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Career profile Metal Patternmaker

Also known as Die Cast Die Maker, Fixture Builder, Journeyman Patternmaker, Layout Technician, Metal Pattern Maker, Pattern Maker, Pattern Maker Programmer, Pattern Repair Person, Patternmaker, Wax Molder

Metal Patternmaker

Also known as Die Cast Die Maker, Fixture Builder, Journeyman Patternmaker

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$30,160 - $73,640 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Quality Control Analysis
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Program computerized numerical control machine tools.
  • Verify conformance of patterns or template dimensions to specifications, using measuring instruments such as calipers, scales, and micrometers.
  • Set up and operate machine tools, such as milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and grinders, to machine castings or patterns.
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What does a Metal Patternmaker do?

Metal Patternmakers lay out, machine, fit, and assemble castings and parts to metal or plastic foundry patterns, core boxes, or match plates.

What kind of tasks does a Metal Patternmaker perform regularly?

Metal Patternmakers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Verify conformance of patterns or template dimensions to specifications, using measuring instruments such as calipers, scales, and micrometers.
  • Set up and operate machine tools, such as milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and grinders, to machine castings or patterns.
  • Assemble pattern sections, using hand tools, bolts, screws, rivets, glue, or welding equipment.
  • Repair and rework templates and patterns.
  • Read and interpret blueprints or drawings of parts to be cast or patterns to be made, compute dimensions, and plan operational sequences.
  • Construct platforms, fixtures, and jigs for holding and placing patterns.
  • Clean and finish patterns or templates, using emery cloths, files, scrapers, and power grinders.
  • Mark identification numbers or symbols onto patterns or templates.

The above responsibilities are specific to Metal Patternmakers. More generally, Metal Patternmakers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Metal Patternmaker salary?

The median salary for a Metal Patternmaker is $48,160, and the average salary is $49,570. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Metal Patternmaker salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Metal Patternmakers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Metal Patternmakers earn less than $30,160 per year, 25% earn less than $37,220, 75% earn less than $60,940, and 90% earn less than $73,640.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Metal Patternmakers is expected to change by -4.2%, and there should be roughly 200 open positions for Metal Patternmakers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$30,160 - $73,640
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Metal Patternmakers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Metal Patternmaker are usually higher in their Realistic, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Metal Patternmakers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Metal Patternmakers typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Metal Patternmakers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Metal Patternmakers typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Metal Patternmaker tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Metal Patternmakers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Metal Patternmakers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Metal Patternmakers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Metal Patternmakers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Metal Patternmakers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

What education and training do Metal Patternmakers need?

Metal Patternmakers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Metal Patternmakers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Metal Patternmakers

  • 14.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 46.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 24.0% completed some college coursework
  • 8.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Metal Patternmakers

Metal Patternmakers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Metal Patternmakers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Metal Patternmakers

Metal Patternmakers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Metal Patternmakers need abilities such as near vision, arm-hand steadiness, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Metal Patternmakers, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Critical Skills needed by Metal Patternmakers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Metal Patternmakers frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and quality control analysis to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Metal Patternmakers, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.