Tool and Die Maker Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) as the Red Seal standard for the Tool and Die Maker trade.

Table of Contents

Tool and Die Maker Red Seal Occupational Standard Series (RSOS)

Disponible en français sous le titre : Outilleur-ajusteur/outilleuse-ajusteuse

NOC: 7232

Designation Year: 1992

RSOS Products for Download

The Tool and Die Maker Red Seal Occupational Standard is developed by Canadian trade representatives. It collects information about the trade as it is practiced across Canada.

This RSOS information is combined in several ways to generate several RSOS Products, each these is based on information contained in the complete RSOS, and is geared to user needs:

RSOS Products for Download
Product Purpose
Red Seal Occupational Standard - Tool and Die Maker (PDF, 1.7 MB) A complete description of all trade activities, skills and knowledge. The Standard defines the trade by collecting and organizing elements together.
Trade Profile - Tool and Die Maker A quick snapshot of all trade activities in the standard. It can be used to self-assess experience. It can be used to introduce a concise summary of all trade activities to those wanting to learn about the trade. It can also be used for gap analysis.
Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Tool and Die Maker (PDF, 771 KB) Use this self-assessment tool to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

General Information

Description of the Tool and Die Maker Trade

“Tool and Die Maker” is this trade's official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This standard covers tasks performed by Tool and Die Makers whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:

Occupational title has been identified by province
Occupational title NL NS PE NB QC ON MB SK AB BC NT YT NU
Tool and Die Maker x x x x   x x     x      
Die Maker         x                
Mouldmaking Machinist         x                
Tool Maker         x                

Tool and Die Makers design, create, repair and test prototypes and production tools such as dies, cutting tools, jigs, fixtures, gauges, and specialty tools using various metals, alloys and plastics. In some jurisdictions, they also build and repair moulds. They produce tooling used to manufacture and stamp out parts and they supply tooling and dies for the automotive, aerospace, transportation, consumer goods, forestry, mining, farming, medical and electronics industries. Tool and Die Makers usually work indoors in tool rooms, machine shops and manufacturing environment. They lay out, set up, machine, fit and finish metal, alloys and plastic components. They design and make items to meet exacting standards in dimensions, strength and hardness.

Tool and Die Makers use machining tools such as lathes, mills, saws, grinders, drills, computer numerical control (CNC) machines, coordinate-measuring machines (CMM) and electrical discharge machines (EDM). They also use hand tools and measuring equipment to ensure accuracy and close tolerances. They may use 3D printers. They work from sketches, drawings, computer-aided designs/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), specifications and their own concepts to calculate dimensions, tolerances and types of fit. They should be knowledgeable about the properties of metal and non-metallic materials such as plastic, rubber and composite materials.

Some Tool and Die Makers may specialize in design, prototyping, automation equipment fabrication, tool and cutter making, heat treating, test equipment, gauge making, jig and fixture making, die making, mould making, assembly, inspection and programming. They may be involved in research and development for the industries mentioned above.

Safety is important at all times. There are risks of personal injury working with moving machine parts, flying chips, sharp edges and extreme heat from heated materials. Tool and Die Makers may be lifting and moving heavy components. Precautions are required while working with manufacturing chemicals, airborne irritants, compressed gasses, toxic lubricants and cleaners.

Some attributes for people entering this trade are: communication skills, mechanical aptitude, attention to details, hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, ability to troubleshoot and to work independently and in teams, logical reasoning ability, advanced knowledge of mathematics and applied science, creativity, resourcefulness, above average spatial ability and ability to plan and think sequentially. The work often requires considerable physical activity and stamina as tool and die makers spend long periods of time on their feet. Tool and Die Makers may work with other professionals such as machinists, mould makers, industrial mechanics (millwrights), designers, programmers and engineers.

Experienced Tool and Die Makers may become team leaders, supervisors, managers, instructors or business owners. With additional training, they may transfer their skills to design and engineering responsibilities. Their skills are also transferable to related occupations such as machinist, mould maker, pattern maker, industrial mechanic (millwright) and CNC programmer.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

Tools are available online or for order at:

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the skills and knowledge statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.

Trends in the Tool and Die Maker Trade


The tool and die maker trade is changing rapidly throughout the various industries in Canada and worldwide. Technology is quickly changing the basic trade. Advances in CNC, robotics, laser, exotic materials, 3D printing and composites will continue to impact the trade in future years. Knowledge and skill levels continue to increase in this trade. The tool and die maker must be adaptable to technological changes.

The advancements made on tooling are significant. Many tool and die apprentices do not use or perhaps have never seen a dividing head or rotary table in use. Although these processes are important, methods have changed. All engineering design courses can be completed through CAD courses, mostly solid modelling, as this is how tools are being designed and part drawings generated.

There is new tooling, and new and faster machinery and processes, such as white light imaging data to CNC. Currently there are companies exploring the uses of augmented reality for assessing die designs before they go to production. Rapid prototyping (3D printing) is quickly becoming a common process within the industry. Rapid prototyping is a method of prototyping with polymers or powdered metal materials which take only a few hours, compared to other prototyping processes which can take a few weeks. Nanotechnology is more often being applied in the development of new materials to make them stronger and to optimize their durability. Other high-tech processes whose use is increasing include robotics, laser cutting, laser metrology and water jet cutting.

New materials, such as composites, and advanced coatings have been introduced. There is more high speed machining of hardened material for production tool manufacturing. There are different materials that are being used on tools now.

Tools now are becoming more complicated for example, new measurement technology (scanning) and video scanning.


Experienced tool and die makers are becoming more accountable and responsible for steps or operations that they were not involved in previously. For example, tool and die makers are often project leaders and have the responsibility and authority for the different steps that lead to the final product. Therefore, there is an increased need to develop team working skills. Due to those new responsibilities, tool and die makers are engaged in the early stages of project development involving clients, engineers, and marketing teams.


Safety standards are becoming more rigorous and require more thorough applications of practices. Safety officers and inspectors are becoming more common in the workplace.

More and more workplaces are recycling paper products, oils, packaging materials and steels to reduce environmental impact.

The implementation of shop floor management systems (software) is becoming more common. This software facilitates the planning and scheduling process.

In some workplaces, the continued increase in the use of CNC machines and new machining processes has resulted in tool and die makers being more focussed on planning, costing, final fitting, assembly, development and proving out of tooling.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special thanks are offered to the following representatives who contributed greatly to the original draft of the standard and provided expert advice throughout its development:

This standard was prepared by the Apprenticeship and Sectoral Initiatives Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this standard was undertaken by employees of the standards development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division and of Ontario, the host jurisdiction for this trade.