skipping a beat or batting an eye he said to me,"Oh about ten cents an hour".With that he buttoned his coat and walked out the shop door,leaving me to digest what I'd just heard.

    In later conversations with these same instructors they made it clear that what you were and could do was a lot more important than what you were called in the machine trade.

    And for all you cynics, yes this really occurred!

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