How to become a Tool and Die Setter

Tool and die setters set up and adjust machine tools and production machines, such as automatic lathes or multiple-operation machines.

Personal requirements for a Tool and Die Setter

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Patient
  • Able to carry out accurate work
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Alert and safety-conscious
  • Aptitude for technical activities

Education & Training for a Tool and Die Setter

To become a tool and die setter you usually have to complete an apprenticeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Tool and Die Setter

Tool and die setters:

  • Study job cards, drawings or other instructions and determine the sequence of machine operation
  • Set up the cutting or shaping tools or dies needed in machines or presses for precision work
  • Measure and mark reference points and fix work pieces, position and fasten cutting tools, and adjust machine trowels using basic hand tools such as spanners, allen keys and screwdrivers
  • Adjust the guides, stops and other controls of machines to ensure stock is machined to the sizes required
  • Trial machines, make adjustments as required, advise or instruct operators and watch the first operations
  • Periodically check product sizes and report any problems or readjust machines using measuring instruments.


  • Measures and marks out metal stock and castings using various gauges.
  • Studies drawings and specifications to determine dimensions and tolerances of articles to be manufactured and models to be constructed.
  • Applies protective finishes to patterns and painting pattern sections to indicate method of assembly.
  • Assembles pattern sections and shapes work pieces to specified finish.
  • Tests and modifies manufactured articles.
  • Checks accuracy of manufactured articles and finished patterns to fine tolerances, using precision measuring instruments.
  • Shapes metal and wood stock using machine tools.

Working conditions for a Tool and Die Setter

A tool and die setter is usually responsible for setting up and running a number of machines in a factory or workshop. These machines are then operated by other workers, usually in situations where large-scale production techniques are used. Tool and die setters work in factories and workshops, which can be noisy at times, although the work environment is generally spacious, ventilated and well lit. They wear protective clothing and may be required to stand for long periods.

Employment Opportunities for a Tool and Die Setter

Tool and die setters are mainly employed in organisations that manufacture plastic products, industrial machinery and equipment, fabricated metal products, basic iron and steel, motor vehicles and parts, household appliances and electrical equipment.


Tool and Die Setter

Tool and die setters set up and adjust machine tools and production machines, such as automatic lathes or multiple-operation machines.

  • Average age
    Average age
    50 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    1% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    89% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    2,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.2%
    NSW: 28.0%
    NT: 0.1%
    QLD: 10.9%
    SA: 14.8%
    TAS: 0.2%
    VIC: 40.1%
    WA: 5.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.4%
    20-24: 3.4%
    25-34: 10.2%
    35-44: 21.1%
    45-54: 26.2%
    55-59: 14.8%
    60-64: 12.3%
    65 and Over: 10.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 16.3%
    Bachelor degree: 3.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 65.3%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.9%
    Year 10 and below: 6.6%
    Year 11: 1.8%
    Year 12: 5.7%
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